Here's a weather instrument - the Dodecahedral Barometer -
that can actually determine how tall you are by reading the barometric pressure
between your head and your feet. Mark Thoren
notes that his gadget was inspired by the release of some new electronic
products. The first is a Serta model 270 barometric pressure sensor that recently
came on the market. The sensor is inexpensive and accurate to the point of
being suitable for weather stations. The other items that make this gadget
possible are some new HP displays that make the gadget's readings visually
this Setra pressure sensor pricing starts at $1738.00 I wouldn't call that inexpensive.
What I would call inexpensive ($58) is the TI eZ420-Chronos Development tool which includes a MSP430 series micropower microprocessor in a watch case with Bluetooth link to your PC. Besides a built-in temperature sensor, a 3-axis accelerometer, it also includes a pressure sensor which can read the height of your head, right out of the box. Mind you it wouldn't be accurate enough for serious weather measurements of barometric pressure.
Siemens and Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology have achieved a faster production process based on selective laser melting for speeding up the prototyping of big, complex metal parts in gas turbine engines.
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