We've been hearing a lot about motion tracking as of late, the Leap Motion being the most popular device that is making its way to the public. However, a new mechanism is looking to gain some ground and has popped up on Kickstarter. The DUO 3D sensor claims to be the "world’s first and only DIY 3D sensing solution."
It looks like smartphone manufacturers have stopped racing ahead in the megapixel wars, instead focusing on improved sensors to deliver better images from mobile devices. Sony has been pressing ahead with such sensor developments, with its latest Exmor RS smartphone camera range further improving image quality. Sony will offer three versions of the sensor, with two eight megapixel models and a 13-megapixel variant.
One of the things I like so much about Kickstarter is that you never know what kind of project will turn up. One of the most recent projects that caught my eye is the device called the Knut. This is a small battery-powered Wi-Fi enabled device that you can use for monitoring just about anything you can think of. It can be used to monitor environmental conditions in your home such as the temperature of various things and humidity.
Trying to keep track of large numbers of people can be tricky, but new technology could leverage the smartphones that people carry with them. A new sensor designed by Libelium is able to detect WiFi and Bluetooth wireless signals, which are then picked up by a multiprotocol router in order to calculate the number of bodies in an area. It does rely on on people carrying mobile devices with the radios, but it’s an intriguing (and possibly worrying) use of technology.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications HHI in Berlin have presented a working model set of soil sensors that will in the near future be able to feed a farmer results on moisture content, humidity, temperature, and leakage. These sensors have been shown at the Embedded World trade fair in Nuremberg Germany and showcased as a futuristic wireless solution for farmers to keep their crops healthy and safe through the growing months of summer and fall. Though these sensors are currently wired to one another physically, they'll soon be able to work entirely independent of one another, transmitting signals back to a base station which then communicates with the farmer's mobile phone.
We talked about Twine and the fact that it was on Kickstarter looking for funding back in November. The company behind Twine is called Supermechanical and they were only seeking $35,000 to be funded tomorrow. They got that $35,000 many, many times over in what has turned out to be one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns in history.
As the smartphones that we all know and love get thinner, the components inside the device must get thinner too. Super thin smartphones like the Droid Razr for instance can benefit from things like even thinner camera sensors. Sharp has a new camera sensor for the smartphone market that it hails as the thinnest CMOS camera sensor launched.
I have always wanted to automate my entire home by installing sensors for various things along with controls for the lights and more. Two things make adding home automation a big issue for existing construction though. The first thing is the cost, home automation sensors and controllers are very expensive. The second thing is the actual installation. Depending on how the walls in your home are made it could well be impossible to add all the sensors and wiring to a home.
I have long said that one of the technologies with the most promise to change our world is battery tech. The batteries that last longer and charge faster are key elements to improve everything from smartphones to cars. A company called MicroGen Systems has been developing cool battery tech for small, low power sensors that generates power for its on-board battery by harnessing vibrations. These batteries are ideal for low power sensors like the ones in late model cars that power the TMPS system that monitors tire pressures.
On a normal vehicle with a combustion engine, the power needed to operate the various instruments inside the car is not that big of a deal since you have power as long as the fuel holds out. On an EV or hybrid the less drain on the battery, the longer the driving distance so in these vehicles shedding all the power drain possible from the batteries is a big deal.