When sensors make sense

Sensors track our movements, buildings, and even plants and animals. Their use is outpacing societies' ability to discuss, let alone resolve, issues over the use of data garnered by such devices.

In a first for Singapore, the National Parks Board has unveiled a system for tracking animals that triggers alerts to drivers in the vicinity. When sensors detect the presence of animals near Old Upper Thomson Road, an "Animals Ahead" sign is flashed to remind drivers to slow down so as to prevent inadvertent roadkills.

Separately, the Singapore Botanic Gardens' new ridge-top walk boasts the OCBC Arboretum, which holds 2,000 trees of more than 200 species. Their development is lovingly monitored by the Ecological Network of Tree Sensors system, which gathers a wealth of data on the climate, tree growth and tree health.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 29, 2019, with the headline 'When sensors make sense'. Subscribe