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Smartphones are now more intelligent. Behind this is the contribution of various sensors. Features like Face Unlock, Fingerprint, GPS and Auto Brightness are powered by different sensors. Apart from these functions, numerous sensors are used in various functions of the smartphone. So let’s see how many types of sensors smartphones have and how they work.
Smartphone Sensors and How They Work
A sensor is a small device or module that analyzes the conditions around it and sends them to the processor in quantitative form. Smartphone sensors measure various aspects of their surroundings, such as ambient light, device orientation, movement, etc.
Every smartphone has a three-dimensional coordinate system. Based on this system, smartphone sensors detect any changes in real time and record them This coordinate system of the smartphone consists of three axes or Axis,
The X-axis goes along the width of the device
The Y-axis goes along the length of the device
The Z-axis passes through the device
And all the sensors of the device are also based on these axes. The point to be mentioned here is that the phone’s default orientation has a stable coordinate system. This does not change if the phone is held in landscape mode or tilted in any direction.
Different types of sensors
Sensors are divided into three categories based on the parameters on which the sensors work. Take three below
1. Motion sensor
Motion sensors detect movement, acceleration and rotation along three axes in the device’s coordinate system. This sensor detects tilt while playing games, how many steps you walk in a day and in which direction you are going.
Some examples of motion sensors are Accelerometers, Gravity Sensors, Gyroscopes, etc
2. position sensor
The position sensor records the phone’s physical location. The sensors identify position through the phone’s Coordinate System, which defines its surroundings as a frame of reference and orientation based on three-dimensional space. Phone, navigation, location track, screen rotation detection are done through these types of sensors.
Some examples of position sensors are Proximity Sensor, GPS, and Magnetometer.
3. Environmental sensors
The job of the environmental sensors is to detect any significant changes in the conditions around the phone. For example, phone decision-making on changes in light, temperature, pressure, etc. This sensor is used to increase or decrease the brightness of the phone in certain light when Auto Brightness is on. Environmental sensors also work to detect display temperature, air pressure, etc.
Examples of environmental sensors are Ambient Light Sensor, Thermometer, Barometer, Air-humidity Sensors etc.
Different sensors of smartphone and their function
Smartphones today have various sensors, and they play an important role in enabling various functions of the phone. Let’s take a look at some of the common sensors in smartphones to know how they work.
Accelerometer records the movement of the device along three axes in the phone’s coordinate system. The X axis measures the phone from side to side, the Y axis measures up, down movement and gravity. The Z axis measures forward and backward movement
The acceleration of the device is determined by calculating the data obtained from the three axes. This info is used by various apps to measure direction and speed. And phone fitness apps show your walking speed, the number of steps.
Gyroscope measures rotation along three axes in the device’s coordinate system. It measures the exact rotation of your phone, in radians per second.
Simply put, Accelerometer measures linear motion and Gyroscope measures angular motion. And these two sensors jointly control functions like Auto Rotation which is used in games like Temple Run and Asphalt 9.
Magnetometer detects your phone’s orientation according to the Earth’s magnetic field. The sensor is essential for navigation and compass apps. This sensor helps to detect the detection of your phone and display the map accordingly.
Like the magnetometer, the Global Positioning System or GPS helps in navigation through antennas. It continuously receives signals from satellites and can track the location of the phone while calculating the distance traveled.
As GPS records a location as soon as a signal is received, the distance is calculated based on the time difference between any two signals. Navigation apps use both GPS and magnetometer sensors to determine location and direction.
Ambient Light Sensor
Ambient light sensor can measure the light intensity around the phone. These sensors detect changes in ambient light and record its intensity.
If the Auto Brightness feature of the phone is enabled, the ambient light sensor data can be used to reduce the brightness of the phone according to the light of the room.
The function of the proximity sensor is to identify how close or far the specific object is to the phone. An example of this is when the phone’s display light turns off when you receive a call and hold it to your ear. This saves battery life and helps avoid accidental touches between calls.
Hall sensors work much like proximity sensors. It detects the device’s magnetic field and sends that data to the processor. This sensor is mainly used in case of flip cover. When the flip cover is closed the magnet approaches the device and disrupts the device’s magnetic field, sending this information to the processor causing the light to turn off.
Opening the cover again causes the magnet to move away and the phone returns from sleep mode to normal mode.
Biometric sensors are used in the identification of various physical characteristics and in smartphones these sensors are used in the field of security. These sensors can identify specific individuals through fingerprints, irises, and facial expressions.
Some of the biometrics sensors used in mobiles are,
Fingerprint Scanner: When the user places a finger on the scanner, the sensor uses a capacitive surface to generate an electrical signal based on the fingerprint. Later the phone is unlocked through this signal.
Irish Censor: This sensor detects and saves iris patterns through invisible infrared light.
Atmospheric sensor is used to detect various conditions around your device such as atmospheric pressure, ambient temperature, air humidity etc. Atmospheric sensors include,
Thermometer: It measures the temperature of the device and its surroundings.
Barometer: It measures the air pressure around the device. As we know pressure increases with altitude, the barometer will compare the pressure recorded on your phone with the recording from the nearest weather station and detect how high you are.
Air humidity sensor: This sensor is used to measure the air humidity around your device.
The sensors discussed in this tune are basically the ones used in most cases, but more intelligent sensors are coming in the coming days that will make our smartphones even smarter.
Sensors are the devices that make your phone smart. The processor can provide various features through these special modules. Although Accelerometers and Gyroscopes sensors have multiple uses, sensors like Ambient Light and Hall Sensors are used for specific functions.
So today until the next tune, stay well, Allah Hafez.