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$20 card puts sensors on the air

01 August, 2002

$20 card puts sensors on the air

A US company has developed a credit-card device costing less than $20 that gathers data from sensors and transmits it, without wires, to a local area network or the Internet. Dallas-based Axcess originally developed the Universal Sensing Appliance (USA) for security applications, but the company says that it is also suitable for use in manufacturing processes and safety installations.

"We`ve broken the cost barriers that have stood in the way of broader deployment of wireless technology," says Axcess chief executive, Allan Griebenow. "Once you do away with wiring, you can install a lot quicker, and design systems that put sensors in places that were cost-prohibitive before."

The USA device attaches to any sensor with an electronic interface. Axcess is supplying compatible sensors including a thermal sensor for monitoring machine temperatures, as well as contact, shock and motion detectors. The system interprets the sensor data and transmits it to palm-sized, network-based receivers that can deliver the information either locally or over the Internet.

The information is monitored using browser software called Onlinesupervisor, which allows users to customise the display to show information that they are interested in, and to define a list of recipients for email or pager alerts.

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