Posts Tagged ‘sensors’
The next generations of iPhones could incorporate screens with curved edges and touch sensors capable of tracking different levels of pressure.
Apple is said to be working on two curved display iPhone models for the “second half of next year,” according to a source speaking to Bloomberg, with a likely released planned for the third quarter, and building better touchscreen sensors that introduce fine pressure sensitivity for later devices to be introduced after that.
These new iPhones for 2014 would come in 4.7 and 5.5-inch flavors, according to the report, meaning that Apple would be introducing not one, but two different models at the same time, in theory. We’ve seen reports of Apple working on different models of large-screen devices in the past, including one from the Wall Street Journal that suggests it’s been working on different tests of devices with screen sizes between 4.8 and 6 inches. This is the first time we’ve really heard firm information about a possible release date for said devices, from a source as generally reliable as Bloomberg. A Japanese iOS rumor site claimed a September launch for a large-screen iPhone late in October, however, and two reliable analyst sources predict a 4.7-inch iPhone 6 bound for stores in late 2014.
Apple also introduced precedent for doing two models of new iPhone at once this year with the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c, so the idea that it could do so again in the future makes some sense. But two new larger-screened devices at once does seem like a stretch – thought if Apple retained an iPhone 5c as its third, budget device and added two more to the mid-tier and high-end range, that might allow it to do so without adding crazy complexity to its product lineup.
The sensor developments are potentially more interesting to those who find the current screen size of the iPhone adequate; true pressure sensitivity (currently, some crude extent of that is possible via the iPhone’s accelerometer) would make drawing and handwriting applications on the iPhone and iPad much, much better. Apple could sell the devices as professional-level artistic devices if it introduces those kinds of features, in addition to just making things better for everyday users who want to jot notes and doodle, for example, or perform minor photo touch-ups.
It’s very early days to make any kind of judgement about the likely accuracy of these claims, but the source gives it some weight. Apple’s iPhone joining the ranks of bigger-screened devices definitely makes sense as a next move for the lineup, but curved glass manufacturing also seems quite expensive at this point for Apple to be considering launching two new devices with that feature at once.
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People are living longer, and they desire to live as independently as possible in their senior years. But, independent lifestyles come with risks, such as de…
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In only a few months, the founders of IDerma, a medical technology start-up based out of Zagreb, Croatia, have developed and launched what they’re marketing as medical sensor technology for children. But unlike the sleek Scanadu Scout, this one takes the form of a teddy bear.
The product is called Teddy the Guardian, a plushie installed with sensors that measure heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen levels, and temperature, and then relay that data via Bluetooth to a parent’s phone. The sensors are scattered around the bear’s body; pressing a finger to the bear’s paw, for instance, takes heart rate and oxygen levels.
The idea behind disguising medical tech as a lovable toy is to provide parents and pediatricians more accurate, consistent data points. When a child is stressed out about going to the doctor, his or her vital signs will be skewed. Taking data points when the child is in a neutral emotional state can give doctors a wealth of good information to compare against when something is wrong.
Of course, the bear is just as much a tool for keeping parents attuned to their child’s general well-being as it is a medical device. IDerma co-founder Josipa Majić said that for busy parents who don’t have as much time to connect with their kids, the data can show when their child’s day has been particularly stressful or problematic.
Later versions of Teddy will be equipped with sensors specific to different medical conditions, Majić said. Blood sugar level measurements for diabetic children, for instance.
While the United States and Europe comprise Teddy the Guardian’s primary markets, China and India are also of interest. The increase in disposable income in rapidly developing countries has resulted in more money spent on a family’s first-born child, Majić said.
“We see the mommy community in the developing world as the quite the disrupters. They spend at least some time, up to 8 hours a day, on their cell phones and smartphones. 90 and even 91% [of their time] in China. In India, they believe tech makes them a better mom.”
