Posts Tagged ‘sensors’

Save sensor data to Google Spreadsheets by Codebox

Saturday, December 25th, 2010

I found this is really a good way to gather data, since Google Spreadsheets is free and can be accessed from any places in the world as long as connected to the internet. Plus, you can share it with selected persons you want. It’s quite useful for scientific researchers to share and analyze their findings. Check this out (completed with the codes):

The “Hello Arduino” section in Chapter 11 of Getting Started with Processing shows how to read data into Processing from Arduino. In a nutshell, the Arduino code (example 11-6 in the book) reads data from a light sensor and writes it out to the serial port. The section then goes on to describe a number of increasingly sophisticated sketches that retrieve and visualize the sensor data using Processing’s Serial library.

This Codebox shows you how to save this sensor data to a Google Spreadsheet. The cool thing is that you can then use any of the goodies that Google provides (charts, gadgets, maps, etc) directly with your data. While the light sensor is pretty basic, you can use this basic setup to record data from more sophisticated sensors, such as a Parallax GPS receiver module into Google Spreadsheets, and then create a map of where you’ve been that you could post as a gadget.

The sketch relies on the Google API Client Library for Java, which is a set of code libraries for interacting with various Google’s services (not just Spreadsheets). In researching this article, I found Processing guru Jer Thorpe‘s article Open Science, H1N1, Processing, and the Google Spreadsheet API a great inspiration. While it’s based on an older version of the API (version 1.0, while the APIs are now up to version 3.0), it’s a great introduction to interacting with Google.

Courtesy Make

These Tiny Magnetometers Detect Fields Generated by Human Heart!

Sunday, October 24th, 2010


How can i imagine this tiny and ‘poor’ little thing can help a human life? hmm… I’m still thinking.

At the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) scientists have been working on microfabricated atomic magnetometers capable of detecting faint magnetic fields. The devices, about 1cm3 in size, were taken to the Physikalisch Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) in Berlin, Germany where supposedly resides the most magnetically isolated building in the world. Using the tiny magnetometers, investigators were able to detect the magnetic signature of human heartbeats, perhaps opening up the possibility for a new modality to complement ECG.

Courtesy of

Distributed earthquake monitoring using laptop accelerometers

Thursday, May 6th, 2010


This is a kind of brilliant idea, since current trends of laptops manufactured with accelerometer sensors. And this would be a large peer-to-peer earthquake warning system. Sounds like SETI@home, but for collecting data instead of processing it. From

Newer models of laptops manufactured by companies like Apple and Lenovo contain accelerometers — motion sensors meant to detect whether the computer has been dropped. If the computer falls, the hard drive will automatically switch off to protect the user’s data.

“As soon as I knew there were these low-cost sensors inside these accelerometers, I thought it would be perfect to use them to network together and actually record earthquakes,” says geoscientist Elizabeth Cochran of the University of California, Riverside.

So a few years ago, Cochran got in touch with Jesse Lawrence, a colleague at Stanford. They whipped up a program called the Quake-Catcher Network. It’s a free download that runs silently in the background, collecting data from the computer’s accelerometer and waiting to detect an earthquake.

Laptop accelerometers aren’t as sensitive as professional-grade seismometers, so they can only pick up tremors of about magnitude 4.0 and above. But when a laptop does sense a tremor, it’ll ping the researchers’ server. “And when our server receives a bunch of those, we then say, ‘This is a likely earthquake,’ ” Lawrence says.

No accelerometer sensor but still want to participate? That won’t be any problem since you can purchase a USB sensor for use on your desktop computers. A lot of these, reportedly, are being installed in public schools.

Courtesy: Make

Grow box controls heater, fans, and water

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

The Cheap Vegetable Gardner wanted more automation than their previous PS2 controller based grow system. This time they set out to design a full featured, compact grow controller that can measure temperature and humidity as well as control a heat lamp, fan, and water pump. An Arduino provides USB connectivity and interfaces the solid state relays and sensors. The assembled project all fits in a box but we are left wondering how much heat the four SSRs generate and will it be a problem?

source: hackaday

USB Powered Blinking IR motion sensor mounted in a Mario Brothers Candy Tin

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

This cute little project, shows us how to create a motion activated alarm that plays the mario brothers theme and flashes some lights. he’s using an attiny13a for the brains, and a cool mario mushroom candy tin for the body. you can see it in action after the break.


Smart vibration sensor to check rail accidents

Thursday, January 1st, 2009

A SMART vibration sensor with wireless communication for recording and analysing train vibration has been developed in the country.

Alka Dubey and Ashish Verma of Sagar University brought this innovation to light, while presenting their paper at the fourth international Wireless Communication Sensor Networks concluded at Indian Institute of Information Technology-Allahabad (IIIT-A) on Monday (Dec 29).

