Sensors Everywhere!

January 10, 2015

Viva Las Vegas! January is when the world flocks to Vegas but this time whatever happens in Vegas does not stay in Vegas! Lucky for us! This is the time for the world’s greatest consumer electronics show! The definition of which has been rapidly evolving over the years. It should perhaps be named the ‘Connected World Show’ from now on. Why so? I wouldn’t use the industry’s most overused buzzword here but we are nearing a tipping point of some sort. Either that or it’s time to call the fad out for what it is. Since the term “Internet of Things” has been around for over two decades it clearly has gone past the fad stage has it not? Whatever the case maybe the evolution of technology is obvious. Sensors are everywhere!

If there was one key take out from the CES this year it was this. The sensory capability of technology to be better aware of the environment is getting remarkably good. Like kick ass good! You have to see the Intel showcase of this to get a feel of what I am talking about. (see the video at the end of the post). Intel seems to be leading significantly in this space with their “RealSense™” technology. They showcased some awesome progress on that front. From the ability of computers and tablets to work with gestures to their smart drones. There was no way to make them collide. For a piece of technology to hover safely and to smoothly avoid any kind of obstacles, felt like military grade technology is making its way to the consumer world. The implications of this are profound. The safety of such devices is perhaps at the cornerstone of autonomous driving vehicles. Theoretically self-driving vehicles are expected to be far safer than human controlled cars. So not only are we looking at a world where road travel becomes significantly safer, but with luxury automakers like Mercedes and Audi jumping on the bandwagon, the idea of a “mobile living space” is soon coming to fruition.

This sensory capability of computing technology does not stop here. Another application of their capability was being showcased among wearable devices. The role of the sensors here is to monitor health. It’s like having a personal medic watch over you and capture data of your vitals in real time. The idea that such monitoring may trigger an alert to your doctor if needed in case of any emergency is not too far away. Apple has already integrated health monitoring deep into their latest OS in preparation for the launch of Apple Watch which is expected to rely heavily on sensors to monitor health. In yet another way these sensors are being used to transform electricity. That too is about to go wireless! Yes! Say hello to wireless electricity! Not so long ago we moved from wired connectivity to wireless internet. Soon we can expect electrical appliances to be wireless as well. The first step in that direction is through wireless charging. The ability to transform electrical energy to magnetic energy is a game changer. It is a simple idea of how magnetic energy is transferred by a recipient device in a certain proximity which is then reconverted upon receipt back into electrical energy. Again a certain type of sensor is behind this technology as well. These are just the tips of the iceberg but clearly a single technological component could be an enabler to unlocking some fascinating new possibilities changing the game for many industries and hurling us further into a new kind of wireless world.

Sounds exciting? Get a sample from the video below.

Feature image by Alexander Boden used under Creative Commons 2.0 License

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