Grains of sand? Tiny jewels? Actually, the photo above shows items that fall somewhere between. They are miniature sensors, and they cost a bit more than sand but far less than precious stones. And yet they can perform miracles when it comes to gathering data in wearable Health Tech (and other) devices.
Chris Turkstra, Head of Product & Strategy at the Samsung IoT Innovation Lab, summed it up in his keynote speech when he said that “the drop in sensor costs is magical!” Indeed, some types of sensors have dropped to just one-tenth of their average price over just a year or two. Increased demand and increased competition — largely for the smartphone market — has driven many of these price cuts. Sensors continue to get smaller, more accurate, and more versatile, while prices continue to fall.
One of the companies exhibiting sensor technology at the IDTech conference was Measurement Specialties. Headquartered in Hampton, Virginia, the company has offices throughout the U.S., Europe, and China. The company designs and manufactures their own sensors, and have the capability to modify their technology to meet the needs of a device manufacturer for a customized sensor produced in smaller production runs. One interesting aspect to their technology is that they have developed a piezoelectric film, but rather than use it to harvest energy as one might expect, they use the material to create highly efficient accelerometers used in vibration detection devices.