E-Mail Alert

Add your e-mail address to receive forthcoming issues of this journal:

Journal Browser

Journal Browser

Special Issue "State-of-the-Art Sensors Technologies in Italy 2016"

A special issue of Sensors (ISSN 1424-8220). This special issue belongs to the section "State-of-the-Art Sensors Technologies".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2017)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Giorgio Sberveglieri

Department of Information Engineering (DII), University of Brescia, Via Branze 38, I25133 Brescia, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: chemical sensor; metal oxide; electronic nose; hybrid material; nanowires
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Vittorio Ferrari

Department of Information Engineering (DII), University of Brescia, Via Branze 38, I25133 Brescia, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: piezoelectric sensors and transducers; resonant and acoustic-wave sensors; energy harvesting for sensors; sensor interface electronics; MEMS and microsensors for physical quantities

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue is intended to provide an up-to-date and comprehensive view on the state-of-the-art of sensors science and technology in Italy.

The covered topics will span from sensing devices and principles (including chemical, physical, biological, and optical sensors), to sensor technologies (including micro and nano fabrication, film and printed technologies), to sensor systems (including sensor electronics, energy harvesting, sensor networks, and internet of things), to applications in different scenarios (including industrial, automotive, environmental, food and agricolture, biomedical, and other fields).

High-quality research and review articles on any relevant aspect related to sensors in Italy are solicited and will be considered for publication in the Special Issue.

Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Chemical Sensors and Microsystems
  • Physical Sensors and Microsystems
  • Biological Sensors - Biomedical Devices and Systems
  • Micro- and Nano-Fabrication for Sensors and Actuators
  • MEMS, MOEMS, NEMS
  • Materials and Technology
  • Theory, modelling, design and simulation
  • Micro-Fluidic and Micro Analytical Sensors and Systems
  • Sensor Electronics and Signal Processing
  • Energy Harvesting and Micro-Power Generation
  • Wireless Sensor Networks
  • Sensor Systems and Applications
  • Electronic Noses
  • Actuators and Micromachines
  • Packaging and Assembly Technology

Prof. Dr. Giorgio Sberveglieri
Prof. Dr. Vittorio Ferrari
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sensors is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (18 papers)

