MSEC keynote: Sensors will take care of us by understanding our needs

-November 02, 2017

At the MEMS and Sensors Executive Congress this week, Lama Nachman, Director of Anticipatory Computing Lab at Intel, gave the keynote, ‘Context is Everything,’ in which she told us that we have not yet reached the true potential of MEMS/sensors.

(Image courtesy of Intel)

Nachman told us that in the near future, technology will take care of us by understanding our needs via sensor technology. Advanced AI systems will need to recognize our emotions with multi-modal fusion; maybe using physiology of our heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, etc. Smart glasses might have an accelerometer or a microphone mounted on smart glasses and maybe a piezo sensor to examine and identify vibration. Accelerometers might be able to detect voice over a wider bandwidth, and heart rates might be able to be detected via RF reflected signals.

Smart homes will be like a ‘guardian angel' watching our children and our elderly population, and smart manufacturing will tell a worker that they left a screwdriver in the machine they just repaired.

In sensing, sometimes noise is the signal that you want; an example would be with RFID, where a shopper might be browsing a clothing rack and we will know what they have touched, removed from the rack, how long they held it and determine whether they may buy this item or not.

Cameras in a smartphone may be able to detect jaundice in a newborn, or measure hemoglobin in a finger, or blood pressure on an ear lobe. Cameras may also be able to sense the alertness of a driver or train engineer by imaging their eyes, seeing dilated pupils.

A paraplegic may be able to signal a message via a small twitch of a facial cheek muscle or an infrared sensor may detect ALS in a person.

(Image courtesy of Intel)

Designers' minds will be creating solutions that can help improve the human condition and make life better on Planet Earth.

Steve Taranovich is a senior technical editor at EDN with 45 years of experience in the electronics industry.

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