Sensor category

iKeybo, The Advanced Projection Keyboard

Serafim is a company of some talents and experts in optoelectronics industry, and it aims to offer affordable, useful, and cool consumer electronics for a better computing experience. The latest amazing product by Serafim is: iKeybo!

iKeybo is a virtual projection multilingual keyboard that can turn any flat surface into a keyboard. iKeybo can work as a piano too.

Check this video to see iKeybo in action:

iKeybo uses a non-contact technology and has 90Hz frame rate. It turns your 5 inch display into 12 in a surface since the projection surface is 268*105mm. The keyboard consists of 78 keys where other competitors only have 66. It has a instant reaction around 11.11ms what makes it more convenient while using.You can use iKeybo with you PC, mobile devices and tablets since it works via Bluetooth and USB.

For developers, a SDK for iOS and Android is available! It supports all functions of touch screen which include single tap, double tap, rotate, press and drag, press and hold. Install the framework and make connections with your apps.

It differentiates from other laser projection keyboard because it implements a new patented technology that uses camera sensor and double linear sensors for faster calculation speed and less energy.

“What distinguish iKeybo from traditional projection keyboards is that it is the world’s first laser projection “piano” that allows users to create music instantly with piano, guitar, bass, or drums. When not in use, iKeybo can also serves as an external charger to power up devices with 10 hours of battery life. Its cellphone stand design is also perfect for desk or table to watch movies or start live streaming.“ – iKeybo team

iKeybo Features

4 Language Layouts you can choose from 4 different languages keyboard layouts (English, Spanish, Arabic, and Chinese) to type the language special characters that you need. You can’t add more language layouts to your iKeybo because each layout projection needs a different optical lens. Once you select a language edition or a bilingual one it will be fixed.

4 Musical Instruments with iKeybo you can play piano, guitar, bass and drums! Check this piano demo video:

Round Key Designs a special design to make it easier for typing. Other competitors use square keys with no space in between that make it possible to do a lot of typos.

Portable Charger & Cell Phone Stand  iKeybo also serves as an external charger to power up your devices with 10 hours of battery life. You can also use it as your cellphone stand to turn your mobile device into a computer within just a second.

iKeybo is not the first optoelectronics product by parent company Serafim. Check this page to know more about its products.

iKeybo is now live on a Kickstarter campaign and still has 10 days to go! You can pre-order your iKeybo with one language layout and piano for $89 and also you can get a bilingual iKeybo for $99. More information are available at the campaign page.

Smart sensors track fitness activity

STMicroelectronics’ LIS2DS12 3-axis accelerometer, LSM6DSL/M 6-axis inertial module, and new LSM303AH eCompass enable always-on fitness-tracking applications to operate longer and record progress more accurately. by Susan Nordyk @ edn.com:

These smart sensors help track movement continuously with minimal impact on device battery life by performing various motion-related calculations on-chip, instead of using the main system processor.

Smart sensors track fitness activity – [Link]

Wide range of Hygrometers Compared

robert @ kandrsmith.org has a detailed article comparing the most common Humidity sensors. He writes:

Previous experiments looked at comparing a set of six Aosong DHT22/AM2302 and compared the Aosong DHT22/AM2302 with the Aosong DHT11 and Sensirion SHT71. Here I have added five new devices meaning this test now covers most commonly available low-cost digital hygrometers. This page will present only new results. For details of how the experiment works, please refer to the previous write-ups.

Wide range of Hygrometers Compared – [Link]

+/- 1.7g Dual-Axis IMEMS Accelerometer Using ADXL203

The ADXL203 Module  is high precision, low power, complete dual-axis accelerometers with signal conditioned voltage outputs, all on a single, monolithic IC. The ADXL203 measure acceleration with a full-scale range of ±1.7 g, ±5 g, or ±18 g. The ADXL203 can measure both dynamic acceleration (for example, vibration) and static acceleration (for example, gravity).The typical noise floor is 110 μg/√Hz, allowing signals below 1 mg (0.06° of inclination) to be resolved in tilt sensing applications using narrow bandwidths (<60 Hz).The user selects the bandwidth of the accelerometer using Capacitor CX and Capacitor CY at the XOUT and YOUT pins. Bandwidths of 0.5 Hz to 2.5 kHz can be selected to suit the application.