View options order results:
result details:
Displaying articles 1-18
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessArticle Analysis and Validation of Contactless Time-Gated Interrogation Technique for Quartz Resonator Sensors
Sensors 2017, 17(6), 1264; doi:10.3390/s17061264
Received: 7 April 2017 / Revised: 18 May 2017 / Accepted: 25 May 2017 / Published: 2 June 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (3662 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A technique for contactless electromagnetic interrogation of AT-cut quartz piezoelectric resonator sensors is proposed based on a primary coil electromagnetically air-coupled to a secondary coil connected to the electrodes of the resonator. The interrogation technique periodically switches between interleaved excitation and detection phases.
[...] Read more.
A technique for contactless electromagnetic interrogation of AT-cut quartz piezoelectric resonator sensors is proposed based on a primary coil electromagnetically air-coupled to a secondary coil connected to the electrodes of the resonator. The interrogation technique periodically switches between interleaved excitation and detection phases. During the excitation phase, the resonator is set into vibration by a driving voltage applied to the primary coil, whereas in the detection phase, the excitation signal is turned off and the transient decaying response of the resonator is sensed without contact by measuring the voltage induced back across the primary coil. This approach ensures that the readout frequency of the sensor signal is to a first order approximation independent of the interrogation distance between the primary and secondary coils. A detailed theoretical analysis of the interrogation principle based on a lumped-element equivalent circuit is presented. The analysis has been experimentally validated on a 4.432 MHz AT-cut quartz crystal resonator, demonstrating the accurate readout of the series resonant frequency and quality factor over an interrogation distance of up to 2 cm. As an application, the technique has been applied to the measurement of liquid microdroplets deposited on a 4.8 MHz AT-cut quartz crystal. More generally, the proposed technique can be exploited for the measurement of any physical or chemical quantities affecting the resonant response of quartz resonator sensors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technologies in Italy 2016)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Characterization of Fine Metal Particles Derived from Shredded WEEE Using a Hyperspectral Image System: Preliminary Results
Sensors 2017, 17(5), 1117; doi:10.3390/s17051117
Received: 30 January 2017 / Revised: 10 May 2017 / Accepted: 11 May 2017 / Published: 13 May 2017
PDF Full-text (6195 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Waste of electric and electronic equipment (WEEE) is the fastest-growing waste stream in Europe. The large amount of electric and electronic products introduced every year in the market makes WEEE disposal a relevant problem. On the other hand, the high abundance of key
[...] Read more.
Waste of electric and electronic equipment (WEEE) is the fastest-growing waste stream in Europe. The large amount of electric and electronic products introduced every year in the market makes WEEE disposal a relevant problem. On the other hand, the high abundance of key metals included in WEEE has increased the industrial interest in WEEE recycling. However, the high variability of materials used to produce electric and electronic equipment makes key metals’ recovery a complex task: the separation process requires flexible systems, which are not currently implemented in recycling plants. In this context, hyperspectral sensors and imaging systems represent a suitable technology to improve WEEE recycling rates and the quality of the output products. This work introduces the preliminary tests using a hyperspectral system, integrated in an automatic WEEE recycling pilot plant, for the characterization of mixtures of fine particles derived from WEEE shredding. Several combinations of classification algorithms and techniques for signal enhancement of reflectance spectra were implemented and compared. The methodology introduced in this study has shown characterization accuracies greater than 95%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technologies in Italy 2016)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle The Use of IMMUs in a Water Environment: Instrument Validation and Application of 3D Multi-Body Kinematic Analysis in Medicine and Sport
Sensors 2017, 17(4), 927; doi:10.3390/s17040927
Received: 24 February 2017 / Revised: 6 April 2017 / Accepted: 19 April 2017 / Published: 22 April 2017
PDF Full-text (3928 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The aims of the present study were the instrumental validation of inertial-magnetic measurements units (IMMUs) in water, and the description of their use in clinical and sports aquatic applications applying customized 3D multi-body models. Firstly, several tests were performed to map the magnetic
[...] Read more.
