A 'sensor' is a device that measures a physical quantity and converts it into a 'signal' which can be read by an observer or by an instrument. For example, a mercury thermometer converts the measured temperature into the expansion and contraction of a liquid which can be read on a calibrated glass tube.
There are a lot of different types of sensors. Sensors are used in everyday objects.
Thermal sensors [change]
A sensor that detects temperature. Thermal sensors are found in many laptops and computers in order to sound an alarm when a certain temperature has been exceeded.
- temperature sensors: thermometers
- heat sensors: bolometer, calorimeter
Electromagnetic sensors [change]
An electronic device used to measure a physical quantity such as pressure or loudness and convert it into an electronic signal of some kind (e.g. a voltage).
- electrical resistance sensors: ohmmeter
- electrical voltage sensors: voltmeter
- electrical power sensors: watt-hour meter
- magnetism sensors: magnetic compass
- metal detectors
Mechanical sensors [change]
- Pressure sensors: barometer
- Vibration and shock sensors
Motion sensors [change]
A motion sensor detects physical movement in a given area.
- radar gun, tachometer
- reversing sensor
- rain sensor
The trend of sensors [change]
Because of certain disadvantages of physical contact sensors, newer technology non-contact sensors have become prevalent in industry, performing well in many applications. The recent style of non-contact sensors shows that “Thin is In”. Users are looking for smaller and more accurate sensors. New technologies for the sensing chips are breaking application barriers. For the future, the trend will be to continue to provide smaller, more affordable sensors that have the flexbility to fit even more applications in both industrial and commercial environments.