Sensors Presents the Best of Sensors Expo Awards 2006July 1, 2006 By: Barbara G. Goode, Sensors Sensors
The exhibit hall at Sensors Expo & Conference 2006 (www.sensorsexpo.com) boasted more than 200 displays this year, and on opening day we editors joined the crowd of attendees. Besides looking for generally nifty things, our mission was to visit the booths of each company whose product(s) had been nominated for Best of Sensors Expo awards. At the conclusion of the first day we handed out 12 prizes and two honorable mentions, including four Gold, three Silver, and five Bronze awards.
The pool of nominees was so good that judging was quite difficult (see the sidebar, "Here's the Program," for details on the process and criteria). This, I think, is an indication of the continuing advancement of the sensors and related products. Here's another indicator of the growth of sensor technology—and applications: More than a quarter of the companies and organizations (65 to be exact) exhibited at Sensors Expo for the first time.
Besides the voices quoted in this article, the editors are indebted to a number of folks—including Deb Lickness of John Deere, Wayne Manges of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Dr. Peter Fuhr of Apprion Inc.—for their helpful observations and technical assistance that informed our judging.
- 1. The G 2 Motion Sensor from Aichi Steel Corp. (www.aichi-steel.co.jp|~www.aichi-steel.co.jp/ ) integrates a 3-axis magnetic sensor and a 3-axis accelerometer, each with controller ICs, in an itty-bitty package. It determines the attitude of mobile devices relative to geomagnetism and gravity and also calculates other aspects of movement such as acceleration, translational speed, and rotational speed.
At the Aichi Steel booth, a G2 -equipped cell phone, loaded with a star/constellation map, used a GPS sensor to determine your location so that when you pointed the phone at the sky, it would tell you which constellation you'd see. Alternatively, you could choose a star from a list and let the G2 point you in the right direction to see it.
- 1. MoteWorks MWS200A, by Crossbow Technology (www.xbow.com|~www.xbow.com/ ), is a development platform that helps OEMs—in disciplines such as industrial automation and control, building automation, asset management, and environmental monitoring—to easily create complete wireless sensor networks, and thus focus on other aspects of product and system development. It is the first platform known to address all three tiers of wireless sensor networks:
- 2. Device tier (operating system, mesh network stack, over-the-air-programming, cross-development tools)
- 3. Gateway tier (enterprise server gateway middleware)
- 4. Client tier (visualization, analysis and management)
We're betting this "complete package" will help people implement wireless networking with greater ease. Senior editor Melanie Martella says, "[it] lets you develop applications without having to stress about the interplay of the various levels." Contributing editor Tom Kevan adds that the gateway (middleware), provides a missing piece required for broad adoption of wireless sensor networking and large installations. "TinyOS and OEM hardware modules will help scale the integration into the small units that people are looking for," he says.
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