A Sensor is an electronic device that is used to measure some sort of physical parameters (e.g. temperature, pressure, light intensity, etc). The output of an electronic sensor is an electrical signal that is either analog or digital. Processing the sensor’s output can be done in hardware (using discrete electronic elements) or in software (using some sort of microcontrollers or MPUs).
Sensors are being employed in a wide range of applications. Some of the applications include Automation, Robotics, Embedded Systems, Computers, Smart Cars, Avionics, Satellites, Smart Homes, Smartphones, Smart Watches, Energy plants, Remote Sensing, and Communications.
Our smartphones contain a multitude of sensors. The thermistor inside this phone can sense the overheating of internal circuits and sends a signal to the microprocessor to shut down this phone. Google Maps depend on the GPS sensor in our phones that enables this little app. Proximity sensors placed by the earpiece of your phone tell it when you’re on a call. The phone saves battery power by turning off the screen. The gyroscope enables a compass app, and a capacitive sensor on the touchscreen senses when your finger is touching an icon. A light sensor adjusts the screen brightness here for ambient light levels. And there is a battery sensor here to correlate the charge level in the battery to the present life left on a phone.
Dozens of sensors are used in modern automobiles. Temperature sensors monitor the combustion process in the engine, the cooling process in the radiator and your comfort level in the cabin. Pressure sensors make sure you have sufficient oil to lubricate those pistons and proper air levels in the tires to make those wheels go around and you drive safely. A flow sensor makes sure you have sufficient air intake to combust the gasoline, that’s of course if it’s a gasoline engine. Position sensors monitor engine throttle, crank and camshaft angles, and radar detectors are critical features of all autonomous vehicle software. Airbags know when a collision is imminent from the accelerometer inside. And dashboard touch screens, well, they have capacitive sensors too. An oxygen sensor monitors the intake to the combustion reaction in the engine. And the oxygen and hydrogen sensors are used in experimental fuel cells for battery-operated cars. A battery sensor is an essential element of all cars whether gasoline or battery operated.
Sensors are in most electronics products these days. They’re driving a technology revolution called, “The Internet of Things.”
There are, in fact, many classifications for sensors. We can classify sensors depending on the type of output signal or the physical parameters they measure and other considerations could be taken resulting in a variety of ways to classify sensors.
Many types of sensors, detectors, and transducers are available including those for detecting a physical presence such as flame, metals, leaks, levels, or gas and chemicals, among others. Some are designed to sense physical properties such as temperature, pressure, or radiation, while others can detect motion or proximity. They operate in a variety of manners depending on the application and may include electromagnetic fields, or optics, among others.
Temperature Sensors/Detectors/Transducers are electronic devices that detect thermal parameters and provide signals to the inputs of control and display devices.
Vision and Imaging Sensors/Detectors are electronic devices that detect the presence of objects or colors within their fields of view and convert this information into a visual image for display.
Radiation Sensors/Detectors are electronic devices that sense the presence of alpha, beta, or gamma particles and provide signals to counters and display devices.
Contact sensors refer to any type of sensing device that functions to detect a condition by relying on physical touch or contact between the sensor and the object being observed or monitored.
Proximity Sensors are electronic devices used to detect the presence of nearby objects through non-contacting means.
Pressure Sensors/Detectors/Transducers are electro-mechanical devices that detect forces per unit area in gases or liquids and provide signals to the inputs of control and display devices.
Motion Sensors/Detectors/Transducers are electronic devices that can sense the movement or stoppage of parts, people, etc. and supply signals to the inputs of control or display devices.
Rotary sensors. An incremental encoder generates a train of electrical pulses, whose frequency is proportional to angular speed. Homing applications include motor speed and rate control found in machine tools, robots, mixing equipment and textile equipment.
Absolute encoders are routinely used for rotary position sensing. They’re also found in machine tools and robots. But they get used in medical and welding equipment where precise control of position is mission-critical for these applications. The rotating disk within the absolute
encoder contains a very precise pattern that is used to create a multi-bit digital word at each discrete angle at each location.
Position Sensors/Detectors/Transducers are electronic devices used to sense the positions of valves, doors, throttles, etc. and supply signals to the inputs of control or display devices.
Photoelectric sensors are electrical devices that sense objects passing within their field of detection, although they are also capable of detecting color, cleanliness, and location if needed.
Particle Sensors/Detectors are electronic devices used to sense dust and other airborne particulates and supply signals to the inputs of control or display devices.
Metal Detectors are electronic or electro-mechanical devices used to sense the presence of metal in a variety of situations ranging from packages to people.
Level Sensors/Detectors are electronic or electro-mechanical devices used for determining the height of gases, liquids, or solids in tanks or bins
Humidity Sensors/Detectors/Transducers are electronic devices that measure the amount of water in the air
Gas and Chemical Sensors/Detectors are fixed or portable electronic devices used to sense the presence and properties of various gases or chemicals
Force Sensors/Transducers are electronic devices that measure various parameters related to forces such as weight, torque, load, etc.
