The term smart sensor was coined in the mid-1980s, and since then several devices such as accelerometer, optical sensor, infrared detector, integrated multisensor and so on are called as smart sensors. The intelligence required by such devices is available from microcontroller unit (MCU), digital signal processor (DSP), and Application-Specific ntegrated circuit (ASIC) technologies developed by several semiconductor manufacturers. The smart sensor is an analog or digital transducer or actuator combined with a processing unit and a communication interface. Some of the functions of smart sensors are information processing, communications, validation, integration, data fusion, and so on. Applications of smart sensors include industrial automation, aerospace and defense, building automation, biomedical, automotive, and consumer electronics. Some of the advantages of smart sensors are lower cost, self indication, auto correction, auto display, ease of use, high reliability, compactness, and so on.
Currently, the U.S., U.K., South Korea and China are the major countries who have captured the smart sensor market and according to the forecast, the next growing countries which will move their position upwards up to 2020 will be Canada and Germany. The China and Brazil will also show upward growth and boosting their profits. The technologies which are incorporated in smart sensors are Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS), Complementary Metal Oxide semiconductor (CMOS) technology, and Optical spectroscopy. Currently, pressure sensors are being employed in smart phones and computer devices having touch screen displays. So, it is expected that it will bring a widely used platform for smart sensors.
The various types of smart sensors which are widely used in various applications are flow sensors, temperature sensors, pressure sensors, touch sensors, dissolved oxygen sensors, turbidity sensors, oxidation reduction potential (ORP) sensors, and PH sensors. Flow sensor is a device for sensing the rate of fluid flow and is mainly used for industrial automation applications.
Smart sensors today, are now being integrated in almost all the devices like automotive, wearable devices and so on due to their flexibility and miniaturization. So, this will push the growth of smart sensors increasing its demand. Smart sensors are being used for smart homes for energy saving purpose. Energy management in smart home can be done through lighting, air conditioning and home appliances. Another driver for smart sensor is the evolution of novel wireless technology. Data transmission in smart sensors is done based on radio frequency(RF) communication. Various protocols are used for transmitting data. This also drives the demand for smart sensor market.