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Loadstar Sensors Blog

Short Updates on interesting applications using our sensor solutions.

Load Cells with USB, UART, & Analog 0-5V Output shown in various configurations

Load Cells with USB, UART, & Analog 0-5V Output shown in various configurations

The iLoad Pro load cell is one of the family of load cells that use capacitive measurement techniques to measure forces or loads.  Unlike traditional strain gauge load cells, these capacitive load cells do not use resistive strain gauges that are bonded to a metal member.  Instead it uses two capacitive plates separated by a gap as the sensing element.  When the load/force is applied, this gap changes changing the capacitance.  This change is measured and transmitted as a digital signal directly from within the sensor and can be in the UART or USB format.  In addition, an analog voltage (0-5 V DC) can also be output as an option simultaneously making it easy to use for a wide variety of application!  

 

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Unobtrusive Patient Monitoring System using Digital USB Load Cells

Unobtrusive Patient Monitoring System using Digital USB Load Cells

When researchers Stephen J. Spikings, Bashir M. Al-Hashimi, and Nick R. Harris of the University of Southhampton in England wanted to monitor the well-being of a person on a bed based on measuring their weight, they turned to Loadstar Sensors' Digital USB Load Cells for its low profile, low cost and ease of use. 

The iLoad Load Cells look like round hockey pucks about 3 inches in diameter and half an inch high, these capacitive load cells have integrated electronics housed inside the package and offer direct USB connectivity directly from load cell without need for any external signal conditioning electronics.  Put one under each corner of the bed under the foot and plug the four units into a USB Hub and then into the PC.  Using LoadVUE Pro LV-4000 software, one can gather data at up to 500 Hz data update rate.

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Body Weight Sensor for Health Kiosk

Body Weight Sensor for Health Kiosk

A leading health kiosk player wanted to add the ability to measure body weight to its kiosk.  The kiosk utilized an open source PC server running Linux with custom software and wanted a easy way to talk to a weight sensor via USB.  

Loadstar Sensor's RAP3/RAP4 load cells with the DI-100U 16-bit USB Load Cell Interface turned out to be the perfect solution for this need.  With a capacity of 550 lbs, it has enough range to measure the most obese person on earth with accuracy of about +/- 0.25 lbs or better.  The DI-100U USB Load Cell Interface includes easy to use ASCII command set that provides two simple ASCII commands for "Tare" and "Read" functions using which a software engineer can quickly incorporate weight readings into his/her software in minutes!  No need to understand analog electronics, amplification of signals, digitization of signals, calibration or other arcane details!  With just two commands, one can get calibrated readings into ones application!

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Measuring forces and torques acting on artificial hip due to friction between joints

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Digital Pressure Measurement Solution to build a Ski Characterization Tool

Digital Pressure Measurement Solution to build a Ski Characterization Tool

Cross country racing skis are usually hand built, which can lead to significant variations between individual skis even within the same model. These variations can have a huge impact on performance, so the ability to identify which skis have the highest quality and best characteristics is vital for high level athletes and technicians when selecting skis. Traditionally, this ski picking process has been done by hand, generally relying on human aptitude and judgment, that requires years of practice to truly master.  

Gear West's top ski fitters felt there must be a better way - one that was quantifiable, repeatable, and which could easily be taught to employees and discerning customers. They wanted to investigate the pressure distribution characteristics of cross country racing skis and quantify and characterize what made a ski good or bad.  To do this, needed an easy to use force or pressure sensor that could help them collect accurate and precise data.  For this they turned to Loadstar Sensors' iLoad Mini miniature load cell kits.

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Digital load cells used for measuring thrust forces acting on Hovercraft

Digital load cells used for measuring thrust forces acting on Hovercraft

Michael Mercier has been crazy about hovercrafts since he was a little boy.  Protoytping and building model after model of increasing sophistication from high school through college he refined his knowledge and skills for over a decade.  Finally as a young man, he decided to convert his passion into a profession by deciding to start a company to produce a commercially viable hovercraft that could run on water as well as on the streets!

When he needed to measure the thrust generated by his revolutionary new propulsion system and the forces acting on a hovercraft, he reached out to Loadstar Sensors which provides revolutionary digital force measurement products that can be used to capture force information easily on a PC.  The S-Beam USB Load Cell Kit he selected came with all the items needed to quickly be up and running - including the RAS1 S-Beam Load cell, matching eye bolts to fasten the load cell to the test rigs, the 24-bit DI-1000U USB Load Cell Interface and the LV-1000 LoadVUE Pro software.

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Using USB Load Cells to measure lift and drag forces acting on WingSuits

Using USB Load Cells to measure lift and drag forces acting on WingSuits

Since the dawn of time, man has observed birds that can take off at will and fly through the sky with effortless ease and dreamed of doing the same.  Although over the last hundred years, man has invented and built amazing flying machines, nothing until now has come close to doing so without being confined inside a metal cocoon that we call an aircraft.  Wingsuit flying is the closest one comes to the "dream of flight" where one can fly without any powered engines or cabins.  Experienced skydivers don colorful fabric suits with “wings” between their arms and legs and leap from aircraft or high cliffs and glide through the air.

When flown by an expert pilot this type of wingsuit can fly over 3 feet forward for every one foot of downward travel, this is called a “3 to 1 glide ratio”. This is a thrilling and amazing sport but the professional aerodynamicists and undergraduate researchers in Team Eagle Wingsuit at Embry Riddle University, believe that wingsuit performance can be greatly improved and can achieve glide ratios of 6:1.

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Spring Testing to Make Trampolines Safer

Spring Testing to Make Trampolines Safer

A leading manufacturer of Trampolines for sports and fitness applications wanted to test the strength and longevity of the springs used to build the trampolines.  They turned to Loadstar Sensors' iLoad Mini Load Cells to test the Force vs. Deflection characteristic of the springs.  In addition they needed to see how well the springs held up after millions of cycles of load applied to them.  

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Boxing Training Tool - Measure Punch Forces and Number of Punches

Boxing Training Tool - Measure Punch Forces and Number of Punches

Boxers who want to be at the top of their game, wanted a tool to help them track how many punches they can throw in a minute, how hard the punches are, how long they can sustain the number and intensity of the punches and track the progress they made from session to session or week to week.

In order to provide such a tool, we developed our Punch Force Sensor solution with USB output.  The first image shows the punching area with a All-in-One PC above it.  The sensor is connected to a high speed load cell Interface via USB shown in the second image.  The last image shows the software screen that displays the intensity of the punch as well as the number of punches thrown in a session. 

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Loadstar Sensors genuinely committed to helping customers

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