The Wonderful World of IR Beacons
2 Pages
English

The Wonderful World of IR Beacons

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https://www.rockwestsolutions.com/sensors/signal-detection-ir-beacons/ - Infrared (IR) light is light with a wavelength just slightly higher than what is visible by the naked eye but lower than microwaves. As such, IR light has a lot of practical uses for sending and receiving signals. The remote control that operates your television and DVD player are just two examples. IR light is emitted from almost all objects, with the signal amount determined by their physical properties as well as temperature. Moving beyond such simple household applications, Rock West Solutions works with organizations that need powerful IR beacons and software applications that use them.

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Published 09 April 2018
Reads 2
Language English
The Wonderful World of IR Beacons Infrared (IR) light is light with a wavelength just slightly higher than what is visible by the naked eye but lower than microwaves. As such, IR light has a lot of practical uses for sending and receiving signals. The remote control that operates your television and DVD player are just two examples. IR light is emitted from almost all objects, with the signal amount determined by their physical properties as well as temperature. Moving beyond such simple household applications, Rock West Solutions works with organizationsthat need powerful IR beaconsand software applications that use them.
In a general sense, a beacon is an electronic device that sends out a signal intended to be picked up by a receiver for the purpose of location, tracking, or other identification needs. An electronic beacon on a boat is a good example. In the event of an emergency, someone on the boat could turn on a distress beacon that would send out a signal letting others know help is needed. Most of us are familiar with these types of applications. An IR beacon operates on the same principle except that it transmits infrared light rather than another form of electromagnetic signal. This signal must be differentiated from the physical world around it, and has some inherent weaknesses that limit the use of IR beacons. That said, it also has some unique strengths as well. It is those strengths of IR light that are leading to new applications of IR beacons.
Radio Frequencies vs. IR Light
The previously mentioned emergency beacon on a boat sends out a distress signal by way of radio frequencies. As you know, radio frequencies are capable of spreading out in all directions. A boater in trouble can activate his or her emergency beacon with the knowledge that any aircraft or boat within a given distance could pick up the signal regardless of the direction it was moving. IR light emission can also work that way.
Infrared light can be much more concentrated. Optics can be made to focus the IR light direction when transmitted. That’s ǁhy you haǀe to poiŶt your TV reŵote iŶ the geŶeral directioŶof your television to get it to work. You have to aim the remote somewhere near the face of the receiver.
IR light is perfect for applications that require tight control and high accuracy, or a broad emission into a hemisphere. Industrial robotics communications with IR could use a directional, or broad emission, approach, depending on the application.
IR Beacons for Tight Control Robotics is an area of science that is expanding by leaps and bounds. Every day we see new robots capable of doing amazing things never before possible. Some of this is due to advances in IR technology. Better IR beacons and receivers are helping engineers design and build more precise robots capable of performing the most detailed tasks. IR light is ideal for robotics because it is so exact and measurable. The proper design can limit or eliminate the distortion and interference between beacon and receiver, allowing for tighter measurements and better controls. The more direct and unique nature of IR light also makes it possible to have multiple robots doing different tasks all in the same general area without interfering with one another.
Military IR Beacons Along those same lines, IR beacons and receivers are used by the military for identification purposes. Friendly aircraft, ships, and land vehicles are equipped with beacons for easy identification as friendly forces when encountered on the battlefield. This makes for safer battlefields because it reduces the likelihood of friendly-fire incidents. The wonderful world of IR beacons and receivers goes well beyond the household TV and DVD player. What started out as a basic technology for creating remote controls has become a sophisticated technology now being used in the military, aerospace, robotics, the medical industry, and so much more.