Sensors Expo Midwest 2016: Education And Applications Are Top Priorities

Sensors Insights by Mat Dirjish

Have you ever come back from a tradeshow filled with a head and suitcase full of dazzling concepts, buzzwords, newly scripted acronyms, and a dizzy yet bright outlook for the future, only to wake up the next day wondering what you can do with all this new data? For example, you may have heard a keynote, attended a technical session, and visited a plethora of exhibitors that extolled the virtues of Li-Ion battery powered, IoT enabled crepes and how these digital delicacies will be the wave of the future. Deliriously delighted, you walk away with a barrel's worth of ingredients, but no recipe, in essence, no viable applications.

Of course, most exhibitors at any type of show will have a product that they manufacture or a third party product designed using that the exhibitor's parts. Nevertheless, more often than not, stimulation of the imagination to create a new application is not the highest priority. And maybe that's not a prerequisite for a good show since not too many attendees complain about it. They just spend a bit too much time wondering about it.

Sensors Expo West

On the other hand, one of the things I found very impressive about Sensors Expo West in San Jose back in June was the overwhelming positive comments received from attendees on just about every aspect of the show. Two areas that standout are the keynote speakers, particularly Dr. Ken Gabriel, and the educational sessions.

Keynoter Dr. Ken Gabriel informed and inspired Sensors Expo West attendees.
Keynoter Dr. Ken Gabriel informed and inspired Sensors Expo West attendees.

One thing these areas had in common was a clear focus on what one can do with the information they presented: practical applications. Furthermore, from all the feedback received, each inspired imagination and creativity with the intent of going beyond present applications, moving forward, and in unique directions.

Some of the learn-and-apply offerings in San Jose included thought leadership oriented presentations and interactive demos in the Sensors Live and Embedded Theaters, a variety of technology pavilions for embedded systems, energy harvesting, IoT, Wireless, and MEMS offering hands-on and interactive demos, the NXP IoT truck delivering 170 demos, and numerous developer kit giveaways from companies like Exosite and Microchip. Further amplifying the focus on applications, the Startup Pavilion & Forum highlighted the latest, bleeding-edge sensor products and innovations from a stellar group of national and international startup companies.

NXP IoT truck on the open road.
NXP IoT truck on the open road.

All of these learning events offered numerous networking opportunities during and outside of exhibition hours. Chances to meet with peers, colleagues, and, importantly, competitors include networking breakfasts and lunches, the kickoff party, and the SensorsFest networking reception, to cite just a few. In terms of inspiration, the opportunities to exchange ideas and insights are near limitless and genuinely priceless.

Sensors Expo Midwest

Sensors Expo Midwest, though a physically smaller venue, promises to be equal in its fruits for those who wish to partake. The educational sessions will not only be targeting the latest trends and bleeding-edge technologies, but also will be addressing what is being done and inspiring attendees to go further and design products we'll be raving about next year and beyond.

Like the flagship event in San Jose, we'll embrace all of those technologies that are melding with the sensor community. We are moving to a completely connected world and just knowing about sensors will not be nearly enough to innovate and prosper.

Setting the wheels in motion, you definitely do not want to miss the opening keynote. At 8 AM, Tuesday morning, September 27, Daniel Kuhl, Vice President of Engineering Seagate Technology, will take center stage to pontificate on the big memory storage explosion and factors influencing global design and architecture, technology progression and infrastructure for manufacturing and validation.

Daniel Kuhl, Vice President of Engineering Seagate Technology, will discuss the never-ending challenges of data storage.
Daniel Kuhl, Vice President of Engineering Seagate Technology, will discuss the never-ending challenges of data storage.

Data storage is a never-ending, most times uphill, battle. The data industry continues to be hard driven by capacity requirements, accelerating performance, and miniaturization. Mr. Kuhl will share current technologies, technology enablers of the future, and address the memory consumption rate of now and the future.

