How one trillion sensors are going to rock your world

I can't wait for what's ahead

(Editor's note: This is the second of two parts. Read Part One.)

Sensors are about to enter our lives in a far bigger way than most of us can imagine, and the opportunities that are about to unfold are truly endless. Here are some possibilities:

Smart Shoe Sensors

Shoes are one of the primary interfaces between our bodies and the physical world, just like chairs, beds, and pillows.

  • Pressure point sensors – Dynamically adjust the contour of contact surface with expanding/contracting polymeric gels
  • Optimal blood circulation sensors – Complete with size, fit, and tightness monitor.
  • Sweat sensors – To open and close air vents.
  • Deterioration sensors – To monitor wear and tear of the shoe.
  • Pain monitors – Where does it hurt and what’s causing it.
  • Slippage monitors – Anticipating blisters.
  • Skin irritation trackers – Friction, rash, heat monitor.
  • Find my shoes beacons – Geo-locator for shoes.

Dating Sensors

At one time or another we’ve all found ourselves in the middle of the dating scene, and virtually everyone wishes it would be easier.

  1. Personality matchers – Focus on key personality traits and how they pair up with your date.
  2. Experience matchers – How is your date reacting to your past experiences?
  3. Musical mood sensors – Does he or she like this music?
  4. Food mood sensors – What food will best match his or her mood?
  5. Taste matching sensors – What is their taste in art, entertainment, furniture, live performances, and literature?
  6. Anticipatory mood sensors – How is my date ranking on the fascination scale? How about the attentiveness, eye contact, or emotional engagement scale?
  7. Anticipatory behavior sensors – How will alcohol, smoking, loud noises, or bright lights affect his or her mood?
  8. Crowd happiness sensors – The overall happiness of a crowd can often determine the outcome of a date.

Smart Garden Sensors

In any agricultural setting the role of sensors can range widely. On one hand, sensors used to monitor pests like birds and squirrels that eat the plants, can be used to trigger a sound frequency that irritates the vermin and causes them to leave. In other cases, the right signal could be used to attract friendly birds that feed off of harmful insects.

  1. Moisture mapping sensors
  2. Chemical composition mappers
  3. Bug identifiers
  4. Rodent spotters 
  5. Disease identifiers
  6. Fungus monitors 
  7. Germination trackers 
  8. Plant health monitors

Smart Student Sensors

The process of receiving information and turning it into a useful skill is still very much a mystery. While we know a few things that work (some of the time), the education process itself remains a crude, imprecise exercise. The right combination of sensors can indeed add some useful metrics to work with. 

  1. Alertness/attention optimizers
  2. Discomfort/distraction calculators
  3. Oxygen level/blood flow monitors
  4. Optical/audio registers
  5. Discrimination/discernment analyzers
  6. Light-bulb-turning-on indicators
  7. Epiphany trackers/recorders
  8. Accomplishment mappers

Criminal Activity Sensors

Crimes come in many shapes and sizes. Here are a few thoughts on how future sensors can be used to alter the criminal landscape.

  1. Legal sensors – Is this legal? Will we soon be able to monitor and analyze the legality of virtually every transaction?
  2. Pipeline leakage sensors – Small holes have gone undetected for years.
  3. Data leakage sensors – Is someone stealing your data?
  4. Intellectual property loss sensors – Who is infringing and why?
  5. Illicit drug detectors – Detected from a distance.
  6. Fragility detectors – Expensive, fragile equipment will require a log of who-handled-what-when.
  7. Stability detectors – How stable is this person?
  8. Object recognition sensors – “These are not the drones you’re looking for.” Oh yes, they are!

Smart City Drone Sensors

Whenever an incident happens in a city of the future, their first response will be to “get eyes on it.” This will not only mean cameras, but sensors as well.

  1. Activity monitors – When a combination of people, motion, and emotion reach a critical stage, authorities will be alerted.
  2. Traffic analyzers – With automated stoplight recalculating algorithms.
  3. Bottleneck anticipator – Monitoring and projecting bottlenecks for auto, bike, and foot traffic.
  4. Fire spotters – With infrared and thermal detectors, cities will know about fires moments after they get started.
  5. Aging infrastructure analyzers – The flexing of bridges, swaying of buildings, structural integrity of power lines, and throughput of water and sewer lines can gives cities a minute-by-minute report on their ever-aging infrastructure.
  6. Weapon tracking system – Know where every weapon is at in the city at any time.
  7. Economic activity analyzer – What retail areas are increasing and decreasing, tracking the number of vacant houses, vacant storefronts, homeless people, car values, real estate values, and much more.
  8. Public health tracker – What neighborhoods have higher incident of flu, measles, cancer, diabetes, drug use, obesity, heart disease and why?

Smart Clothing Sensors

  1. Mood casters – When you walk into a building it will understand your mood and respond by adjusting the music, lighting, heat, cooling, entertainment, and much more.
  2. Identity casters – Rather than pulling out a driver’s license or passport, your identity will precede you.
  3. Photo/video shields – Anyone who doesn’t want to appear in a photo or video can simply turn on signal blocking tech to disrupt the visual spectrum around you.
  4. Metabolism sensors – Have you had enough food and water today? Have you had too much?
  5. Anticipatory weather sensors – Know in advance when the weather is about to change.
  6. Shaken-baby sensors – Find out if your nanny or babysitter is abusing your child.
  7. Whole health monitors – Monitor your galvanic skin response, neural activity, blood flow, glandular slowdowns, alertness levels, breathing-sleeping issues, and much more.
  8. Pet mood sensors – Know in advance if the dog you’re about to pet is friendly. Will we have a grading scale for pet happiness?

Final Thoughts

With sensors becoming very inexpensive, tiny and easy to mass-produce, we will soon see them embedded into paints, varnish and other coatings. We will soon have information coming from virtually every surrounding surface – sides of cars, sides of buildings, our clothing and our homes.

The next time you need to determine the optimal level of crispness, smoothness or ripeness you will probably use a sensor. Engineers will use sensors to determine things like light seepage, sound seepage or thermal seepage. Doctors will use sensors to analyze things like restrictive hair growth, genetic predispositions, causes for hearing loss and allergic reactions.

If you care to count them, we will reach our first trillion sensors on planet Earth in about seven years. Personally, I can’t wait!

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