Walt Maclay (Voler Systems)
A massive shift is happening in technology: everything is getting connected to the Internet. The convenience and power of the Internet makes these products much more valuable, so companies are rushing to get their Internet of Things (IoT) products to market. But success in this rush requires expertise in sensors, wireless communication, and data collection technology.
Sensors are everywhere; your car and phone are full of them. There are three key reasons for this growth—sensors continue to shrink in size, they are cheaper, and they use less and less power. A good example is the MEMS accelerometers, which are first widely used in air bags in cars. The cost of these devices quickly dropped from hundreds of dollars to tens of dollars. At the lower cost, they could be used in all types of other things. Now these devices are used in billions of smartphones, and the price today is down to a dollar. As sensors get smaller and cheaper, more markets open up. In the process, sensors are changing the world by adding smarts to traditional devices.
Some common sensors measure temperature, pressure, vibration, fluid flow, and acceleration. Additionally, cameras and microphones are very common. Now, newer phones have gyroscopes and magnetometers. There is now single-chip solutions available that contain three accelerators, three gyroscopes, and three magnetometers. We will see continued improvement in accuracy and sensitivity of current sensors, as well as the ability to detect other forms of energy and substances.
As sensors proliferate, designers increasingly choose to bring them together through wireless networks. But different sensors have different needs, and different wireless standards offer different features. Which wireless standard makes sense for your application?
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