If you’re a cycler, you know this problem all too well: you’re stopped at a traffic light, the only vehicle at a controlled intersection, and are waiting for the seemingly never-ending red light to change. Now, thanks to Nat Collins’ new development, you may not have to encounter this problem.

Collins has created a device called the Veloloop, which uses a patented circuit technology to trigger sensors in asphalt. In essence, the device is designed to make traffic light sensors think that your bike is a car.

This from Gizmag:

Embedded “inductive loop” traffic sensors work by creating an electromagnetic field in the surface layer of the road. When a sufficiently-large metal object – such as a car – stops above the sensor, it creates eddy currents within that field. This is detected by the system’s traffic signal controller, which causes the light to change.

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New Prosthetic Hand Recreates Sense of Touch

The prosthetic arm plugs into the patient’s electrode implant to create natural-feeling sensations.
Credit: Russell Lee

Prosthetic limbs help amputees with mobility and functionality, but do not allow one to regain their sense of touch. Scientists and engineers have been attempting to re-create touch for those who have lost limbs for some time now, and they may have found the answer.

A study published in Science Translation Medicine states that long-lasting, natural-feeling sensations are now able to be produced artificially for those with prosthetic limbs. Of course, those using the device cannot physically feel the ball. Although, the patterns of electric singles that are sent by a computer into nerves around the patient’s arm will tell him or her differently.

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The transparent bandage displays an oxygen-sensitive colormap.Credit: Li/Wellman Center for Photomedicine

The transparent bandage displays an oxygen-sensitive colormap.
Credit: Li/Wellman Center for Photomedicine

A paint-on, see-through bandage – fully equipped with oxygenation sensors – has been developed with the purpose of better aiding wounded soldiers and improving the success of surgeries to restore limbs and physical functions.

Not only does it protect wounds and burns as any bandage should, but it also enables direct measurement and mapping of tissue oxygen.

The “smart” bandage was developed by an international, multidisciplinary team of researchers led by Assistant Professor Conor L. Evans at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine of Massachusetts Generall Hospital (MGH) and Harvard Medical School (HMS). The group’s findings have been recently published in The Optical Society’s (OSA) open-access journal Biomedical Optics Express.

This from The Optical Society:

Now, the “smart” bandage developed by the team provides direct, noninvasive measurement of tissue oxygenation by combining three simple, compact and inexpensive components: a bright sensor molecule with a long phosphorescence lifetime and appropriate dynamic range; a bandage material compatible with the sensor molecule that conforms to the skin’s surface to form an airtight seal; and an imaging device capable of capturing the oxygen-dependent signals from the bandage with high signal-to-noise ratio.

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New Sensor Can Improve the Taste of Your Wine

PhD student Joana Guerreiro has taken part in developing a sensor, which has been dubbed the 'mini-mouth'.Credit: Lars Kruse, Aarhus University

PhD student Joana Guerreiro has taken part in developing a sensor, which has been dubbed the ‘mini-mouth’.
Credit: Lars Kruse, Aarhus University

The ‘mini-mouth’ – that’s what scientists have dubbed the new nanosensor that can mimic the sensation that wine creates in a person’s mouth, which then determines how a specific alcohol tastes.

This technology was created by PhD student Joana Guerreiro from Aarhus University in Denmark, and sets out to detect the level of astringency associated with a particular wine. A wine’s astringency is characterized by the dry sensation drinkers get in their mouth when they drink wine.

This from Aarhus University:

Quite specifically, the sensor is a small plate coated with nanoscale gold particles. On this plate, the researchers simulate what happens in your mouth by first adding some of the proteins contained in your saliva. After this they add the wine. The gold particles on the plate act as nano-optics and make it possible to focus a beam of light below the diffraction limit so as to precisely measure something that is very small – right down to 20 nanometres. This makes it possible to study and follow the proteins, and to see what effect the wine has. It is thereby possible to see the extent to which the small molecules have to bind together for the clumping effect on the protein to be set off.

Read the full article here.

While the technique itself is not new, the ingenuity lies in using it to create a sensor that can measure an effect rather than just the number of molecules.

This technology seems as though it would threaten the livelihood of sommeliers, but researchers say that is not what the sensor is intended for. Instead, the team at Aarhus University hopes that this will produce a tool that is useful in wine production.

Want to see what else sensors can do? Head over to our Digital Library to see the newest cutting-edge sensor research.

GM Cars Will Soon Know When You’re Distracted

Thanks in large part to scientific breakthroughs in sensors, cars have been getting smarter – and soon they’ll be able to tell if you’re distracted behind the wheel.

General Motors and Australian company Seeing Machines have landed a 15 year deal to create sensors that will detect when drivers are distracted.

Read the full article here.

This from the company news release:

The Seeing Machines’ Operator Monitoring System is based on patented eye-tracking technology that uses sensing equipment that requires no re-calibration between different drivers and tracks head alignment for potential distraction of the driver.

The sensors are another addition to the technology that could assist in the creation of the fully driverless car. With the United Services Auto Association noting that auto-breaks, collision assurance, and adaptive cruise control potentially coming to a car dealership near you, it is apparent that our cars are getting smarter.

Though we may be several decades away from these fully driverless cars, the sensor technology in automobiles is assisting in driver safety through anti-distraction technology.

“Eye and head tracking technology is the next step in automotive safety, which we expect to play a significant role in the reduction of one of the greatest causes of accidents: driver distraction,” said Ken Kroeger, CEO of Seeing Machines. “We strongly believe that the addition of driver monitoring to ADAS will deliver a significant improvement to the safety of drivers, passengers and pedestrians.”

Learn more sensor science and technology and their global impact via ECS’s Digital Library.

Tattoo That Harvests Energy from Persperation

Biobattery Tattoo

The biobattery tattoo that can create power through perspiration. Credit: Joseph Wang

Power through perspiration. That is the idea behind the new temporary tattoo that can store and generate electrical energy from your own sweat.

This new method was announced at the American Chemical Society meeting by Dr. Wenzhao Jia of the University of California, San Diego.

According to Jia’s explanation of the device in the journal Angewante Chemie, the temporary tattoo essentially acts as a sensor that measures the body’s lactate levels, which are the chemicals naturally present in sweat. From there, an enzyme in the sensor strips electrons from, which generates an electrical current. The current is then stored in a battery that is also built into the sensor.

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