Wednesday, 14 October 2015 22:45

Fireside Chats with Mike Williams - March 2015

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Fireside Chats with Mike Williams - March 2015

Magnetoception. It’s the sense which allows animals to detect magnetic fields.

This sense is responsible for some animal’s navigation, defense, and hunting abilities. Humans have also been shown to respond to magnetic fields, albeit we’re much less sensitive than say- sharks. Magnetic bones have been found in our noses and a magneto-sensitive protein in our eyes. Harnessing this sense has been a dream held by more than the comic book villain Magneto. Every month this column shines a light on the technology of our future- This month’s Fireside Chats’ is on the magnetic sensor developed by Dr. Denys Makarov out of IFW Dresden.

We’ve supplemented our vestigial magneto-sensitive body parts. For quite some time, curious body-modification enthusiast have implanted small rare earth magnets into their finger pads to gain magnetoception. These early adopters report detecting electrical current, magnetic fields, and the occasional party trick. The magnetic sensor developed at IFW Dresden has some poignant differences from the implant. The implant is invasive, more expensive, risky, and the technology has more limitations. The skin-like sensor can be attached to more than just skin- industry, robots and wearable technology will benefit greatly from this technology. Technology that interact with a human wearing a magnetic strip on his finger can be developed from the ground up (Minority Report anyone?).

Dr. Denys Makarov has created a very durable fabric. The skin-like material is super-thin and can be stretched to more than 270 percent for over 1000 cycles without fatigue. These properties will allow us to wear or attach the sensors without any hindrance. Out of the box this technology won’t allow us to navigate like a homing pigeon. These sensors won’t allow us to do that until somebody designs an app to make our finger tingle when we point north.


Read 9456 times Last modified on Wednesday, 14 October 2015 23:16
Mike Williams

Mike has been with HITECH since November 2011. He is a man of many hobbies, including drums, bikes and beer. Some of his certifications include: A+, Network+, MCPS, MCNPS, MS, Watchguard Firewalls


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