Using the earths magnetic field to find parking space

Finding an empty space in large parking garages or at shopping malls can be a frustrating experience. Researchers from Saarland University, in Germany, are using a new surveillance system based on magnetic sensors to show how the earths magnetic field can speed up the process.
A cars metal components and electronics cause minimal changes in the earths magnetic field around the vehicle. These minuscule alterations are picked up by magnetic field sensors. In parking garages or large shopping mall parking lots, these sensors can be used to identify unoccupied parking spaces. The empty spaces are then displayed on large screens. Unlike conventional surveillance cameras, which can be affected by fog or rain, the sensors have the major advantage of being suitable for use in all kinds of weather. In addition, they and the associated electronics are comparatively cheap and have low power consumption.

However, the new system, developed by the universitys scientists, can be used for more than just pinpointing parking spaces for example, the magnetic field sensors can also help to monitor and manage the flow of traffic. In large lock systems, the new surveillance system will be able to tell whether a ship has passed through the lock. Whats more, in an airport environment, it could prevent planes from colliding with other planes or with vehicles on the ground.

Accurate Measurements

Whether used in space or in semiconductor technology, the new nanopositioning system from German company Attocube Systems, of Munich, is accurate to the nanometer, even in freezing temperatures, vacuums, humid environments or where there are strong magnetic fields. (A nanometer is around 70 000 times thinner than a human hair.)

The positioning system is based on a new servomotor that makes it possible to achieve accurate positioning, even in the most hostile conditions. The demand for increasingly precise, yet robust, measuring, analysis and positioning systems is particularly high when it comes to the miniaturisation of electronic and semiconductor components and applications in the field of nanotechnology.

RFID Locator

Boundary markers surveyors set them into the ground to mark out newly surveyed pieces of land. And there they lie, often for decades. Then, at some stage, it becomes necessary to find the markers again for further surveys. This is where the problems start. The global positioning system can be used to determine exactly where the boundary lines run, but the surveyors still have to find the physical markers. This can be quite a mission, as the markers are covered with earth and have probably been shifted from their original positions by natural forces or human intervention.

Surveyors will, therefore, be delighted to hear that the search for boundary markers will soon be a lot simpler and quicker, thanks to the new Punktfinder pinpoint locator developed by researchers at Otto von Guericke University, in Magdeburg, Germany.

The system works by fitting all boundary markers with radio-frequency identification (RFID) transmitters before they are set into the ground. They can be easily located decades later using a hand-held Punktfinder RFID receiver. It does not matter whether the markers have been shifted or buried the new Punktfinder will pinpoint them wherever they are.

Shoes that Generate Power

ille Kaajakari, an assistant professor at Louisiana Technical University, has developed new technology which generates energy using a generator installed on the shoe heel. The news has been published in the Finnish online magazine CO2-raportti.

Kaajakaris innovation is based on a new voltage regulation circuit which can convert a piezoelectric charge effectively into usable voltage, which can then be used for recharging batteries or for the operation of electronic devices.

This technology can help particularly those who love to exercise outdoors and people who require GPS or emergency help. Generally speaking, anyone who uses portable electronic devices can become free from toxic single-use batteries or recharging batteries on mains, says Kaajakari.

The new invention relies on a low-cost polymer transducer that has metallic surfaces for electrical contact. Unlike traditional ceramic transducers, the polymer transducer is soft and durable. The transducer can be installed on the sole without reducing the user-friendliness of the shoe.
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