In the future, sensors will become smaller, cheaper, more accurate, more flexible, more energy-efficient, and more environmentally friendly. They will be able to collect more types of data and integrate more and more new technologies. For example, the proximity sensor in the automated car.
1. Smaller and Cheaper
With the application of various new platforms and new materials, manufacturers can manufacture smaller sensors whose performance can be as high as millimeter-level and microwave-level electronic components, and with the application of less silicon, the cost will be significantly reduced. At the same time, the new platform will also reduce the cost of sensor design, development and manufacturing.
In the long run, self-calibrating sensors are very cost-effective. Through automatic calibration, the number and time of sensor maintenance can be reduced, and maintenance costs can be greatly reduced. Besides, self-repairing sensors will have a wider range of applications and lower maintenance costs, especially in the event of various disasters and risks.
2. Higher Accuracy
At present, the research on multi-channel cooperative frequency sensing is still in its infancy. In the future, once the technology matures, it will provide more accurate monitoring data than current single-channel sensors.
More accurate, more reliable and reproducible sensors will have more application scenarios in medical equipment and other fields, and their realized functions will be more powerful.
3. More Flexible
Flexible sensors are an important direction for future sensor development. At present, flexible light sensors, PH sensors, ion sensors and biosensors are still in the early stages of development. In the future, these flexible sensors will have more innovative applications, such as artificial skin, wearable sensors and micro-motion sensing.
Through micro-wire technology and magnetic field, the sensor can be as slender as a human hair, but also flexible, does not require a power source, and can measure temperature, pressure, tension, stress, torsion and position without contact.
4. Better Perception and More Data
Future sensors will more effectively imitate human senses to detect, process and analyze complex signals, such as biological hazards, odors, material pressure, pathogens, and waste corrosion. For example, these advanced sensors can not only sense a large number of single analytes (such as carbon dioxide) but can also decipher every component of the smell.
Also, smart dust is a microscopic sensor driven by vibration that can monitor various situations such as battlefields, high-rise buildings, or clogged arteries.
5. More Medical Applications
At present, many health-related sensors are mainly used in entertainment and lifestyle fields, and their functions do not meet the requirements of medical grade. In the future, more medical-grade sensors will pass strict regulatory approvals and realize medical applications.
With the miniaturization of laboratory systems, the research and development of emerging technologies for biohazard perception will be accelerated, and wearable sensors will become true medical-grade equipment rather than simple life and entertainment purposes. Medical testing will be easier, one testing instrument can analyze more substances and reduce the need for testing samples. For example, health testing can be done through body fluids such as sweat and tears.
Swallowable pills are an application of miniaturization of laboratory systems. For example, many health technology start-ups have used swallowable sensors to replace traditional endoscopy to reduce patient suffering. There are also swallowable or implantable pills developed by some technology companies that can be administered continuously in the body for a long time, making daily treatment easier for patients.
6. More Energy Efficient
Currently, most sensors are not very energy efficient because they are always on. In the future, sensors will become more intelligent and driven by specific conditions. They can only be activated when a certain condition is reached, and when they are in standby mode, there is almost no power consumption.
Besides, the sensor can also obtain energy from the surrounding environment to achieve longer-term operation. For example, exercise, pressure, light, or the difference in heat between the patient’s body and the surrounding air, etc. can all become the energy source of the sensor.
7. More Environmentally Friendly
In the future, environmentally friendly and biodegradable sensors will become increasingly popular.
For example, the sensor can use a biodegradable paper-based battery driven by bacteria. This type of sensor can be used in fields such as farmland management, environmental monitoring, food circulation monitoring, or medical detection without polluting the environment.
8. Higher Complexity and Better Compatibility
Through coordinated work, sensors will gain additional complexity. Sensor clusters can better coordinate the work between sensors, and determine the content and location of work through an autonomous learning system.
Besides, the adoption of various new technologies will also make sensors more diverse. For example, through laser technology, the sensor can identify the composition of the material through the unique spectrum of the material; the time-of-flight sensor can measure the distance between two objects through infrared light pulses; made of crystals, special ceramics, bones, DNA, proteins and other materials Piezoelectric sensors can better respond to external pressure and latent heat.
In the future, advances in various basic sciences will further promote the rapid evolution of sensor technology. Sensors will become more miniaturized and humanized, and human-computer interaction will be more friendly; at the same time, they will become more invisible and less noticeable. As sensors are more deeply integrated into our daily lives and are integrated with new technologies such as Al, sensors will make our lives better in the future interconnected and automated world.
A hardworking editor in electronics industry.