The true value of a smart sensor comes from its ability to analyze, interpret, and convert the acquired data into usable information. This can come from the sensor itself or its use in a sensing node. Additional attributes with high value that can offset increased cost include self-calibration, fault-detection, higher reliability and reduced maintenance requirements. One modern approach to help organizations simulate real situations and their outcomes that ultimately allows them to make better decisions is digital twins.
Providing a virtual replica of a physical object, person, or process, a digital twin can be used to simulate its behavior to better understand how it works in real life. To accomplish their goal, digital twins are linked to real data sources from the environment providing opportunities for smart sensors. With the right inputs, the twin updates in real time to reflect the original version. The digital twin provides a layer of behavioral insights and visualizations derived from data.
Various types of sensors help to achieve the realization of the digital twin depends on the specific application. Target applications range from satellites and manufacturing to smart homes. After integrating the data from several sensors with diversified functionalities distributed around the physical scene, the digital twin will form a virtual environment capable of monitoring the physical products and being managed through the Internet of Things (IoT).
Border surveillance is another area that has become quite important for a variety of sensors in recent years. In addition to the 120-foot-tall steel towers topped with a system of daylight and infrared cameras, a network of buried seismic ground sensors helps Border Patrol agents to detect vehicle movement and people’s footsteps when they cross the border. Triggering one of these sensors sends a signal to local Border Patrol headquarters that tips off agents to go to the location and investigate. The legacy sensors have been around for decades and are not able to identify what exactly set them off. The input from an animal, person or vehicle all looks the same. Newer technologies from different companies could change this.
One company has been testing a LiDAR sensor to measure distances, scan for movement, and create 3-D images of people at the Southern border. Since it is the same technology used in self-driving cars, the company says its sensors can distinguish between a person and an animal. Obviously identifying a vehicle is possible and even easier.
Big white blimps floating 5,000 feet up in the sky can carry a significant sensing payload. Called Aerostats, each balloon is tethered to the ground with a nylon cable that can be extended and reeled in as required. With radar as well as infrared and electro-optical cameras, these craft can “see” approximately 20 miles and detect the movement of people and vehicles.
Artificial intelligence is one of the newest technologies being used at the border. One company’s system processes inputs from hundreds of thousands of sensors strategically placed along the border. Then it uses artificial intelligence to instantaneously interpret that data.
Sensors in Construction: Ultimate Guide 2023, https://neuroject.com/sensors-in-construction/
What is digital-twin technology? https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/mckinsey-explainers/what-is-digital-twin-technology
Artificial Intelligence‐Enabled Sensing Technologies in the 5G/Internet of Things Era: From Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality to the Digital Twin – Zhang – 2022 – Advanced Intelligent Systems – Wiley Online Library
Drones, sensors and AI: Here’s the tech that’s being used at the border, https://www.cnet.com/news/politics/drones-sensors-and-ai-heres-the-tech-thats-being-used-at-the-border/
Image source: James Martin/CNET (https://www.cnet.com/pictures/a-high-tech-low-tech-game-of-cat-and-mouse-along-the-border/3/ )