Teddy the Guardian has already cleared its biggest hurdle: getting FDA approval on the medical technology. Although IDerma has its own sensors, Majić said they opted to outsource sensor development to another healthcare company, the name of which she declined to give.
The reason is simply because going through FDA and CE approval processes are expensive — too much so for a start-up. To get the green light, a company needs a very competent legal team, Majić said, which most cannot afford.
“These regulations are really start-up unfriendly. I would even say hostile,” she said.
It is difficult for U.S.-based start-ups to get approved by the FDA, she said, not to mention those from Central or Eastern Europe. In Europe, each country has its own legal specifications, which requires an even bigger legal team.
The company is currently bootstrapped, funded by IDerma’s past projects. Majić said they were considering either launching a crowdfunding campaign or applying to accelerators in London and Silicon Valley. They have, however, begun taking pre-orders and are talking with several multinational companies.
Outside of health trackers like Jawbone Up, Scanadu is the main competition in the world of medical tricorders for consumers, though Teddy the Guardian occupies a distinct space in its focus on pediatrics. Having FDA approval on the sensors is a leg up, meaning Teddy may be able to get out on the market before competing medical devices proliferate too much.
Foxconn isn’t waiting around for rumors of an Apple smartwatch to come true — it’s building a timepiece of its own. The company has just shown iPhone-compatible wristwear that previews Facebook messages and phone calls while tracking the owner’s breathing and heart rate. Upgrades are also coming in the long run, such as a fingerprint reader that would lock down the wearer’s health data. Foxconn hasn’t discussed launch details for the watch, but it’s almost more of a symbol than a product — it represents the diversification of a business that still leans mostly on contract manufacturing for revenue.
Source: Want ChinaTimes
One interesting element of Google I/O this year were the sensors laid out everywhere around Moscone tracking environmental data throughout the event. Those types of sensors are now all around us, including in our phones and in various smart home devices, and now a new Kickstarter project from ManyLabs wants to help kids get familiar with them very early on.
The project is called Sensors for Students, and it wants to build a sensor collection kit that includes a plate for an open-source Arduino board and Grove shield combo, along with one of a variety of parts for a number of different types of sensors, including accelerometers, electromagnetic field detectors, a color sensor, a plant watering kit (similar to one component of the Bitponics automated hydroponic garden), and many more.
The team behind ManyLabs consists of Peter Sand and Elliot Dicus, who formed the nonprofit with the ultimate intent of spreading low-cost hands-on tools for teaching science and math to the classroom. Sand has a Ph.D. in Computer Science from MIT, and has focused his work and research on computer vision, robotics and education.
Sand and Dicus wanted to make it possible to get kids learning data literacy and experimenting with open source hardware early on in life. Their goals sound similar to those of Adafruit, the NY-based hardware company that’s also trying to make people more comfortable with concepts around electrical engineering and DIY maker culture, beginning early on in life.
ManyLabs isn’t just supplying hardware, though, it’s also very clearly marketing a curriculum, with lessons and content being offered alongside each type of kit available to backers, along with online resources that will be made available on a yearly subscription basis. There’s no soldering required in the kits that are on offer, so these are suitable for a range of ages and skill levels, and ManyLabs hopes to put them in the hands of backers as soon as August this year, with kits beginning at $ 40. The most expensive individual kit is $ 75, and while ManyLabs requires you to supply your own Arduino, it’s still very affordable, a key value add for educational markets.
There’s plenty of buzz about the concept of making our cities “smarter” — that is, loading them up with sensors and data-driven services to improve efficiency and quality of life. Hell, even Google has taken to loading up its event venues with scores of sensors.
Most of the discussion out there deals with how local governments are working toward this lofty, nebulous goal, but a team called Acrobotics Industries is trying to put with onus on the citizens themselves. To that end the team has kicked off a $ 50,000 Kickstarter campaign for a small sensor array called the Smart Citizen kit in hopes that people will start collecting and sharing their environmental data with the world.
