In many cases, IoT devices are dependent on sensors to sense what is going on in the world and then the data is processed to continue the work. These sensors are most important part of devices and hence used extensively in IoT setup. In this article, we will discuss some of the commonly used types of sensors and what they are used for.

Temperature Sensors

These sensors allow an IoT device to know the temperature of objects and function according to it. Once installed, these sensors use different methods to determine the heat or temperature of the given object/surface.  The sensors don’t always have to be in physical contact, some can detect temperature from Laser and IR. ADT7320 is a typical example.

Applications: Thermostats etc.

Proximity Sensor

Commonly used in security, safety or efficiency applications, Proximity sensors are used to detect motion. These sensors utilize electromagnetic radiation or radar to function and they can sense UV Index, 2D or 3D gesture and even heart rate. Si114x and Si1102 are typical examples of Proximity sensors used in IoT.

Applications: These sensors are mostly used in retail industry, parking and museums etc. for safety and security.

Optical Sensors

Optical sensors have been a great use in digital cameras for years. Optical Sensors can emit, receive and convert the light energy into digital signals. These sensors work by detecting electromagnetic energy and then sending the results to processing units. As digital cameras are one of the most important physical devices in IoT, Optical sensors are sure to have continued applications in the future.

Applications: Among other places, Optical Sensors are used in mining operations, oil refineries and chemical plants.

Pressure Sensors

These sensors are used to detect pressure of a liquid, gas etc. These sensors work by converting physical power into electronic signals and then sending it into the processors of the device. Pressure gauges are among the most used pressure sensors in the IoT Industry and Barometers are used for accurate weather forecasting.

Applications: Pressure sensors are used in touch screen devices, weather monitoring devices and in automotive industry.

Humidity Sensors

In many cases, knowing humidity of environment alongside Temperature is necessary for better operations and this is when sensors like HTU21D and NPA-700 come into play.

Applications: Humidity sensors are mostly used in thermostats and other weather related IoT Devices.

Accelerometers, gyroscopic sensors

Accelerometers can be used to detect acceleration, vibrations or tilt of any object. Gyroscopes are used to measure the angular velocity of an object. Some sensors such as ICM-20628 have the ability to detect and measure both, acceleration and angular velocity.

Applications: Accelerometers are used in pedometers, antitheft devices and levelling. Gyroscopes are used mostly in 3D mouse.

Apart from these, depending on the requirements, IoT Devices can have other sensors as well. Some other examples are touch sensors and sound sensors etc.