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Smart Sensor Systems: Emerging Technologies and Applications by Gerard Meijer, Michiel Pertijs, Kofi Makinwa

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Chapter 1Smart Sensor Design

Kofi Makinwa

Electronic Instrumentation Laboratory, Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands

This chapter is an expanded and updated version of [7].

1.1 Introduction

Sensors have become a ubiquitous part of today's world. Modern cars employ tens of sensors, ranging from simple position sensors to multi-axis MEMS accelerometers and gyroscopes. These sensors enhance engine performance and reliability, ensure compliance with environmental standards, and increase occupant comfort and safety. In another example, modern homes contain several sensors, ranging from simple thermostats to infrared motion sensors and thermal gas flow sensors. However, the best example of the ubiquity of sensors is probably the mobile phone, which has evolved from a simple communications device into a veritable sensor platform. A modern mobile phone will typically contain several sensors: a touch sensor, a microphone, one or two image sensors, inertial sensors, magnetic sensors, and environmental sensors for temperature, pressure and even humidity. Together with a GPS receiver for position location, these sensors greatly enhance ease of use and have extended the utility of mobile phones far beyond their original role as portable telephones.

Today, most of the sensors in a mobile phone, as well as most sensors intended for consumer applications, are made from silicon. This is mainly because silicon sensors can be mass-produced at low cost by exploiting the large ...

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