From houses to cars, restaurants, coffee shops, and malls, there are some things that we don’t really notice, but are there. One example of this is magnetism. There are many types of magnetic devices that use the normal attraction and repelling motions of magnetic poles to their advantage. Some of them are used in transportation, like a Maglev. Some are used in medicine, like MRIs, and there are even new breakthroughs in lighting your home, like a magnetic light, which defies gravity by levitating from a magnetic fixture. It gives your home a very modern touch. One example of a magnetic device is a magnetic sensor. These sensors have many uses, and here are some of them.
- Thermography and Infrared. A specific type of magnetic sensor is the electromagnetic sensor. These devices use electricity to excite the magnets to do a variety of things. One type of use for electromagnetic sensors are thermographs. Thermography turns electromagnetic sensors into infrared sensors. These kinds of sensors can detect heat emanating from other objects in low light or when there are things in the middle. The radiation they detect is useful in Search and Rescue, especially in earthquake situations where lives may be at stake blow the rubble. Infrared sensors are also useful in receiving data. They can sense the radiation from the electromagnetic spectrum and tell specially made receivers to accept the data being sent.
- Magnetometers and Global Positioning. In geophysics, magnetometers are used to find deposits of iron far down into the earth, they can also be used in archeology for finding buried cities, ship wrecks, and for the military, a Magnetic Anomaly Sensor is used to detect submarines. Magnetic sensors are also used in compasses. Unlike the normal needle compasses, magnetic sensor compasses are used to directly point to Earth’s magnetic north, a few chips will correct this to actually point in the North Pole. Such things can be bought at Honeywell Magnetic Sensors whose website is located at magneticsensors.com. They also have schematics in pdf format.
- Proximity Sensors. Proximity sensors are able to detect objects without making physical contact on the object. Instead, they use the magnetic field of every object, especially ferromagnetic objects. Proximity switches are normally enclosed, making them useful underwater. They are only opened by the presence of a magnet, which closes or opens (depending on the model) a circuit. This is very useful in space exploration as gravity may play foul with some of the currents, however, magnetism is a permanent fixture. Proximity sensors are also used in airports and cars. In airports, proximity sensors are used to check for metallic objects on a person. Due to security concerns, people have to walk through a magnetic sensor, to see if they are bringing any unclaimed metallic objects on board. This is very dangerous to both plane and passenger as the person may have ill will toward the passengers of the plane. Also, as metallic objects may interfere with the more delicate instrumentation of the airplane, most are not allowed.
There are actually quite a lot of magnetic sensor applications and that hasn’t stopped anyone from thinking of more. Magnetic sensors help us find precious oil, tell us where to go and where we are, and also helps us save lives and protect lives. Magnets make our lives easier, more comfortable, and help us prioritize the things we really want to do.