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Word Count: 441
A senor is a device that converts a physical phenomenon into an electrical signal As such sensors represent part of the interface between the physical world and the world of electrical devices such as computers The other part of this interface is represented by actuators which convert electrical signals into physical phenomena In recent years enormous capability for information processing has been developed within the electronics industry The availability of inexpensive microprocessors is having a tremendous impact on the design of embedded computing products ranging from automobiles to microwave ovens to toys In recent years versions of these products that use microprocessors for control of functionality are becoming widely available In automobiles such capability is necessary to achieve compliance with pollution restrictions In other cases such capability simply offers an inexpensive performance advantage All of these microprocessors need electrical input voltages in order to receive instructions and information So along with the availability of inexpensive microprocessors has grown an opportunity for the use of sensors in a wide variety of products In addition since the output of the sensor is an electrical signal sensors tend to be characterized in the same way as electronic devices The data sheets for many sensors are formatted just like electronic product data sheets The transfer function shows the functional relationship between physical input signal and electrical output signal This relationship is represented as a graph showing the relationship between the input and output signal and the details of this relationship may constitute a complete description of the sensor characteristics The sensitivity is defined in terms of the relationship between input physical signal and output electrical signal It is generally the ratio between a small change in electrical signal to a small change in physical signal As such it may be expressed as the derivative of the transfer function with respect to physical signal The range of input physical signals that may be converted to electrical signals by the sensor
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