Creating a smart home currently requires either linking every connected device one-by-one or adding sensor tags to old appliances to make a cohesive IoT network, but there might be an easier way. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon developed a concept for a hub that, when plugged into an electrical outlet, tracks ambient environmental data -- essentially becoming a sensor that tracks the whole space. With this in hand, savvy programmers can use it to trigger their own connected home routines. The researchers introduced their sensor nexus -- dubbed Synthetic Sensors -- this week at ACM CHI, the human-computer interaction conference. As the video demonstrates, just plug it into a USB wall port and it automatically collects information about its surroundings, uploading it to a cloud back-end over WiFi.
Sensor dependency is an affliction that affects an alarming number of robots, and the problem is spreading. In some situations, sensor use is advisable, perhaps even unavoidable. However, there is an important difference between sensor use and sensor abuse. This article lists some of the telltale signs of sensor dependency and reveals the tricks of the trade used on unwitting roboticists by wily sensor pushers.
The Maine Department of Marine Resources said it has installed the three sensors in Boothbay Harbor. The department said the sensors will help researchers get a better understanding of how ocean acidification and dissolved oxygen levels can change the health of the state's marine life and ecosystems.
Instead of connecting a Phyn Plus to your home or office water supply to monitor for leaks, the company on Thursday announced the new Smart Water Sensor. The small hockey puck-like device forgoes the requirement of being installed on your main water line; you can place the gadget anywhere it fits and it will start monitoring for water, changes in temperature, and humidity. In other words, you can put one behind your washing machine, or maybe one under your kitchen or bathroom sink, and if it ever detects water, you'll get an alert on your phone so you can take action. Alerts are sent via text message, through the Phyn app, or audible alerts from the Smart Water Sensor. In addition to water detection, you can set alerts for high humidity (which can cause mold) or for low temperatures to warn you of the possibility that pipes will freeze. If you do happen to have a Phyn Plus, you can connect the two devices, and when a leak is detected by the Smart Water Sensor, it'll tell the Plus to shut off your water.
LG Innotek has developed a fingerprint sensor that's placed under a glass surface instead of in a physical button, the company announced Sunday. The new sensor could lead to smartphones that you can unlock by placing your finger on the phone screen. The LG-owned electronics parts manufacturer achieved this by cutting out a 0.01-inch thick slot in the lower part of a smartphone's cover glass, and then inserting a very thin fingerprint sensor into it. In other words, the sensor is still under the cover glass, but the slot moves the sensor close enough to the surface to read a fingerprint. That way, the sensor is protected from water and scratches, and can be installed anywhere under the phone's glass surface.