At Sensors Midwest 2016 The Winners Are….


It was just under three months ago in June I announcing and giving awards to the best sensors and sensor products of the year at Sensors Expo west in San Jose. Usually, the summer months are slow in terms of new-product announcements. Most of the new launches ramp up just after the winter holidays around mid January.

However, as things usually go not as expected these days, we were more than impressed with both the number and quality of great products to emerge between June and September. As a result, we decided to acknowledge some of the stellar offerings from that brief period at Sensors Expo Midwest in Rosemont, IL.

Choosing the best of the best is no simple task, and there is no sensor known to man, woman, or child that can do it for you. First, with the exception of some flighty Indiegogo and Kickstarter ventures, most companies do not create products on a whim. Each development is carefully thought out before work begins.

Second, these companies know their markets. They follow trends and supply and demand indicators. Before the product hits the drawing board, the company knows if there is a genuine need for the product.

Third comes the design and prototyping, followed by intense testing for operation, safety, and reliability. If all goes well, the fourth step may involve meeting standards, protocols, and other mandates. Fifth, packaging, promotion, and advertising is done. Sixth, the company starts filling orders for the final product. Just a note, all of these steps except last cost a cruise-ship load of money.

Seventh, last but just as important, submitting the product for award recognition at Sensors Expo. Enough verbiage, let us get to the results. And the winners are…

The first item we found to be quite impressive targets the emerging wearables market. It comes from a company with over 65 years of expertise in textiles and textile machinery. The TM161604500390EP, from Plug & Wear in Firenze, Italy, is a pressure matrix sensor made of five layers of knitted fabrics. It forms a flexible sandwich that adapts to complex surfaces, like the human body. To the TM161 we give a great honorable mention. For more details, visit

Honorable Mention: Plug & Wear's TM161604500390EP pressure matrix sensor

Next up, Tekscan’s Nip Pressure Alignment Tool (NPAT) caught our attention. The tool eliminates guesswork in machine setup by using real-time data to verify uniform pressure distribution and nip width. The tool also caught third the bronze award. For more details and specs, go to

Bronze Award: Tekscan’s Nip Pressure Alignment Tool (NPAT)

Optical sensing and optical applications are expanding and they require ever more accurate, safe, and reliable components. Addressing those demands, the HCC100x optocouplers from TT Electronics use a light sensitive interface to offer highly reliable electrical isolation between input and output circuits. They are also the choice for the Sensors Expo Silver Award. For more details, visit

Silver Award: HCC100x optocouplers from TT Electronics

Unique designs are many, but when a novel design appears that impresses visually, but also delivers precision results over a very long lifecycle, we take notice. The SNHS High Strain sensor from Parker Hannifin is a thin, lightweight, stretchable, rubber band-like device that offers the ability to take accurate and precision measured strains of over 100% for millions of cycles. As a result, the SNHS gets the gold. For more info, go to–Strain-Sensor,EN.EN

The Gold Award goes to the SNHS High Strain sensor from Parker Hannifin

There you have it. Be sure to visit the links provided for each company for more information on their products. ~MD

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