The Different Types of Sensor Data

Types of Sensor Data and How They Are Used

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In this technologically advanced era, sensors are commonplace in various industries and organizations. With the invention of the Internet of Things (IoT), sensor technology is only getting more popular. IoT applications enable real-time data collection and analysis to help you make crucial decisions.

Finding the ideal IoT sensor solution for your business allows you to perform timely maintenance, avoid costly downtime, and save on energy. Here is further insight on the wide range of sensors in today’s market, how to detect sensor error data, and how you can monitor your indoor air quality (IAQ).

1. What Is Sensor Data?

A sensor is any input device that detects and relays information regarding a specific physical parameter. The input device is part of a bigger sensor framework comprising software, actuators, and smart devices. The sensor converts the environmental signals into different types of sensor data which are relayed into a human-readable display. Sensors can detect the physical presence of fires, leaks, metals, gases, chemicals, motion, proximity, and drops in pressure.

2.Types of Sensors and the Data They Provide
Sensors have varied uses, with a few common ones, such as measuring ambient temperature, humidity, and chemical levels. Below is an overview of these popular types of sensors.

Temperature Sensor

Temperature sensors measure thermal changes in air or physical objects and transmit sensor data to display and control devices. This sensor type has existed for a while in refrigerators and air conditioning control. With the emergence of IoT, temperature sensors are securing a crucial role in the agriculture, manufacturing, and health sectors.

The machines used in manufacturing need to operate within a specific temperature range and you can use temperature sensors to optimize manufacturing processes. In agriculture, the soil temperature is key to the growth and survival of crops. Temperature IoT sensors help you monitor soil temperature for optimal plant output. There are several primary types of ambient temperature sensors in today’s market:

  • Thermocouples are voltage appliances that measure temperature fluctuations by detecting voltage changes. An increase in temperature directly corresponds to a rise in output voltage.
  • Resistance temperature detectors (RTDs) are another type of temperature sensor. They measure the level of resistance in a circuit to determine temperature changes. 
  • Thermistors generally work the same way as RTDs.
  • Infrared sensors determine ambient temperature by measuring the radiant thermal energy coming from a physical object. 

With IoT temperature sensors, facilities managers and engineers can easily detect temperature fluctuations and make necessary adjustments.

4.Humidity Sensor

Humidity sensors or hygrometers are electronic appliances that identify the amount of moisture in the air and transmit remote sensor data to display or control devices. Two key terms help measure and describe the level of humidity in the air:

  • Capacitive humidity sensors have a capacitor comprising two electrode layers with an intervening dielectric material. The hygroscopic dielectric material absorbs moisture in the air, increasing the sensor’s capacitance.
  • Resistive humidity sensors utilize the change in resistance between two electrodes to determine the value of relative humidity. 

Humidity sensors have numerous consumer, commercial and industrial uses. In manufacturing facilities, the IoT sensors measure and control moisture levels. You can also use humidity sensors in air conditioning systems to maintain proper climatic conditions. The automotive industry utilizes humidity sensors to regulate vehicle ventilation and prevent windshield fog.  

5.Chemical Sensors

Chemical or gas sensors are electronic appliances that detect the presence of various chemicals. Chemical sensors find extensive use in monitoring confined spaces, identifying the leakage of flammable gases, and in analytical instrumentation. The most common types of chemical sensors include:

  • Chemo resistors
  • Chemical field effect transistor
  • Fluorescent chloride sensor
  • Electrochemical gas sensor
  • Non-dispersive infrared sensor
  • Potentiometric sensor
  • Hydrogen sulfide sensor
6.How To Detect Errors in Sensor Data

With advances in sensor network technology, there is growing confidence in the long-term deployment of IoT sensors. When sensors work as expected, you can reap their optimal benefits and continue normal operations. However, you must be wary of errors affecting your sensor accuracy. The most common sensor data faults include:

  • Short faults: Single sample spikes or sharp changes in the measured value between two successive sensor readings.
  • Noise faults: A longer duration or gradually increasing variation in sensor data readings.
  • Constant faults: Constantly abnormal readings in a large number of successive measurements.

These sensor data errors often occur due to malfunctioning hardware or software. Short-circuited connections, low battery, and physical damage are the most typical hardware problems you can suspect.

Calibration errors can corrupt your sensor codes, resulting in software faults. In this error type, all your readings constantly differ from the true value while maintaining normal patterns.

Calibration errors can corrupt your sensor codes, resulting in software faults. In this error type, all your readings constantly differ from the true value while maintaining normal patterns. Identifying the causes of sensor malfunction can help you detect errors in sensor data. For advanced qualitative detection methods, you can seek the professional help of technicians at Senseware.

7. How To Use Data From Sensors To Aid Your Air Quality Monitoring Network

The sensor type you choose will depend on the specific metric you wish to monitor. When measuring indoor air quality, you need to identify the levels of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone, particulate matter, and volatile organic compounds.Senseware’s IoT solution for monitoring IAQ allows you to collect real-time sensor data and avert the health risks associated with poor air quality. Our modular healthy building package is a customizable unit that helps facility managers and school administrators comply with OSHA, WELL, ASHRAE, and LEED indoor air quality laws. Contact us today or request a free quote for top-quality IoT sensor products that meet your unique requirements.


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