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Archive for the ‘Sensors’ Category

2 Innovative Ways for Mapping Indoor Locations Precisely

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Two remarkably different and innovative approaches to pin down indoor location, both profiled in “Innovator” section of Bloomberg Businessweek – both are leveraging Smartphones but in uniquely different ways:
Janne Haverinen is using Magnetic Fields in combination with in built compass. The software is called IndoorAtlas and uses the device compass along with the proprietary indexing of magnetic fields. Downside – each location, each store needs to be surveyed & mapped to capture the magnetic field information. [Wonder if IndoorAtlas could crowd-source that effort?]
Aaron Emigh is using the Microphone in your smartphone to capture frequencies that are generated in the store but cannot be heard by humans. He runs Shopkick – helping Retailers connect with Shoppers. The technology though may not be able to guide aisle to aisle which could be possible using the Magnetic Field method that Jaane is using. Stores need to be setup with generating the frequencies.

Written by Ashu Joshi

September 2, 2012 at 7:51 pm

Posted in Location, Sensors

Cancer Sniffing Sensors (& Dogs?)

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Chemistry, Big Data (collecting and matching sample) and Sensors are enabling commercial machines to detect cancers – and detect them accurately. It sounds almost science fiction but is true. Business Week’s Ashlee Vance has written an article on a startup, Metabolomx, and its cancer sniffing machines. 

The Metabolomx machine looks like a desktop PC with a hose attached. It sits on a cart that can be wheeled up to a patient, who is instructed to breathe in and out for about four minutes. The machine analyzes the breath and its volatile organic compounds, or VOCs—aerosolized molecules that, among other things, determine how something smells. Tumors produce their own VOCs, which pass into the bloodstream. The lungs create a bridge between the bloodstream and airways, so the breath exhaled by a patient will carry the VOC signatures of a tumor if one is present. “It may seem surprising, but it’s actually very straightforward,” says Paul Rhodes, the co-founder and chief executive officer at Metabolomx.

I can bet that from a desktop to a much smaller device that then interfaces with a smartphone or better still a Tablet such as the new iPad over Bluetooth LE is not far away. Interesting enough the inspiration originates from the fact that dogs can sniff cancer:

A few years ago researchers in California received widespread attention for showing that dogs can smell cancer on a human’s breath. With 99 percent accuracy the canines could detect if a person had lung or breast cancer, beating the best figures from standard laboratory tests. Subsequent studies confirmed the results and provided further evidence that dogs really are man’s best friend.

Written by Ashu Joshi

March 31, 2012 at 1:13 pm

Seismic Detection Otis Elevators

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Smart, smart design. And guess what it all worked! Otis demonstrated great customer responsibility ….

Amplify’d from

The United Technologies elevator unit took 13,000 calls from Japanese customers in 48 hours and restored service to 16,400 lifts within seven days

Michaud-Daniel knew Otis had technology on its side, since about half the elevators it maintains in Japan—including most in high-rise buildings and regions with severe earthquake risk—are equipped with seismic detectors. At the first vibration signaling the onset of a quake, these devices return the elevators to the ground floor so passengers can exit, then block them until Otis can check their safety.

The detectors worked. Some 16,700 elevators in the areas affected by the quake were shut down by the emergency systems. Otis, which had worldwide revenues of $11.58 billion in 2010 and manufactured about 40,000 of the 80,000 elevators it services in Japan, didn’t receive any report of trapped or injured passengers. “All the elevators operated as they were supposed to,” says Michaud-Daniel.

The bottom line: At the quake’s onset, Otis’s seismic detectors shut down 16,700 elevators. Then its personnel rushed into the zone to restore service.



Written by Ashu Joshi

April 6, 2011 at 4:01 pm

Posted in Sensors

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