Pressure Sensing in Drones

Welcome to All Sensors “Put the Pressure on Us” blog. This blog brings out pressure sensor aspects in a variety of applications inspired by headlines, consumer and industry requirements, market research, government activities and you. In this blog we’ll discuss the application of pressure sensing in drones.

Pressure Sensing in Drones

Aircraft of all sorts have different applications for pressure sensing. Drones in particular employ altimeters and barometers similar to even the most and least sophisticated aircraft. A basic surveillance drone can also use accelerometers, gyroscopes and magnetometers as well as cameras, temperature sensors and more.

The altimeter is an integral part of the altimeter control. While some drones have been developed and sold with ultrasonic sensors, pressure sensors improve the hovering mode of the most basic drones. With the altimeter, the air pressure in flight can be compared to the ground pressure for higher, safer operation of the drone.

Altimeters and barometers are mounted in protected internal compartments so their environment tolerance does not have to take into account external conditions that demand more rugged packaging. Recreational drones operating specifications fall well within the capabilities of commercial 100 kPa pressure sensors.

Other pressure sensor applications are found in other types of aircraft. For example, in light aircraft the simple form of an air speed indicator (ASI) measures the difference in pressure between the normal pressure around the craft and the increased pressure caused by propulsion. In more complex aircraft, pressure sensors can also monitor and help control the hydraulics, engine oil pressure and more.

With requests to expand the rules for drones from companies including Amazon, even the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is sensing drone pressure these days.

post13drones

What do you think/Comments?
Do you have a pressure sensing question? Let me know and I’ll address it in an upcoming blog.
-Dan DeFalco, Marketing Manager, All Sensors Corporation (ddefalco@allsensors.com)

Pressure Sensors’ Role in Solving Drought Problems

Welcome to All Sensors “Put the Pressure on Us” blog. This blog brings out pressure sensor aspects in a variety of applications inspired by headlines, consumer and industry requirements, market research, government activities and you. In this blog we’ll discuss the importance of pressure sensors’ role in solving drought problems.

Pressure Sensors’ Role in Solving Drought Problems

Sensors play an essential role in preventing excessive water usage and reducing water consumption to minimize the impact of drought situations. Of course there are many actions to conserve water that users can implement that do not involve sensors, but sensors can:

  • Determine if crop irrigation is sufficient to prevent over watering – soil monitoring through rain, temperature, wind, moisture sensors and more.
  • Detect leaks to avoid unnecessary water usage.

Pressure determines the flow rate and consequently the amount of water that is consumed so reducing the water pressure is a common conservation recommendation. Pressure regulators have a built-in pressure sensing mechanism.

Leak Detection

A common technique to determine if a system has leaks has three steps: pressurize the system, isolate the system from the pressure source and then measure the pressure to determine if a pressure drop occurs within a given amount of time. For residential and commercial water users, this would mean adding a pressure sensor to a system that already can measure unnecessary flow.

The utility’s water meter can identify water consumption with its low-flow indicator. Water flow when all water usage is turned off indicates leaking faucets, toilets, irrigation valves or even leaky pipes. Some estimates blame undetected water leaks for 5 to 15% of a private residence’s water consumption.

With today’s wireless technology and sophisticated computing capabilities, pressure sensing could become a tool for utilities to monitor their distribution networks to detect and identify the location of leaks before they become obvious geysers and floods. Researchers in Barcelona, Spain have been investigating this distributed pressure sensing approach for several years.  Using the proper number of appropriately placed pressure sensors in the distribution network generates a leakage signature that allows leakage localization. The leakage detection procedure compares real pressure and flow data with estimates using a simulation of the mathematical network model.  Genetic Algorithms allow the system to generate solutions to leakage problems in a much shorter timeframe than existing approaches.

With water conservation becoming more and more of an issue, both users and suppliers need to take the appropriate steps to ensure future availability. Pressure sensors could be a major part of the solution.

What do you think/Comments?
Do you have a pressure sensing question? Let me know and I’ll address it in an upcoming blog.
-Dan DeFalco, Marketing Manager, All Sensors Corporation (ddefalco@allsensors.com)

Pressure Sensing and the Internet of Things

Welcome to All Sensors “Put the Pressure on Us” blog. This blog brings out pressure sensor aspects in a variety of applications inspired by headlines, consumer and industry requirements, market research, government activities and you. In this blog we’ll discuss the importance of sensing as a driving force for the Internet of Things.

Pressure Sensing and the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is certainly a hot topic these days. Sensing is among the driving forces for the IoT, Cloud, Smart Factories and many other popular terms for highly connected networks since the data from combinations of different types of sensors and distributed sensors provides entirely new functionality and performance capabilities. Pressure is among the sensing data required for the new levels of connectivity in consumer electronics, medical, industrial and other applications.

Among the added challenges for these advanced systems are: the need for digitized data, handling the added amount of information, decisions of local (sensor node/sensor hub) versus remote computing, added software/algorithms, and communicating the measured data to the internet.

For a supplier focused strictly on the pressure sensor measurement, this means enlisting and utilizing the support of expertise in other technology areas and referring customers to these experts.

Sources for IoT Design Support:

Embedded computing

Software/algorithms/sensor fusion

Wireless communications

Wired communications

Development platforms

All Sensors does not endorse or recommend these companies and organizations to the exclusion of other sources.

What do you think/Comments?
Do you have a pressure sensing question? Let me know and I’ll address it in an upcoming blog.
-Dan DeFalco, Marketing Manager, All Sensors Corporation (ddefalco@allsensors.com)

May: National High Blood Pressure Education Month

Welcome to All Sensors “Put the Pressure on Us” blog. This blog brings out pressure sensor aspects in a variety of applications inspired by headlines, consumer and industry requirements, market research, government activities and you. In this blog we’ll discuss the importance of high blood pressure and creating visibility for this important health issue.

May: National High Blood Pressure Education Month

Do not over inflate! For tires this means air pressure but for humans it means blood pressure. With high blood pressure, a person’s artery walls can fail and ultimately be the cause of death. With this in mind, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has designated May as National High Blood Pressure Education Month. The facts are:

  • Data from 2010 indicates that 1,000 deaths occurred each day in America due at least in part to high blood pressure.
  • In the US, about 1 of 3 adults or 67 million people has high blood pressure.

Target desirable readings are 120 over 80: a systolic (top) number of 120 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and a diastolic (bottom) number of 80 mmHg. The top number is the pressure caused by the heart pumping blood and the bottom number is the value between beats. Higher values of 139 systolic and 80–89 diastolic indicate prehypertension. A person with a systolic reading of 140 or greater or diastolic value of 90 or greater has hypertension.

The mechanical sphygmomanometer remains one of the tools to measure blood pressure. However, MEMS pressure sensors provide accurate and easily automated measurements for digital pressure measurements and monitoring, especially in post-surgery and other critical situations. The American Heart Association has stated, “Accurate measurement of blood pressure is essential to classify individuals, to ascertain blood pressure–related risk, and to guide management.” While technique, cuff size, position, time of day and other factors are important for accurate measurements, accuracy starts at the level of the basic sensing element.

What do you think/Comments?
Do you have a pressure sensing question? Let me know and I’ll address it in an upcoming blog.
-Dan DeFalco, Marketing Manager, All Sensors Corporation (ddefalco@allsensors.com)