Sensors are electronic devices that converts one form of energy to another, such as microphone, loudspeaker, thermometer, antenna and position and pressure sensors among others. These devices perform input function because they “sense” a physical change in some devices that changes in response to some reaction like heat, and force and converts into an electrical signal.
Sensors are also considered part of the Internet of Things (IoT) network and are included in the architecture of microcontrollers. Internet of Things can be any object which has been assigned an IP address and the ability to transfer data over network. Sensors are increasingly playing important role in printed technology and this has led to the development of Printed Sensors.
Printing technology refers to the technique of developing thin film devices either by printing or coating of organic or inorganic materials. The new generation printed sensors offer new levels of sensitivity, mobility and manufacturability. Compared to silicon based sensors, printed sensors can combine semi-conductor, conductive materials as well as materials with special mechanical, optical and thermal aspects with more flexible methods.
Printed technologies are specially designed for those sensors that used to convert non electrical signals to electrical signals. Printed Sensors are less costly, environment friendly and mass productive. Printed Sensors are used to detect and measure humidity, temperature, freshness of food, light, sound, pressure and toxic gas. The biggest market of printed sensors is Glucose Sensors and the market for Image Sensors is also rapidly increasing.
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Rapid industrialization is the driving force for the growth of this market. Industrialization has led to an increase in the demand for sensor based products which has in turn been epitomized by Internet of Things. Printed Sensors are highly used in automobiles, industrial and healthcare instruments. The market is also hugely driven by consumer electronics goods owing to a rising demand for hi-tech digital cameras, mobile phones, personal computers, laptops and others.
The evolving trend of Internet of Things is expected to increase the applications of printed sensors. Being thin, light weighted and flexible in nature, the printed sensors are apt for exchange of data to be used in IoT. Growing application of biometric technologies in smart phones, e-passports and others has also created a wide market for printed sensors.
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A major pull factor of this market is the durability of the sensors. The printed sensors are very thin which makes them easily breakable. The sensors contain digital information embedded within, this can pose a threat to privacy if got stolen.
Despite of few disadvantages, the market is expected to grow throughout the forecasted period. High disposable income and improvement in standard of living will keep on increasing the use of high end mobile phones, cameras and other gadgets which in turn will increase the demand for printed sensors. The recent years has also seen the rise in diseases like diabetes which requires the use of printed glucose sensors which measures the sugar level. The use of printed glucose sensors is prevalent in developing countries.