Grand Prize Winner
- Thursday, 01 November 2012
Sensordrone: A Practical, Tricorder-Like Platform for
Consumers and Mobile Device Developers
Mark Wagner, Ben Madoff, and Mark Rudolph
Sensorcon, Buffalo, NY
What if sensors, meters, and instruments were just apps instead of single-purpose, bulky, expensive equipment? Sensordrone is a first step towards making this a reality.
Mobile computing is the way of the future, but most sensor products have not kept up. Sensordrone is a multi-purpose, configurable sensor that dramatically extends the sensing capability of smartphones and tablets. It is a keyfob-sized platform for both consumers and developers (software and hardware).
For consumers, Sensordrone includes multiple environmental sensors allowing people to run a variety of apps such as carbon monoxide, temperature, humidity, and breath alcohol monitoring. It can also serve as a stud-finder, altimeter, barometer, data-logger, light meter, weather meter, and many more. A single device could replace a number of single-purpose instruments. All a user needs to do is run a new app.
For developers, open software allows software developers to create new sensor applications, both for entertainment and serious applications. For hardware developers, Sensordrone offers an easy way to integrate new hardware products, like medical sensors, to Android and iOS devices. This platform concept means that products can be developed and launched much faster, and for less money.
For example, to make a medical sensor instrument today, you need to develop an entire dedicated system. With Sensordrone, you would only need to interface the medical sensors to Sensordrone’s expansion connector, and then develop just the highest-level application software. In some cases, this eliminates the majority of the development cost, so small companies or individual inventors can offer a mobile accessory to the market with minimal risk. The market will benefit from dramatic reduction in cost and more customization for specific applications.
Open software is critical to Sensordrone. Open software and a collaborative attitude are attracting a variety of developers, which will lead to an ever-increasing variety of apps and expansion hardware. This open/collaborative approach will enable much faster technology advancement.
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