Sensor Walk

My first assignment for Physical Computing is to take a walk around Berry and make note of interesting sensors. Here is what I found…

This PUR Water Filter attaches to my faucet. If I turn the water on, water comes out as normal. If I turn on the water and then flip the black switch, the device displays a green flashing light indicating my water is purified.

This device senses both the temperature and humidity level in my room and displays them accordingly. As you can see, my room is very hot.

There are 2 sensors in this picture. The fire alarm is easy to spot. If I were to pull the lever, a fire alarm would sound along with many flashing lights scattered throughout my dorm building. The other sensor is for easy access through a doorway. If I press it, the door opens for me.

This is another sensor linked with a doorway. This one responds to my Berry student identification card. The light is red right now and the door is locked.. However, if I wave my ID card in front of it, the light turns green and grants me access through the door.

This is my battery powered toothbrush. The battery is being charged right now. I know this because the green light indicator is on.

My electric guitar has many sensors, or “pick-ups” as they are known. They are those groups of 6 magnets underneath my strings. They sense the vibration of my guitar strings when strummed. There must be an electric current running from my amplifier to the sensors of my guitar for any “pick-up” to happen. Also, notice the white switch on the right side of my guitar? This allows me to control which set of sensors (out of three) I want to be active.

Now, your turn. How many sensors do you see on this elevator control board?

Final Thoughts:

I had a lot of fun walking around Berry and my dorm observing and noting many of the sensors. I am amazed at the large number of sensors in the environment I live in. I have always been conscious of the plethora of sensors around me, but thanks to this assignment I now grasp the magnitude.

2 thoughts on “Sensor Walk

  1. Good writeup. So with the water filter, does it actually sense purification level of the water, or it just senses the water flowing? (e.g. a vacuum my parents have has two indicator lights “clean” and “dirty” that actually measure the dust content in the air that is being sucked into the vaccum.)

    In the thermostat picture, it looks like there’s a car remote hanging below it – did you know that it probably has a (radio) sensor within in which can be used to reprogram the remote to work with a different car?

    With the handicapped door, I wonder if there are some other hidden sensors somewhere – that could detect if the door is currently open, or if someone is standing behind it. If the door bumps into something as it is opening, does it stop?

    The ID card reader probably has some sore of RFID sensor.

    Again, with the elevator, do the doors sense if something is caught between them when they are closing? (If you must, try it with something that’s not attached to your body.)

    • Thanks. I should have made that more clear. The water filter simply just senses that the water is flowing to the other side (which has the filter on it).

      Ah, yes. Actually, I just got a new one of these car remotes for my car and had it programmed to fit my car.

      If the handicapped door is closing, I can push on it lightly (before the door is fully closed) and the door will open back up again. It also has a holding mechanism which allows the door to stay open (if turned on) until the switch is turned off.

      Haha. I know from experience that the elevator doors do sense if something is between them. When I was a kid, an elevator door closed on my arm and I never trusted those sensors again. For the most part though, I think many sensors on elevators react and re-open the doors before it closes on the object.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.