Proximity sensors are widely used as a no-touch method to provide either precise distance measurement to an object or simple “there/not there” logic. However, there are many technologies that fall under the proximity sensor umbrella, each with different operating principles, benefits, and intended applications. The most popular proximity sensor technologies utilized in portable or small embedded systems include ultrasonic, photoelectric, laser rangefinder, and inductive.
When it comes to selecting the right technology for a design, factors such as cost, detectable range, size, refresh rate, and material effect will all be important to consider. Ultimately, there is no “one size fits all” proximity sensor that will work for every application, so understanding each technology’s basic operation, advantages, and drawbacks can aid engineers in the selection process.
This CUI Insights blog post, “Comparing Proximity Sensor Technologies” discusses the several proximity sensor technologies mentioned above in greater detail, providing readers with a better understanding of their benefits and tradeoffs.