Future of Sensor Development Mega trends Will Change Your Life

Recently, Twimbit, a Singapore-based company, gave a list of 10 trends in global sensor development over the next three years. This article is based on its report: Transformational Trends: Paradigm Shift Continues to 2023, and it states relevance to the global sensor industry from 2021 to 2023, also likely to be the trend of the last five years.


<3D Sensor brings accurate measurement>

Advances in 3D depth sensors have facilitated applications in advanced manufacturing, security systems, intelligent vehicles, transportation systems, interactive games, and service robots. The application of 3D technology in industrial production and discrete fields is becoming increasingly widespread. Methods of acquiring 3D visual data include time of flight (TOF), structured light, stereo vision, and 3D interference check. 3D depth sensors and haptic imaging sensors have impacted many applications, from consumer electronics to human-computer interaction, has dramatically transformed the interaction design experience compared to the previous.  The United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has developed 3D technology for military surveillance widespread.

The demand for 3D sensors is growing due to demands for high-precision design, operational control, and security.


<Acoustics - Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW) and Body Acoustic Wave (BAW) Sensor>

SAW and BAW have been exploited as a common platform for many sensors and biosensors for industrial, health and consumer applications. Earlier this year, Sensor Kinesis innovated a biosensor based on SAW technology for rapid Ebola testing. Since these acoustic technologies are inexpensive, there are opportunities for SAW to explore various acoustic technology application scenarios. Also, BAW has been widely used in loudspeakers on smartphones.

The potential of using acoustic techniques to detect many analyte parameters creates many application scenarios. The massive replacement and expansion of smartphones and portable devices ensure a huge market demand.


<The use of energy harvesting allows sensor to operate independently>

Remote individual sensors, wireless sensors, and continuous monitoring sensors need to be self-powered. To achieve self-powered sensors, we are deploying sensor energy harvesters in large numbers. These micro-energy recovery systems generate power from multiple sources such as solar, vibration, and thermal energy. It includes a wide range of fields such as aerospace, automotive, environmental monitoring, consumer electronics, medical devices, implantable sensors, homeland security, and defense. Lord Microstrain has developed a new method for converting strain energy into electrical energy storage using piezoelectric materials.

Independent continuous power supply and integrated sensors trigger demand.


<Artificial Intelligence (AI) sensor>

Technological developments in intelligent machine have enabled machines to think like humans with the help of computers, with features such as speech recognition, language translation, and visual perception. Embedded AI empowers machines to make decisions in real-time. The proliferation of artificial intelligence sensors is leading to changes in the use of precision control scenarios in processes and discrete industrial spaces. AI is gradually penetrating the business and consumer sectors.

Sensors with intelligent real-time data analysis and process correction capabilities are proliferating. In addition, the interactivity of field devices is more high-precision and complete.


<Combining and hybridizing sensor to facilitate multi-parameter detection application>

The deployment of a combination of sensors to monitor multiple parameters. In addition to hard-to-reach areas, they are also used in closed-loop automation applications. Sensors such as temperature + humidity, pressure + flow, vibration + acceleration + deceleration are the most deployed combination sensors. Technicians are developing more combinations for real-time simultaneous detection of various parameters.

Existing sensors will be gradually converted to combination sensors.


<Digital health platform ensures health>

Both prevention and diagnosis of health problems show an increasing reliance on sensors. Sensor applications are including life support implants, preventive measures, long-term monitoring of disabled and severely ill patients, robotic surgery, and remote patient monitoring. The clinic and home diagnostics markets are increasingly relying on sensors. IoT-compatible and wearable sensors are booming in health applications. Sensors contribute to the monitoring of geriatric care. They have evolved into a variety of medical applications, where AI, DNA testing, 3D printed organs, and IoT digital platforms are changing the existing health prevention paradigm. According to CB Insights in its 2020 report, "There was a total of $80.6 billion in funding and 55,000 venture capital investments. North America, Asia, and Europe all posted year-over-year increases. 187 large healthcare funding rounds (above $100 million) were raised in 2020, a new record." Sensors continue to benefit from such healthcare investments.

High accuracy, speed, remote patient access interface and up-to-date nature enhance sensor applications for health.


<Wireless sensor networks to ensure connectivity>

Distance-Energy Cluster Structure Algorithm (DECSA) is a re-improvement of the Low-Energy Adaptive Clustering Hierarchy (LEACH). DECSA considers node distance and residual energy information to increase lifetime and reduce energy consumption.

Low energy clustering improves the efficiency and speed of wireless networks.


<New intelligent sensor>

New intelligent sensor is smarter, and more and more intelligent sensors are used in various applications. These smart sensors have accurate functional diagnostic capabilities, and most sensors have shifted from interactive to predictive. Many sensors may be used to predict accidents and eliminate faults. The technology is expected to produce cognitive properties in sensors.

This is a huge growth opportunity for all intelligent sensors. It promotes the need for a wide range of applications that require high precision control.


<IO-Link digitization accelerates data transmission>

IO-Link enables digital connections to transfer data directly from sensors to IoT interfaces and programmable logic controller (PLC). Compared to analog technology, IO-Link technology is cost effective. IO-Link is a short-range, bi-directional, digital, point-to-point, wired or wirelessly applicable industrial communication network. The connection follows the IEC-61131-9, IEC 60947-5-2 standards. IO-Link controls communication with connected IO-Link sensors, devices, and systems, whether intelligent or not.

Most systems are moving to digital platforms. IO-Link allows direct data transfer from sensors to IoT and PLCs, which may facilitate large-scale use.


<IoT enables remote monitoring>

With the support of IoT sensors, the industrial and commercial sectors are gradually moving to remote monitoring. These sensors enable managers to use IoT platforms remotely to perform critical control functions, especially in large plants such as petrochemicals and refineries. This real-time monitoring and control using IoT platforms ensures zero downtime, absolute safety, high efficiency, and full processes, regardless of criticality.

IoT is being used extensively and most sensors are now compatible with IoT platforms. The number of IoT devices is expected to reach 21.5 billion by 2023.

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