Archive for December, 2013

Detecting raindrops

I was driving in my car and it started to rain. My windscreen wipers automatically started to work and I was wondering how it works. So after searching I found a good blog post that explains how it works. Here you see a schematic representation of its internals:

01-rain-sensor-working-principle-reflection-of-infrared-light-electro-luminescent-diodeSo, on the left you have a LED that sends out a beam of light and depending on the amount of light that is received on the right side, the output gives a certain value. When a raindrop lies on top of the windscreen above the sensor, a portion of the LED light beam is deflected to the outside and therefore the receiver receives less light and this difference is visible at the output. This is then used to adjust the speed of the windscreen wipers.

So this can make the live of a driver easier. There can be a lot of possibilities to use this sensor for, like closing the roof of a convertible or turning on the lights during heavy rainfall.

Are there other possibilities to use the sensor for, that you can think of, which can ease the job a driver?





Extra! Extra! Read all about it!:
A new innovation in the automotive industry was recently announced, McLaren are going to use Ultrasonic waves to clear the windscreens of their super- and hypercars.


These Ultrasonic Waves have multiple advantages like, they don’t distract the driver and it is more aerodynamic than the standard windscreen wipers. The Sunday Times was the first to publish article about this topic so if you have an account I would certainly recommend you all to read it.

This new development shows another application of Ultrasonic waves than the distance measurement we do in our Thesis.


Privacy at festivals

Hey you guys,

Let’s talk about how ‘free’ you are at a festival.

I read a paper about how they track people at ‘Rock Werchter’ using Bluetooth, they started the first experiments already during the edition of 2009.

They use Bluetooth to track the movement of groups of festival goers, because nowadays every cell phone has this feature. Most people don’t even turn it off because they use it in their car to call handsfree. Every cell phone has a unique MAC address, so by placing a lot of Bluetooth scanners. You can see how cell phones move around all day. They will not know your phone number so don’t be afraid of that, they can only see what trajectory a certain cell phone has followed.

The retrieved data can be used to optimise the infrastructure of the next year. Like, what is the optimal position of drink shops or toilets? But like you all know, they not only organise it for fun. They want to make money out of it. I think that the data is also used to determine at which spots on the festival grounds, the most festival goers pass by. The spot where the most people pass a day will have a high value to place a publicity stand on. And sponsors will pay big money for big advertisement.


Which would be the primary reason for this tracking according to you? The upgrading of the festival experience every year or will it be the money of publicity?

What do you think, is it a violation of the privacy?

When I hear tracking and violation of privacy, I immediately think about the location tracking that was in the Apples IOS4 maybe some of you still know it . That was a big hype at that moment, because it was a real privacy violation. And Apple was obligated by court to change this in their operating system.



For the Flemish students there was also a little TV interview with the students of the University of Ghent who realised it: