Difference between sensor and actuator | Sensor vs Actuator

Difference between sensor and actuator


In today’s article on breaking down amazing networking devices, we have brought to you two of the most co-related devices that are often found in commonly used machines these days. These two devices are – sensors and actuators.

We are pretty sure you must have heard of sensors, whenever discussing the making of robotic models or machines that can grasp knowledge and create responses based on the received knowledge. But you might not have heard of actuators. Well, worry not! Because we will be breaking down for you, these two devices and elaborating on their characteristics as well as understanding their differences. So, let’s start!


Introduction to Sensor and actuator



sensor and actuator difference

Let’s first discuss what are sensors? Sensors are a device that converts physical events or characteristics into electrical signals. These hardware devices take the input from the environment and give it to the system by converting it. A great example of sensors are thermometers that detect your temperature and use electrical signals for the system. A sensor can be active or passive. The active sensors do not require a power source while the passive sensors do to operate. A sensor works by sensing the quantity using a special sensing element.




difference between sensors and actuators in IoT


Contrary to sensors, actuators are devices that convert electrical signals into physical events or characteristics. They take input from the system and give output to the environment. An example of actuators that can help you understand their system are motors and heaters. There are 5 different types of actuators –  Manual Actuator, Electric Actuator, Hydraulic Actuator, Pneumatic Actuator, and finally Spring Actuator.

But, to understand the two devices in more depth, simply understanding their definitions is not enough. You need to know the differences between the two devices in order to grasp their concept. So, let’s get started!


Difference between sensors and actuators in IoT


Here we have listed some of the major and most important differences between sensors and actuators that can help you in comprehending the two devices better.


Sensor vs Actuator


Difference between Sensor and actuator


Sensors Actuator
Sensors convert physical characteristics into electrical signals Actuator converts electrical signals into physical characteristics
output to input conditioning unit of the system. output to environment
input from the environment. input from the output conditioning unit of the system.
Generates electrical signals Actuator generates heat or motion
Sensors give information to the system about the environment Actuator accepts commands to perform a function.
used to measure the physical quantity. used to measure the continuous and discrete process parameters.
A sensor may or may not require an extra power source to operate. Actuators require an extra power source to operate
Example: Photo-voltaic cell Example: Stepper motor



So, these are the most important differences between sensors and actuators.

Both of these devices have become indispensable units of the mechanical and electronic industry as they help in producing wireless devices. Thus, having an in-depth knowledge of these devices is a must.

We hope that you must have got your doubts about sensors and actuators cleared out and learned something new.

You can check out our other articles to understand many other networking devices and IoT devices.


See alsoSDWAN vs MPLS | Difference between SDWAN and MPLS


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References: electricaltechnology

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