The aims of the present study were the instrumental validation of inertial-magnetic measurements units (IMMUs) in water, and the description of their use in clinical and sports aquatic applications applying customized 3D multi-body models. Firstly, several tests were performed to map the magnetic field in the swimming pool and to identify the best volume for experimental test acquisition with a mean dynamic orientation error lower than 5°. Successively, the gait and the swimming analyses were explored in terms of spatiotemporal and joint kinematics variables. The extraction of only spatiotemporal parameters highlighted several critical issues and the joint kinematic information has shown to be an added value for both rehabilitative and sport training purposes. Furthermore, 3D joint kinematics applied using the IMMUs provided similar quantitative information than that of more expensive and bulky systems but with a simpler and faster setup preparation, a lower time consuming processing phase, as well as the possibility to record and analyze a higher number of strides/strokes without limitations imposed by the cameras. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technologies in Italy 2016)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Accurate Simulation of Parametrically Excited Micromirrors via Direct Computation of the Electrostatic Stiffness
Sensors 2017, 17(4), 779; doi:10.3390/s17040779
Received: 2 March 2017 / Revised: 30 March 2017 / Accepted: 3 April 2017 / Published: 6 April 2017
PDF Full-text (1450 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Electrostatically actuated torsional micromirrors are key elements in Micro-Opto-Electro- Mechanical-Systems. When forced by means of in-plane comb-fingers, the dynamics of the main torsional response is known to be strongly non-linear and governed by parametric resonance. Here, in order to also trace unstable branches
[...] Read more.
Electrostatically actuated torsional micromirrors are key elements in Micro-Opto-Electro- Mechanical-Systems. When forced by means of in-plane comb-fingers, the dynamics of the main torsional response is known to be strongly non-linear and governed by parametric resonance. Here, in order to also trace unstable branches of the mirror response, we implement a simplified continuation method with arc-length control and propose an innovative technique based on Finite Elements and the concepts of material derivative in order to compute the electrostatic stiffness; i.e., the derivative of the torque with respect to the torsional angle, as required by the continuation approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technologies in Italy 2016)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Assessment of the Indoor Odour Impact in a Naturally Ventilated Room
Sensors 2017, 17(4), 778; doi:10.3390/s17040778
Received: 31 January 2017 / Revised: 29 March 2017 / Accepted: 31 March 2017 / Published: 5 April 2017
PDF Full-text (2966 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Indoor air quality influences people’s lives, potentially affecting their health and comfort. Nowadays, ventilation is the only technique commonly used for regulating indoor air quality. CO2 is the reference species considered in order to calculate the air exchange rates of indoor environments.
[...] Read more.
Indoor air quality influences people’s lives, potentially affecting their health and comfort. Nowadays, ventilation is the only technique commonly used for regulating indoor air quality. CO2 is the reference species considered in order to calculate the air exchange rates of indoor environments. Indeed, regarding air quality, the presence of pleasant or unpleasant odours can strongly influence the environmental comfort. In this paper, a case study of indoor air quality monitoring is reported. The indoor field tests were conducted measuring both CO2 concentration, using a photoacoustic multi-gas analyzer, and odour trends, using an electronic nose, in order to analyze and compare the information acquired. The indoor air monitoring campaign was run for a period of 20 working days into a university room. The work was focused on the determination of both CO2 and odour emission factors (OEF) emitted by the human activity and on the evaluation of the odour impact in a naturally ventilated room. The results highlighted that an air monitoring and recycling system based only on CO2 concentration and temperature measurements might be insufficient to ensure a good indoor air quality, whereas its performances could be improved by integrating the existing systems with an electronic nose for odour detection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technologies in Italy 2016)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Optimum Design Rules for CMOS Hall Sensors
Sensors 2017, 17(4), 765; doi:10.3390/s17040765
Received: 29 January 2017 / Revised: 29 March 2017 / Accepted: 29 March 2017 / Published: 4 April 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (3116 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This manuscript analyzes the effects of design parameters, such as aspect ratio, doping concentration and bias, on the performance of a general CMOS Hall sensor, with insight on current-related sensitivity, power consumption, and bandwidth. The article focuses on rectangular-shaped Hall probes since this
[...] Read more.
This manuscript analyzes the effects of design parameters, such as aspect ratio, doping concentration and bias, on the performance of a general CMOS Hall sensor, with insight on current-related sensitivity, power consumption, and bandwidth. The article focuses on rectangular-shaped Hall probes since this is the most general geometry leading to shape-independent results. The devices are analyzed by means of 3D-TCAD simulations embedding galvanomagnetic transport model, which takes into account the Lorentz force acting on carriers due to a magnetic field. Simulation results define a set of trade-offs and design rules that can be used by electronic designers to conceive their own Hall probes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technologies in Italy 2016)
Figures

