A sensor is a device that is used to detect and sense the different changes in an electrical or optical signal. Once the change in signal has been detected, the sensor usually acts by either producing an alerting sound or producing a blinking light to inform the user in cases of disruption or change in signal. Sensors are used in everyday applications as well as products.
With developed and advanced technology, more complicated sensors have been developed to accommodate the never ending need and urge to use sensors. Analogue sensors such as potentiometer have been replaced with more advanced sensors such as MARG sensors and microcontroller sensors. Moreover, the analogue sensors are still been used in the current mechanical field as their contributions are still needed and valid. However, for the analogue sensors to be used, the sensitivity has to be converted using an analogue to digital converter.
Going by their name, sensors are highly sensitive even to the slightest changes in temperature, pressure, proximity, position and vision. The sensitivity of the sensor indicates how much the output of the sensor changes when the input being measured changes. Majority of sensors are designed to have a small effect on whatever is been measured. This small effect nature allows the sensor to be more precise on the small changes been measured.
Apart from detecting changes in temperature, sensors are also used in sensing changes in pressure. Sensors under this category are usually used in pressure controlled or mediated applications. Examples of such sensors are piezoresistive, ceramic and OEM just to name a few. These pressure sensors usually act as transducers in generating a signal when certain levels of pressure are breached or achieved.
The quality of a sensor and its functions is determined by the sensitivity of the measured property or parameter, the ability to be insensitive to any property around it as well as the lack of determining the actual outcome of measured parameter. Usually, the sensitivity of the sensor is defined as the ratio between the measured property and the output signal.
Temperature sensors are sometimes regarded as the most important sensors available. This can be attributed to the fact that the slightest change in undetected temperature can lead to catastrophic results. These types of sensors usually occur in 2 types namely electrical and mechanical. Temperature sensors can be found in applications such as thermometers.
Due to their high level of sensitivity, sensors may produce quite a number of deviations or errors if the sensors used are not ideal or genuine. The following are the most common deviations.
-Sensitivity error is the most common deviation in sensors. This happens when the sensitivity differs from the value specified.
-Zero sensor error occurs if the output signal is not zero when the measured parameter is zero. Its also referred to as offset or bias.
-Non-linearity occurs when the sensitivity is not constant over the range of the sensor. It’s usually defined by the amount of the output differing from the ideal behavior of the sensor.
-Dynamic error occurs when there’s a rapid change of the measured parameter from time to time.
Sensors vary differently in terms of make, technology, design and performance. This can be attributed to the fact that many companies have sprouted with each company producing their different makes of sensors. Sensors are applied in fields such as medicine, robotics, cars, airplanes and manufacturing companies.Read less