You are on page 1of 3

Proximity sensor

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A proximity sensor is a sensor able to detect the presence of nearby objects

without any physical contact.
A proximity sensor often emits an electromagnetic field or a beam of
electromagnetic radiation (infrared, for instance), and looks for changes in the
field or return signal. The object being sensed is often referred to as the proximity
sensor's target. Different proximity sensor targets demand different sensors. For
example, a capacitive photoelectric sensor might be suitable for a plastic target;
an inductive proximity sensor always requires a metal target.

Infrared proximity sensor.

The maximum distance that this sensor can detect is defined "nominal range". Some sensors have adjustments of the nominal
range or means to report a graduated detection distance.
Proximity sensors can have a high reliability and long functional life because of the absence of mechanical parts and lack of
physical contact between sensor and the sensed object.

Proximity sensors are commonly used on smartphones to detect (and skip) accidental touchscreen taps when held to the ear
during a call.[1] They are also used in machine vibration monitoring to measure the variation in distance between a shaft and
its support bearing. This is common in large steam turbines, compressors, and motors that use sleeve-type bearings.
International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 60947-5-2 defines the technical details of proximity sensors.
A proximity sensor adjusted to a very short range is often used as a touch switch.

1 Types of sensors
2 Applications
3 Manufacturers
4 References

Types of sensors
Capacitive displacement sensor
Doppler effect (sensor based on effect)
Laser rangefinder
Magnetic, including Magnetic proximity fuse
Passive optical (such as charge-coupled devices)
Passive thermal infrared
Photocell (reflective)
Reflection of ionising radiation
Sonar (typically active or passive)
Ultrasonic sensor (sonar which runs in air)

Parking sensors, systems mounted on car bumpers that sense distance to nearby cars for parking
Ground proximity warning system for aviation safety
Vibration measurements of rotating shafts in machinery [2]
Top dead centre (TDC)/camshaft sensor in reciprocating engines.
Sheet break sensing in paper machine.
Anti-aircraft warfare
Roller coasters
Conveyor systems
Beverage and food can making lines[3]
Mobile devices
Touch screens that come in close proximity to the face[1]
Attenuating radio power in close proximity to the body, in order to reduce radiation exposure[4]

Contrinex (
di-soric (
M.D. Micro Detectors
Rockwell Automation
Sick AG
schneider Electric
Protocontrol instruments
Bently Nevada
S K INTERNATIONAL - Proximity housing Tube
Proxel (

1. ^ a b "Proximity sensor on Android smartphones" ( TheCodeArtist.
2. ^ Proximity Probes for industrial machinery vibration monitoring (
3. ^ [1] (
4. ^ Can a $100 iPad Case Improve 3G Data Power? Lab Test! (

Retrieved from ""

Categories: Sensors
This page was last modified on 12 March 2014 at 10:12.

Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. By using
this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.
Wikipedia is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization.