It is no idle hype when we say technology is moving faster than ever. Just back in June we were at Sensors Expo West in San Jose hosting an award ceremony to celebrate the Best of Sensors 2016. Gold, Silver, and Bronze awards were given to the top tier products and technologies that made a significant impact in their respective markets and the lives of the designers and end users of these technological gems.
With years’ worth of products to evaluate, all of which are notable, one would think that is plenty. However, a little less than three months later and the roster of impressive new products is full again. Therefore, we enter the next round awards with Best of Show at Sensors Expo Midwest.
The way the awards program operates is, initially, fairly simple. Companies and our readers nominate the products and technologies they believe fill a major need or demand, solve a difficult problem, make work significantly easier, improve the quality of life of the end user, and any and all combinations, degrees, and variations thereof. Then comes the hard part, deciding on the top few nominations that we get to toil over to decide which ones get the awards. And this next round is showing no signs of getting any easier.
One thing genuinely needs clarifying. With the exception of some novelty startups and the sometimes-delusional fundraisers, most tech products come from highly responsible companies of all sizes. To research, develop, prototype, and eventually bring to market these product is always a major investment in time, money, and human resources. This means that if there were not a need for the product, it would not have even made it to the drawing board. Briefly, with all that’s at stake, these folks “ain’t foolin’ around”, period. You know that what they produce, at the very least, serves some vital function.
Since June there has been quite a bit of activity in the sensor community, yielding some highly impressive bits of work. Let’s take a look at just a few of the numerous entries in the running for awards at Sensors Expo Midwest.
Alta Devices raises a few eyebrows with its gallium arsenide based solar cells that employ the company’s AnyLight Power Technology. With an efficiency rating of 28.8%, they lay claim to being the highest performance single junction solar cells available on the market. Additionally, they are both thin and flexible, making them desirable candidates for tight-quarter applications.
InFlect flex sensors from Brewer Science, Inc. employ carbon-based nanotechnology to deliver a real-time response to varying angles of deflection. Features include a gauge factor greater than 15 times that of metal strain gauge and a response time to bend of less than 10 ms.
The LRM-254 four-channel detector from InfraTec Infrared LLC features an aperture measuring a mere 5 mm. In the detector cap, a central window has been added. This now places the channel filters inside the detector.
Optomec’s Aerosol Jet 5-axis Printer (AJ-5X) is capable of outputting fully printed sensors, antenna and molded interconnect devices (MID). The system packs Sprint Ultrasonic and Pneumatic atomization to support the widest range of material inputs. Essentially, the unit can crank out quite a bit of diverse product.
The SNHS High Strain sensor from Parker Hannifin Corp. is a thin, lightweight, stretchable, rubber band-like device with the ability to take accurate measured strains of over 100% for millions of cycles. It is built with a stretchable, dielectric polymer described as a hyper-elastic silicon rubber that creates a soft, conformable, and rugged sensor.
On the aerospace ticket, TT Electronics’ HCC100x optocouplers use a light sensitive interface to ensure high-reliability electrical isolation between input and output circuits. They are viable for circuit-isolation duties in high-radiation deep-space-flight applications including satellites, launch vehicles, and planetary rovers.
As mentioned earlier, these are just a few of the candidates and, also mentioned earlier, we really have our work cut out for us in deciding who the winners will be. Therefore, without further verbiage, we’ll get down to work on this while you go register to attend Sensors Expo Midwest. ~MD