Classification of Sensors

Several criteria are adopted for the classification of sensors. Some of these include

Based on transduction principles

The transduction principle is the basic criteria which should be followed for a systematic approach of classification. This classification is based on the method used in the process of converting measurand into usable output.

Active/Passive Transducers

Based on the energy requirements of a transducer, they are classified as active transducers and passive transducers.

Active transducers do not need any external power supply to operate and hence it is also called self-generating transducers.
Eg: Thermocouple
Transducers which require an external power source to operate is called Passive transducers.

Based on material and technology

Another classification is based on the material and technology that have acquired more importance lately. The following table shows the emerging sensor technologies with its applications.

Image Sensor Motion detectors Bio Sensors Accelerometers
Technology CMOS Based IR, ultrasonic, microwave,radar Electrochemical MEMS based
Applications Traffic and security surveillance
Video conferencing
Blindspot detection
Consumer electronics
Obstruction detection
Llight activation
Security detection
Toilet activation
Food testing
Water testing
Medical care device
Biological warfare agent detection
Patient monitoring
Vehicle dynamic system

Application based classification

Application based classification of sensors are represented as


Property based classification

A much more elaborate classification is based on the properties like pressure, displacement, temperature …etc. It is subdivided in technology scale. Pressure property is used in technologies such as manometer and piezo electricity. Semi conductors and thermal conductance use gas and chemical properties.

Further Reading

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