Robust Proximity Sensor

Description | Terms & Conditions
Category bauma
Start date 24 July 2017
Submission deadline 17 September 2017, 00:00:00 CET
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Description

 

 

Robust Proximity Sensor - Theoretical Challenge (IP Transfer)  - $25,000 Award

 
The Seeker is looking for a technology that can det  ect close proximity of a human hand and be robust against outdoor conditions such as rain, snow, dust, etc.
 
This Theoretical Challenge requires only a written proposal.


SUMMARY

The Seeker owns technology that can detect the close proximity of a human hand based on capacitance. It works quite well, but has failure problems with outdoor conditions such as rain (moisture), snow, dirt and dust. The Seeker would like Solvers to design a new sensor system to accomplish the proximity detection that can also withstand the outdoor ambient conditions without failure. The new system cannot be based on capacitance.

This is a Theoretical Challenge that requires only a written proposal to be submitted. The Challenge award will be contingent upon theoretical evaluation of the proposal by the Seeker. If multiple proposals meet all the Technical Requirements, the Seeker reserves the right to award only the solution which they believe is superior and cost effective. 

To receive an award, the Solvers will have to transfer to the Seeker their exclusive Intellectual Property (IP) rights to the solution.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (Central European Time) on September 17, 2017.

Late submissions will not be considered.

If you have any questions about this Challenge please contact us at baumahelp@innocentive.com

 


BACKGROUND

The Seeker has a directional proximity sensor technology that works, but has some problems with contamination. The current technology is capacitance based and when a person’s hand is within close proximity to the sensor system, the sensor system sends a signal which depends on position/direction of the approaching hand. If it comes from one direction, the system takes one action, but it takes no action if approached from the opposite direction.

The problem is when outdoor contaminants (moisture, dirt, ice) are in the system. If on the outside surface, it needs to be wiped clean before the technology will work again. If contaminates get on the inside of the system, it can affect the electronics and cause a permanent malfunction.

The Seeker would like to find a different technology (not capacitance based) that has the same directional sensing of a human hand in proximity of a surface. They are not interested in fixing the current technology, but finding an equivalent or better one not based on capacitance with minimal problems assuming the same conditions/contaminates.


THE CURRENT TECHNOLOGY

Unfortunately, due to the proprietary nature of the technology and application, the actual technology cannot be shown here. All we can say is that the system can sense an approaching hand in close proximity and act depending on the direction and it is based on capacitance. The generic system is shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1a - Generic Proximity Sensing System (sideview)

Figure 1b - Generic Proximity Sensing System (topview)


THE CHALLENGE

The Challenge is to design a sensor system that can detect a person’s hand from one direction, but not detect it approaching from the opposite direction. It must detect a finger or hand at a minimum distance of 1 cm and not detect other inanimate objects that may come in close proximity. It needs to fit into a desired space (80x20x5mm) and it cannot be based on capacitance technology. All the detailed requirements are listed below.

Things to avoid:

The Seeker is not interested in the following:

  1. The Seeker does not desire to make adjustments to the current system. There is no interest in a sensor system based on capacitance.
  2. This application will require mass production of the sensor system for many thousands, potentially millions of parts. Avoid anything that could not be mass produced at a cost of about $1.25 USD each.

Any proposed solution should address the following Solution Requirements

Must requirements are mandatory and are the minimum requirements to be awarded. Any proposal is not considered a solution if it cannot fulfill them.

  1. The sensor technology must sense proximity from the desired direction at minimum of 1 cm distance.
  2. The sensor technology must sense no proximity from the undesired direction.
  3. The sensor technology must be robust against outside ambient humidity in the free space of the application
  4. The sensor technology must fit into an installation space of max. 80x20x5mm.The sensor technology should detect a finger or a hand and not detect other devices or objects.
  5. The solution must not be based on capacitive technology.
  6. The sensor technology must recover after a onetime malfunction in less than 10 seconds.
  7. The sensor technology must work in a temperature range of -40 to 85°C
  8. The sensor technology must work with supply voltages between 8 to 16V.
  9. The proposed system must offer the Seeker client “freedom to practice” or be available for potential licensing. There should be no third party patent art preventing the use of specific equipment and materials for their commercial application.

Should requirements should be covered by the proposal, if possible. The more of these requirements that are fulfilled, the better the solution rating will be.

  1. The sensor technology should be robust against all outdoor environmental influences like salt, soap solutions, snow, ice, humidity and rain at the outer surface of the housing wall and at the inner surface of the housing wall.
  2. The sensor technology should be robust against polluted surface (small amounts of dirt, dust, etc.) at the outer surface of the housing wall.
  3. The sensor technology should work in worst case with an average current of less than 100μA.
  4. The sensor technology should react on proximity inside the detection range in less than 20ms.
  5. The sensor technology should work with polycarbonate or plastic housing wall materials. If the sensor technology can work with a metallized housing wall material of 100μm thickness that would be a bonus.
  6. The solution should allow the easy replacement of the electronics inside. Thus molding of the electronic is not preferred.


PROJECT DELIVERABLES:

This is a Theoretical Challenge which requires only a written proposal to be submitted. The Challenge award will be contingent upon theoretical evaluation of the proposal by the Seeker. The solution may combine existing components, commercially available components, and/or novel Solver solutions. Ideas leveraged from other industries with similar problems are encouraged.

The submitted proposal should include the following:

  1. Detailed description of a sensor system that can meet the above Solution Requirements.
  2. Rationale as to why the Solver believes that the proposed sensor system will work. This rationale should address each of the Solution Requirements described in the Detailed Description and should be supported with any relevant examples, data and/or references.
  3. Drawings of the design.
  4. Listing of the materials of construction and discussion of why they are recommended.
  5. Approximate cost of the system.

The proposal should not include any personal identifying information (name, username, company, address, phone, email, personal website, resume, etc.) or any information the Solvers may consider as their Intellectual Property they do not want to share.

The Challenge award will be contingent upon theoretical evaluation of the proposal by the Seeker. If multiple proposals meet all the Solution Requirements, the Seeker reserves the right to award only the solution which they believe is superior and cost effective. 

To receive an award, the Solvers will have to transfer to the Seeker their exclusive Intellectual Property (IP) rights to the solution. 

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (Central European Time) on September 17, 2017.

Late submissions will not be considered.

If you have any questions about this Challenge please contact us at baumahelp@innocentive.com

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