The patent wars are continuing as we speak. With the proliferation of cheap sensors people are talking about putting them everything. We use them in our cars to see if the tire pressure is correct and washroom etc. It is part of our everyday lives already.
Apple just filed a patent application to put sensors in your sneakers so they can send signals to your iPhone to tell you it is time for a new pair. If I am Nike, I would file 100 patents to put sensor in everything from sneakers to sport pants. Is this patent really useful? I think we all have a pretty good sense when do we need to replace them just by looking at it. I don't need sensors to tell me.
A body bar sensing system for sensing movement of a body bar may be provided. The body bar sensing system may include a housing having a coupling mechanism operative to couple to the body bar, a detector disposed within the housing and operative to sense movement of the body bar when the housing is coupled to the body bar, and a processor operative to determine a number of repetitions of the movement based on the sensed movement. In one embodiment, a shoe wear out sensor includes at least one detector for sensing a physical metric that changes as a shoe wears out, a processor configured to process the physical metric, over time, to determine if the shoe is worn out, and an alarm for informing a user of the shoe when the sole is worn out.
I really think this is a pretty useless patent. Perhaps a more useful one is we can have them in our leather shoes and it sends a warning signal to me when the pavement is slippery just like my Mercedes. Today’s sensors are mostly simple designed for specific purposes, like measuring temperature, gas, light or tyre pressure.
Most sensors are designed as part of a closed system design and not connected to any networks. Future network sensors will drastically expand the possibilities by using wireless, radio waves, ultra sound and infrared signals to connec to big systems, we can do a lot with the information that they collect.
The most fascinating ones are those we can put under out skin. LifeCare in Bergen is working on the development of a new type of sensor that can be placed under the skin for measuring the blood glucose level. It is small enough to be injected underneath the skin and no operation is needed. A nano membrane moves when the blood sugar concentration is irregular. One big challenge is power supply because all sensor needs energy. You don’t want to rely on battery. Some researchers have consequently developed wireless energy transfer between the glucose sensor and a bracelet carrying a battery.
What I find really cool is the EPOC's Neuroheadset. It is the next competitive field in gaming. The headset features 14 saline-based sensors and a gyroscope and is primarily designed to gamers. Think shoot and think jump! Another application is to help people with disabilities to regain control of their lives. It includes EmoKey, which is a lightweight application running in your computer's background to allow user ot to map out thought-controlled keystrokes. This headset is the used by the Dartmouth Mobile Sensing Group, which created a brain-to-mobile interface that allows you to call your friends by thinking about them. Imagine I am looking at other people’s Facebook pages and it will leave a comment or 'like' for you.