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Why the Microsensor Market Could Take Off

Once the domain of large industry only, lower-cost microsensors could usher in a new era of insight.

The mobile revolution not only transformed business, it also changed how people view technology. Today, easy access to once unimaginable amounts of computing power doesn’t even raise an eyebrow among the more than 1 billion daily smartphone users.

With this power comes even greater opportunity. Driven in some cases by smartphone-enabled technology, another major technological breakthrough has emerged: the smart microsensor.

Once accessible to large industries only, these lower-cost microsensors offer many promising applications and benefits to consumers and business users across the world.

Sensor Evolution

According to a sensor trends report from logistics company DHL, “The use of low-cost sensor technology will open new fields of application for monitoring, inspecting and controlling industrial and logistical processes — applications which were previously technically impossible or unaffordable.”

DHL has already started some low-cost 3D sensor testing to optimize packing, sorting and documentation at their operations — all the while implementing other microsensor technologies that pay for themselves faster than previous processes, the report states.

Plant Protectors

10%

The compound annual growth rate forecast for the microsensor market through 2019

SOURCE: TechSci Research, “Global Microsensor Market Forecast and Opportunities, 2019,” October 2014

Recent research completed by the Plants Employed As Sensing Devices (PLEASED) project illustrates new ways of using plant microsensors to act as environmental indicators.

“If understanding is the first necessary step to change, plants can contribute by providing us with a valuable tool to better understand and monitor our environment,” says Dr. Andrea Vitaletti, PLEASED project coordinator and chief technology officer at WLAB, a wireless research firm.

Smartphone-Enabled

Today, the most readily available form of microsensor includes the micro-optical sensors built into most smartphones.

Phones such as the Samsung S6 feature a heart-rate monitor located below the camera. Users hold their thumb to the back of the phone for an immediate heart-rate reading.

Wearable technologies such as the Apple Watch also embed microsensors to track heart rate, movement and location, which encourages users to pursue more active lifestyles.

While these examples may not revolutionize an industry, they do hint at a bright future for microsensors, in which technology gives people real-time feedback to make better decisions.

Guido Mieth/Getty Images
Nov 16 2015

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