Sensors are one of the most essential pillars of any intelligent electronics system. They provide the real world interface for a wide range of applications, whether for city infrastructures, industrial automation and control, or wearable devices, all use large arrays of sensors for collecting data. This data serves as inputs to the main control system (like a Processor or a Microcontroller) enabling intelligent decision-making. Sensors are the eyes and ears of a system, capturing critical information of the physical world and, converting these physical parameters into signals which can be measured electrically.

Sensors can be broadly classified based on the physical parameters they detect or measure, and suited to different markets and applications. Therefore, when designing intelligent systems, choosing the right sensor is critical. Certain features need to be considered when selecting the right sensor.

Criteria to choose a Sensor:

  • Accuracy

  • Resolution

  • Range

  • Output Type

  • Response time

  • Connectivity

  • Application

  • Cost

  • Reliability

One classification type of sensors is Analog and Digital Sensors, which are based on the nature of the output signals they produced.

Analogue sensors produce a continuous output signal, ranging from a few mico-volts (uV) to several milli-volts (mV), proportional to the quantity being measured. These signals are too low to be measured so some form of amplifier is used to amplify the signal. An analogue-to digital (ADC) is used to convert the analogue signal into the digital form in order to obtain precision and accuracy, as well as to provide readable inputs to the main control system, typically a microcontroller.

Digital Sensors produce discrete output signals that are a digital representation of the quantity being measured. They produce a binary output signal in the form of logic “1” or logic “0”. The signal measured is directly converted into a digital signal output inside the sensor itself allowing it to have greater resolution and higher accuracy compare to analogue type sensors.

Classification based on Measurands:

  • Acoustic

  • Biological

  • Chemical

  • Electric

  • Magnetic

  • Mechanical

  • Optical

  • Radiation

  • Thermal

Farnell elemnet14 has a wide range of sensors from industry leading suppliers, provide the engineers with the choices required to develop various applications, based on specifications such as sensitivity, range, precision, resolution and accuracy from industrial applications to the latest consumer devices. Use our parametric filters to refine your search results based on your required specifications.

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