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Guided-Wave Powered Wireless Sensors

UCLA researchers in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering have developed a wirelessly powered, flexible sensor that detects pipe leaks over long distances.

Autonomous Comfort Systems Via An Infrared-Fused Vision-Driven Robotic Systems

Robotic comfort systems have been developed which use fans to deliver heated/cooling air to building occupants to provide greater levels of personal comfort.  However, current robotic systems rely on surveys asking individuals about their comfort state through a web interface or app.  This reliance on user feedback becomes impractical due to survey fatigue on the part of the user.  Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley have developed a system which uses a visible light camera located on the nozzle of a robotic fan to detect human facial features (e.g., eyes, nose, and lips).  Images from a co-located thermal camera are then registered onto the visible light image and temperatures of different facial features are captured and used to infer the comfort state of the individual.  Accordingly, the fan/heater system blows air with a specific velocity and temperature toward the occupant via a closed-loop feedback control.  Since the system can track a person in an environment, it addresses issues with prior data collection systems that needed occupants to be positioned in a specific location.

Predictive Controller that Optimizes Energy and Water Used to Cool Livestock

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a controller that applies environmental data to optimizing operations of livestock cooling equipment.

Colorimetric Detoxifying Sensors for Fumigants and Aerosol Toxicants

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a colorimetric sensor than can detect and detoxify fumigants simultaneously. 

In Situ Soil Nitrate Sensor

The invention is used for determining in-situ nitrate concentrations in soil solution using either ISE (Ion Selective Electrode) or fiber optic spectroscopy when the liquid in the porous cup of the in-situ probe is equilibrated with surrounding soil solution through the diffusion process.

Ultra-Sensitive Polybrominated Diphenyl Ether (PBDE) Detector

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are a common brominated flame retardant, which are commonly found in consumer products. Because they are not chemically bound to polymers, PBDEs are blended in during formation and have the ability to migrate from products into the environment.  Studies suggest that PBDEs pose potential health risks such as hormone disruptors, adverse neurobehavioral toxins and reproductive or developmental effects.  For this reason it is important to have the capability to sense the presence of PBDEs even in low concentrations.

Metal Triazolites

UCLA researchers in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry have developed a novel metal-organic framework (MOF) using triazole ligands that allows for facile modification with a variety of metals, which has unique gas separation and adsorption properties.

Multi-Tone Continuous Wave LIDAR

Object detection and ranging is a fundamental task for several applications such as autonomous vehicles, atmospheric observations, 3D imaging, topography and mapping. UCI researchers have developed a light detection and ranging (LIDAR) system which makes use of frequency modulated continuous waves (FMCW) with several simultaneous radiofrequency tones for improved speed of measurement while maintaining robust spatial information. 

Automatic Fine-Grained Radio Map Construction and Adaptation

The real-time position and mobility of a user is key to providing personalized location-based services (LBSs) – such as navigation. With the pervasiveness of GPS-enabled mobile devices (MDs), LBSs in outdoor environments is common and effective. However, providing equivalent quality of LBSs using GPS in indoor environments can be problematic. The ubiquity of both WiFi in indoor environments and WiFi-enabled MDs, makes WiFi a promising alternative to GPS for indoor LBSs. The most promising approach to establishing a WiFi-based indoor positioning system requires the construction of a high quality radio map for an indoor environment. However, the conventional approach for making the radio map is labor intensive, time-consuming, and vulnerable to temporal and environmental dynamics. To address this situation, researchers at UC Berkeley developed an approach for automatic, fine-grained radio map construction and adaptation. The Berkeley technology works both (a) in free space – where people and robots can move freely (e.g. corridors and open office space); and (b) in constrained space – which is blocked or not readily accessible. In addition to its use with WiFi signals, this technology could also be used with other RF signals – for example, in densely populated and built-up urban areas where it can be suboptimal to only rely on GPS.

Spectro-Temporal Lidar

UCLA researchers in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering have developed a LIDAR sensor that collects high frame-rate 3D measurements for autonomous vehicle and robotics applications.

