Throughout the history of the development of smart sensors: born from spaceships, live for the Internet of Things

Sensor intelligence is an inevitable trend under the concept of the Internet of Things. At the same time, the deduction of the Internet of Things technology will derive more mature smart sensors.

Origin: Born for spaceships

Smart Sensor is a new type of sensor with automatic status perception, information analysis and processing and real-time communication exchange, and is the basis for realizing intelligent manufacturing and the Internet of Things. Throughout the development history of sensors, smart sensors are emerging sensors that were developed in modern times and will continue to affect our lives in the future.

The development process of sensors can be roughly divided into three generations:

The first generation is the structural sensor, which uses the structural parameter changes to sense and transform the signal.

The second generation is a solid-state sensor developed in the 1970s. This sensor is composed of solid-state components such as semiconductors, dielectrics, and magnetic materials, and is made of certain properties of materials.

The third-generation sensor is an intelligent sensor that has been gradually developed since 2000.

But in fact, the concept of smart sensor was first proposed and formed by NASA in the process of developing spacecraft in the 1970s.

In 1978, NASA first proposed the concept of Smart Sensor. A large number of sensors on the spacecraft continuously send data information such as temperature, position, speed and attitude to the ground. It is difficult for a large computer to process at the same time. With such complex data, in order not to lose data and reduce costs, there must be smart sensors that can integrate sensors and computers.

At the same time, spacecraft with intelligent sensors were developed. A large number of sensors are used on the spacecraft to continuously send data information such as temperature, position, and speed to the ground, and then use the CPU to calculate the processing unit decentralization technology, and process these huge data at the same time to achieve self-calibration, self-compensation and long-distance communication, etc. Function. This is the earliest intelligent sensor. It processes and transforms the output signal of the sensor, and then sends it to the microprocessor through the interface for arithmetic processing.

Throughout the history of the development of smart sensors: born from spaceships, live for the Internet of Things

Until the 1980s, sensors and microprocessors began to be combined. At that time, the microprocessor was the core, and the sensor signal conditioning circuit, microcomputer memory and interface circuit were integrated into a single chip, so that the sensor had a certain artificial intelligence.

In 1983, the United States Honeywell (Honeywell) company developed the world’s first intelligent sensor, ST3000 series intelligent pressure sensor.

In the 1990s, with the further improvement of intelligent measurement technology, the sensor realized miniaturization, structural integration, array type and digital type, with multiple functions such as self-diagnosis, memory and information processing, and the operation became simpler. , which is more convenient to use.

In 1993, IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) and NIST (National Institute of Technology Standards) proposed the “Smart Sensor Interface Standard”.

Since 2000, with the large-scale use of MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical System,) technology, the sensor has further promoted the development of intelligence, miniaturization and integration.

After 2010, with the rise of the Internet of Things and smart manufacturing, smart sensors have received extensive attention and rapid development.

Development: implement the Internet of Things, upgrade intelligent manufacturing

Throughout the history of the development of smart sensors: born from spaceships, live for the Internet of Things

For the Internet of Things, the smart sensor itself is a typical IoT smart terminal, or the current typical IoT smart terminal is also a smart sensor.

Compared with the perception of ordinary sensors – the single function of output, and the inability to determine in time after failure, the smart sensor itself has the functions of data acquisition, data processing, data upload, instruction execution, self-calibration and automatic compensation. And auxiliary power supply methods such as solar energy, can truly achieve unattended applications, and complete the assigned monitoring mission around the clock.

Therefore, sensor intelligence is an inevitable trend under the concept of the Internet of Things. At the same time, the deduction of the Internet of Things technology will generate more mature smart sensors. Today, smart sensors have been applied in a variety of IoT scenarios, including robotics, VR/AR (virtual reality/augmented reality), drones, smart cities, smart homes, smart transportation, and smart medical care.

Throughout the history of the development of smart sensors: born from spaceships, live for the Internet of Things

In the industrial production process, various sensors are also needed to monitor and control various parameters in the production process, so that the equipment works in a normal state or an optimal state. It can be said that smart sensors are the core equipment for realizing smart manufacturing, which directly affects the development process of smart manufacturing.

An essential element of intelligent manufacturing is the automatic flow of data, and on-site data acquisition is the first place to start the flow. Whether it is data collection, storage, Display, monitoring or the integration of other information, in the field of front-end perception, smart sensors are the key to realizing intelligence. Without it, intelligent manufacturing will be impossible.

In the development process of intelligent manufacturing, as an autonomous input device for intelligent equipment to perceive external environmental information, intelligent sensors must take into account a series of tasks such as monitoring, measurement, analysis and evaluation, and play a role in technical traction and scene upgrade for the application of intelligent equipment. .

Intelligent sensing technology is the leading technology of intelligent manufacturing and the Internet of Things. As a front-end perception tool, it is of great significance.

The future: smart sensors will become the key areas of enterprise layout in the future

According to relevant data, the global sensor market in 2015 was 99.5 billion yuan, of which smart sensors reached about 69.8 billion yuan, accounting for more than 70% of the market. The rate reached more than double digits, and the market size is expected to exceed 300 billion yuan in 2019.

At the same time in my country, the output value of domestic smart sensor companies in 2015 was about 1.4 billion US dollars, and it is expected that the country will reach 3.7 billion US dollars in 2019, with a compound annual growth rate of more than 30%. In 2019, it is expected that the size of my country’s smart sensor market will expand to 13.7 billion US dollars, and the localization rate will increase from 13% in 2015 to 27%.

Therefore, no matter from the perspective of the international or domestic market, the current development of smart sensors is in a rapid upward trend, and will be the mainstream of market development for a period of time in the future.

According to the statistics of listed companies’ operating products, 12 of the 25 listed sensor companies in China are engaged in smart sensor companies, and nearly half of them are engaged in smart sensor research, which shows that the market has broad prospects.

Distribution of sensor product types of 25 domestic listed companies (unit: %)

Source: Compiled by Qianzhan Industry Research Institute

As the basis of information and data technology, smart sensors have now been integrated into our production and life. Whether it is from robots to unmanned driving, or from smartphones to smart homes, or smart cities under construction, you can see it. figure. In the future, with the penetration of intelligent concepts into all walks of life, intelligent sensors will surely occupy “half of the country” in the overall market size.

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