What is a motion sensor?
As the name suggests motion sensors are electronic devices that can detect motion and movement. It consists of an electronic chip or a sensor that quantifies motion. When considered in broad terms, mechanical devices like a typewriter and keyboard can also be called as motion sensors as these employ the mechanical technique involved in the key press or pressure on the device to detect motion. But in general motion sensors are usually used to denote electronic sensors that can be integrated with other devices and systems to carry out some action based upon a trigger or motion detected.
The most commonly used methods to detect motions are
- Infrared (Passive and active sensors)
- Radio frequency energy like radar, microwave and tomographic detection.
Optical sensors and acoustic sensors that use either light waves or sound waves are the most commonly used sensors in many applications.
Types of motion sensors
There are many types of sensors available in the market. Motion sensors can differ in the technology used in detecting motion and other criteria like supply voltage, output type, output current, operating temperature range, output voltage and packaging type.
Applications of motion sensors
Motion sensors have a wide range of applications and are used in our daily life either in a passive or active way. Most of the smart devices and mobile phones come pre installed with motion sensors and have been proven indispensable for some of the modern day usage scenarios ranging from a camera application to personal security.
Motion sensors used in wearables and smart phones
Some of the common sensors that come embedded in smart phones and other devices include an accelerometer, magnetic sensors and gyroscope.
Accelerometers are a type of motion sensors that can sense vibration, acceleration, tilt and impact. They are also known as G-sensors and are the most commonly used sensors in almost all types of wearables and hand held devices. They can be used by fitness apps to calculate distance, number of steps taken and the pace with which a person moves. These are the sensors that gaming devices use to measure the user’s movements like tilting and rotating giving them a unique gaming experience.
The auto rotate feature of mobile devices also makes use of this sensor. These sensors have redefined the gaming experience and have provided new insights into maintain fitness.
Also known as e-compass, these sensors make use of the earth’s magnetic field to give accurate motion detection. It is used to give accurate positioning details which cannot even be achieved with GPS. GPS technology is not effective for indoor use. Some of the applications of magnetic sensors are
- Provide navigation in dense urban areas and indoors.
- Provide portable navigation.
- Deliver point-of product advertising
- Allow automatic social check-in capabilities.
If you are an active user of digital cameras, you would already know what a gyroscope is. Gyroscope measures the rotation rate of a device. Initially developed for military use, gyroscopes are increasingly getting integrated with consumer applications like laptops, digital cameras and smart phones for better gaming and navigation purposes.
Some of its uses are
- Provide augmented reality
- Enhanced user experience
How to use motion sensors for Security?
Motions sensors have been used for personal and home security for a very long time that now it is impossible to have a security system without a motion sensor. Some common application using motion sensors in relation to security are discussed below.
Motion detector alarms
They are usually integrated with a burglar alarm and when an unauthorized entry is detected, the alarm is triggered thus giving real time protection. They can be used to scare off intruders and help you feel safe and secure.
Motion detector lights
This is the most popular application that uses motion sensors very effectively. These provide a very good outdoor protection by shedding light on dark situations. They do not let intruders stay hidden and are also helpful when homeowners need to enter their homes at night.
Besides offering security and helping to catch a thief red handed, motion detector lights are liked by many because of the cost savings they offer. Automatic lighting based on human presence can save electricity in many situations where many of us forget to switch off the lights manually.
Motion detection cameras
Motion detection cameras are similar to CCTV cameras but are more effective in catching intruders. They can be used to trigger an alarm or send notification alerts when an unauthorized entry is detected. When these small yet effective cameras installed in the appropriate places with high chances of break ins, you can relax yourself without worrying about security issues.
Motion sensors for Vehicle alert systems
Motion sensors can also be used to provide a vehicle security by informing you when a vehicle enters your driveway.
Motion sensors as part of Wireless door bells
By using motion sensors, you can get rid of conventional door bells as they can announce when a visitor arrives at your door. Similarly motion sensors can be used in wide range of applications that provide better convenience and security.
Please read on further on our main pages:
Also see our related articles :
- Guidelines for selecting motion sensors
- DC Motion & Presence sensor with volt free contact
- Motion sensor activated phone call alert
- Light Sensor for Energy Saving