Interfacing sensors via embedded systems and data-acquisition systems will be big issues along with creating security strategies to keep both users and manufacturers safe on the IoT. The interaction of sensors, embedded systems, and software will provide fertile ground for security experts to ply their knowledge. You will learn effective security strategies from experts like Alan Grau, President and Co-Founder of Icon Labs, a leading provider of security software for IoT and embedded devices. He is the architect of Icon Labs' award winning Floodgate Firewall.

Alan Grau, President and Co-Founder of Icon Labs set to talk security issues at Sensors Midwest.
Alan Grau, President and Co-Founder of Icon Labs set to talk security issues at Sensors Midwest.

Also, you'll be introduced to unique approaches to existing technologies. For example, David Shannon, Business Team Manager, Quick Coupling Division at Parker Hannifin will be exploring new ways to use EAP technology to design and develop high-strain sensors. Don't know what EAP technology is? Well, there's another reason to attend Sensors Expo Midwest and hear what Mr. Shannon has to say.

If audio and acoustics are your forte, Daniel Warren, Director of Research for the Acoustics Specialty Components division of Knowles, will be on hand to broach sensor-related topics. Daniel has been granted 14+ US patents in his field. An experienced technical communicator, he has authored and delivered over 50 talks at acoustical and audiological conferences worldwide, written an ANSI standard for directional hearing aid measurement, and chaired the Engineering Acoustics technical committee for the Acoustical Society of America.

One of the fastest growing area for sensors is flexible circuits and wearable electronics. The technological developments in this arena are coming in hot, heavy, and fast. You'll be able get a bead on these technologies with pinpoint insights from expert in the field, Roger Grace. With the IoT and emerging biomedical applications, wearables and disposables have created demand for low-cost single or multiple sensors that are small, lightweight, and low power. They must also conform to the shape of their environment. Roger will discuss evolving "functional fabric" sensors and sensor-based systems, integration strategies and tradeoffs, and flexible circuit platforms and their associated interconnectivity issues.

Working hand-in-hand with the IoT and wearables, wireless technologies will be connecting sensors to interface systems both near and far. You'll need to know what the latest methods, standards, and protocols are if you want your designs to be connected. Learn how the "Design Considerations for Scalable and Secure Wireless IoT Networks" presented by Paul Minton, President & CEO of California Eastern Labs. You'll learn even more at the "Deploying Wireless Sensing Solutions – Lessons from the Wild, Industrial and Enterprise" session, given by Mike Fahrion, VP of IoT Technology at Advantech B+B SmartWorx.

The Top Of The Bottom Line

Rather than go on pointing out all of the advantages of attending Sensors Expo Midwest, as well as all future Sensors Expos, we'll let the facts speak for themselves:

FACT #1: Sensors Expo & Conference has been named to Trade Show Executive's Fastest 50 for the past two years.

FACT #2: Sensors Expo & Conference is the largest and only show devoted specifically to sensors and sensor technologies.

FACT #3: Attendance at Sensors Expo & Conference is increasing year after. The venue has expanded significantly each year from 2014, moving from Rosemont, IL, to Long Beach, CA, to San Jose, CA, and now adding a second expo in the same year of 2016.

FACT #4: Pictures are worth a thousand words. Watch some video demos from Bscada and Coto and you will see the dedication to presenting leading edge applications of sensors and sensor systems.

FACT #5: If you want to be on top of your game in the world of sensors and all the emerging 'big things', you need to know what to do with those sensors, interfaces, embedded systems, and software. And the only way you can do that is to register for and attend Sensors Expo Midwest, September 27/28, 2016 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, Rosemont, IL.

FACT #6: Never forget FACT#5 and be sure to attend all future Sensor Expos.

Well, I sincerely hope to see you all next week at Sensors Expo Midwest. In parting, just let me SAY THIS.... ~MD

About the Author

Mat Dirjish is Executive Editor of Sensors magazine. He can be reached at [email protected].

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