Introduction to Applications of Sensors
Sensor is an electronic device that measures physical attributes such as temperature, pressure, distance, speed, torque, acceleration, etc., from equipment, appliances, machines and any other systems. The sensor produces electrical signal/optical signal using multiple technologies, proportional to the inputs. These Signals are either interpreted into a readable format or passed on to the next stage for further processing. Sensors are broadly grouped into analog and digital sensors. Analog sensors measure the exact value of physical variables whereas digital sensors measure the status. Sensors are classified by Applications, Property sensed, Technology used and Systems where they are deployed. Let’s analyze the applications of sensors in detail.
Why We Use Sensors?
The ability of Sensors is to measure multi various data on the activities taking place within a system, throws open plenty of use cases.
The data measured by sensors can be used in:
- Operating the system efficiently.
- Monitoring the operations for any abnormalities.
- Controlling the operations.
- Utilizing the resources effectively.
- Making design changes to further improve performance.
- Enhancing Future product portfolio.
For example, the temperature sensor installed in a furnace measures the temperature data on a periodic interval and sends it to the controlling unit. Intelligence built into the controlling unit can switch off the power supply to the furnace if the temperature reaches above an upper limit.
Types of Sensors
|1. Temperature Sensor||2. Proximity Sensor||3. Infrared Sensor||4. Light Sensor|
|5. Accelerometer sensor||6. Pressure Sensor||7. Ultrasonic Sensor||8. Touch Sensor|
|9. Smoke, Gas, Alcohol||10. Humidity Sensor||11. Flow and level sensor||12. Tilt Sensor|
Sensors Measure the Following Properties
|1. Distance||2. Temperature||3. Sound Intensity||4. Pressure||5. Proximity|
|6. Speed||7. Velocity||8. Torque||9. Tilt||10.Oxygen|
|11. Acceleration||12. RF Radiation||13.Altitude||14. Motion||15. Crushing|
|16. Conductivity||17. Flow||18. Level||19. Force||20. Hydro Carbon|
|21. Microwave Radiation and many more|
Technologies Used by Sensors
|1. Acoustic||2. Capacitive||3. Doppler||4. Electro Magnetic|
|5. Electro-Mechanical||6. Thermistor||7. Hall effect||8. Inductance|
|9. Infrared||10. Laser||11. Microwave||12. Optic|
|13. Radiofrequency||14. Ultrasonic||15. Giant Magento resistance (GMR)|
Sensors use multiple technologies, sense numerous properties and have a wide scope of usage. Hence sensors play a vital role in almost every industry and it is omnipresent.
Top Applications of Sensors
Sensors find usage in various industries like Automotive, Manufacturing, Aviation, Marine, Medical, Telecom, Chemical, and Computer Hardware. Let’s examine some of the applications of sensors in these Industries.
Here are some of the automotive applications of sensors given below:
- Braking and Traction control: Antilock Braking System (ABS) Sensors connected to the wheel, measures the speed of the wheel and braking pressure and keeps sending them to ABS controlling When the driver applies sudden brake, ABS system, with breaking pressure and speed data received from the sensors, releases the braking pressure to avoid skidding/locking of wheels. It is one of the critical safety aspects of vehicles.
- Air Bags – Anti Cushion Restraint System (ACRS): Crush sensors and accelerometers placed in the vehicle measures the force and sends it to During accidents on sensing the force exceeds the limit, ACRS will activate the Airbag and save the life of passengers.
- Avoiding Collisions: Proximity sensors in the front, back, and sides of the vehicle forewarn the driver of a possible Infrared, Video assistance, Ultrasonic technologies assist drivers while parking their vehicles.
- Comfort and Convenience: There are many sensors provides inputs and warnings to drivers on Vehicle Speed, Engine Speed, Fuel level, Tire pressure, Door/deck, light bulbs for driving comfort and convenience
- Engine Data: Sensors provides so much data on Engine performance such as Ignition, b. Combustion, c. Exhaust gas oxygen, d. Fuel mix, e. Exhaust gas recycling, f. Transmission control etc.,
- Other Applications
|a. Heating, ventilation, and Air-condition (HVAC)||b. Navigation,||c. Safety Features|
|d. Smart Cruising||e. Suspension||f. Security|
|g. Remote locking|
Here are some of the manufacturing applications of sensors given below:
- Predictive maintenance of the machinery, Assembly equipment using the data collected from sensors in the machines.
- Optimal utilization of Machines by continuously monitoring the performances and effectively rejigging the operations with the data collected from sensors.
- Fine-tuning the Quality systems and enhance the quality standards using the data collected from sensors. Design notifications and alerts in case of a deterioration of quality and process standards.
- Agility in reacting to market demands.
Sensors deployed in the aviation industry measures the data during navigation of aircraft, monitoring of various systems, control functions of instruments. These data are utilized inefficient flight operations, improve aircraft performance and design improvements.
Some of the sensors in instrumentation are tachometers, gauges to measure engine pressure and oil& fuel quantity, Altimeters, airspeed meters, etc. Sensors help in measuring the testing of the ground conditions, vibration and environment factors and provide useful inputs to pilot to manage the general operation and emergency conditions.
4. Medical & Healthcare
Signals generated by Sensors in Medical equipment, surgical instruments and devices are used for diagnosis, treatment and control functions by Doctors.
Some of the applications are:
- Blood pressure monitoring (self).
- Continuous glucose monitoring by Individuals.
- Automatic measurement of vitals of the patient and sending it to the patient’s doctor.
- More home care facilities and ambulatory treatments.
- Automatic detection of visitors spreading disease to patients in hospitals.
- Decentralized laboratories.
- Robotics in Operation Theater.
Sensors in ship measures fuel tank levels, liquid cargo levels, tank pressure/temperature. Pitch, roll, speed and other vessel moments are also measured and monitored with the help of sensors. There are a lot of sensors in Engines, measuring typical attributes of internal combustion parameters.
Advent of IoT adoption by Industries is taking the usage of applications of sensors to the next level. Vehicles are tracked when they are on move and their health is monitored using the data generated by sensors and in extreme situations, corrective action is taken from a central location. The data generated by sensors and collected in the database through the IoT application presents a valuable asset to the organization and people contemplate monetizing data by selling it to the stakeholders.
This is a guide to Applications of Sensors. Here we discuss the introduction, uses, and top 5 applications of sensors with a detailed explanation. You may also look at the following articles to learn more-