Last week I introduced our newly expanded Best of Sensors Expo Award program. This week I want to concentrate on one of our three new award categories—the Application Award that seeks to highlight the way sensors are used in the wider world.
The Application Award
Our goal with this award category is to recognize and draw attention to some of the amazing sensor applications that exist. To be clear, when we talk of sensor applications, we don't just mean applications in the sense of "there's an app for that" (although we're interested in those, too). Sensor applications are, at their heart, systems that use sensors to gather information for a specific aim. While some of the applications may use new types of sensors, many of them will represent a novel use of existing, mature sensing technologies.
We want people to understand the sheer variety of sensor applications that exist and to share in our enthusiasm for them. In the case of the Smart Grid, for example, sensors are used to monitor the health and performance of the electrical distribution system (including for renewable energy sources) while also providing energy usage information to consumers and utilities. Smart prosthetics use sensors to provide more natural, efficient motion for their wearers. Smart agriculture uses sensors to make sure the crops get the appropriate amounts of water and fertilizer. Driver awareness systems use a variety of sensors to help drivers avoid potential accidents. Smart bandages monitor wound healing directly and robot-assisted surgeries allow surgeons to perform complex, minimally invasive operations. In-helmet shock recorders help assess the severity of a traumatic brain injury. Condition-based monitoring systems for machines and vehicles warn of potential problems before they occur. Structural health monitoring systems provide detailed information on the structural health of buildings, dams, roads, and bridges. From improving manufacturing yields to keeping us safe, sensor applications are everywhere.
In contrast to the Innovation Award, nominees for the Application Award do not have to be commercially available. For academic or research projects, the sensor application must exist at least as a working prototype. Also, those responsible for developing the application are not required to be Sensors Expo exhibitors. We do want the applications nominated to be distinctive, to have the potential to change the way people work, and to serve a real need. Sensors are tools, after all.
If you are interested in submitting a product for the Application Awards program, we have a FAQ here and the nomination form is here. If you have questions about the awards program, please send an email to [email protected]. The deadline for nominations is April 5, 2013.