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Sensors and Sensing Systems

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(Tower Bridge, London, UK - Hsi-Pin Ma)


Emerging Types of Sensors and Actuators, and Emerging Applications


  • Emerging types of sensors: touch, pressure, thermal, radiation, humidity, chemical, high- performance image and IR, air and pollution, magnetic, water, radar, high performance inertial, high performance microphones, microphone arrays.
  • Emerging types of actuators: high performance micro speakers, optical zoom, micro shutters, energy harvesters.
  • Emerging applications: digital health, body area networks, medical diagnostics and screening, genomics, safety and security, environmental, virtual reality, indoor navigation, quantified self, usage paid insurance.


Wireless Sensor Network


  • [Wikipedia]:  A wireless sensor network (WSN) of spatially distributed autonomous sensors to monitor physical or environmental conditions, such as temperature, sound, pressure, etc. and to cooperatively pass their data through the network to a main location. The more modern networks are bi-directional, also enabling control of sensor activity. The development of wireless sensor networks was motivated by military applications such as battlefield surveillance; today such networks are used in many industrial and consumer applications, such as industrial process monitoring and control, machine health monitoring, and so on.
  • [IEEE]: Smart Grid requires lots of applications in the terminals to sense the environment or control the intelligent devices. Due to the low cost and high function, wireless sensors have been deployed in power grid wildly. Depending on wireless sensor network (WSN), the grid can build a two-way communication system, and then customers can interact extensively with the network, both in providing power consumption data and even feeding back domestically produced energy into the grid.....
  • [Stanford Wireless Systems Lab]: Wireless sensor networks can also enable a new class of intelligent home electronics, smart and energy-efficient buildings and highways, and in-body networks for analysis and treatment of medical conditions.



  • [McKinsey & Company]: Internet of Things: "...The physical world itself is becoming a type of information system. In what’s called the Internet of Things, sensors and actuators embedded in physical objects—from roadways to pacemakers—are linked through wired and wireless networks, often using the same Internet Protocol (IP) that connects the Internet. These networks churn out huge volumes of data that flow to computers for analysis. When objects can both sense the environment and communicate, they become tools for understanding complexity and responding to it swiftly. What’s revolutionary in all this is that these physical information systems are now beginning to be deployed, and some of them even work largely without human intervention..."
  • [Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere]: Tracking Tornadoes in a New Way to Save Lives .....
  • [AT&T Smart Grid Solutions]: The smart grid technology available today from AT&T will help to enhance reliability and energy efficiency, lower power-line losses and provide utilities with the ability to remotely automate service, improving reliability and providing cost-savings for consumers. In fact, the AT&T wireless network is enabling the reading of millions of electric smart meters.
  • [Verizon Smart Grid Solutions]: New technologies are helping reinvent the energy and utilities industry by automating and enhancing distribution grids, improving security, addressing compliance requirements and by providing critical information in near real time.


[More to come ...]




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