Different Kinds of Sensors in a Smartphone

Nowadays, mobile phones comes with a variety of sensors that automate many of our daily task.  This field takes into account the presence of an accelerometer, a gyroscope, a barometer and a compass.

  • Accelerometer 

Accelerometer in mobiles are used to detect the orientation of the phone, whereas gyroscope adds an additional dimension to the information supplied by the accelerometer by rotating or twist.

An accelerometer will measure the directional movement of a device but cannot resolve its lateral orientation therefore to fill that, it use a gyro, so that you can get an output which is clean and responsive. Apps use this data to tell if a phone is in portrait or landscape orientation, if its screen is facing up or downward.

Image Source: Google Images

  • Gyroscope– It is a sensor which provide orientation information. Because of this Android’s Photo Sphere camera can tell how much a phone has been rotated and in which direction. Google’s Sky Map also use this to tell which constellation you’re pointing a phone at.

Image Source: Google Images

  • Barometer

Barometer helps the GPS chip inside the device get a faster lock by instantly delivery altitude data. It can measure atmosphere pressure. It is used to determine how high the device is above sea level, which also improves the GPS accuracy. Motorola XOOM and Samsung Galaxy Nexus were the first devices to feature this sensor.

Image Source: Google Images

  • Fingerprint Sensors

They are built into various smartphones, including Iphone 7, Samsung Galaxy S7 etc. with the increasing demand of phone security, smartphones has been using Capacitive Fingerprint scanner. These scanner use array tiny capacitor circuits which collect fingerprint data, by storing the electrical charges, connecting them up to conducting plates on the surface of the scanner which allow them to track details of a fingerprint.

Image Source: Google Images

There are more sensors which are not widely available in all smartphones. These are:-

  • Light sensor– This sensor measure how bright the ambient light is. Phone uses this sensor to adjust the Display brightness.
  • Pedometer– this sensor is used for counting the number of steps that the user has taken. It is used by many health apps and devices like fitbitt etc.
  • Heart Rate Monitor– As the name suggest, this sensor can measure the pulse rate of the blood vessels inside one’s finger.
  • Proximity Sensor– This sensor is comprised of an infrared LED and IR light detector. it is placed near the earpiece of a phone, when you place the handset up to your ear, the sensor lets the system to turn off the screen.


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