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Smart Life: The Intelligence of Electronics Improving Our Lives, Part 1

Electronic systems can really improve the quality of our lives. This is the basic idea behind the effort of many big companies in the microelectronics sector in creating smart solutions for a better life. An example is STMicroelectronics Company, which has recently exhibited at i-Sedex 2014 edition in Seoul, Korea. Its portfolio of products for many smart life application sectors includes:

  • Smart Sensing
  • Smart Lighting
  • Smart Motor Control
  • Smart Brain
  • Smart Power

Smart Sensing
The smart sensing activity consists of the sensing of temperature, pressure, and humidity of a controlled environment. This measuring process can be realized by means of silicon-based integrated sensors like, for example, temperature sensors ICs, the pressure sensors MEMS ICs, and the humidity sensors ICs (see figure1). The data of the measurements are transmitted by a wireless protocol at a 2 GHz rate.

Figure 1

Humidity Sensor IC

Humidity Sensor IC

Pressure Sensor IC

Pressure Sensor IC

Temperature IC
Block diagrams of ICs for measurement of humidity, pressure, temperature  (Source: STMicroelectronics/web catalogue)

Temperature IC

Block diagrams of ICs for measurement of humidity, pressure, temperature
(Source: STMicroelectronics/web catalogue)

This segment, as well as each of the other type of applications mentioned above, has room for new developments, which share the basic idea of elaborating the meteorological data coming from the sensors for the monitoring of an environment on a real-time basis, in a very effective mode.

The idea of a smart metering of the environmental parameters is the basic principle of a very interesting new smart object presented at the Saie Smart City Exhibition 2014: the Aladdin’s lamp (see figure 2). This lamp senses the level of pollution of the air of a room and indicates it by means of three different colored LEDs. Each color (green, yellow, and red) indicates the level of pollution in the air.

Figure 2

Aladdin's lamp  (Source: CSP Research & Development)

Aladdin’s lamp
(Source: CSP Research & Development)

Other possible fields of application of smart sensing include the smart home and the smart agriculture segments. The smart home refers to all the electronics devices that can monitor the internal parts and the access doors of a house and take actions based on the data collected.

Let’s think for example of a smart system that is able to reveal the presence of a person on a floor of a house by means of some integrated proximity sensors. In case of no human presence, it switches off the lights to save energy, or it could launch an alarm procedure in case of unauthorized presence to protect the smart house from thieves and criminals.

Another possible field of application of smart sensing is smart agriculture: depending on the weather conditions checked by means of temperature, pressure, and humidity sensors, some actions could be taken with the goal of optimizing the production of fruit and vegetables, thus maximizing the yield of the cultivations, and the quality of the horticulture products.

Smart sensing holds great promise of being widely utilized also for e-health purposes: “ST exhibits at i-SEDEX a wristwatch-style optical heart-rate monitoring demo. The demonstration shows a wrist-facing LED on the backside of the wearable device that flashes and uses a photodiode and microcontroller to measure light reflected from the wearer’s flowing blood to determine heart rate.”

Do you like the smart sensing approach? Do you think that the integration of smart electronics systems into a controlled environment might effectively improve the lives of human beings who live in that environment? What other fields of application do you think are compatible with smart sensing strategy?

60 comments on “Smart Life: The Intelligence of Electronics Improving Our Lives, Part 1

  1. etnapowers
    December 23, 2014

    This Lamp is a revolutionary object to check the quality of the air inside our homes or offices, it's very useful to ensure an healthy life and it shows the big potential of the electronics to improve our life.

  2. geek
    December 23, 2014

    @etnapowers: The devies to measure the quality of air were already there but these were special-purpose devices. The lamp basically integrates these with lighting and packages it in one device. Nevertheless, it is still quite a useful thing.

  3. amrutah
    December 24, 2014

    Paolo,

       Thanks for sharing the information.  Nice applications.

    I think its not for everyone and can't think of having it in my home unless there is some federal regulation binding me.

    But, the use of such smart monitors will be really useful for places like hospitals (where the rooms need to be clean, lots of chemical treatment are used).  In Movie theaters, which are usually dark most of the time and such small “detective” lamps can be useful.

  4. amrutah
    December 24, 2014

    Paolo,

       I am yet to understand what you mentioned about the smart sensing in use for agriculture.  

    In agriculture you have to spend days and it is not a hourly matter, so having the sensors and modifying the parameters for cultivation is very difficult.  I think in agriculture the most important thing is to know the timing of the crop (when to harvest, when to start the farming).  Maintaining the conditions of fruit and vegetables after harvest so that the product quality is good and healthy.

  5. amrutah
    December 24, 2014

    “Do you think that the integration of smart electronics systems into a controlled environment might effectively improve the lives of human beings who live in that environment? What other fields of application do you think are compatible with smart sensing strategy?”