“There’s a problem with the way current cities were built,” Acrobotic’s COO Francisco Zabala told me. “Beijing’s air quality is insanely bad — we think we have it bad in LA — and it’s not getting any better.
The heart (or brain, I guess) of the Smart Citizen project is an Arduino-powered kit that gets tucked away inside (or outside, if you’ve got the right kind of enclosure) of a user’s home to track local environmental variables — think temperature, humidity, air composition, ambient brightness, and sound levels. It’s arguably neat enough to keep tabs on the environmental conditions at your home while you’re not there, but the real value here is when a whole host of users set up their Smart Citizen sensors and fire up them up en masse.
It’s the team’s hope that Smart Citizen kits will sell widely enough that regular people will be able to get an accurate glance at environmental conditions with a finer sort of granularity than you’d get by firing up, say, the Weather Channel app. For what it’s worth, Zabala concedes that the Smart Citizen project is largely geared toward making people aware of climate change and global warming without getting too political or divisive about it.
“I believe that climate is changing for the worse, but our approach is more personal,” Zabala said. “By raising awareness we’re working toward a solution without banging on people’s heads.”
As it happens, a few of those Smart Citizen kits have already been fired up. A quick look at a demo version of the sensor tracking website reveals that a handful of the little things are live in Zabala’s native Barcelona — the Smart Citizen team ran an earlier, more local crowdfunding campaign (Zabala called it a “proof of concept run”) that saw a number of users in Spain install and fire up their sensor arrays all around the city. Hovering over a bright blue spot displays the latest environmental data (users can define how often they want those updates to occur), while greyed out units haven’t been fired up lately.
Thanks to how the Smart Citizen kit is constructed, users will eventually be able to monitor more than just the handful of environmental criteria this early kit supports. Zabala said that the Acrobotics team is currently working on swappable daughterboards that will allow the Smart Citizen kit to be used for soil and water testing too — perfect for you city-dwelling gardeners. If you’re suddenly itching to monitor your surroundings more acutely, you’ll be able to lay claim to a fully constructed Smart Citizen for $ 155 — the more handy among you can save a little money by springing for the $ 105 unassembled kit instead.
Most approaches to capturing 3D models of real-world objects involve multiple cameras that are rarely cheap, and are sometimes tricky to calibrate. The University of Glasgow has developed a method that ditches those cameras altogether. Its system has four single-pixel sensors stitching together a 3D image based on the reflected intensity of light patterns cast by a projector. Reducing the pixel count lowers the cost per sensor to just a few dollars, and extends the sensitivity as far as terahertz wavelengths. Real-world products are still a long way off, but the university sees its invention as useful for cancer detection and other noble pursuits. Us? We’d probably just waste it on creating uncanny facsimiles of ourselves.
Via: New Scientist
Source: University of Glasgow
MC10 may be best known for its wearable electronic devices aimed at athletes, however the business also makes a medical diagnostic sticker called a biostamp. Its developer (and MC10 co-founder), John Rogers has actually fine-tuned that design so that it’s not an elastomer sticker label– now he could use the biostamp’s thin, stretchy electronics straight on human skin, and bond it with commercially available spray-on bandage material. By losing the elastomer backing of the original biostamp and applying the circuits directly to the skin, Rogers and his group at the University of Illinois were able to shave the gadget’s density to 1/30th of the (currently quite thin) biostamp. That incredibly thin profile indicates it conforms even much better to the curves of human hide and makes it shower- and swim-proof during the 2 weeks it lasts before being naturally exfoliated with your skin.
For those unpracticed what the biostamp does, it’s a mesh of circuits and sensors that could tape-record electrophysiological information like skin temperature and hydration state of the individual. The new biostamp won’t be in your doctor’s device box any time quickly, nevertheless, as Rogers and his group are still refining the cordless power and interaction technologies it leverages. Naturally, when those problems are resolved, there’s a good chance we’ll see MC10 turning it into an industrial item.
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