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Tag Archives: sensors

The Future Will Be 3D Printed

occiptal

I’m getting tired of everything 3D, but mostly because I’m an old curmudgeon, aggravated by the sudden wave of 3D related tech. Most of it is actually quite good; it’s really only 3D movies and TV I don’t like. So I’m kind of intrigued by the Structure Sensor, a stereoscopic sensor that attaches to mobile devices and captures structures in 3D. It has two lenses (hence the ‘stereoscopic’) and allows you to model anything from objects to rooms, and import them into a CAD program for manipulation. In other words, a scenario where you scan your coffee table vase by walking around it with your iPad, then make a copy of it in your 3D printer is now possible. If you want your own, it’s going to cost you a $379 pledge on the fully funded Kickstarter campaign.

[ Project Page ] VIA [ UberGizmo ]

Throwable Camera Prototype Takes Stunning Pictures Of Everything While In Flight

squito-throwable-camera

Boston-based inventor Steve Hollinger has been hard at work developing a throwable panoramic digital camera with image stabilization that produces awesome in-the-air images. The prototype is called Squito, and seems to be the size of a large baseball, or a small softball. Decked with several cameras on all sides, and packed with a bunch of sensors, the Squito knows which way it’s spinning, and where it is in the air at any given time, which allows it to reorient pictures and stitch them together into panoramas and 360 views, all on the fly. Captured images and videos are then sent wirelessly to a smartphone, for your enjoyment.

There is no detail concerning commercialization plans, other than to say that Steve is looking for funding to bring this to market. Why he hasn’t put together a Kickstarter, we’re not sure, but we feel he’d be quite successful. Check out the video below to get a sense of why.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Gizmodo ]

Tracking Your Blood Alcohol Level Just Got More Social

12a6_bactrack_mobile_breathalyzer

Data nerds who also enjoy an occasional pint of ale will rejoice in discovering the BACtrack Mobile Breathalyzer. It goes a few steps beyond your traditional portable breathalyzer by integrating some pretty solid social features, as well as playing nice with your smartphone. It accurately tracks your blood alcohol level (by using the more professional fuel-cell technology, rather than cheaper semiconductors) and plots it on a graph over time. You can see how drunk you’re getting, how fast and more importantly, when you’ll be back to an acceptable level for driving. Take pictures of your drinks, and a personal drinking diary lets you take notes of each as you go along. And if you’re in the mood of sharing, you can set four levels of privacy, from private and personal, to fully social. You can also pick an intermediary step for alerting only a designated driver, and another for sharing, but anonymously. Sadly, the BACtrack Mobile Breathalyzer only works with iDevices, but at $150, we think is reasonably priced given the feature set.

[ Product Page ]

A New Nero Trigger Adds Even More Functionality For That Perfect Shot

Screen Shot 2013-03-20 at 12.47.27 AM Some of you may remember that we wrote about the Nero Trigger last August. This was a sensor-laden device whose purpose was to help you capture photographs of events that are too quick to catch with even the fastest trigger finger. Well there’s a new generation of the gadget out, and this is what the company has to say about it:

It has now a color LCD screen which increases usability compared to the previous version. Every piece of information you need will be displayed to you right on the screen. NeroTrigger features two new modes: HDR (High Dynamic Range) and DIY (Do It Yourself) HDR mode will let you to get different exposures without an hassle and DIY mode will bring you countless options to show your creativity. NeroTrigger is now much more stable as analog controls have been totally eliminated. Everything is digital, everything is accurate.

I have one that I’m supposed to be reviewing, and haven’t had time to put through its paces properly. I can say, however, that I got a few shots out and that it does indeed work as advertised. There’s some fine-tuning to do to synchronize the event you want to capture with the selected trigger (be it sound, light or through the cutting of a laser), but the fact that there’s an LCD to navigate the menus does make the task easier.

It attaches to the hot-shoe of your camera, and at $200, is a worthwhile investment for the photographer looking to shoot what’s gone in the blink of an eye.

[ Product Page ]

Breathometer Integrates With Smartphone: Why?

breathometer

We think that carrying around a breathalyzer is a great idea. You go to a bar, have just a couple drinks and are ready to go home, but you want to make sure you’re legally allowed to drive? Bust it out, and test! The Breathometer is one such device, although unlike the myriad of cheap Chinese versions out there, this one integrates with a smartphone. Plug it into the audio jack on your phone, launch the app, and blow. Now the thing is, we’re not sure why the smartphone is necessary for this. If all it does is use the handset to display the figure… what’s the point? You can get the same functionality from a cheap old LCD! Granted, the Breathometer is small and fits in your pocket easily. But so are many other equally breathalyzers out there! What’s more, it likely uses a semiconductor-based sensor, which is much less accurate than the professional-grade fuel-cell sensors. Why do we think it’s a semiconductor sensor? The $20 price tag, for one.