    Paolo,

       I think the smart sensing can be useful in pubilc places like Hospitals, Malls, Theaters for checking the pollutions, No Admissions Zones.

       Smart sensing has to be applied for saving water.

       The smart heat and lighting systems for home solutions need to get cheaper so that it can be adopted by everyone.

     

  6. etnapowers
    December 24, 2014

    @amrutah: the average data of pressure , temperature and humidity that are related to the first year might be used to set the parameters for the next season of harvesting. That's the smart agriculture approach, that is so promising I believe.

  7. ue2014
    December 25, 2014

    While the development of the technology has create many problems to human beings itself, the initiatives taken to use the technology development for the well being of the humans is an appreciative thing.

  8. ue2014
    December 25, 2014

    @etnapowers-agree with your point. But unpredictable environmental changes witnessed every year due to human activities mainly itself will be a challenging factor for the practical implementation.

  9. ue2014
    December 25, 2014

    As mentioned in the article, the use of these microelectronics in Healthcare sector would be a huge plus. It would help to save many lives as those implementations are valuable for well being of the man kind.

  10. ue2014
    December 25, 2014

    Smart Technology for homes is yet another very promising and developing sector for the smart technologies. Since this could be used to security purposes as well as for power savings as well, it will create a greater demand in the market.

  11. PCR
    December 27, 2014

    Exactly etnapowers that is a great news cause that we are living in a polluted environment and day b y day it is getting worst and we are moving with it even without knowing it. At lease technology can help in this way it will be great for sure. 

  12. PCR
    December 27, 2014

    amrutah , I do feels that this can be use as a house holed equipment too, why are we waiting to have a good air, till we go to a hospitals.  

  13. nasimson
    December 27, 2014

    In cities like Shanghai, Beijing, Mexico, Karachi, Delhi, Mumbai, such lamps will be of much demand as air pollution levels are high and alarming. I guess this is a consequence of modern urban life in mega-cities.

  14. PCR
    December 27, 2014

    I also do agree with you ue2014, technology will go after some objective and my ignore the impact to the human well being, after sometimes we are trying to find a solution for that from the technology itself. 

  15. nasimson
    December 27, 2014

    >  Its portfolio of products for many smart life application sectors includes:

    >   Smart Sensing
    >   Smart Lighting
    >   Smart Motor Control
    >   Smart Brain
    >   Smart Power

    Smart Sensing was a good piece. I am really looking for part 4 of the series: SMART Brain. Fascinates me quite much.

  16. nasimson
    December 27, 2014

    Why is Pressure Sensing needed in Aladin's lamp? Does pollution has anything to do with pressure? Pardon my ignorance about environment & pollution.

  17. Victor Lorenzo
    December 27, 2014

    @nasimson >> “Why is Pressure Sensing needed in Aladin's lamp?

    Perhaps for advertising that technology too. Anyway, atmosferic pressure and weather conditions such as sun level, wind speed and accumulated rain exhibit a high level of correlation with atmosferic pressure.

    In the mediterranean coast we find that most days with very high contamination levels are sunny days with little to no wind. Perfect conditions for those days are under the influence of high atmosferic pressure centers.

  18. Netcrawl
    December 27, 2014

    @ue2014 I agree with you, smart sensors with embedded microprocessors and wireless communication links have the potential to change everything from healthcare sectors to civil infrastructure systems.

    The use of networked systems of embedded sensors and computers could dwarf all previous milestone in the information system revolution. However there some major challenges here: a framework does not yet exits that can allow the distributed computing paradigm offered by smart sensors to be employed for health monitoring and control systems, current algorithms assume that all data is centrally collected and processed, such an approach does not scale to systems with densely instrumented arrays of sensors that will be required for the next generation of health monitoring and control systems.

  19. goafrit2
    December 29, 2014

    This is just starting. There is a kickstarter project that allows people to use an electronic gadget to test practically anything they come in contact to examine the components. Like you walk into a grocery store, you point the device and it gives you all you need to know about orange and its makeup nutritionally. People do not have to read labels anymore. The device does the job.

  20. goafrit2
    December 29, 2014

    >> Why is Pressure Sensing needed in Aladin's lamp? Does pollution has anything to do with pressure? Pardon my ignorance about environment & pollution.

    Think about it, a dirty water boils below 100 deg Celsius. Technically, when an environment is polluted, I do not expect the pressure content to be the same

  21. yalanand
    December 30, 2014

    This lamp senses the level of pollution of the air of a room and indicates it by means of three different colored LEDs. Each color (green, yellow, and red) indicates the level of pollution in the air.

    @Paolo, thanks for the post. This is very useful application indeed. Such application will give us good reminder to reduce the air pollution which is very rampant these days.