Figure 1a

Open AccessArticle Electronic Noses for Composites Surface Contamination Detection in Aerospace Industry
Sensors 2017, 17(4), 754; doi:10.3390/s17040754
Received: 31 January 2017 / Revised: 17 March 2017 / Accepted: 27 March 2017 / Published: 2 April 2017
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (8703 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The full exploitation of Composite Fiber Reinforced Polymers (CFRP) in so-called green aircrafts design is still limited by the lack of adequate quality assurance procedures for checking the adhesive bonding assembly, especially in load-critical primary structures. In this respect, contamination of the CFRP
[...] Read more.
The full exploitation of Composite Fiber Reinforced Polymers (CFRP) in so-called green aircrafts design is still limited by the lack of adequate quality assurance procedures for checking the adhesive bonding assembly, especially in load-critical primary structures. In this respect, contamination of the CFRP panel surface is of significant concern since it may severely affect the bonding and the mechanical properties of the joint. During the last years, the authors have developed and tested an electronic nose as a non-destructive tool for pre-bonding surface inspection for contaminants detection, identification and quantification. Several sensors and sampling architectures have been screened in view of the high Technology Readiness Level (TRL) scenarios requirements. Ad-hoc pattern recognition systems have also been devised to ensure a fast and reliable assessment of the contamination status, by combining real time classifiers and the implementation of a suitable rejection option. Results show that e-noses could be used as first line low cost Non Destructive Test (NDT) tool in aerospace CFRP assembly and maintenance scenarios. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technologies in Italy 2016)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Conductive Photo-Activated Porphyrin-ZnO Nanostructured Gas Sensor Array
Sensors 2017, 17(4), 747; doi:10.3390/s17040747
Received: 30 January 2017 / Revised: 23 March 2017 / Accepted: 30 March 2017 / Published: 1 April 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (3827 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Chemoresistors working at room temperature are attractive for low-consumption integrated sensors. Previous studies show that this feature can be obtained with photoconductive porphyrins-coated ZnO nanostructures. Furthermore, variations of the porphyrin molecular structure alter both the chemical sensitivity and the photoconductivity, and can be
[...] Read more.
Chemoresistors working at room temperature are attractive for low-consumption integrated sensors. Previous studies show that this feature can be obtained with photoconductive porphyrins-coated ZnO nanostructures. Furthermore, variations of the porphyrin molecular structure alter both the chemical sensitivity and the photoconductivity, and can be used to define the sensor characteristics. Based on these assumptions, we investigated the properties of an array of four sensors made of a layer of ZnO nanoparticles coated with porphyrins with the same molecular framework but different metal atoms. The array was tested with five volatile organic compounds (VOCs), each measured at different concentrations. Results confirm that the features of individual porphyrins influence the sensor behavior, and the differences among sensors are enough to enable the discrimination of volatile compounds disregarding their concentration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technologies in Italy 2016)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Hyperspectral Monitoring of Green Roof Vegetation Health State in Sub-Mediterranean Climate: Preliminary Results
Sensors 2017, 17(4), 662; doi:10.3390/s17040662
Received: 1 February 2017 / Revised: 6 March 2017 / Accepted: 20 March 2017 / Published: 23 March 2017
PDF Full-text (9582 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In urban and industrial environments, the constant increase of impermeable surfaces has produced drastic changes in the natural hydrological cycle. Decreasing green areas not only produce negative effects from a hydrological-hydraulic perspective, but also from an energy point of view, modifying the urban
[...] Read more.
In urban and industrial environments, the constant increase of impermeable surfaces has produced drastic changes in the natural hydrological cycle. Decreasing green areas not only produce negative effects from a hydrological-hydraulic perspective, but also from an energy point of view, modifying the urban microclimate and generating, as shown in the literature, heat islands in our cities. In this context, green infrastructures may represent an environmental compensation action that can be used to re-equilibrate the hydrological and energy balance and reduce the impact of pollutant load on receiving water bodies. To ensure that a green infrastructure will work properly, vegetated areas have to be continuously monitored to verify their health state. This paper presents a ground spectroscopy monitoring survey of a green roof installed at the University of Calabria fulfilled via the acquisition and analysis of hyperspectral data. This study is part of a larger research project financed by European Structural funds aimed at understanding the influence of green roofs on rainwater management and energy consumption for air conditioning in the Mediterranean area. Reflectance values were acquired with a field-portable spectroradiometer that operates in the range of wavelengths 350–2500 nm. The survey was carried out during the time period November 2014–June 2015 and data were acquired weekly. Climatic, thermo-physical, hydrological and hydraulic quantities were acquired as well and related to spectral data. Broadband and narrowband spectral indices, related to chlorophyll content and to chlorophyll–carotenoid ratio, were computed. The two narrowband indices NDVI705 and SIPI turned out to be the most representative indices to detect the plant health status. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technologies in Italy 2016)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Carded Tow Real-Time Color Assessment: A Spectral Camera-Based System
Sensors 2016, 16(9), 1404; doi:10.3390/s16091404
Received: 18 July 2016 / Revised: 19 August 2016 / Accepted: 26 August 2016 / Published: 31 August 2016
PDF Full-text (9728 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
One of the most important parameters to be controlled during the production of textile yarns obtained by mixing pre-colored fibers, is the color correspondence between the manufactured yarn and a given reference, usually provided by a designer or a customer. Obtaining yarns from
[...] Read more.
One of the most important parameters to be controlled during the production of textile yarns obtained by mixing pre-colored fibers, is the color correspondence between the manufactured yarn and a given reference, usually provided by a designer or a customer. Obtaining yarns from raw pre-colored fibers is a complex manufacturing process entailing a number of steps such as laboratory sampling, color recipe corrections, blowing, carding and spinning. Carding process is the one devoted to transform a “fuzzy mass” of tufted fibers into a regular mass of untwisted fibers, named “tow”. During this process, unfortunately, the correspondence between the color of the tow and the target one cannot be assured, thus leading to yarns whose color differs from the one used for reference. To solve this issue, the main aim of this work is to provide a system able to perform a spectral camera-based real-time measurement of a carded tow, to assess its color correspondence with a reference carded fabric and, at the same time, to monitor the overall quality of the tow during the carding process. Tested against a number of differently colored carded fabrics, the proposed system proved its effectiveness in reliably assessing color correspondence in real-time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technologies in Italy 2016)
Figures