+/- 1.7g Dual-Axis IMEMS Accelerometer Using ADXL203 – [Link]

How to Set Up the DHT11 Humidity Sensor on an Arduino

circuitbasics.com has a new tutorial on how to interface DHT11 humidity sensor to Arduino board. Sample code is provided

Because of their low cost and small size, DHT11 humidity and temperature sensors are perfect for lots of different DIY electronics projects. Some projects where the DHT11 would be useful include remote weather stations, home environment control systems, and agricultural/garden monitoring systems.

How to Set Up the DHT11 Humidity Sensor on an Arduino – [Link]

Human Motion Powered Nanotechnology Devices

Michigan State University researchers have came up with a new method for  harvesting energy from human motion using nanotechnology. They designed a low-cost film-like device, a nanogenerator, than can power a LCD display,  keyboard, and some LEDs without any source of electric power, by only using some human touching or pressing.

This device called FENG, biocompatible ferroelectret nanogenerator, consists of several thin layers of silicon wafer made of environmentally friendly substances like silver, polyimide, and polypropylene ferroelectret – which is introduced here as the active material of this device. To add the electrical powering feature, researchers added ions to each layer to make sure that each layer has its own charged particles. Finally the circuit works only once some pressure or mechanical energy is performed on the device. For example, by using this technology you will be able to power the LED lights with the pressure of your palm, while the pressure of your finger is enough to power the LCD screen.

In this video 20 LEDs are powered with hand pressing:

Researchers’ investigations had shown that the voltage and current generated by pressure can be doubled if the device is folded, means a high-frequency pressure is already demonstrated.

“Each time you fold it you are increasing exponentially the amount of voltage you are creating,” said Nelson Sepulveda, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering and lead investigator of the project. “You can start with a large device, but when you fold it once, and again, and again, it’s now much smaller and has more energy. Now it may be small enough to put in a specially made heel of your shoe so it creates power each time your heel strikes the ground.”

Sepulveda believes that implementing this technology in real life will shift wearables to be completely powered by human motion. He and his team are working now on transmitting the power generated from the heel strike to be used for powering other devices like a headset.

In this video you can take a look at the flexible keyboard they designed:

This research was funded by the National Science Foundation. You can learn more about this project by checking the scientific paper, and the university official website.

Biometric sensor platform for wearables and IoT

A scalable development kit integrates ST SensorTile with Valencell’s Benchmark biometric sensor system to accelerate smart wearable and IoT product development. By Graham Prophet @ edn-europe.com

Valencell (Raleigh, North Carolina) is a company active in high-performance biometric data sensor technology; in a joint announcement with STMicroelectronics the two companies have disclosed an accurate and scalable development kit for biometric wearables that includes ST’s compact SensorTile turnkey multi-sensor module integrated with Valencell’s Benchmark biometric sensor system. Together, SensorTile and Benchmark comprise the most useful portfolio of sensors to support the most advanced wearable use cases, according to their designers.

Biometric sensor platform for wearables and IoT – [Link]

First Solid-State Multi-Ion Sensor for Internet-of-Things Applications By Imec & Holst Centre

At last week’s IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) in San Francisco (USA), imec, the world-leading research and innovation hub in nano-electronics and digital technology and Holst Centre debuted a miniaturized sensor that simultaneously determines pH and chloride (Cl-)levels in fluid. This innovation is a must have for accurate long-term measurement of ion concentrations in applications such as environmental monitoring, precision agriculture and diagnostics for personalized healthcare. The sensor is an industry first and thanks to the SoC (system on chip) integration it enables massive and cost-effective deployments in Internet-of-Things (IoT) settings. Its innovative electrode design results in a similar or better performance compared to today’s standard equipment for measuring single ion concentrations and allows for additional ion tests.

Sensors based on ion-selective membranes are considered the gold standard to measure ion concentrations in many applications, such as water quality, agriculture, and analytical chemistry. They consist of two electrodes, the ion-sensitive electrode with the membrane (ISE) and a reference electrode (RE). When these electrodes are immersed in a fluid, a potential is generated that scales with the logarithm of the ion activity in the fluid, forming a measure for the concentration. However, the precision of the sensor depends on the long-term stability of the miniaturized RE, a challenge that has now been overcome.

“The common issue with such designs is the leaching of ions from the internal electrolyte, causing the sensor to drift over time,” stated Marcel Zevenbergen, senior researcher at imec/Holst Centre. “To suppress such leaching, we designed and fabricated an RE with a microfluidic channel as junction and combined it with solid-state iridium oxide (IrOx) and silver chloride (AgCl) electrodes fabricated on a silicon substrate, respectively as indicating electrodes for pH and Cl-. Our tests demonstrated this to be a long-term stable solution with the sensor showing a sensitivity, accuracy and response time that are equal or better than existing solutions, while at the same time being much smaller and potentially less expensive.”

“We are providing groundbreaking sensing and analytics solutions for the IoT,” stated John Baekelmans, Managing Director of imec in The Netherlands. “This new multi-ion sensor is one in a series that Holst Centre is currently developing with its partners to form the senses of the IoT. For each sensor, the aim is to leapfrog the current performance of the state-of-the-art sensors in a mass-producible, wireless, energy optimized and miniaturized package.”

Source: imec

3-axis magnetic sensor claims highest sensitivity

Graham Prophet discuss about a new 3 axis magnetic sensor @ edn-europe.com:

Memsic (Andover, Massachusetts) has added the MMC5883MA 3 axis magnetic sensor. The newest member of MEMSIC’s Anisotropic Magneto Resistive (AMR) based Magnetic Sensor family, it provides the industry’s highest accuracy, lowest noise and lowest power consumption, all combined in an industry standard small LGA package, and addresses demands of industrial and drone applications.

3D Printed Organ-On-Chip

Researcher at Harvard University had been working to build new microphysiological systems (MPS), also known as organs-on-chips, that can mimic the operation of the structure and function of native tissue.

By developing such systems, they are replacing the conventional way of measuring and testing synthetic organs -usually by testing them first on animals.

organonchip

Although such a solution can help in advancing research and making easy organ-replacement real, but it also somehow costly and considered as laborious.

To build up this system you need a clean room and you have to use a complex, multistep lithographic process. To collect data you also need microscopy or high-speed cameras. Considering also the fact that current MPS typically lack integrated sensors, researchers developed six different inks that integrated soft strain sensors within the micro-architecture of the tissue.

09/15/2016 Cambridge, MA. Harvard University. This images shows multi-material, direct write 3D printing of a cardiac microphysiological device. This instrument was designed for in vitro cardiac tissue research. Lori K. Sanders/Harvard University
This images shows multi-material, direct write 3D printing of a cardiac microphysiological device. This instrument was designed for in vitro cardiac tissue research. Lori K. Sanders/Harvard University

They combined all the steps in one automated procedure using 3D printer. The result was  a cardiac microphysiological device — a heart on a chip — with integrated sensors.  According to the research paper, these 6 inks were designed based on “piezo-resistive, high-conductance, and biocompatible soft materials that enable integration of soft strain gauge sensors within micro-architectures that guide the self-assembly of physio-mimetic laminar cardiac tissues”

“We are pushing the boundaries of three-dimensional printing by developing and integrating multiple functional materials within printed devices,” said Jennifer Lewis, Hansjorg Wyss Professor of Biologically Inspired Engineering. “This study is a powerful demonstration of how our platform can be used to create fully functional, instrumented chips for drug screening and disease modeling.”

You can check this video to see this heart in action, and to take a look at the 6 inks 3D printer

Right now, researchers are testing their new heart-on-chip by performing drug studies and longer-term studies of gradual changes in the contractile stress of engineered cardiac tissues, which can take multiple weeks. This approach will make it much easier to test and measure the tissue contractile and its response to various chemicals like drugs and toxins.

This work was published in Nature Materials and the research was named “Instrumented cardiac microphysiological devices via multimaterial three-dimensional printing”.It was supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health, the US Army Research Laboratory and the US Army Research, and the Harvard University Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC).  For more information, you can check the paper out here and learn more at Harvard website.