The Different Types of Sensors and Their Application

A sensor identifies and responds to changes or specific events in the physical environment. These changes can be in the form of motion, heat, light pressure, moisture, and any other set phenomenal.

Sensors in Dubai work as part of a system or other electronics where it relays the information to the main computer processor for further processing or reading. The readings are displayed in the form of electrical, optical or any other output corresponding to the input signals.

Classification of Sensors

Sensors are classified into different groupings based on different factors;

  • Active and passive

Active – these require external power signal or excitation signals to operate while passive directly generates output signals hence, do not need any external input.

  • Analog and Digital

Analog sensors produce analog output, that is, similar output to the quantity entered, while digital sensors produce digital or discrete data. It converts and transmits all the data in the digital form.

  • Conversion Phenomenon

Sensors can be classified based on the conversion trends; input and output.

Types of Sensors

These are some of the most common types of sensors in the UAE depending on their usage and source of signals;

1. Temperature sensors

These are the most common type of temperature sensors in Dubai. They are devices that give electric signals in the form of temperature measurements. The electric signal is determined by the changes in the electrical voltages or resistance which is comparative to the temperature changes.

There are several temperature sensors, such as, non-contact and contact temperature sensors. which are subdivided into electrical temperature sensors such as Thermocouple, Silicon bandgap, Thermistor, and Resistance thermometer. Mechanical temperature sensors such as Bimetal and Thermometer.

2. Speed sensors

These are sensors measure the speed of objects. Speed sensors come in different types like speedometers, ground speed radar, Doppler radar, LIDAR, pitot tubes, speedometers, pitometer logs, airspeed indicators, among others.

3. Infrared Sensors (IR Sensor)

Infrared sensor or IR sensors are light-based and are used in detecting and emitting IR radiation. This sensor is based on the fact that every object with an above absolute zero temperature emits radiation that may not be visible to the human eye yet can be detected by the special infrared motion detection devices.

Infrared sensors come in two types;

  • Passive – these are sensors that do not use any IR source in detecting the energy emitted from the obstacles. This is where the detector and the transmitter are placed next to each other to face the object. Some of the passive IR sensors are pyroelectric detector, bolometers, and thermocouple.
  • Active – this involves two components; IR detector, mostly a Photo Diode and IR source, mostly an IR LED, placed facing each other to detect motions when an object moves between them.

4. Ultrasonic sensors

This is sensor measures the velocity of an object or distance by ultrasonic waves. The ultrasonic wave is emitted from the source and hits the target where it is reflected for the sensor to collect the signals. The ultrasonic sensor, therefore, measures the distance and travel time between the transmitted wave and the reflected wave.

Unlike optical sensors that use two elements for receiver and transmitter, ultrasonic sensors use one element for reception and transmission.

5. Proximity Sensors

Proximity sensors detect or measure the presence of a unit without physical contact. They measure by releasing a beam of electromagnetic radiation or field and observes for changes in the return field and signal.

Different proximity sensors in Dubai work on different principles based on the environment condition and the objects under observation. Some of the most common types of proximity sensors are;

  • Inductive sensors – they are mostly used in objects with inductive capacities like metallic objects. They are used to measure the changes brought by changing inductances induced by voltages from a different conductor. Materials with higher inductive properties like steel are used more in inductive than with the lesser ones like copper and aluminum.
  • Photoelectric sensors – these sensors detect an object based on the changes in the amount of light. Photoelectric sensors come in two types; Through-beam sensors which have a source of light (emitter) and a receiver (detector) which detects a break in the light from an object. Reflective sensor releases light that strikes an object then is reflected the source.

6. Pressure Sensors

Pressure sensor measures pressure value in liquid or gasses. It is a transducer that emits a signal as an indication of the pressure measured. They can also be used to measure altitude, water level, speed, and gas/liquid flow.

Pressure sensors in Dubai are used in several industries, such as, Biomedical, aviation, marine, automotive, among others to control and monitor different applications.

Pressure sensors are grouped depending on the pressure range, operational temperature and the types of pressure it measures. Some of the types of pressure sensors are;

  • Differential pressure sensor – it is used to measure the difference between two pressures connected on the sides of a sensor. They measure a range of phenomena like fluid levels, air or oil filters, and flow rates.
  • Gauge pressure sensor – used to measure pressure proportional to the atmospheric pressure.
  • Vacuum pressure sensor – it comes in two versions, where one measures pressures under the atmospheric pressure, while the other measures absolute pressure proportional to a vacuum.

Real-time Application of Sensors- Where to apply?

These are some of the ways you can use the different sensors in UAE;

  • Mobile phones are designed with several IR sensors and automation technology. They have fingerprints, thermometer, light sensors, heart rate measure, gyroscope, and several others.
  • Most industries use temperature sensors in the UAE in designing temperature controllers for controlling temperatures of different devices.
  • Speed sensors are used predominantly in the motor industry to control speed in the transmission circuit.
  • Ultrasonic sensors are used to measure the distance at inaccessible areas.


We believe you can make an informed decision once you have understood the different types of sensors and how you can apply them in real life. We stock a range of sensors at Our store that you can choose from depending on your needs. we also have a team of qualified and experienced technicians to guide you through the selection process. 

3rd Aug 2019 S. Abd

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