The Best of Sensors Expo 2008

E-mail Melanie Martella

Another year means another crop of surprising, clever, and highly capable new products entering the sensors marketplace. For the judges of the Best of Sensors Expo Award that means sifting through the many wonderful entrants to select those products that we think stand out from the crowd in terms of their uniqueness, utility, and potential to change the way people work. Read on to learn who won and why.

Gold Awards
We present gold awards to those products that we consider outstanding in their capabilities, application, and usefulness. The first of these is the ADIS16209 digital inclinometer from Analog Devices that provides 0.1° resolution, direct output, and the ability to tune the device during prototyping or assembly. Our second gold award winner is Cymbet's EnerChip CBC050 thin-film battery that supports automated assembly and offers thousands of recharge cycles and very low self-discharge. Our third gold winner is Diversified Technical Systems' Slice and Slice Nano DA systems which offer excellent resolution, sampling, memory, and shock resistance, all in a 25 by 25 mm footprint. Our last Gold Award winner is the Shear-Link from Microstrain that packs load sensing, wireless communications, and onboard memory into a shear pin.

Silver Awards
Our first silver award goes to Arch Rock's PhyNet v3.0, which adds tiered networking capability to wireless sensor networks (WSNs), improving both their robustness and easing their integration into existing IP-based enterprise networks. KCF Technologies wins a silver award for its WSK100 wireless sensor kit that provides a trio of energy harvesting wireless sensor nodes with supporting software to allow people to investigate self-powered wireless sensing. The Model D6F-P from Omron Electronic Components is a MEMS flow sensor that uses an elegant centrifugal flow path to separate out dust in the flow stream, redirecting the clean air over the sensing element. Finally, our last silver award winner goes to Solidica's Solo Volt battery health monitor that is battery agnostic, can monitor up to six batteries at once, and incorporates communications and data storage.

Bronze Awards
Our bronze awards go to Millennial Net's MeshScape 5 wireless sensor networking platform that supports ZigBee, ISA 100.11a (a draft specification), and WirelessHART; SignalQuest's SQ-MIN tiny, power-frugal tilt sensor, and Sporian Microsystems' AssetOverseer triaxial high-G accelerometers that have a mere <15µA supply current and require no external amplification.

Honorable Mentions
Finally, there are always a couple of products that we judges want to recognize in addition to our award winners. The first of our honorable mentions goes to Endevco Corp. for its Model 67 accelerometer that operates in temperatures up to 175°C. Our second honorable mention goes to MeshNetics for its ZigBit Amp 802.15.4/ZigBee low-power module that provides an impressive LOS range of up to 2.5 miles. Our last honorable mention goes to Millennial Net for its Wi-Stat II wireless thermostat that is designed to work with existing HVAC networks to improve energy use and monitoring.

From the judges (myself, Deb Lickness of John Deere, and Ed Ramsden, long-time Sensors Editorial Advisory Board member and sensor industry expert) we extend heart-felt congratulations to the winners.

For those of you reading this who attended the show, what did you see on the show floor that knocked your socks off? Please scroll down to the bottom of the page to submit a comment or drop me an email!

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