Smart Sensors & Instrumentation

Smart Sensors & Instrumentation

Large arrays of sensors collect data for transmission over the Internet to a central, cloud-based computing resource in Internet of Things (IoT) applications, whether for city infrastructures, factories, or wearable devices. Analytics software running on cloud computers converts massive amounts of generated data into usable information for users and commands to actuators in the field.

Sensors are an important component of IoT success, but they are not the typical types that simply convert physical variables into electrical signals. To play a technically and economically viable role in the IoT environment, they had to evolve into something more sophisticated.

Here explains what needs to be done to achieve the IoT's large sensor array characteristic The book then discusses how manufacturers have responded with better fabrication, more integration, and built-in intelligence, culminating in the concept of smart sensors, which is now widely used.

It will become clear that, in addition to facilitating IoT connectivity, sensor intelligence provides numerous additional benefits such as predictive maintenance, more flexible manufacturing, and increased productivity.

Traditionally, sensors have been functionally simple devices that convert physical variables into electrical signals or changes in electrical properties. While this functionality is a good starting point, sensors must also have the following characteristics in order to function as IoT components: Low cost, so they can be economically deployed in large numbers

  • Physically small, so that it can “disappear” unobtrusively in any environment.
  • Wireless, because a wired connection is typically not possible.
  • Self-validation and self-identification
  • It has a very low power consumption, so it can go for years without a battery change or manage with energy harvesting.
  • Sturdy, to reduce or eliminate maintenance
  • Self-diagnosis and self-treatment
  • Can self-calibrate or accept calibration commands via wireless link.
  • Pre-processing of data to reduce the load on gateways, PLCs, and cloud resources

Multiple sensors’ data can be combined and correlated to draw conclusions about latent problems; for example, temperature and vibration sensor data can be used to detect the onset of mechanical failure. In some cases, the two sensor functions are available in a single device, while in others, they are combined in software to create a ‘soft’ sensor.

Traditionally, sensors have been functionally simple devices that convert physical variables into electrical signals or changes in electrical properties. While this functionality is a good starting point, sensors must also have the following characteristics in order to function as IoT components:

  • They are low in cost, allowing them to be economically deployed in large numbers.
  • Physically small so that it can “disappear” unobtrusively in any environment
  • Wireless, as a wired connection is not always possible.
  • Self-validation and self-identification
  • It uses very little power, so it can go for years without a battery change or manage with energy harvesting.
  • Sturdy, to reduce or eliminate maintenance
  • Self-diagnosis and self-treatment
  • Self-calibrating or accepts calibration commands through a wireless link
  • Pre-processing of data to reduce the load on gateways, PLCs, and cloud resources

Multiple sensors’ data can be combined and correlated to draw conclusions about latent problems; for example, temperature and vibration sensor data can be used to detect the onset of mechanical failure. In some cases, the two sensor functions are combined in software to create a’soft’ sensor; in others, the functions are combined in hardware.