The Applied Physics Laboratory is debuting a Web site designed to spark collaboration between users, designers and manufacturers of high-tech sensors.
Called the Next Generation Sensor Initiative, the new service is free for subscribers and promises to speed the advance of sensor technology in fields ranging from biochemical detection and chemical analysis to food processing and energy flow.
Sensors constitute a $12 billion industry in the United States.
"Basically, we'll be linking up people who need new types of sensors with researchers who can design them and ultimately with the folks that can produce them," says John Bacon, who heads the NGSI effort at APL. "Our goal is to increase U.S. competitiveness by ensuring that companies have the benefit of the most advanced R&D in their areas of sensor technology and are able to get their products to market in the quickest possible time."
Research organizations, companies using sensors and potential sensor manufacturers can join NGSI online through its Web site, www.ngsi.org.
Sensor users will be able to join online focus and discussion groups to help define sensor needs and present them to a large audience of technology providers in the form of problem statements.
Technology providers--in most cases, laboratory researchers--will have access to problem statements outlining the need for new sensors and also will be guided to potential funding sources to carry out the necessary research.
Manufacturers will have access to solutions generated by technology providers.
"Sensors have become part of everyone's life," Bacon says. "We think this new Web site and the online community it will create will be incredibly helpful."