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Nitride-Based Materials for Flexible MEMS Tactile and Flow Sensors in Robotics
Sensors 2017, 17(5), 1080; doi:10.3390/s17051080
Received: 14 March 2017 / Revised: 1 May 2017 / Accepted: 5 May 2017 / Published: 10 May 2017
PDF Full-text (5530 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The response to different force load ranges and actuation at low energies is of considerable interest for applications of compliant and flexible devices undergoing large deformations. We present a review of technological platforms based on nitride materials (aluminum nitride and silicon nitride) for
[...] Read more.
The response to different force load ranges and actuation at low energies is of considerable interest for applications of compliant and flexible devices undergoing large deformations. We present a review of technological platforms based on nitride materials (aluminum nitride and silicon nitride) for the microfabrication of a class of flexible micro-electro-mechanical systems. The approach exploits the material stress differences among the constituent layers of nitride-based (AlN/Mo, Si x N y /Si and AlN/polyimide) mechanical elements in order to create microstructures, such as upwardly-bent cantilever beams and bowed circular membranes. Piezoresistive properties of nichrome strain gauges and direct piezoelectric properties of aluminum nitride can be exploited for mechanical strain/stress detection. Applications in flow and tactile sensing for robotics are described. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technologies in Italy 2016)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview New Frontiers for Applications of Thermal Infrared Imaging Devices: Computational Psychopshysiology in the Neurosciences
Sensors 2017, 17(5), 1042; doi:10.3390/s17051042
Received: 27 February 2017 / Revised: 27 April 2017 / Accepted: 29 April 2017 / Published: 5 May 2017
PDF Full-text (4692 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Thermal infrared imaging has been proposed, and is now used, as a tool for the non-contact and non-invasive computational assessment of human autonomic nervous activity and psychophysiological states. Thanks to a new generation of high sensitivity infrared thermal detectors and the development of
[...] Read more.
Thermal infrared imaging has been proposed, and is now used, as a tool for the non-contact and non-invasive computational assessment of human autonomic nervous activity and psychophysiological states. Thanks to a new generation of high sensitivity infrared thermal detectors and the development of computational models of the autonomic control of the facial cutaneous temperature, several autonomic variables can be computed through thermal infrared imaging, including localized blood perfusion rate, cardiac pulse rate, breath rate, sudomotor and stress responses. In fact, all of these parameters impact on the control of the cutaneous temperature. The physiological information obtained through this approach, could then be used to infer about a variety of psychophysiological or emotional states, as proved by the increasing number of psychophysiology or neurosciences studies that use thermal infrared imaging. This paper presents a review of the principal achievements of thermal infrared imaging in computational psychophysiology, focusing on the capability of the technique for providing ubiquitous and unwired monitoring of psychophysiological activity and affective states. It also presents a summary on the modern, up-to-date infrared sensors technology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technologies in Italy 2016)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview Metal Oxide Nanowire Preparation and Their Integration into Chemical Sensing Devices at the SENSOR Lab in Brescia
Sensors 2017, 17(5), 1000; doi:10.3390/s17051000
Received: 15 February 2017 / Revised: 21 April 2017 / Accepted: 25 April 2017 / Published: 1 May 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (13636 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Metal oxide 1D nanowires are probably the most promising structures to develop cheap stable and selective chemical sensors. The purpose of this contribution is to review almost two-decades of research activity at the Sensor Lab Brescia on their preparation during by vapor solid
[...] Read more.
Metal oxide 1D nanowires are probably the most promising structures to develop cheap stable and selective chemical sensors. The purpose of this contribution is to review almost two-decades of research activity at the Sensor Lab Brescia on their preparation during by vapor solid (n-type In2O3, ZnO), vapor liquid solid (n-type SnO2 and p-type NiO) and thermal evaporation and oxidation (n-type ZnO, WO3 and p-type CuO) methods. For each material we’ve assessed the chemical sensing performance in relation to the preparation conditions and established a rank in the detection of environmental and industrial pollutants: SnO2 nanowires were effective in DMMP detection, ZnO nanowires in NO2, acetone and ethanol detection, WO3 for ammonia and CuO for ozone. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technologies in Italy 2016)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview Chemical Sensors and Biosensors in Italy: A Review of the 2015 Literature
Sensors 2017, 17(4), 868; doi:10.3390/s17040868
Received: 30 January 2017 / Revised: 29 March 2017 / Accepted: 11 April 2017 / Published: 14 April 2017
PDF Full-text (833 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The contributions of Italian researchers to sensor research in 2015 is reviewed. The analysis of the activities in one year allows one to obtain a snapshot of the Italian scenario capturing the main directions of the research activities. Furthermore, the distance of more
[...] Read more.
The contributions of Italian researchers to sensor research in 2015 is reviewed. The analysis of the activities in one year allows one to obtain a snapshot of the Italian scenario capturing the main directions of the research activities. Furthermore, the distance of more than one year makes meaningful the bibliometric analysis of the reviewed papers. The review shows a research community distributed among different scientific disciplines, from chemistry, physics, engineering, and material science, with a strong interest in collaborative works. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technologies in Italy 2016)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview The Development of Sensor Applications in the Sectors of Energy and Environment in Italy, 1976–2015
Sensors 2017, 17(4), 793; doi:10.3390/s17040793
Received: 3 February 2017 / Revised: 14 March 2017 / Accepted: 4 April 2017 / Published: 7 April 2017
