Ambient Sensor & Actuator Integration
Connected products in a digital IoT ecosystem have to be able to interact with their environment. They collect raw data for analysis, and use algorithms to clean, process and extract meaningful information from that data. You may also want to control a device from the cloud or an app, or allow it to influence its surroundings. Sensors and actuators are able to do all this, but to get efficient, cost-effective performance – especially in small devices – requires expert sensor selection, algorithm development and integration.
Sensors detect and collect data of all kinds, from light, temperature and moisture to position, movement and obstacles. This data is crucial in creating innovative, intelligent products, and its value in delivering feedback to users is rapidly increasing. But sensor and actuator technology is still far from ‘plug-and-play’, and its successful application involves many factors, such as…
- What type of sensor is the best starting point for acquiring and delivering the data I want?
- What type of algorithms are needed to clean the raw data and extract meaningful information for cloud processing, and how can they be embedded inexpensively?
- How can data collection and delivery be optimized in connection with low-power, wireless transmission requirements?
Our experts can answer these and many more questions. Their insight makes it possible to choose the ideal sensors and actuators, optimize algorithm development, and integrate this technology in products – including small portable devices – as effectively and cost-efficiently as possible.
Our ambient sensor & actuator integration service process include the following phases. Philips Engineering Solutions experts can also provide individual, one-off support at each one:
- Requirements analysis
Analyzing and defining the customer’s specific requirements for sensors and actuators, taking into consideration factors such as application domain, processing requirements, environmental disturbances, power consumption, wireless regulations and cost.
- Sensor selection
Choosing sensor/actuator hardware that matches the requirements best, and analyzing whether they indeed collect/deliver the data/data control required, or if additional processing in the product will be needed.
- Algorithm development and design
(If further processing is needed): 1) designing software algorithms or electronic circuits as needed in the digital or analog domain to optimize data delivery and 2) converting existing high-level customer algorithms (i.e. from Matlab) and optimizing them for embedded implementation.
- Sensor/actuator and algorithm implementation
(If desired): creating a prototype of a sensor-algorithm combination and integrating it in a product to confirm correct performance and accuracy – for example, to provide justification at a product-development gateway. The deliverable is in C-code format for operation in an embedded processor environment.
In working with sensors and actuators, algorithm development and design, we take an agile approach working in cycles. This ensures we continuously address the feature or subsystem most important to the customer. Through each work cycle, we follow the traditional verification and validation model, in which feature testing is done in parallel with feature design. This means that quality is continuously assured, and also that when all features are ready – the fully-tested deliverable is ready as well.
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Creating smart connected products and systems requires capabilities beyond the typical hardware and software design and engineering skills.