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Panasonic and Element14 launch IoT research project

Steve Rogerson
March 23, 2017

Panasonic and distributor Element14 have launched an IoT research project using an infra-red array sensor for people detection applications.
The Japanese company with UK-based Element14 and a number of engineering schools from the UK and Germany have launched the research project to develop infra-red people detection software in combination with a surface mount thermopile sensor – the Panasonic Grid-Eye infra-red array sensor (pictured).
Participants will be invited to document the progress of their projects on the community platform, On completion of the projects, Panasonic and Element14 will select the entry they consider demonstrates the highest degree of originality, innovation and technical merit. The faculty responsible for this project will be awarded a budget to spend on selected Panasonic components and equipment.
“At, our online community is the industry standard for electronics collaboration,” said Dianne Kibbey, global head of community for the Farnell subsidiary. “We are delighted to be working with Panasonic on this initiative, which reflects our long history of facilitating innovative research projects through our Stem Academy, our regular design challenges and our membership of over 480,000 engineers, makers and educators. We’re excited to discover what the participating students come up with over the coming months, and we look forward to showcasing the results of their hard work on the Element14 community.”
In the IoT world, many objects that surround us will be on a network in one form or another. More, granular, round-the-clock quantified monitoring is leading to a deeper understanding of the internal and external world encountered by humans. To achieve this, data transmission and sensor network technologies must rise to meet new challenges, in which information and communications systems are embedded in the environment. IoT implementations are not possible without the data provided by sensors –and the transportation of the data to and from the cloud via wireless modules.
Mubeen Abbas, product manager for Panasonic, said Panasonic had joined Element14 in this project to reduce barriers to university-industry research partnerships.
“Innovation happens where ideas and experiences collide, where different branches of knowledge interact and where people with entrepreneurial skills work side by side with those who have pioneering knowledge,” he said. “Cooperation between universities and industry is therefore central to driving innovation. With the explosive rise of IoT applications in a fast-changing world, we understand that working hand in hand with universities is more important than ever before.”
By combining its IR sensor technology with Bluetooth wireless systems and software for IR detection of people and objects on one board, Panasonic enables students to develop rapid prototypes and quickly build their own wireless sensor IoT applications.
“The Panasonic Grid-Eye evaluation kit and the Grid-Eye Lab-Test in particular offer students the opportunity to learn about electrical and electronic engineering by using cutting-edge technology within a real-world context,” said José Manuel Andrade, senior lecturer at the University of Derby. “The Panasonic Grid-Eye evaluation kit has very good potential within the IoT. Firstly it has the capability to connect to a PC, a mobile device such as smart phone or tablet, or an Arduino board. Secondly it has the ability to monitor moving and motionless objects as well as measure temperature and produce thermal images in different contexts that range from household solutions to industry and health applications.”
Element14 is part of the Premier Farnell group of businesses with a customer base from hobbyists to engineers, maintenance engineers and buyers. The project is being run by the European based Panasonic Automotive & Industrial Systems subsidiary.