With the advancement of technology and progress of daily innovations, sensors became the crucial part of tech world. Nowadays, we are surrounded by sensors. When we go shopping to the mall, the door automatically opens in front of us. Smart gadgets allow us to regulate home temperature to the desired point with a thermostat or control lights. And what about a smartphone? Smartphones have a huge list of sensors that sense temperature, GPS location, light, rotation, acceleration, images and so on! So, you are still not sure what sensors are and why they play an important role in our lives? Let me explain it to you.

What is a sensor?

Sensor comes from the word sense, or in other words “measure”. The idea of a sensor is taken directly from us humans. We have 5 traditionally recognized senses: sight, taste, smell, touch and hearing. The human nature was transformed into electronics devices that are capable of measuring almost everything we want. Sensors can see the environment around us (cameras), record voices or other audio (microphone), detect object presence (ultrasonic sensor), sense the human touch (pressure sensor), car speed (accelerometers) and even detect specific smell (electrochemical sensors)! In general, sensors take the physical parameter and converts it into an electrical signal. We can then see the streaming raw data on our computer and process that to get meaningful data in the end. With sensors, a lot of companies are capable of creating smart and intelligent systems that can make the life of users easier and more convenient. Isn’t it beautiful?

Why do we need sensors?

Sensors have made a significant revolution inside the tech world. Complicated operations became easier to perform and what was impossible earlier, became possible now. Every field uses measurements from sensors in different processes starting from food quality control, airspace or medicine implementations up to the fashion industry and entertainment.

To show some fun examples of sensor systems, I found a special artist’s work that includes sensors in their exhibitions. In 2015 Daniel Rozien developed a creative mirror from fur that reflects a human silhouette. A mirror uses 464 motors that rotate the fur to show the reflection when a human is detected.

 

 

Also, fashion designers use sensors in their fashion collections to make clothes more spectacular and interactive. Intel and Chromate collaborated into designing a unique fashion collection, where stretch sensor detects the person’s movement and triggers the colorful lights to express the uniqueness of the movement. The project turned out to be a big success as even Beyonce and Madonna became interested into buying some of the items from that collection!

So many examples can be made of where and when sensors were implemented. It is truly amazing to see how many products and gadgets were created that included sensor technologies and I definitely think that sensors are moving our world!

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About The Author

Tanya Gulei

Tanya is a hardware development engineer, and a dancer by night. She is a specialist in sensor systems.

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