Dubey said that high speed trains are one of the most impressive developments of the recent years having brought a new degree of comfort for travelers. These trains posed serious accidents because of the high level of vibration, which are generated. Therefore to make the train speed smoother, a smart vibration sensor is developed. It is a self sensation device equipped with recording and wireless communication interface.

Source: Merinews

Sensor-Equipped Footballs to Make Refs More Accurate

Saturday, December 27th, 2008

arush_cmu_footballtech-300x195.jpgAs everyone who’s had a ref make a bad call at their team’s expense knows, NFL refs aren’t perfect. But footballs and gloves with built-in sensors? Those might just make coach’s challenges history.

Dr. Priya Narasimhan of Carnegie Mellon University has developed the football and gloves, loading them up with wireless sensors that can precisely determine whether or not a ball hit the ground before being caught or whether or not someone had control of the ball before fumbling. It could also, using GPS, determine whether or not the ball cross the goal line. But the applications don’t stop there.

Eventually, the same kind of sensors used in the gloves could be adapted to shoes, to measure stride and running patterns, or even shoulder pads, to calculate blocking positions and force.The current version of the glove has 15 touch sensors on the fingers and palm, running to a wireless module on the back of the arm, said Adam Goldhammer of Richboro, Bucks County, a master’s student in electrical engineering at Carnegie Mellon.


Wireless Data Loggers Record with Four Inputs

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

Using the ZigBee wireless protocol, Fourier Systems’ DataNet wireless data loggers offer 4 recording inputs for direct measurement and recording of PT-100 thermocouple (J, K, and T), voltage, current, frequency, and pulse. The devices come with internal temperature sensors, a 4-channel RF logger, operating keypad, LCD display, and a monitoring network. Long range monitoring is possible with multiple alarms, including SMS and e-mail, to any location. Each unit serves as a transmission repeater to neighboring units to form a mesh network of up to 65,000 nodes.

Source: ECN

Find a Parking Space Online: Street-embedded sensors monitor parking availability

Sunday, July 27th, 2008

Carspotting: Part of a mesh network, this sensor node embedded in a San Francisco street can detect when a car parks in the spot beside it. It also monitors passing traffic. See following image credit to Streetline.

This fall, San Francisco will implement the largest mesh network for monitoring parking to date. Around 6,000 wireless sensors from the San Francisco company Streetline will be fixed alongside as many parking spots, monitoring both parking availability and the volume and speed of passing traffic. The city hopes that displaying information from the sensors on Web maps, smart phones, and signs on the street will reduce the traffic and pollution caused by circling cars.

A mesh network differs from a typical wireless network in that there’s no central transmitter: every node can transmit to every other node. Mesh networks have generally been used for environmental monitoring, or to grant wireless devices Internet access.

When sensor networks have been deployed roadside, it’s usually been to monitor traffic, not parking. In urban areas, traffic-monitoring systems have been used for congestion pricing: during business hours in downtown London, for instance, the license plates of cars are photographed, and the drivers are sent a bill. Some parking garages also have signs that tell drivers where the available spaces are, but such systems generally rely on manual car counting, not sensors.

In San Francisco, however, clusters of plastic-encased, networked sensors are embedded in the surface of the street. The main sensor in the cluster, which is commonly used to detect cars, is a magnetic one, says Jim Reich, the vice president of engineering at Streetline. Magnetic sensors detect when a large metal object locally disrupts Earth’s magnetic field. One challenge with magnetic sensors is avoiding false positives. “We rely on the magnetometer the most, but in order to fix errors, we use other types of sensors [that] give you much higher reliability,” says Reich. He won’t elaborate on the supporting sensors, but he says that the Streetline system has a high ninety percent accuracy in recognizing parked cars. (more…)

Avago Technologies Adds Ambient Light Photo Sensor

Saturday, July 12th, 2008

Avago Technologies announced a new low cost miniature surface mount ambient light photo sensor for controlling display backlighting in a wide range of portable electronic applications. Avago’s APDS-9008, which is designed to approximate the spectral response curve of the human eye, helps to significantly reduce power consumption to extend battery life in mobile phones, PDAs, notebook computers, TVs, video and digital still cameras. Avago is a leading supplier of analog interface components for communications, industrial and consumer applications.

The APDS-9008 is an analog-output ambient light photo sensor that comes in a lead-free miniature chipLED surface mount package. This new sensor from Avago offers a wide voltage range from as low as 1.6 V up to a maximum of 5.5 V and incorporates a spectrally suited photo sensor, which provides excellent responsivity. It targets designers of applications that require the measurement of ambient light to control display backlighting power consumption. Moreover, applications such as mobile phones and PDAs that draw heavy current for backlit LCD displays will benefit from incorporating this surface mount ambient light sensor into their designs.

The APDS-9008 is a pin-to-pin compatible alternative to Avago’s APDS-9005 and provides designers with a miniature low-cost ambient light sensor that can work at a much lower Vcc of 1.6V. (more…)