The future of the role of sensor technology in the world is limitless. Several research projects are currently looking at various ways to manipulate this technology for future purposes such as enhancing the performance of energy sources like solar-powered batteries and fuel cells, improving the capability of these systems to monitor health, safety and security, as well as a potential use for environmental monitoring1.
Furthermore, futuristic intelligent systems are looking towards incorporating sensor technology to recognize visual, tactile, olfactory, audiological and physical senses.
Sensors are capable of carrying out each of these actions through its transducer ability, which relies upon the application of electrical or optical signals to induce a response of the system2. Through this conversion of various types of physical phenomena into measurable data, sensors often exhibit accurate, reliable, efficient and robust capabilities that allow for this technology to be used in an increasing number of industries around the world.
The application of sensor technology has been found in almost every aspect of our daily lives, including safety, security, monitoring, awareness and surveillance products. As a technology that can be utilized in both micro- and nano-settings, sensor technology systems have found a particularly useful application within the field of medicine as a diagnostics and drug monitoring tool that has enhanced critical care for patients1.
To quantify the global market for sensor technology, BCC Research recently conducted a report of the current and future applications of sensor technology around the world. The main purpose of this study was to understand the rate of growth that sensor technology is expected to have, while also providing prospective manufacturers, distributors and users of this technology information on the potential opportunities sensor technology may have for their future endeavors.
Once the preliminary research regarding the function of sensors and the history of the applications of this technology since its introduction into society was conducted, the overall market size was quantified and analyzed3. Revenue estimates from the total market was achieved by collecting data from engineers, marketing executives, product sales engineers, international sales managers and other necessary personnel of sensor companies. From this gathered information, it has been estimated that the global market for sensors will rise from $110.4 billion in 2015 to an anticipated $240.3 billion in 20223.
Smart sensor technology is looking to revolutionize the future of the world within the next few years. As compared to a typical sensor, smart sensors are equipped with a microprocessor that is capable of customizing outputs and providing interpretive data that significantly improves the capability and performance of the sensor system3. By ensuring the integrity and reliability of the results created by the smart sensor, its application in medicine, consumer products, communication devices, home sensors, transportation and military is inevitable.
One example in how smart sensor technology is already advancing the field of diagnostic medicine is clear in the PillCam Capsule Endoscopy; a device that has been developed by Israeli company Given Imaging that is changing the way in which the human intestinal tract is studied. The PillCam is an ingestible pill-sized camera that allows physicians to visualize the esophagus, small bowel and colon, in order to avoid the need for sedation and as invasive endoscopic procedures that are traditionally used for these investigative purposes4.
Within the communications industry, current smartphones are equipped with several sensors such as a microphone, camera, digital compass, accelerometer and gyroscope; however, the future of smartphones is expected to contain even more sensors. Of these future innovative sensors include barometers and accelerometers that can be used to study the activity in which the user of the smartphone is doing. In fact, some researchers are studying how specific sensors can be applied to smartphones in order to detect the ambient pollution present in their surrounding environment4. Researchers estimate that by the year 2050, smart sensors and similar sensor-based systems will form the foundation of most of the work performed by the world’s ever-growing economy.
The future of both traditional and smart sensor applications to be implemented around the world is unimaginable. Current research trends are anticipating that, aside from the previously stated industries that have already found use in sensor technology, “smart cities” are also on the rise. Defined as cities that are either in the process of or have already employed various information, communication and technology solutions to be integrated across three or more functional areas of the city, smart cities offer a resolution to the massive global urbanization that is already taking place6.
A United Nations report has recently postulated that by the year 2050, 66% of the world’s population is estimated to live in cities, which will also lead to an overall population growth of another 2.5 billion people6. One way to handle such an exponential growth is through the implementation of smart cities, in which the ability to monitor the activity of millions of people to adequately manage and improve the efficiency of the city’s assets and services can meet the population needs at an impressive rate. Cities around the world such as Montreal, Quebec in Canada, San Jose, California in the United States and Wuhan, China are already obtaining the benefits of this type of smart sensor system.
- "Sensor Technology and Applications." The Electrochemical Society. Web. http://www.electrochem.org/world-of-sensors.
- "Global Markets and Technologies for Sensors." PR Newswire. Cision, 27 Mar. 2017. Web. http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/global-markets-and-technologies-for-sensors-300430105.html.
- "Global Markets and Technologies for Sensors." ReportBuyer. Web. https://www.reportbuyer.com/product/1169889/global-markets-and-technologies-for-sensors.html.
- "How Smart Sensor Systems Will Revolutionise the Future." Appcessories. 5 Jan. 2016. Web. http://www.appcessories.co.uk/how-smart-sensor-systems-will-revolutionise-the-future/.
- "PillCam Capsule Endoscopy." Given Imaging.
- "The Future of Smart Cities and Sensors." Advanced MP Technology. Web.
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