Automated Immersion Mode Ice Spectroscopy

Ice nucleating particles (INPs) suspended in the Earth’s atmosphere influence cloud properties and can affect the overall precipitation efficiency and predictability of cloud systems worldwide. INPs induce freezing of cloud droplets at temperatures above their normal freezing-point (~-38 C), and at a relative humidity (RH) below the normal freezing RH of aqueous solution droplets at lower temperatures. These INP induced variabilities influence cloud lifetime, phase, as well as cloud optical and microphysical properties. Developing a relational model of INPs in global climate models has proven challenging as existing instrumentation systems either require too much air volume (in real-time flow instruments) or exhibit too much temperature variability (in off-line frozen assay based instruments).  Thus, there is a real urgency to address this unmet need.

Device-Free Human Identification System

In our electronically connected society, human identification systems are critical to secure authentication, and also enabling for tailored services to individuals. Conventional human identification systems, such as biometric-based or vision-based approaches, require either the deployment of dedicated infrastructure, or the active cooperation of users to carry devices. Consequently, pervasive implementation of conventional human identification systems is expensive, inconvenient, or intrusive to privacy. Recently, WiFi infrastructure, and associated WiFi-enabled mobile and IoT devices have become ubiquitous, and correspondingly, have enabled many context-aware and location-based services. To address the challenges of human identification systems and take advantage of the popularity of WiFi, researchers at UC Berkeley developed a human identification system based on analyzing signals from existing WiFi-enabled devices. This novel device-free approach uses WiFi signal analysis to reveal the unique, fine-grained gait patterns of individuals as the "fingerprint" for human identification.

A New and Cost-Effective Technology to Produce Hybrid-Glass/Optical Bubble Probes

The ability to accurately quantify gas volumes in liquid flows has important applications in environmental science and industry. For example, environmental processes that significantly contribute to changes in earth’s climate, such as methane seeps from the sea floor and the exchange of gases between the ocean and atmosphere at the sea surface, demand precise sensors that are small and sensitive enough to measure the ratio of liquids and gases in these bubbly mixtures. These measurements also play a critical role in the operational efficiency of a wide variety of different engineering processes. Applications include, the monitoring the optimal amount of bubbled oxygen in the treatment of waste water and sewage, and the oil and gas industry, especially in undersea oil pipelines in the Gulf of Mexico alone, have spent billions of dollars annually on added refinement techniques to remove seawater that could be preventable if sensors were able to measure the ratio of crude oil, seawater and gas as the mixture is pumped through pipelines. These challenges exist in both research and industry because the current manufacturing process for making the needed gas/liquid probes have significant cost constraints. Clearly, there is a need for a new and cost-effective technology to produce these probes.

Hydrogen Gas Sensors Based On Patterned Carbon Nanotube Ropes

This is a fabrication method for hydrogen gas sensors; these sensors have more rapid response times and are more sensitive than current detection techniques.

GPS-Based Miniature Oceanographic Wave Measuring Buoy System

Oceanic monitoring helps coastal communities, economies, and ecosystems thrive. The coastlines and open oceans prove to be very important to maritime countries for recreation, mineral and energy exploitation, shipping, weather forecasting and national security. As solar power, GPS, and telecomm improvements have been made, directional wave buoys have emerged and set the standard in wave monitoring. Non-directional and directional wave measurements are of high interest to users because of the importance of wave monitoring for successful marine operations. Wave data and climatological information derived from the data are also used for a variety of engineering and scientific applications.

Combined Greywater-Storm Water System With Forecast Integration

Water is a scarce resource in some part of the United States, and recent droughts in the Midwest and the South have elevated the issue of water scarcity to a national level. Existing water sources will face increasing strain due to population growth and climate change, and financial and regulatory barriers will prevent the development of new sources. One method to alleviate water scarcity is storm water capture. Storm water can be used for non-potable applications such as irrigation, laundry, and toilet flushing to significantly reduce domestic municipal water consumption. However, in arid regions of the US, rain comes in short, intense storms only a few months out of the year, and the duration and intensity of these storms require large storage tank volumes for storm water capture to be financially feasible.    One solution is to integrate storm water capture with greywater capture. Greywater is a reliable source of water for domestic reuse, and includes water from washbasins, laundry, and showers (kitchen sinks and water for toilet flushing are considered blackwater). Combining greywater-storm water in the same collection system allows for a much smaller storage tank. A UC Berkeley researcher, along with other researchers, have developed aforecast-integrated automated control system for combined greywater-storm water storage and reuse. A simple and reliable approach for managing greywater and storm water collection at a household or community level is provided, allowing for the near-continuous monitoring and adjustment of water quantity and quality in a combined greywater-storm water storage tank based on monitored feedback/output from individual, tank-specific sensors and/or sensors located elsewhere in the water collection system.   

