sensors

Japanese companies including Sony, car makers freeze production following earthquakes

Japanese companies including Sony, car makers freeze production following earthquakes

The southern Japanese island of Kyushu has been struck by two serious earthquake in the last few days, causing some significant damage to the region. As a result, several local companies with factories in the region have decided to temporarily halt production as part of an effort to make sure their facilities are safe. This includes Sony's camera sensor factories in the cities of Nagasaki and Kumamoto, which was hit the hardest by the quakes.

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MIT researchers turn a phone into a cheap laser scanner

MIT researchers turn a phone into a cheap laser scanner

These days, almost every smart device has one or more sensors in addition to being connected to the Internet or to smartphones. Those sensors range from humble proximity sensors to more sophisticated, and more expensive, radars and "lidars". Mobile robots and self-driving contraptions are perhaps the biggest beneficiaries of such sensors, but those sensors do come cheaply. Well, they could, depending on how much you are willing to compromise. Researchers at MIT developed a laser distance sensor that, while crude, is quite decent for its price, which is only $49 plus a smartphone sacrificed to the cause.

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Nima can test food for gluten on the go in just 2 minutes

Nima can test food for gluten on the go in just 2 minutes

Most people probably take it for granted that a portion of the population can't enjoy all the food we usually eat, either because of allergies or other reasons. Gluten has become one of those most problematic of substances because it is found in a very wide range of ingredients and prepared meals. Making sure food is gluten-free has become an ordeal for those who have celiac disease or similar conditions. That no longer need to be true with Nima, an extremely portable device that can check food for gluten in just 2 minutes.

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Sensor laden pigeons test for air pollution in London

Sensor laden pigeons test for air pollution in London

A flock of ten pigeons has a big job in London. The pigeons will be flying around the city wearing tiny backpacks that are fitted with sensors designed to monitor air quality around the city. The pigeons will live free for three days before returning with their little backpacks. The project is called Pigeon Air Patrol and was one of the winners of a contest called #PoweredByTweets that Twitter held last year.

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OPPO SmartSensor: first sensor-based, smallest smartphone OIS

OPPO SmartSensor: first sensor-based, smallest smartphone OIS

Chinese OEM OPPO might not have a new smartphone to show off at MWC 2016 but it is definitely not lacking in things to boast about. For one, it just revealed its Super VOOC fast charging technology that, OPPO claims, can charge a smartphone in just 15 minutes. Now it is making a similarly huge claim but this time in the area of photography. Calling it the SmartSensor, it is claimed to be the world's first sensor-based stabilization technology for smartphones and also the smallest OIS for any device, smartphone or not.

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TappLock is a padlock with a fingerprint sensor to open

TappLock is a padlock with a fingerprint sensor to open

Now that we're living in the age of sufficient fingerprint sensors, devices like the TappLock are on the rise. The creators of the TappLock have embedded a fingerprint sensor (aka a fingerprint reader) into a padlock, allowing the user to do away with keys altogether. This system, they suggest, will allow you to "never worry about losing your keys, forgetting your combination code, or getting your locks picked again." That is, until the device's sensor malfunctions. But that'll never happen, right?

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Sensor patch is powered by body heat

Sensor patch is powered by body heat

The biggest downside to the glut of wearable electronic devices on the market today is that they all need to be charged. Runtime varies greatly from device to device but in hours or days all have to be plugged in. At some point in the future wireless power might come along and make it so electronic devices can get the power they need from our bodies.

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It bed by Sleep Number has integrated sensors to improve sleep

It bed by Sleep Number has integrated sensors to improve sleep

Sleep Number has been around making beds that use air to let users choose how firm they want their beds to be on any given night. At CES 2016 Sleep Number has unveiled a new bed called the it bed by Sleep Number. The bed uses SleepIQ tech to track sleep, offer insights, and make suggestions to help you sleep better. It has touch-free biometric sensors inside that track the user's entire body hundreds of times per seconds.

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Apple patents fingerprint uploads and cloud storage

Apple patents fingerprint uploads and cloud storage

Apple patent shows methods for iPhone to save fingerprint information, upload to the cloud, and download on another iPhone. Filed in August of 2015, this patent appears to have been a "continuation in part" of a patent application from July of 2013, a patent which has now been "abandoned" in favor of this new listing. This new patent application suggests that Apple devices with fingerprint sensors would first collect fingerprint information, as they do today, but that they would also be capable of uploading that information to the cloud for storage.

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Tiny temperature sensor needs no battery

Tiny temperature sensor needs no battery

One of the things that researchers and designers hope to achieve are sensors that can gather power from their environment rather than needing a battery. Batteries eventually run down requiring replacement and limiting usefulness over time. A group of Dutch researchers have created an interesting sensor solution that needs no battery for power.

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Chinese researchers working on a car driven by your brain

Chinese researchers working on a car driven by your brain

If human-less self-driving cars of the future creep you out, then this latest experimental automotive technology from China might offer you some respite. Or freak creep you out even more. Researchers from the port city of Tianjin have revealed what they claim is the country's first ever car to be driven without the use of human hands or feet but with a driver still in control. All it takes is some brain power. And some highly specialized equipment, of course.

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Sony confirms $155M purchase of Toshiba image sensor business

Sony confirms $155M purchase of Toshiba image sensor business

Following rumors and negotiations over the last few months, Sony has confirmed today that it is buying the image sensor business of fellow Japanese tech giant Toshiba for 19 billion yen, or roughly $155 million. This comes after Sony's decision in early October to spin off its own sensor division into a separate company, now called Sony Semiconductor Solutions. This, along with the Toshiba purchase, will allow Sony to secure itself as the dominant provider of camera and smartphone sensors.

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