Convergence drives sensor proliferation

May 21, 2015

Sensors Expo & Conference will celebrate 30 years of focusing exclusively on sensors and sensor-integrated systems when it convenes June 9-11 in Long Beach, CA—the expo’s first time at that location. Organizers say the venue will offer attendees easy access from Silicon Valley and cutting-edge aerospace and defense, medical, entertainment, and other markets on the West Coast. The three-day event carries the subtitle “Sensing Technologies Driving Tomorrow’s Solutions.”

The market for sensors and related technologies is expanding at a phenomenal rate, the expo organizers report. With the convergence of MEMS, wireless, wearables, and the Internet of Things (IoT), the sales of sensors in the United States alone are expected to climb to nearly $15 billion in 2016.

In 2014, Sensors Expo welcomed 5,000 attendees from 45 states and more than 40 countries. Hot topics included the IoT, M2M, wireless, energy harvesting, and high-performance computing and communications (HPCC).1 This year, the IoT, wireless sensor networks, and MEMS will be back with emphasis on measurement and detection, optical sensing and detection, sensor fusion, sensors at work, smart cities, and wearables.

Sensors Expo will feature more than 65 conference sessions in tracks including embedded systems, energy harvesting, IoT, MEMS, measurement and detection, optical sensing, sensors at work, wearables, and wireless.

Key presentations include “Energy Harvesting with ZigBee and NFC” by Roman Budek, product marketing, Smart Home and Energy, NXP Semiconductors; “Enabling Technologies for the Internet of Things” by Jean-Philippe Polizzi, micro and nanosystems program manager, CEA Leti; “Minimize Motion Design Using Production-Ready Building Blocks” by Jeannette Wilson, product marketing manager, Microchip Technology; “Designing Smart Medical Devices with Force Sensing Technology” by Mark Lowe, vice president of sensor business, Tekscan; “Ultra-Low Power Sensor Sampling Solutions for Energy Harvesting Applications” by Mark Buccini, director, Texas Instruments; “Using Real-Time Ethernet to Optimize Mechatronic Systems Performance” by Sari Germanos, technology marketing manager, Ethernet POWERLINK Standardization Group; and “Overcoming the Challenges of Testing in Harsh Aerospace and Industrial Environments” by Randy Martin, director, Meggitt Sensing Systems.

Sensor products on exhibit

As this article went to press, more than 200 companies were scheduled to exhibit at the 2015 event. The following have made news recently, hinting at what they might highlight at the show:

UWBT Series Bluetooth transmitters
Courtesy of Omega Engineering

Anaren launched its Cellular Machines line, which sends real-time sensor data over a cellular network where it can be received on mobile devices or reviewed on desktops via a cloud server.

  • Coto Technology at MD&M West 2015 released its RedRock RR100 MEMS-based magnetic reed sensor, which has a number of medical device applications, including portable insulin pumps, capsule endoscopes, hearing aids, insulin pens, medical wearables, and other small, battery-powered medical devices.
  • Omega Engineering recently debuted its UWBT Series Bluetooth transmitter, which measures sensor inputs such as thermocouple, RTD, relative humidity, and pH and transmits the data to a smartphone or tablet via wireless Bluetooth communication from the free UWBT app running on an iOS or Android smartphone/tablet. The company also recently debuted the PX509HL Series industrial differential pressure transducers specifically designed to provide long life in demanding industrial areas.
  • Texas Instruments is offering its MSP430i202x mixed-signal microcontroller through Mouser Electronics for applications including smart meters, power monitoring and control, and precision sensors.
  • Analog Devices recently announced that Elster has selected ADI’s ADF7241 smart-metering solution for use in gas and electricity meters that Elster is designing as part of a nationwide energy efficiency initiative sponsored by the British government.
  • Linear Technology said its SmartMesh IP on-chip software development kit enables users to develop C-code applications for execution on SmartMesh IP motes (wireless sensor nodes).
  • Keynote presentations

    This year’s conference will include two keynote speakers. First, Dr. Mike North, the host of Discovery Channel’s “Prototype This,” “Outrageous Acts of Science,” and “In The Making,” will present a talk titled “Your Sixth Sense of Innovation” on Wednesday, June 10, at 9 a.m. “The sensors market is poised for explosive growth in 2015 and beyond,” he said in a press release. “To keep pace with this rapid growth rate, the Sensors Conference offers an ideal opportunity to educate and inspire the engineering community on the critical technologies that will transform not only key business processes, but how we live our lives today. I am thrilled to be part of the event that highlights the increasingly innovative role of sensors and connects this community to inspire real change.”

    North holds several degrees in science and engineering, including a Ph.D. in nanotechnology, and his work has been published in many peer-reviewed journals, including Nature. He has founded and cofounded several organizations including Galapagos, North Design Labs, Nukotoys, and ReAllocate.

    The second keynoter will be Gadi Amit, the designer behind projects such as Google Project Ara, Fitbit fitness trackers, and the Lytro camera. In a 9 a.m. session on Thursday, June 11, titled “Why the Sensor Explosion Needs Technology Design,” he will comment on wearables, the IoT, home automation, and mobile and cloud computing, and he will explain how to make wearables work and the key role of emotional intelligence as well as rational thinking.

    “The surge of innovative sensing technologies coming out marks an ongoing paradigm shift that’s changing how we’ll live and interact with our environments,” Amit said. “The Sensors Conference offers a deeper look at the breadth of solutions available, helping us dive into not just ‘how’ but ‘why’ design and engineering choices should be made. I look forward to connecting with my colleagues and advancing the conversation as we discuss what helps make a truly impactful experience for wearables, IoT, and cloud computing.”

    1. Lecklider, T., “Sensors support tomorrow’s technical advances,” EE-Evaluation Engineering, August 2014, p 8.


    Analog Devices


    Coto Technology

    Linear Technology

    Omega Engineering

    Sensors Expo & Conference

    Texas Instruments

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