transducer

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Transducer

A transducer is an electronic device that converts one form of energy to another energy form for such purposes as measurements and information transfers. Typically, one of these forms is electrical while the other is usually mechanical, optical (light), or thermal (heat). Transducers are usually classified as either input or output devices, depending on the direction in which they transfer energy or information. Input transducers convert some property or effect into an electrical signal, while output transducers start with electricity and generate a mechanical or other effect. Everyday use examples of transducers are microphones, antennae, thermometers, photocells, and light bulbs.

Transducers are generally classified within the following divisions (along with an example of each): electroacoustic (such as a microphone); electrochemical (such as a pH probe); electromagnetic (such as a light bulb); electromechanical (such as a strain gauge); electrostatic (such as a liquid crystal display [LCD]); photoelectric (such as a light-emitting diode [LED]); and thermoelectric (such as a thermocouple).

The efficiency of a transducer is important in its function. Thus, transducer efficiency is defined as the ratio of its power output to the total power input. This statement can be mathematically written in equation form as: E = Q/P, where E is efficiency, Q is power output, and P is total power input. To convert this number to a ratio between 0 and 1, multiply the answer E by 100; thus E% = 100Q/P.

Transducers play such fundamental roles in modern technology that examples of them abound. In virtually every electronic device or instrument, transducers act as translators between electron flow and the physical world. Loudspeakers are perhaps the most well-known transducers, as they are used in nearly every audio system to convert electrical signals into acoustic ones. Like loudspeakers, audio microphones are transducers. Both devices have a small diaphragm that is free to move in either a magnetic or electric field. In speakers, electricity pushes this diaphragm in order to generate sounds. In microphones, the opposite happens, and sound pushes the diaphragm to generate an electric signal. Another common transducer in audio systems is the photodetector; in a compact disc (CD) player this input device combines with a photoemitter to optically sense encoded information on the disc and convert it to music.

A tremendous collection of natural transducers can be found in the human body. The senses convert complex sights, sounds, smells, and other experiences to electrical signals, which are then sent to the brain for interpretation.

See also Amplifier; Electronics.

views updated

Transducer

A transducer is a device which converts one form of energy to another. Typically, one of these forms is electrical while the other is either mechanical, optical, or thermal. Transducers are usually classified as either input or output devices, depending on the direction in which they transfer energy or information. Input transducers convert some property or effect into an electrical signal, while output transducers start with electricity and generate a mechanical or other effect.

Transducers play such fundamental roles in modern technology that examples of them abound. In virtually every electronic device or instrument, transducers act as translators between electron flow and the physical world. Loudspeakers are perhaps the most well-known transducers, as they are used in nearly every audio system to convert electrical signals into acoustic ones. Like loudspeakers, audio microphones are transducers. Both devices have a small diaphragm which is free to move in either a magnetic or electric field . In speakers, electricity pushes this diaphragm to generate a sound. In microphones, the opposite happens, and sound pushes the diaphragm to generate an electric signal. Another common transducer in audio systems is the photodetector; in a compact disc player this input device combines with a photoemitter to optically sense encoded information on the disc and convert it to music.

A tremendous collection of transducers can be found in the human body. The senses convert complex sights, sounds, smells, and other experiences to electrical signals, which are then sent to the brain for interpretation.

See also Amplifier; Electronics.

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transducer, device that accepts an input of energy in one form and produces an output of energy in some other form, with a known, fixed relationship between the input and output. One widely used class of transducers consists of devices that produce an electric output signal, e.g., microphones and photoelectric cells. Other widely used transducers accept an electric input, e.g., loudspeakers, light bulbs, and solenoids. The term transducer is sometimes applied to devices producing an output in the same form as their input, e.g., transformers and filters.

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trans·duc·er / transˈd(y)oōsər; tranz-/ • n. a device that converts variations in a physical quantity, such as pressure or brightness, into an electrical signal, or vice versa. DERIVATIVES: trans·duce v. trans·duc·tion / -ˈdəkshən/ n.

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transducer
1. (sensor) Any device that converts energy in the form of sound, light, pressure, etc., into an equivalent electrical signal, or vice versa. For example, a semiconductor laser converts electrical energy into light, and a piezoelectric device converts mechanical stress into electrical energy (and vice versa).

2. In formal language theory, any automaton that produces output.

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transducer Device for converting any nonelectrical signal, such as sound or light, into an electrical signal, and vice versa. Examples include microphones, loudspeakers, and various measuring instruments used in acoustics.

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transducer (trans-dew-ser) n. a device used to convert one form of signal into another, allowing its measurement or display to be made appropriately. For example, an ultrasound probe converts reflected ultrasound waves into electronic impulses, which can be displayed on a TV monitor.