Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Your Smartphone is Equipped With So Many Sensors. What are they?

Smartphone Sensors

Have you seen the movie “Mission Impossible Movie Series” which presents some of the coolest gadgets installed
with phones and pads to show the sophistication and advancement along with the speedy development of technology? Using your phone you are checking and verifying whether the substance is nuclear or not with the help of beryllium rods attached with a transmitter to check the nuclear signals and absorptivity. 

Well to discuss this whether one must understand that all these taking electronic signals into the computer world is due to way Embedded Systems and more precisely involvement of Sensors which one is seeing everywhere to bring more automation in the industry and world.

What is a Sensor?

A sensor is a converter that measures a physical quantity and converts it into a signal which can be read by an observer or by an instrument. According to National standard GB7665-87, sensors are defined as: "Devices which can feel the information to be measured and convert the information into a usable signal in accordance with some rules. Sensors are usually composed of sensitive components and conversion devices."

Some of the sensors one can see in today’s world:
  • Camera
  • GPS
  • Automatic Door Open
  • Radar Guns
  • Thermometers and many more
Now, these are sensors which we are seeing in the modern world and in front of the eye. Why are we trying to relate them to mobile phones? Smartphone sensors are in use since the time they have been invented and innovated to integrate them into cellular devices like Touch sensors (Keypads), Microphone (Yes, Microphone is a sensor converting the voice into electrical energy). 

Also read: Android vs. iPhone

Smartphone Sensors:


Image Credits: Contus

Measures proper acceleration (acceleration it experiences relative to freefall), felt by people or objects. It is measured in 3 axes and thus defines the current orientation.

2. GPS (Global Positioning System)

GPS in Mobile Phone

Location sensors detect the location of the smartphone using either GPS, Lateral/Triangulation of cell towers or wifi networks or location of associated cell tower or wifi network.

3. Image Sensor

Image Sensor in Smartphone Camera

As the photography feature has become standard in many mobile phones, the image sensor has been widely used in mobile phones after its application in regular cameras. Taking pictures and shooting videos with mobile phones are part of a lot of people’s daily lives. The image processing technology has given the image sensors a broader room for application. 

4. Fingerprint Sensor

Fingerprint sensor in smartphone

Fingerprint sensor was firstly used in the mobile phone for identification, which is equivalent to the password identification. Only when the owner of the fingerprint is verified, can he/she be able to use the phone. With the development of semiconductor and software technologies, mobile phones are becoming mobile terminals that can access personal and corporate data at any time, anywhere. It is critical to ensure the security of user access to prevent unauthorized access.

5. Ambient Light Sensor

Ambient Light Sensor in Smartphone

By using this type of sensor, the mobile phone can even be designed to control the ring volume by detecting the light intensity of the environment. When the mobile phone is put in the pockets or purse, the ring tone is loud. When the mobile phone is taken out of the pocket, as the brightness of the environment changes, it can turn down the volume. This feature is very useful. It not only can avoid missing phone call because of weak ring tone, but also can avoid disturbing others. The battery life is also saved.  

6. Gyroscopic Sensors

Gyroscopic Sensors

These sensors can be detected during real-time gaming sensations. Yes, it is the movement of racing games where one can gyroscopic sensors than the accelerometer sensors. Detects the current orientation of the device or changes in orientation. It can be computed using an angular rate. 

7. Magnetometer:

Compass in Mobile Phone

Measures the strength of Earth’s magnetic field. Smartphones provide raw magnetometer data and a computed compass bearing. Some of the basic applications of Magnetometer are Compass and Tricorder.

8. Proximity Sensor

Proximity sensor in mobile phone

It senses how close is your smartphone screen with your body. It turns off the screen when you place your phone near your ear while talking, which saves battery. It also detects the accidental touch on the screen and prevents accidental inputs while talking.

9. Pedometer

Pedometer in mobile phone

Many smartphones nowadays are equipped with this sensor. It counts the number of steps that you have taken. Pedometer uses values generated by the accelerometer to monitor movements like walking or running.

10. Heart Rate Sensor

Heart Rate sensor in mobile phone

This sensor can be found in the high-end Samsung phones. This uses an optical sensor and LED to measure heart rate. When you put your finger on the sensor, the LED emits light towards the skin and the optical sensor looks for the light waves reflected by it.

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