Novel Sensor to Transduce and Digitalize Temperature Utilizing Near-Zero-Power Levels

Temperature sensors are routinely found in devices used to monitor the environment, the human body, industrial equipment, and beyond. In many such applications, the energy available from batteries or the power available from energy harvesters is extremely limited, thus the power consumption of sensing should be minimized in order to maximize operational lifetime.

The Flying Wing Autonomous Underwater Glider Technology

The underwater glider can be categorized as an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) that does not rely on an electrically driven propeller, but relies on small changes in its buoyancy and wings to move up and down. The pitch and roll is controlled by using an adjustable ballast. The AUV has been quite useful for collecting oceanographic data due to its unique propulsion system that uses very little energy and its ability to be on a sampling mission for weeks to months.

Highly Stretchable & Flexible Electronic Sensors

A new approach to creating highly stretchable electronic devices using twisted conductive microtubules.

Quantification Of Plant Chlorophyll Content Using Google Glass

UCLA researchers in the Department of Electrical Engineering have invented a novel device that can quantify chlorophyll concentration in plants using a custom-designed Google Glass app.

Sensitive Detection Of Chemical Species Using A Bacterial Display Sandwich Assay

96 Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} Endocrine disrupting compounds are found in increasing amounts in our environment, originating from pesticides, plasticizers, and pharmaceuticals, among other sources. These compounds have been implicated in diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and cancer. The list of chemicals that disrupt normal hormone function is growing at an alarming rate, making it crucially important to find sources of contamination and identify new compounds that display this ability. However, there is currently no broad-spectrum, rapid test for these compounds, as they are difficult to monitor because of their high potency and chemical dissimilarity.   To address this, UC Berkeley researchers have developed a new detection system and method for the sensitive detection of trace compounds using electrochemical methods.  This platform is both fast and portable, and it requires no specialized skills to perform. This system enables both the detection of many detrimental compounds and signal amplification from impedance measurements due to the binding of bacteria to a modified electrode. The researchers were able to test the system finding sub-ppb levels of estradiol and ppm levels of bisphenol A in complex solutions. This approach should be broadly applicable to the detection of chemically diverse classes of compounds that bind to a single receptor.  

Individual Identity Verified Through Device-Free, WiFi Based Framework

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a device-free, WiFi based framework that can isolate individual identity, from a small group of users, simply by observing variations in WiFi signals through a user’s gait.

Improved Energy Harvesting for Current-Carrying Conductors

There are an estimated 130 million wooden poles that support overhead power lines in the US.  Extreme weather, aging, storms or sabotage can all lead to potential damage of these poles and power lines, which can leave large areas without basic necessities.  Due to this risk, it’s anticipated that power utility companies will deploy sensors and corresponding energy harvesters to better respond to potential damage of this critical electricity grid infrastructure. To address this anticipated mass deployment of sensors and harvesters, researchers at UC Berkeley have developed technology improvements to harvesting of electrical energy from energized conductors carrying alternating currents, such as those on overhead and underground power lines (as well as power-supplying conductors in offices and dwellings).  These enhanced harvesters would improve the economics of deploying sensors across a national power grid.  The Berkeley harvesters can readily provide enough power to supply wireless communication devices, energy storage batteries and capacitors, as well as sensors such as accelerometers, particulate matter measuring devices, and atmospheric sensors.

RF-Powered Micromechanical Clock Generator

Realizing the potential of massive sensor networks requires overcoming cost and power challenges. When sleep/wake strategies can adequately limit a network node's sensor and wireless power consumption, then the power limitation comes down to the real-time clock (RTC) that synchronizes sleep/wake cycles. With typical RTC battery consumption on the order of 1µW, a low-cost printed battery with perhaps 1J of energy would last about 11 days. However, if a clock could bleed only 10nW from this battery, then it would last 3 years. To attain such a clock, researchers at UC Berkeley developed a mechanical circuit that harnesses squegging to convert received RF energy (at -58dBm) into a local clock while consuming less than 17.5nW of local battery power. The Berkeley design dispenses with the conventional closed-loop positive feedback approach to realize an RCT (along with its associated power consumption) and removes the need for a sustaining amplifier altogether. 

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