We live in an analog world. In fact, most sensing begins in the analog world where the desired information is a continuously variable value or parameter. Traditionally, the signal from the sensor element has been amplified, compensated, and linearized to suit the system to which the transducer is attached, all done in the analog domain. Starting in the mid-1990s, sensors and transducers started to move from purely analog operation to digital protocols, signal processing, and interfaces. Today, that migration is in full swing. The rate at which products cross the analog/digital line varies by industry, but digital now prevails in many application spaces. This doesn’t mean the analog transducer industry will shrink and die. There are still many application areas — such as high EMI/RFI environments or legacy analog systems — where the benefits of an analog transducer will always surpass a digital approach.
• Analog sensor overview
• Common signals
• Digital sensor overview
• Technology comparison
• Design parameters review for each signal type