Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Ariane 5 technology turns the lights on

22.02.2005


Soon we may be able to fill the bath, turn the lights on and play our favourite CD without moving from our chair or pressing a button. Technology, developed by ESA for European spacecraft, is now being used to create small sensors that can make any flat surface – walls, windows or tables – interactive.



"The idea is to use an accelerometer to determine the exact position of touch on an object,” says Nicolas Delorme from Nodal Consultants, part of ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme’s (TTP) network of technology brokers. “For example, an accelerometer can determine exactly which part of the interactive surface on a window or a door has been touched, making the surface as sensitive as keys on a keyboard."

Accelerometers are used in combination with gyroscopes onboard Ariane launchers for the inertial positioning system and to kick-off the pyro-technic switches that control the fuelling of the boosters. They are also used on satellites to determine the exact position of the spacecraft. As they are used in space, these systems have to be extremely accurate. "This technology is at the heart of ReverSys, an innovation which could revolutionise how we consider the objects around us and how we use them.” Nicolas Delorme adds.


ReverSys

Ros-Kiri Ing, President and Founder of Sensitive Object, the company that developed and patented ReverSys, received assistance from ESA’s TTP technology broker Nodal Consultants who carried out market research for them and identified technology and partners.

"Our patented technology is based on recognising the sound waves propagated in an object when it is tapped at a precise location," says Ros-Kiri Ing.

Just as fingerprints are unique, a tap on a flat surface gives an acoustic signature that is unique for the specific point of impact, as the waves emitted are diffused differently from a tap even a few centimetres away. This property was discovered thanks to a physical process called ’temporal reversal’ which precisely identifies the point of source of emitted waves.

"I had the idea of associating this signature with an action and creating a sort of virtual command table. The association is managed by a computer program that links touch at a specific location to a specific action. A small sensor, the accelerometer, placed nearby then detects the sound waves and analyses their acoustic signature. If the signature is recognised, the intended action is executed, if not, nothing happens," Ros-Kiri Ing explains.

ReverSys technology can be used with most solid materials: glass, wood, steel, even a brick wall. Sensitive control panels can be placed at any location on a surface to create an interactive human-machine interface. It also has a number of important advantages:

it is wireless and cable-free and can be integrated onto any surface
it does not require any modification to the surface
it is aesthetic and fits with any decor
it can easily be re-programmed to reposition the sensitive zones
it is simple to operate
it can be easily moved

Ros-Kiri Ing explains: "In a bathroom, for example, ReverSys could be used to put a control panel on the edge of the bath or even in the shower, with the sensor placed nearby, away from the water. If the control panel needs to be moved to a new position or a new command needs to be added then it’s no problem. There is no need to touch the sensor, with the help of computer it is a simple matter to modify the system and define new sensitive zones.”

This certainly has many advantages for home owners; for instance, the controls for the lights in a room could be moved without having to change the wiring. A big advantage when fixing up an old house or changing the way a room is used.
"When I first saw Ros-Kiri Ing demonstrating his system I was really impressed. In just minutes, he managed to turn a simple white-board into an interactive device, controlling the playback of music on the computer," says Pierre Brisson, who as head of ESA’s Technology Transfer and Promotion Office has seen hundreds of examples of how well space technology can be used to make life on Earth easier.

"Who would have thought that the technology we use in the Ariane launchers could simplify the way we turn on a light?”

Pierre Brisson | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEM60JYEM4E_index_0.html
http://www.esa.int

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht First direct observation and measurement of ultra-fast moving vortices in superconductors
20.07.2017 | The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

nachricht Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information
19.07.2017 | Universität Basel

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

Leipzig HTP-Forum discusses "hydrothermal processes" as a key technology for a biobased economy

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers create new technique for manipulating polarization of terahertz radiation

20.07.2017 | Information Technology

High-tech sensing illuminates concrete stress testing

20.07.2017 | Materials Sciences

First direct observation and measurement of ultra-fast moving vortices in superconductors

20.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>