Introduction

Sensors are devices that detect, measure, and record physical phenomena. Sensors are useful to biosurveillance, because they can monitor people, animals, the water, air, the ground, and even the mail system. They are the basis for systems that collect data about weather and climate, as well as other conditions that predispose to disease outbreaks. Sensor technology is continuously evolving. At present, the technologies utilized include such disparate tools as microchips, DNA polymerase amplification; various imaging techniques, including photographic analysis in various frequency ranges (normal, infrared); Doppler radar; various physiological monitoring techniques, such as EKG recording; and mass spectrometry. These technologies can be deployed in orbiting satellites, wearable devices, air/water monitoring devices, and portable or laboratory-based analyzers that process tissue specimens. The value they represent, however, is often tied to human analysts who are limited in their ability to process large amounts of data.

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