Since the development of compact and affordable sensors used in engineering designs, many industries have revolutionised their processes using all kinds of position sensors for detecting object displacement. There is no doubt that sensors form an essential part in the internal mechanisms of various equipment used in industrial processing plants, agricultural machines, mining equipment, medical equipment, and automotive vehicles.
In addition to this, modern position sensor technology has helped in the advancement of robotics and aeronautical applications. However, this is not the end of developments surrounding sensing technology. The increasing demand for technologically advanced consumer electronics and communication devices will see further growth in the need for better sensors.
Some of the concerns arising from this demand are enhanced safety, increased convenience, efficiency, and entertainment value, which will push technicians to reinvent sensors and allow them to fit into the requirements of future applications.
Advancements in automotive technology
Gone are the days when sensors used in vehicles were only envisioned to measure a specific parameter. Today, automotive companies are looking for sensors that measure multiple parameters including pressure, inertia, proximity, temperature, torque, vibration, and tilt. These developments aim to improve the overall performance of vehicles not only concerning safety but adding features that will make an automobile more comfortable for passengers.
- A shift to optical sensors. In line with developing advanced sensors for vehicles, engineers are looking into optical sensors for application in some of the intended automotive enhancements. A type of optical position sensor, hall-effect sensors are thought to be applied in specific functions such as detecting brake pedal position and vehicle throttle position. Hall-effect sensors provide higher accuracy levels when used in these applications.
- A new outlook in sensing technology. Electronic field sensing technology makes use of electrodes and the surrounding electric field. When applied in automotive technology, E-field sensors are useful in airbag deployment as well as other safety applications. An E-field sensor is seen to make airbags smarter, hence preventing incidents of premature deployment by referencing only the passenger’s head position.
Electrodes can also be added to vehicles seats where the brake can automatically sense that there is no driver when the car is moving. This application will prevent runaway vehicle incidents.
Application of sensors in modern consumer electronics
The wireless market is a significant contributor to economies around the world. As such, it is seen to be another large sector with increased demand for sensors. Aside from the application of wireless sensor technology in automobiles, the medical sector will also benefit from advanced sensing technology used in wireless bio-monitoring devices.
Similar monitoring technology in sensors may also find its way into many industrial applications. Microwave-based sensors can be used to monitor equipment performing in harsh working environments.
Similar advanced sensing technology used in medical equipment can also be applied to monitor the structural integrity and safety of public infrastructures such as bridges, highways, tunnels, and buildings. There is no limit to the possible advancements conceived for future uses. Engineers continue to develop and improve on the underlying principles of sensors to answer the current needs of different sectors of society.