Wherever you go, you will find sensors. There are sensors in your office, car, school, and home. Your smartphone has a sensor and so does your computer mouse. Sensors are either electrical or optoelectrical devices that determine if there are changes in an environment. The information it detects is sent to a computer processor for analysis.
Sensors are also known as transducers or detectors. They are essential for a variety of applications across industries. Their ability to control, measure, and test different machine functions and processes are what makes them important. Also, with the rise in popularity of enhanced automation, sensors are now considered major tools for the Internet of Things (IoT).
There are two major classifications of sensors: analog and digital sensors, and active and passive sensors.
- Analog sensors transform physical data to analog outputs or signals. These continuous signals are more precise compared to digital sensors. Digital sensors have fixed data, which means their values are limited to a finite set.
- Active sensors need power or external signals to produce an output. These sensors are also known as “Self-Generating Sensors”.
- Passive sensors are the opposite of active sensors since they do not need external power supply, or any voltage or stimulus. It directly produces output signals.
Sensors are also classified according to the method of detection the devices use. Some popular examples are biological, radioactive, chemical, and electric.
The conversion phenomenon or output and input is another basis for classifying sensors. Examples of this include thermoelectric, thermo-optic, photoelectric, electromagnetic, and electrochemical.
Types of Sensors Utilized in Various Applications
Here are several types of sensors used in different applications. Most of these devices measure properties like resistance, heat transfer, conduction, temperature, and capacitance.
- Proximity Sensor
- Temperature Sensor
- Pressure Sensor
- Infrared Sensor or IR
- Ultrasonic Sensor
- Light Sensor
- Color Sensor
- Touch Sensor
- Humidity Sensor