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Micron Instruments Semiconductor Strain Sensors Evolves into
The Internet of Things with Smart Sensors

Reference Articles

  1. Innovations in Measuring Structural Integrity
    • A major benefit of structural health monitoring is early failure mode warning and response. An additional benefit offered by wireless sensing in these operational conditions is real-time awareness and decision-making. Also, wireless sensors are non- intrusive and avoid the many problems with tethered wired sensors. And, it’s important to avoid power sources that have limited life when operating in environments where extended unattended operation is required. The good news is there are several wireless technologies, both active and passive and covered by international (ISO) standards, which meet these requirements. The transceivers are commercially available and relatively inexpensive.

      Wireless sensor data can be acquired from both stationary and mobile readers. By using industry-standard wireless technologies, data can be read with commercially available smart phones, tablets, laptop computers, and mobile devices. Micron Instruments’ forthcoming wireless sensor options will all be based on industry standard technologies.
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  2. Automating Large Autoclaves for Complex Parts
    • The Role of Wireless Communication
      It’s pretty obvious that wires are a significant problem in many applications, which has given rise to dramatic advances in wireless communication technologies and standardization. The elimination of wires, wire connectors, and the associated mechanical support and holes, offers numerous benefits. These benefits include reduced cost, minimal physical space needs, safety, capability, performance, and reliability.

      It’s also well known that sensors are becoming ubiquitous, and as sensor use proliferates so do the problems with wired communication. So, again, we see a rapidly growing demand for wireless sensing. However, the challenges for wireless sensing can be quite different than those for wireless voice or data communication. Sensors often must be placed in locations that are unfriendly to RF transmission, or even in applications where wireless communication can present a safety hazard. And, when it is advantageous to operate without batteries, passive wireless sensing offers many benefits but introduces further challenges. Micron Instruments is addressing these challenges as it extends its line of semiconductor strain gages to support passive wireless sensing.

      In the context of process automation, sensors and wireless communication both play key roles. Consider the conceptual transformation model, shown below:
    • IOT

    The process always starts with acquiring appropriate, accurate, and reliable data. In many applications, users are not generally interested in the data, but rather information provided by the data. For example, the user may only be interested when data is out of range. Examples of this span from environmental limits (e.g., temperature or humidity thresholds), to exposure limits (e.g., excessive shock or vibration levels), to “geo-fences” (where GPS data can be used to determine a vehicle is traveling outside prescribed geographical boundaries). These are all considered “exceptional” situations.

    Exceptional situations that are interpreted in context or with semantic information (e.g., ontologies) can transform information into actionable knowledge.

    When wireless sensing is used to both acquire and transmit data and information, we can achieve autonomous systems that provide real-time notifications, alerts, and alarms. Given today’s highly interconnected world, this can provide users with immediate knowledge of process status or exceptional conditions, anytime and anywhere.
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