Smart Sensors & Different Types of Sensors

Pressure Sensors, Temperature & Humidity Sensors, Motion Sensors, Flow Sensors

As a product designer or inventor, you’re likely thinking about ways your product can better respond to the world around it or to the person who operates it. Sensors are one way for your product to do that. But what is a sensor?

At its most basic, a sensor is a device that receives physical input—temperature, pressure, or motion, to name a few—and relays that input. For example, a controller’s power button receives pressure input from the person that depresses it, and then transmits that information so the device can respond to that button push, turning the device off or on.
There are sensing technologies to fit any product type. Learn about the wide range of sensor types that RSP can help you implement to meet your customers’ needs.

Smart Sensors

The global smart sensor market is already over $30 billion and is forecast to nearly triple by 2024 (Source: Mordor Intelligence).

What is a smart sensor? It is a base sensor that also has an integrated microprocessor and some form of communication technology. Instead of just sending data along, like a base sensor, it takes input from the physical environment and uses that information to perform functions.

When smart sensors are used together, they become a wireless sensor network. Advances in technology have allowed sensors to become much smaller, lower cost, and more energy efficient, which has allowed them to be deployed in a variety of new applications.

It is common for the automotive industry to use smart sensors.

North America is expected to be a high-growth area for smart sensors in the next decade due to the growing demand for IoT (internet of things), smart homes, and even smart cities, as municipalities seek to improve efficiencies and reduce their energy use.

RSP produces a wide range of sensors that can be used in smart sensor products.

Pressure Sensors

Pressure sensors measure the force exerted on a surface. One common example is a tire pressure gauge, which measures the force of air inside the tire relative to the pressure outside the tire (atmospheric). Pressure sensors can also be used to measure the flow of liquid or gas in a pipe.

RSP produces pressure sensors used in VR (virtual reality) gloves, shoe inserts, and digital musical instruments.

This is an example motion and pressure sensor circuits used for augmented reality.

Temperature and Humidity Sensors

RSP produces temperature and humidity sensors used to track food safety on salad and hot bars as well as in medical storage cabinets.

There are different types of temperature sensors used in the market today, including resistance temperature detectors (RTDs), thermocouples, thermistors, infrared sensors, and semiconductor sensors. Each of them has a particular operating characteristics and pros and cons. They have one thing in common: they all measure temperature by sensing a change in the physical environment.

Here is a great example of a temperature and humidity sensor.

Motion Sensors

RSP produces motion sensors used in security systems. There are many types of motion sensing methods. They include:

  • Passive infrared (PIR) sensors – Detect body heat (infrared energy). These are the most widely used sensors in home security systems.
  • Microwave (MW) sensors – Send out microwave pulses and measure the reflection off a moving object.They cover a larger area than infrared sensors.
  • Area reflective type sensors – Emit infrared rays from an LED. Using the reflection of those rays, the sensor measures the distance to the person or object.
  • Ultrasonic sensors – Send out pulses of ultrasonic waves and measure the reflection off a moving object.
  • Vibration sensors – Detect vibration.
RSP components are used in this light and motion sensor for a camera accessory.

Flow Sensors

Flow sensors measure the amount of a liquid or gas flowing through a section of pipe or tubing at a given time. RSP produces liquid flow sensors used in drink dispenser platforms as well as air flow sensors used in building automation. For example, one RSP product package integrates motion sensors in a hotel room to sense occupancy and then uses an air flow sensor to reduce HVAC needs and balance air pressure in the facility as usage and demand fluctuate.

This flow sensor gauges the temperature at an offshore oil and gas construction platform.

In today’s interconnected world, the demand for smart technology is only growing. If you are integrating sensors and smart technology into your product, contact RSP now to find out how we can help.