Home / Definitions / Sensor


Jenna Phipps
Last Updated May 24, 2021 8:02 am

A sensor interprets specific information from the environment and sends a corresponding signal to a processing unit. There is not one particularly accepted definition of a sensor by the scientific community. But very basically speaking, it consists of the part that intakes information (the sensing part), the part that interprets and transmits that information into data packets, and the sensor system hardware that processes the data.

A sensor’s sensitivity can be measured by the relationship between the characteristic that it senses (such as pressure, temperature, or sound) and the corresponding output of that sensor. An output can be either voltage (electrical) or digital, which consists of bits or bytes.

Sensors and Internet of Things

Sensors have undergone very advanced developments as smart technology requires them. The Internet of Things – smart devices linked together – requires sensors for voice recognition and commands and touch, just to name a couple. A sound sensor might be responsible for recognizing a vocal command (“turn on the lights”).

The Industrial Internet of Things is the smart technology network for large organizations. Sensors detect humidity in buildings such as medical facilities to prevent mold, for example, and to ensure appropriate levels for patients. Sensors also monitor gas and temperature levels in buildings and rooms. Surveillance equipment might use motion detection sensors to track movement through a building.