HP to connect objects and people, sensitively

HP announced a new MEMS accelerometer that is 1,000 times more sensitive than existing products on the market.

You've probably heard of or even owned a computer that automatically turns off its hard drive when it senses shock or heavy vibrations. That is an example of sensitive human-machine intimacy. Another example I like is tilting the iPhone to use it as the driving bar for my racing games. Well, that nifty human-to-computer interaction is about to go to whole new level.

HP announced Thursday a new inertial-sensing technology that enables the development of digital micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) accelerometers that are up to 1,000 times more sensitive than those in high-volume products currently available.

A MEMS accelerometer is a sensor that can be used to measure vibration, shock, or change in velocity. When implemented, this allows the device to "feel" the environment it is in.

According to HP, the new sensing technology--the result of HP's 25 years of nano-sensing research--includes multiple detectors as part of a complete sensor network and therefore is capable of real-time data collection, management evaluation, and analysis. This information enables users to make better, faster decisions, and take subsequent action to improve safety, security, and sustainability.

The applications of the new technology can be applied to a much broader range than just personal electronic and computer devices, such as bridge and infrastructure monitoring, geophysical mapping, mine exploration, and earthquake monitoring.

Apart from being ultrasensitive, the new HP MEMS accelerometers also uses much less power. According to HP, sensors based on this technology can achieve noise density performance in the sub-100 nano-g per square root Hz range. The new MEMS device can also be customized with single or multiple axes per chip to meet individual system requirements.

Currently, there's no implementation of the new sensing technology, but HP envisions it could help build a new information ecosystem called the Central Nervous System for the Earth, where trillions of sensors of different types enable a new level of awareness and revolutionize communication between objects and people.

Maybe in a near future, your house will start telling you that you've wasted too much energy unnecessarily and that if you don't stop, some children in another country will have to suffer even more from global warming. Or perhaps that's just me being sensitive.

About the author

CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews 3D printers, networking/storage devices, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.

 

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