Mechatronics of Recent Advances of Sensors for Assistive Technologies

Mechatronics of Recent Advances of Sensors for Assistive Technologies

Rapelang Marumo (University of Botswana, Botswana)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 9
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3440-2.ch015
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In this paper, the recent advances of sensors incorporated in assistive technologies are presented. Features of conventional sensors are largely electromechanical. However, the last two decades has, due to the move towards digital scholarship, witnessed the emergence of contemporary sensors that incorporate information technology (IT) component. Hence the term mechatronic or mechatronised sensors. Based on the function and of modern assistive devices, a variety of sensors are described with their features and applications. Further improvements and future trends are pointed out and discussed.
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Sensors have four main components i.e. sensing, processing, communication, and energy/ power unit. Body sensors fall into two main categories, i.e. implantable and wearable... The former measures parameters inside the body and mostly operates as interface to relatively small software components attached to or implanted into human bodies. Te implantable sensors provide bidirectional communication interface between a person and a remote information system that provides healthcare services, diagnosis, or upgrades (NASA, 2007). Wearable sensors, although not as invasive as their implantable counterparts, nevertheless must withstand the human body’s normal movements and infringes on them as little as possible (Khalil, 2008).

Efficient sensors with the assistive devices could enable early disease detection, remote diagnosis and independent living of elderly or disabled people and chronically ill patients.

Transduction Devices

A transducer is any device which converts one form of energy into another. Examples of common transducers include but not limited to the following:

  • A microphone converts sound into electrical impulses and a loudspeaker converts electrical impulses into sound (i.e., sound energy to electrical energy and vice versa0.

  • A solar cell converts light into electricity and a thermocouple converts thermal energy into electrical energy

  • An incandescent light bulb produces light by passing a current through a filament. Thus, a light bulb is a transducer for converting electrical energy into optical energy.

  • An electric motor is a transducer for conversion of electricity into mechanical energy or motion.

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