Pressure Sensors Unveiled

A pressure sensor notes down pressure, usually of gases or liquids. Pressure is a way of phrasing the optimal force destined to stop a fluid from expanding, and is basically plotted in terms of force per unit area. A pressure sensor usually acts as a transducer; it produces a signal as a function of the pressure imposed.

Global shipments of microelectromechanical system  pressure sensors in cell phones are set to rise to 681 million units in 2016, up more than eightfold from 82 million in 2012, according to the IHS Supply MEMS & Sensors Service at information and analytics provider IHS (NYSE: IHS). Shipments this year are expected to double to 162 million units, as presented in the attached figure, primarily due to Samsung’s usage of pressure sensors in the Galaxy S4 and other smartphone models.

Although pressure sensors aren’t very useful currently in smartphones, they hold strong potential for the future. Click here for more information.

The most interesting application now is the fast Global Positioning System (GPS) lock, wherein the GPS chipset can lock on to a satellite signal and calculate positions more quickly by using the pressure sensor to determine the smartphone’s altitude.

However, the most exciting use for pressure sensors in the future will be indoor navigation, an area with massive potential growth in retail and travel applications. Pressure sensors will provide the floor accuracy required to determine which level a user is on within a structure.

While the ecosystem is not yet fully in place for indoor location/navigation, IHS anticipates this market will reach a breakthrough in growth during the next 12 to 18 months.

Silicon carbide used for the new NASA technologies, rather than the traditional silicon, eliminates the need for cooling. The current generation of Sic-based pressure sensors has been demonstrated to operate for 130 hours at 600 degrees Celsius in air, making them durable and reliable for use for the first time in engine ground testing and short duration flight test instrumentation.

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