Flow Sensors/Detectors are electronic or electro-mechanical devices used to sense the movement of gases, liquids, or solids
Flame Detectors are optoelectronic devices used to sense the presence and quality of fire
The global market for sensors is estimated to grow from $205.2 billion in 2021 to reach $411.2 billion by 2026 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.9% during the forecast period of 2021-2026.
The global market for internet of things (IoT) sensors is estimated to grow from $17.6 billion in 2021 to reach $50.9 billion by 2026 at a CAGR of 23.6% during the forecast period of 2021-2026.
The global market for biosensors is estimated to grow from $23.5 billion in 2021 to reach $49.7 billion by 2026 at a CAGR of 16.2% during the forecast period of 2021-2026.
Market demand for sensors will be fueled by increases in motor vehicle and machinery production, growth in the shipment of process equipment, government regulations (e.g., requiring all new light vehicles to be equipped with electronic stability control and tire pressure monitoring systems) and growth in process manufacturers’ shipments.
The sensors market is being driven by the increasing requirement for sensor-rich applications. The developments of sensors that offer precise and accurate measurements repeatedly have been critical in driving the demand in novel applications. For instance, in case of drones, accurate measurement of barometric pressure is necessary for improving the stability and landing accuracy of flights. Moreover, industrial automation and the demand for miniaturized consumer devices, such as wearables and IoT-connected devices, among others, across regions, are among the major factors driving the sensors market.
Industry 4.0 revolution, in which machines are becoming more intelligent and intuitive, is increasing the need for the industrial applications of sensors. The new machines are designed in order to be more efficient, safe, and flexible, with the ability to autonomously monitor their performance, usage, and failure. These applications, therefore, spur the demand for sensors that are highly sensitive. Besides, the smart city initiatives have pushed the acceptance of smart homes that incorporate the usage of smart devices. Increasing urbanization, as well as the need to manage the infrastructure and assets, is encouraging countries across the world to invest in multiple smart city projects. According to the Consumer Technology Association, the global spending on smart city developments is expected to reach USD 34.35 billion by 2020.
Development of new applications for technologies such as microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), optoelectronics and photo-electronics will help to expand the sensor market. The maturity of many sensor markets and improved fabrication techniques have led to increased sensing abilities at lower costs, and this will also help to increase the market growth.
Implantable sensors, self-powered sensors (e.g., sensors that convert body movement to mechanical energy and muscle stretching into electricity), biosensors, MEMS and nanosensors are expected to revolutionize the healthcare industry in the next decade.
Moreover, sensors will be used in most cars as they decrease in price and increase in integration. Users will start accepting them as standard car parts, and automotive companies can integrate more intelligence into them until they achieve the goal of an autonomous car.
Global Sensors Market, are segmented into Component (Microcontrollers, Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC), Amplifiers, Analog-to-Digital Converter (ADC), Transceivers), Type (Radar Sensor, Optical Sensor, Biosensor, Touch Sensor, Image Sensor, Pressure Sensor, Temperature Sensor, Proximity and Displacement Sensor, Level Sensor, Motion and Position Sensor, Humidity Sensor, Accelerometer and Speed Sensor, Others), Technology (CMOS, MEMS, NEMS, Others), End-User (Electronics, IT and Telecom, Industrial, Automotive, Aerospace and Defense, Healthcare, Others)
A modern automobile can perform many driver-assistance tasks, such as avoiding and preventing accidents and reducing the severity of accidents. The vehicles have passive safety systems, such as airbags and seat belts; active safety systems, such as electronic stability control, adaptive suspension, and yaw and roll control; and driver-assistance systems, including adaptive cruise control, blind-spot detection, lane-departure warning, and drowsy-driver alert and parking assistance.
Major sensor vendors include Honeywell International Inc. (US), DENSO CORPORATION (Japan), OMNIVISION (US), Alpha MOS (France), AMETEK.Inc. (US), AlphaSense Inc. (US), BorgWarner Inc. (US), Figaro Engineering Inc. (Japan), Emerson Electric Co. (US), General Electric Company (US), Industrial Scientific (US), SAMSUNG (South Korea), Teledyne Monitor Labs (TML), STMicroelectronics (Switzerland), NXP Semiconductors (Netherlands), Infineon Technologies AG (Germany), Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. (US), Microchip Technology Inc. (US), Texas Instruments Incorporated (US), Bosch Sensortec GmbH (Germany), Johnson Controls (Ireland), and Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corporation (Japan).
The major industrial market vendors include Infineon Technologies AG, Honeywell International Inc., Murata Manufacturing Co. Ltd., NXP Semiconductors NV, Renesas Electronics Corp., Robert Bosch GmbH, Rockwell Automation Inc., ROHM Co. Ltd., SENSATA TECHNOLOGIES HOLDING PLC, Siemens AG, and STMicroelectronics NV, Texas Instruments Incorporated among others.