So we’re not sure where to stand on this product. On the one hand, there’s nothing wrong with it (aside from potentially questionable accuracy, a problem shared by all non-professional grade breathalyzers): it’s inexpensive, small and, gee-whiz, it works with your smartphone! On the other hand, why is that an advantage? Maybe there’s some finer point we’re missing here. Whatever the case, feel free to head over to the IndieGogo campaign to make a pledge if you want one for yourself.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Werd ]

94Fifty Basketball Is Rigged With Six Sensitive Sensors

94fifty_basketball

Baketball’s been around for a while, but now that high-tech sensors are super small and cheap, why not stuff them inside a ball and start getting a bunch of metrics on the game you know and love? The 94Fifty basketball weighs and behaves exactly the same as a standard ball, but contains 6 sensors that can communicate with your smartphone via Bluetooth, and feed it data on spin, shot arc, shot speed, dribbling speed, dribbling strength and pretty much anything you’d want to measure to help you improve your game. The app also comes with various challenges for you to complete and social elements to put you up against other 94Fifty owners around the world. Charging of the various sensors is accomplished wirelessly, through a Qi-approved electrical induction pad.

There’s no official price just yet, but this should be hitting the marketplace this month.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Werd ]

Control Your Computer With The Electricity In Your Arm

myo-armband-xl

The MYO Armband is yet another entrant in the gesture control field. Crowded by the likes of Microsoft’s Kinect, or the vastly more promising Leap Motion Controller, the MYO uses innovative new technology to interface with you. It’s kind of interesting and could actually give it an advantage over the other ones. Instead of using image recognition, the MYO has a sensor to detect the electrical impulses in the muscles of your forearm. This, alongside a motion detector, allows the armband to resolve your hand and arm movements with extreme precision, down to the individual fingers. It may even seem at times that your finger twitch is detected even before you’ve actually done so: this is because the muscles are activated slightly before your fingers actually start moving, and the MYO picks the signal up first.

So what can you do with it? That’s still in development. There’s going to be an API, and it will work with PCs and Macs, but the specific kinds of things you can do is up in the air. We’re thinking mouse replacement, but of course it’s much more than that. 3D model manipulation, gaming… If done right, the possibilities are, as they always say, endless. The best part is the price: $149, to be released late this year. And yes, you can pre-order now.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Uncrate ]

DropTag Sensor Could Keep A Check On Heavy Handed Parcel Delivery Personnel

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There’s been a spate of news lately concerning UPS or Fedex truck drivers mistreating and mishandling various parcels. Whether it’s a Fedex guy throwing a box over a fence or a a UPS dude tossing the parcel at the door, it’s pretty clear that the integrity your goods often lies in very human hands. So, UK-based Cambridge Consultants (which we’ve mentioned before) have developed the DropTag. It’s a Bluetooth-enabled sensor that can automatically tell a smartphone equipped with the related application whether the package being delivered to you has been mishandled. Most people don’t take the time to open a package and inspect the goods while the delivery man is still in the door, which means they can’t send it back right away and have to deal with that hassle later on. With the DropTag, a simple scan of your phone is enough to tell you if you need to take a closer look at your products.

It’s not currently a mass market product, but they will be demonstrating a prototype at Hannover MESSE, April 8-12.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ UberGizmo ]

New Sensor Constantly Monitors Bicycle Tire Pressure

Cars with TPMS sensors are pretty common these days. These are the ones that tell you when you’re getting a flat tire, by constantly monitoring the pressure within. It’s smart, and safe, and about time cyclists got the same treatment. The BTPS sensor aims to do just that, connecting to your smartphone and informing you of the pressure of your tires accurately, between 0 and 174psi. Admittedly, the device is more useful as a convenient indicator of tire pressure; it sure beats having to bend down every time. And since many road bikes need a regular air adjustment, the simple phone-glance convenience is appreciated.

“The BTPS unit itself consists of a pressure sensor, circuit board, and battery. When used with tubeless tires, it is mounted on the rim tape. If tubes are being used, it’s stuck right onto the tube, like a patch.” Currently weighing only seven grams (0.25 oz), it shouldn’t affect your ride in the least. It’s going through funding with Kickstarter though, and is quite far from its goal. Still, if you want one for yourself, a $140 pledge will get you a pair of tubeless-specific BTPS units.

[ Project Page ] VIA [ Gizmag ]