  22. yalanand
    December 30, 2014

    it shows the big potential of the electronics to improve our life.

    @etnapowers, I totally agree with you. I am sure people will install thise device to monitor the air quality. I am sure we will see many such inventions which will help us fight pollution and improve our environment.

  23. yalanand
    December 30, 2014

    I think its not for everyone and can't think of having it in my home unless there is some federal regulation binding me.

    @amrutah, Federal regulation cannot make it compulsory but atleast they can enforce schools and colleges and other public places to install this device.

  24. yalanand
    December 30, 2014

     I think in agriculture the most important thing is to know the timing of the crop (when to harvest, when to start the farming).

    @amrutah, Once you select the type of the crop and harvest it you always need to monitor the conditions. If it becomes to dry then you need to water or if it becomes to moist you need to stop watering. So sensing definitely helps in plant growth.

  25. PCR
    December 30, 2014

    Yalanand I think that the best way to market this unit is embedded with the air conditioning machines. Then they have a option of having a non-polluted air. 

  26. yalanand
    December 30, 2014

    The devies to measure the quality of air were already there but these were special-purpose devices.

    @tzubair, true but these new devices are very user friendly and easy to install which makes them more accessible. This will definitely attract more buyers.

  27. yalanand
    December 30, 2014

    Yalanand I think that the best way to market this unit is embedded with the air conditioning machines.

    @Ranasinghe, thats a very good idea. Embedding such devices in airconditioning machines will help the users to get non-polluted air. But best part about the devices its very flexible and hence it can be installed anywhere which will attract more new buyers.

  28. chirshadblog
    December 30, 2014

    @Ranasinghe: Air conditioners ? Well that's quite something but does it have any major impact as such ? Especially in the existing market

  29. chirshadblog
    December 30, 2014

    @yalanand: Well there will be many in the near future and it will not be a new thing at all because we all know that there will be many improvements every second

  30. amrutah
    December 30, 2014

    Yalanand:  I understand that sensors will be useful as mentioned.  They can be employed for parameteric variations which are short term and predictable in nature.  The sensors cannot be employed assuming a period of time or as mentioned earlier depending on the assumptions of previous season conditions.

       Sensors can do wonders once they are out of the farm lands and in factory or farmhouse settings.  But the application of sensors to agriculture can be a revolutionary thing.

  31. PCR
    December 30, 2014

    chirshadblog , What I mean is giving a another option for air conditioner users, cause that existing mechanism will filter only the dust from the air. I am pretty sure that there will be a big demand for that for sure. 

  32. PCR
    December 30, 2014

    Yes chirshadblog, and also on the other hand air also get polluted in every second. 

  33. nasimson
    December 30, 2014

    > Yalanand I think that the best way to market this unit
    > is embedded with the air conditioning machines. Then
    > they have a option of having a non-polluted air.

    Non-polluted air? From ACs or from lamp? The lamp is just an indicator. The AC simply does some simple filtering and some models do ionization. So where is the clean air supposed to come from? Am I missing something here?

  34. nasimson
    December 30, 2014

    @yalaland:

    > Federal regulation cannot make it compulsory but atleast
    > they can enforce schools and colleges and other public places
    > to install this device.

    Not just public places, but also private places like sanatoriums, hospitals, and daycares.

  35. uchiha
    December 30, 2014

    The impact of sensor technology in reducing greenhouse gas emissions reveals that the technology has a high potential to contribute to a reduction of emissions across various fields of application.

  36. uchiha
    December 30, 2014

    From this table can get an idea about the sensors ..

  37. geek
    December 30, 2014

    “So where is the clean air supposed to come from? Am I missing something here”

    @Nasimson: I think you're right. The lamp is only an indication towards the level of pollution and does not offer any remedy to clean it. It can, however, help in a better environment though as it raises concerns on time.

  38. ue2014
    December 30, 2014

    @ Ranasinghe – >>>>> I do feels that this can be use as a house holed equipment too >>>>

    I think Air Purifiers for House use are available in the market even now. 

  39. ue2014
    December 30, 2014

    @ Ranasinghe – Agree with the point what you try to make here. We are in a situation today where we find solutions through technolgy to the polution majorly made by the development of the technology by human beings. In such content, introducing such feature to an Air Condition which is already a known thing to human life could create a huge demand. 

    Air Purufing Bulbs are also now available in the market. 

  40. dassa.an
    December 30, 2014

    @ue2014: Yes there are many brands in the market. It's a very common product these days

  41. dassa.an
    December 30, 2014

    @uchiha: From where did you get this ? Can you please put the reference here because we need to be clear on this website on what we post

  42. uchiha
    December 31, 2014

    Actually now I cannot remember the place where I took it. But If I found it again definitely I'll put it.  

