Archive for sensor

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Deflecting an Asteroid Threat

Movies like to portray the ultimate defense against an asteroid threatening life on planet Earth as a nuclear weapon tipped missile. This makes little sense. We think of our Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM) as being long range because they are compared to most of our other weapon systems. But in the sense of interplanetary […]

Embedded Optical Sensors

The story linked below is about using optical sensors to improve touch feedback in robots. But a greater significance to this story is that we have the ability to embed stretchable optical sensors for a range of applications. While the sensors in this story are actually tactile sensors designed to provide touch sensitivity, they use […]

Smart Dust Has Arrived

Smart Dust has been an almost fictional idea of very small computing “motes” that can collect and report data. Like small particles of dust, these little computing sensor nodes could be used to collect information in a variety of applications. By simply injecting some smart dust into a flow of liquid or a tornado, a […]

Electronic Tattoos with NFC

Electronic skin and tattoos with embedded electronics can contain a variety of medical and health sensors as well as identification and authentication tools. Near Field Communications (NFC) is a short range (inches) induction based communication technology that uses RFID-like protocols to exchange credentials between devices. NFC can be used in simple form factors like smart […]

GPS Without Satellites

Current GPS systems rely on radio signals from satellites to perform their location determining calculations. When the radio signal is not available, the system cannot work. Micro-Electro-Mechanical System (MEMS) gyroscopes work like a tiny Foucault pendulum but with a vibrating element that can detect rotational changes. These small gyroscopes and accelerometors form the core of […]

Botnets Attack from the Sky

It’s now become fairly easy and cheap to make an autonomous flying model drone. Telemetry that relays information collected by a drone back to the ground has been demonstrated. Wireless hacking from equipment mounted on a flying drone has been demonstrated. Flying drones are becoming smaller, cheaper and more automated. Flying model aircraft have been […]

Robot Skin Sensors

Tactile sensors that emulate the information input we get from our skin can give robots more responsive interaction abilities. We tend to focus on visual and audio inputs and often forget that we constantly use our sense of pressure in a variety of forms, as well as temperature, smell and others. Pressure measurements record not […]

Ultra Light Absorber

Researchers at the Huygens Laboratory in Leiden University in the Netherlands have demonstrated that at a very thin level of thickness, NbN (niobiumnitride) can absorb nearly 100% of light. The ideal substance for photovoltaic solar energy conversion is something that absorbs almost all radiation and is thin enough to collect electrical energy efficiently. Most recent […]