A sensor is a piece of hardware that detects and transmits a signal from a changing condition. Often this condition is created from simply the absence or presence of an object or material. There are two main types of sensing, the first being discrete sensing. This type answers the question, "Is something there?” The sensor produces a digital signal as output, based on the presence or absence of the target in its field of view.Analog sensing on the other hand answers the questions of, "How much is there?” or "Where is it?” The output is proportional to the target’s effect on the sensor, either in relation to its position within the sensing range or the relative strength of signal it returns to the sensor.
Industry continually strives
to develop product faster and more cost effectively. By automating processes,
manufacturers can realize these goals while maintaining higher levels of
quality and reliability. Applications include manufacturing and
machinery, airplanes and aerospace, cars, medicine and robotics.
Identifying what sensor you should pick should involve asking yourself these questions.
- What feedback is required during each sensing operation?
- What conditions must be met for each operation to occur?
- What conditions must be met after each operation to verify the operation has occurred properly?