  43. SunitaT
    December 31, 2014

    @yalanand: smart agriculture can help a lot, basically if coupled with a cloud based system, it can predict damage to crops by calculating different changes that occurs with the weather, salting of the ground, irrigation etc.

  44. SunitaT
    December 31, 2014

    @goafrit2: I can't wait for this kind of a technology to be available in the form of an app. Just imagine all the fraud marketing people that can be caught with this kind of technology.

  45. chirshadblog
    December 31, 2014

    @SunitaTO: Would be a great app indeed but not sure how practical it will be

  46. chirshadblog
    December 31, 2014

    @SunitaTO: Well that's the beauty of technology. Who thought cloud services can do this much of wonders to many major sectors 

  47. Sachin
    December 31, 2014

    @uchiha, thanks for sharing the table, very informative. I am curious to know what is the difference between RTD and thermistor ?

  48. Sachin
    December 31, 2014

    The impact of sensor technology in reducing greenhouse gas emissions reveals that the technology has a high potential to contribute to a reduction of emissions across various fields of application.

    @uchiha, I dont think this technology will reduce greenhouse gas emission but rather it just indicates the pollution level.

  49. Sachin
    December 31, 2014

    smart agriculture can help a lot, basically if coupled with a cloud based system

    @SunitaT0, totally agree with you. Combining smart agrictulture with cloud based system will have lot of advantages. We can take advantage of cloud baesed systems to derive some key conclusion which would be hard to implement without cloud infrastructure.

  50. fasmicro
    January 2, 2015

    Such application will give us good reminder to reduce the air pollution which is very rampant these days.

    One of the biggest challenges today is that even when people know that pollution is harming them, they seem not to have the power to take action. Just visit China and you will see the problem may not be lack of knowledge but that of choices.

  51. fasmicro
    January 2, 2015

    >> Federal regulation cannot make it compulsory but atleast they can enforce schools and colleges and other public places to install this device.

    Never bank on that. Before the smoke detectors were mandated, it was the same pattern. I am sure, it is possible if there is evidence that gathering such data can be used to sue a landlord for not keeping the house pollution-free, some active lawyers will get a nice base of customers,

  52. fasmicro
    January 2, 2015

    >> I think in agriculture the most important thing is to know the timing of the crop (when to harvest, when to start the farming). It is not just the crop. You need to also have a great understanding of the soil before the crop. Some big data analytics firms in the agro sector are focusing on that

  53. fasmicro
    January 2, 2015

    >> Air conditioners ? Well that's quite something but does it have any major impact as such ? Especially in the existing market

    The innovation may not be in the hardware but the ability to analyse and make sense of data. Just like DropCam and Nest, there are many elements to this than hardware. You need to have insights and better understanding of the environment to make these systems intelligient and useful.

  54. chirshadblog
    January 7, 2015

    @fasmicro: Are you referring it to be more eco-friendly or trying to make it more eco-friendly is it ? 

  55. uchiha
    January 7, 2015

    Go through this link and get an idea about RTD and Thermistor.  please check on the below

    differencebetween.net/technology/difference-between-thermistor-and-rtd/

     

  56. uchiha
    January 7, 2015

    @SachinEE :True  but indirectly it helps to solve the issue.

  57. Davidled
    January 19, 2015

    I am wondering if Lamp is related to air quality. Lamp might be indicator to present the air quality. Air quality sensor could be be integrated to humidifier or dehumidifier indicating air quality level on LED.

  58. ue2014
    January 30, 2015

    >>>>>>>>>>>>> One of the biggest challenges today is that even when people know that pollution is harming them, they seem not to have the power to take action. >>>>>>>>>

    I also agree with your comment. People in todays world are amazing. Even though they know the pollution will harm their lives as well as millions of lifes in the future incuding their own children as well, still not bothered or rather does not take initiatives to take action against it. 

    It is that either they are not educated (I personally do not think so) or just being neglecting the risk. 

  59. nasimson
    January 30, 2015

    @ue2014:

    > It is that either they are not educated (I personally do not think so)
    > or just being neglecting the risk.

    Or its trajedy of commons. Since one person benefits from polluting but has no direct cost or penalty to him. So the rational behavior is to pollute even with full knowledge of impacts as other's polluting will not stop from one person's refraining it.

  60. ue2014
    January 30, 2015

    Agree with you. Its the rational human thinking. Immediate actions needs to be taken to illuminate such action. Actions could mainly be started looking at 3 angles. 1. Education Programs, initiative plans to be started and carried out targeting the schools to make sure future generation understand the gravity of it. 2. Educational and initiative programs to be carried out in domestic level to gain public attention and stimulate them towards protecting the environment. 3. Required laws to be implemented to make sure everyone adjusts to what is required.

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