Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2022 - 42

Sensors
Left: Smart, connected sensors like this vibration sensor
help connect legacy greenfield machines to the IoT.
(Image: Monnit)
Right: Ultra-compact nanosensors like this gas sensor are
helpful in medical, industrial, and smart city applications.
(Image: Monnit)
Compact Sensor Design is Aggressively
Progressive
Connected device use cases in the military and NASA historically
translate into IoT products for consumers and industries.
These applications will continue to drive the design of sensors.
Sensor manufacturers put more functionality in more compact
components and housings while maintaining reliability and increasing
battery life. For example, autonomous self-driving vehicles
and AI robotics need advanced vision, so sensors that
mimic the human eye with magnification features beyond biological
ability are available.
We want more power, bandwidth, and sensing capabilities in
a smaller package to fit and blend in with our brownfield and
greenfield environments and devices. Engineers have created
wireless, battery-powered temperature sensors the size of postage
stamps, mechanical and chemical nanosensors, and ingestible
biosensors from pill-size to smaller than a grain of rice or
salt for medical sensing applications.
Sensor miniaturization and micromachining aren't new. But
there's a growing demand for sensors in a smaller footprint with
secure, smarter sensing capabilities and longer battery life. We see
a correlation between compact sensor design and the most effective
yet least expensive materials science and mechanical design.
Accelerometers, for example, are constantly being upgraded
to be cheaper, smaller, and more intelligent. Microelectromechanical
systems (MEMS) gas sensors are doing this too. Cost-effective,
smarter, and compact sensor design has a ripple effect
across applications that we couldn't address a few years ago.
The Compounded Value of Smart, Connected,
Compact Sensors
Everything from connected digital capabilities to miniaturized
sensing components to a reliable long-range communications
platform empowers the compounded value of sensor design
and function.
Once again, we can look for insightful comparisons to our
bodies to see sensor technology's evolution and near-future direction.
Our intuitive and autonomous five senses connected
to our central nervous system combine to create a continuous
multisensory experience throughout the day. The most important
and strongest sensations typically earn the instantaneous
focus of our individual and collective senses at any moment.
42
Similarly, a multisensor or sensor network using sensor fusion,
artificial intelligence, and multithreading can transform
real-time monitoring, data analytics, machine learning, automation,
and autonomous processes. This powerful combination
of multiple smart sensing technologies can help us achieve
the business value of moving from remote monitoring to predicting
and innovating the performance of nearly everything.
As an IoT optimist, I see more opportunities than sensor design
and manufacturing challenges. There's never been as many
new design requests and ideas or new ways to sense things. Although
there may be temporary supply chain setbacks and extended
lead times, we should always be contingency planning
and managing multiple resources. Here are just some of the
opportunities I see in the rapid evolution of sensor technology:
* Accelerate the melding of consumer smart sensor applications
with commercial and industrial counterparts.
* Advance computer vision and compact camera sensing technologies
for greater autonomy.
* Design multisensors with a 360-degree view of multiple applications
and complex environments.
* Develop better, more efficient energy sources using micropower
and environmental sources.
* Integrate intelligent technologies with edge sensing to drive
faster automation and innovation.
IoT Sensors Create Transformative Innovations
Work and personal life continue to be reinvented, rebuilt, and
reimagined with the convergence of IoT innovations and complementary
technologies. Efficient processes, systems, services, and
products in virtually every industry depend upon the versatility of
connected sensors. IoT businesses should emphasize the form and
function of connected sensor design rather than focusing on manufacturing.
As industry applications continually evolve and emerge,
sensor designers and manufacturers who act on key trends and
needs will be the winners in the battle for the future of sensors.
This article is written by Brad Walters, Founder and CEO of Monnit.
For more information, visit http://info.hotims.com/82323-287.
Read more on sensors.
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Tech Briefs, July 2022
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Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2022

Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2022 - Intro
Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2022 - Sponsor
Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2022 - Cov1
Tech Briefs Magazine - July 2022 - Cov2
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