What is a sensor?

A sensor is a device which responds to an input given by the surrounding. These inputs can be of various types such as;

  1. Temperature
  2. Humidity
  3. Pressure
  4. Gas
  5. Motion
  6. Water Leak
  7. Carbon Monoxide
  8. Power Failure
  9. Speed, etc

There are many more other sensors which are still not in the list as given above.

Now, the output for the same is given in a form of a signal which any one can read (which will be displayed) at a particular location. Also, at times these signals are transmitted through a network electronically which is in a readable format.

Lets understand what a sensor is by taking few examples.

Eg 1: In the emission system of a car, there exists an oxygen sensor. This oxygen sensor is used to detect and understand if the gas/oxygen ratio. Normally, when there is an imbalance in this ratio, a chemical reaction occurs that will end up in generating a voltage. Now, the computer inside the engine reads this generated voltage and understands that there is an imbalance.If this mixture of gasoline and oxygen is not optimal, it adjusts the balance.
This is how an O2 sensor in a car works.

Let’s take another common example.

Eg 2: Motion sensors and occupancy sensors are devices which include home lighting systems, security lighting, automatic door sensing, etc. These sensors release some kind off energy such as light beams, microwaves and sometimes also ultrasonic waves which enable detecting whether the energy flow has been interfered by something which may have entered the path.
A photo sensor identifies the existence of visible light. It also detects infrared transmissions or ultraviolet energy (UV energy).

There are also many other kinds of sensors which are used to detect many parameters such as,

  • Fuel Sensor
  • pH level sensor
  • Vibration sensor
  • Acceleration sensor
  • Heat sensor
  • Sound sensor
  • There are also sensors which are thermocouple type sensors. These are wired sensors of different types based on the range of temperature they can detect. For e.g., thermocouples are of K type, J type, T type, etc.
  • RTD sensors
  • Proximity sensors, etc.

Sensors are used in various industries for varied applications. Automation industries make use of sensors on a very large scale. Vehicles need sensors of different kinds. There are electric and electronic sensors, environmental sensors, Liquid sensors, Mechanical sensors, Presence sensors, Generic sensors, water leak detection systems, etc.

Pharmaceutical industries, food companies, data centers, logistic companies, automotive industries, research industries, civil engineering, public utilities, etc are some of the major applications for sensors.

Sensors are devices which are mostly small but they have a functionality starting from a small range to a very high range in detection. Sensors are used to customize a lot of automation solutions for homes and offices. Now a days sensors are used in everyday life and we do not realize the importance, but without these sensors we would not be able to live the comfortable life we are leading today.  

Artificial intelligence is taking the biggest step in today’s world with the help of various kinds of sensors and is making things and concepts and technology unimaginable.