PDF Full-text (1850 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Although sensor technologies have been developing quite similarly all over the world, the investigation of their applications has been more affected by the specific industrial and economic characteristics of each country. This paper aims to investigate the development of applications based on sensor
[...] Read more.
Although sensor technologies have been developing quite similarly all over the world, the investigation of their applications has been more affected by the specific industrial and economic characteristics of each country. This paper aims to investigate the development of applications based on sensor devices in the sectors of energy and the environment, in Italy, throughout the last forty years (1976–2015), examining the most relevant papers published by Italian R & D groups working in this field. Italy depends on foreign imports for more than 80% of its primary energy needs, and this has directed the research effort on the development of sensor applications both to improve load shaping and consumers’ awareness and to develop specific equipment to maximize renewable energy production. Similarly, for the environment sector, there are increasing efforts to develop solutions to support a more and more capillary control of the environment itself using a cooperative approach. In both the sectors it seems that the solutions proposed can help to relieve the structural problems that Italy suffers and that the scientific and technical results obtained so far also have significant international relevance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technologies in Italy 2016)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview Low-Cost Inkjet Printing Technology for the Rapid Prototyping of Transducers
Sensors 2017, 17(4), 748; doi:10.3390/s17040748
Received: 31 January 2017 / Revised: 15 March 2017 / Accepted: 29 March 2017 / Published: 1 April 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (3177 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Recently, there has been an upsurge in efforts dedicated to developing low-cost flexible electronics by exploiting innovative materials and direct printing technologies. This interest is motivated by the need for low-cost mass-production, shapeable, and disposable devices, and the rapid prototyping of electronics and
[...] Read more.
Recently, there has been an upsurge in efforts dedicated to developing low-cost flexible electronics by exploiting innovative materials and direct printing technologies. This interest is motivated by the need for low-cost mass-production, shapeable, and disposable devices, and the rapid prototyping of electronics and sensors. This review, following a short overview of main printing processes, reports examples of the development of flexible transducers through low-cost inkjet printing technology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technologies in Italy 2016)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessFeature PaperReview Metal Oxide Gas Sensors, a Survey of Selectivity Issues Addressed at the SENSOR Lab, Brescia (Italy)
Sensors 2017, 17(4), 714; doi:10.3390/s17040714
Received: 31 January 2017 / Revised: 18 March 2017 / Accepted: 23 March 2017 / Published: 29 March 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (6239 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This work reports the recent results achieved at the SENSOR Lab, Brescia (Italy) to address the selectivity of metal oxide based gas sensors. In particular, two main strategies are being developed for this purpose: (i) investigating different sensing mechanisms featuring different response spectra
[...] Read more.
This work reports the recent results achieved at the SENSOR Lab, Brescia (Italy) to address the selectivity of metal oxide based gas sensors. In particular, two main strategies are being developed for this purpose: (i) investigating different sensing mechanisms featuring different response spectra that may be potentially integrated in a single device; (ii) exploiting the electronic nose (EN) approach. The former has been addressed only recently and activities are mainly focused on determining the most suitable configuration and measurements to exploit the novel mechanism. Devices suitable to exploit optical (photoluminescence), magnetic (magneto-optical Kerr effect) and surface ionization in addition to the traditional chemiresistor device are here discussed together with the sensing performance measured so far. The electronic nose is a much more consolidated technology, and results are shown concerning its suitability to respond to industrial and societal needs in the fields of food quality control and detection of microbial activity in human sweat. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technologies in Italy 2016)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview Application and Uses of Electronic Noses for Clinical Diagnosis on Urine Samples: A Review
Sensors 2016, 16(10), 1708; doi:10.3390/s16101708
Received: 9 August 2016 / Revised: 15 September 2016 / Accepted: 29 September 2016 / Published: 14 October 2016
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (271 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The electronic nose is able to provide useful information through the analysis of the volatile organic compounds in body fluids, such as exhaled breath, urine and blood. This paper focuses on the review of electronic nose studies and applications in the specific field
[...] Read more.
The electronic nose is able to provide useful information through the analysis of the volatile organic compounds in body fluids, such as exhaled breath, urine and blood. This paper focuses on the review of electronic nose studies and applications in the specific field of medical diagnostics based on the analysis of the gaseous headspace of human urine, in order to provide a broad overview of the state of the art and thus enhance future developments in this field. The research in this field is rather recent and still in progress, and there are several aspects that need to be investigated more into depth, not only to develop and improve specific electronic noses for different diseases, but also with the aim to discover and analyse the connections between specific diseases and the body fluids odour. Further research is needed to improve the results obtained up to now; the development of new sensors and data processing methods should lead to greater diagnostic accuracy thus making the electronic nose an effective tool for early detection of different kinds of diseases, ranging from infections to tumours or exposure to toxic agents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technologies in Italy 2016)

