When we think of a smart device, we often think of tangible devices we can give commands and that saves us from stress and costs. There is more to a smart device than this train of thought – some smart devices are invisible in the environment where they are used and when visible cannot be given commands, appear dull and unresponsive; they are not recognised as smart devices which they are and the functions they perform outweighs most of the other smart devices. One of these smart devices is a Sensor.
A sensor is a device that responds to physical stimuli (heat, light, motion, sound and many more) and transmits a resulting action (switch on or off a light or change the direction of a vehicle). Have you ever wondered why you stepped into some rooms in the dark and lights suddenly switched on without any effort or you put your hands in the kitchen sink and the tap gives water without turning on a switch or to reject a phone call you turn the face of your phone upside down; these are all the works of sensors.
Sensors are a wonder because they are often unseen and provide tremendous benefits in our daily lives. They are small and are available in almost every place you can think of – cars, mobile phones, traffic lights, schools, homes and many more. There are various types of Sensors, and that depict their functions; position, temperature, pressure, humidity are some of them. The first sensor was developed by Warren Johnson in 1883; an electric thermostat that measures temperatures with good accuracy.
Humans are intelligent beings, but there are limits. Our intelligence cannot accurately predict how cold or hot a room is, the mixture of gasses in the room, and the probability of vehicles crashing into each other. These deficiencies are well catered for by sensors and thus, the reasons for their usage in technologies today. For example, driverless cars or cars with autopilot capability like Tesla and Plus, make use of sensors to detect nearby objects to avoid a collision. Smart-Thermostats make use of sensors to give the current temperature of environments.
The limitations such as lack of awareness in an environment and regular usage by most people stem from a lack of education in the usage of smart devices. This lack of knowledge extends to limitations of the usage of applicable technologies – a recent study shows that driverless cars which should reduce the risk of collisions, prevent injuries and save lives are seen by many motorists as a threat.