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Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. A proximity sensor is a sensor able to detect the presence of nearby objects without any physical contact. The object being sensed is often referred to as the proximity sensor’s target. Different proximity sensor targets demand different sensors.
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. Some know these processes as “thermosensation”. 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 mobile devices to detect if someone is in nominal range. When the target is detected, the device lock screen UI will appear, thus emerging from what is known as sleep mode.
Once the device has awoken from sleep mode, if the proximity sensor’s target is still for an extended period of time, the sensor will then ignore it, and the device will eventually revert into sleep mode. 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. 60947-5-2 defines the technical details of proximity sensors.