Future of sensors: measuring bodily functions from inside the human body

They shut the doors behind you, alert you if you’ve consumed too much water or measure your heart rate. We’re talking about sensors: equipment that captures a specific physical, chemical or biological value and transforms it into a signal. Where can you use such sensors and what does their future hold?

Sensors within the home

Using sensors at home is very popular today. According to Frost & Sullivan, people most appreciate the detection abilities of doors and windows, alerting homeowners to the presence of burglars, for example. Equally desirable are those sensors that enable children and pets to be monitored when parents are called away from the home. Nevertheless, Frost & Sullivan predict that this may change in future as soon as sensor technology is able to catch and analyse screen data in more detail than is presently possible.

Business opportunities and trends

Of course, the impact of sensors is far more wide-reaching than simply within the domestic sphere. They can be put to use almost anywhere, from the automobile industry through to agriculture. One example is their tremendous potential use in maintaining healthy lifestyles. A study conducted by Ericsson confirms that although people appreciate having an overview of their bodily functions, they often find these measurement devices inconvenient. They generally need to be worn and often lack any aesthetic appeal; in fact, they may even be impractical when doing sports. Respondents to the Ericsson survey thought the solution was simple: sensor implants. Half of the more than six thousand people questioned believed that such sensors, measuring the bodily functions directly from inside the human body, would become available within the next three years. The fact that this is not some crazy sci-fi notion is confirmed, for example, by the mini sensors for measuring blood pressure and heart rate. Todd Zielinski from the Bressler Group has identified these monitors as one of the trends in sensors for 2016. The sensor is so small that you could easily fit it inside an earphone. Which means we could be just a short step away from even more miniature sensors that our bodies would accept without any complications.

Startups that are banking on sensors

A sensor to make parking “safe and simple” has been created by the US startup FenSens. They came up with the simple idea of fitting a sensor to the vehicle registration plate. The driver then installs an app on their smartphone, after which they are kept constantly informed on any obstacle during parking. This system means there is no longer any need to change anything on the car itself. Also worth a mention is the British startup KisanHub. This firm provides farmers and breeders not only with priceless information about the weather (precipitation, wind speed etc.), but also details about crops, irrigation practices and such like. This is all achieved thanks to a combination of sensors and satellite technologies. Last on our list is the analysis of customer behaviour in real time using inbuilt store sensors. This has been facilitated by US startups Nomi and Footmarks, for example. 

Video: Startup FenSens has a smart solution for making parallel parking easy, even for those with older vehicles without parking sensors

 


Sensors are one of the topics for this year’s JIC STARCUBE, the longest running Czech accelerator.  Startups can hand in their applications up until 7 August 2016. Since 2010, 72 start ups have entered JIC STARCUBE. Teams work their way through three months crammed with knowledge, workshops, meeting up with mentors and forging links with global technology companies. They get a helping hand and financial support to test and prototype, to access legal and tax services, for marketing, as well as contributions to cover their travel and accommodation costs. Successful companies who have gone through the accelerator include, for example, GINAReservio and one of today’s fastest growing startups Kiwi.com (formerly Skypicker). Learn more about the accelerator by going to www.starcube.cz