Editorial Feature

Intelligent Sensors

A new generation of intelligent or smart sensors are fast replacing basic sensors across the spectrum of industries. An intelligent sensor comprises a sensing element, an analog interface circuit, a bus interface and an analog-to-digital converter fitted inside a single housing.

While the basic sensor can only sense and emit unprocessed signals to an outer system, the intelligent sensor is designed with numerous functions such as self-identification, self-testing, self-confirmation or self-adaptation. It can perceive, reason, compute, and communicate. Some advanced intelligent sensors can even measure more than two variables at once.

With their myriad operational features, intelligent sensors are proving to be very popular as they are reducing process and manufacture time, cutting down costs and providing real-time measurement of complex processes. Critical data that is reliable and accurate is now readily available to the user, with which smart decisions can be made.

Operation of Intelligent Sensors

The primary idea behind the intelligent sensor is the incorporation of a silicon microprocessor with sensor technology. Basically, a physical or chemical stimulus activates the sensor. The sensor then emits analog or digital signals, which are read by the microprocessor.

The microprocessor provides the intelligence aspect to the sensor by constantly monitoring the sensor elements, confirming the data being provided to user, and regularly examining sensor calibration and health. It then converts the processed data into information which is transferred to external users. The whole intelligent sensor unit is supplied with power.

The intelligent sensor from LUMENERGI combines occupancy and photo-sensing technology along with control capabilities into one incredible sensor.

Likewise Sony’s Intelligent Presence Sensor for some of their new BRAVIA TVs is designed with advanced face recognition technology. The sensor unit is able to analyze and monitor the viewers and automatically optimize sound and picture performance for those who are not seated directly in front of the screen. The sensor also can alert children if they are seated close to the screen, can dim TV light, and can switch TV off if no one is watching.


The application areas of intelligent sensors are unlimited with newer improved versions being constantly created across the world.

The following are some of the key areas:

  • In healthcare monitoring and medical diagnostics
  • In prevention of transport collision
  • Monitoring of high-speed machinery
  • In early warning fire detection systems
  • In automotive and oil platform applications
  • Detecting food safety and biological hazards
  • Detecting safety hazard and raising an alarm
  • Monitoring the environment both locally as well as globally
  • In industrial and aerospace applications
  • In micro and nanotechnology applications



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