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Marker-less Motion Capture System to Track Spontaneous Movements in Infants
Authors: Angela Grassi1* and Alessandro Manzi 1, Francesca Cecchi 1, Marchi Viviana 2, Cinzia Esposito 1, Michele Coluccini 2, Andrea Guzzetta 2, Filippo Cavallo 1 and Cecilia Laschi 1
Affiliations:  1The BioRobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, Polo Sant'Anna Valdera, Viale Rinaldo Piaggio 34, Pontedera 56025, PI, Italy
2 Department of Developmental Neuroscience, Stella Maris Scientific Institute, Pisa, Italy;
† These authors contributed equally to this work.
*Correspondence: a.grassi@sssup.it
Abstract: Each year more than 15 million babies worldwide are born preterm (before 37 weeks gestational age). These infants are at higher risk of developing motor impairment than infants born at term. The spontaneous movements (SMs) assessment has a high predictive value for movement impairments in high risk infants. However, this assessment is qualitative and based on experiences and subjective observations of the clinicians. An objective and technology-based assessment is required. Available marker-based motion capture systems are invasive and cumbersome and they require a high set-up time due to the calibration procedure. Therefore, the challenge is to overcome all these factors with the use of marker-less systems.

The objectives of this paper is twofold. First, to present a new unobtrusive method to monitor infants’ SMs; second, to validate the proposed marker-less system with respect to the gold standard system for motion analysis.

Our innovative method is based on 3D video recording acquired with the RGB-Depth sensor (Asus Xtion Pro Live) and a tracking algorithm. The tracking algorithm is based on color filters. It is divided into two modules: the first one to segment the infant’s body from the background and the second one to identify five clusters, corresponding to infant’s body extremities. The trajectories of these five clusters are extracted.

In order to evaluate the accuracy of our method, a validation study was conducted. Thirteen infants (nine males and four females, mean age 106.8± 31.7 days) were involved. Infants’ movement data were acquired simultaneously by both systems: the RGB-Depth sensor (Asus Xtion Pro Live) and the optoelectronic system (BTS SMART DX400). The medians of RMSEs calculated for each trajectories are lower than 1.7 cm. Some errors occurred when there is a contact between two body extremities. However, results are encouraging and in future studies the system will be applied for the assessment of infant’s spontaneous movement in clinical routine.
Keywords: Biomedical engineering, biomedical signal processing, depth sensor, infants, motion tracking.

Back to Top