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A transducer is a device that converts one type of energy to another. The conversion can be to/from electrical, electro-mechanical, electromagnetic, photonic, photovoltaic, or any other form of energy. While the term transducer commonly implies use as a sensor/detector, any device which converts energy can be considered a transducer.

Types

Transducers may be categorized by application: Sensor, actuator, or combination.

A sensor is used to detect a parameter in one form and report it in another form of energy (usually an electrical and/or digital signal). For example, a pressure sensor might detect pressure (a mechanical form of energy) and convert it to electricity for display at a remote gauge.

An actuator accepts energy and produces movement (action). The energy supplied to an actuator might be electrical or mechanical (pneumatic, hydraulic, etc.). An electric motor and a loudspeaker are both transducers, converting electrical energy into motion for different purposes.

Combination transducers have both functions -- they both detect and create action. For example, a typical ultrasonic transducer switches back and forth many times a second between acting as an actuator to produce ultrasonic waves, and acting as a sensor to detect ultrasonic waves.

Applications

See also

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