Introduction to Motion Sensors

If you want to beef up your home security arsenal, you may want to consider motion sensors. Nowadays, they do not only come in a couple of types – there are many of them to choose from, with each of them designed for your specific home security needs.

So first though, what is a motion sensor? Also known as a motion detector, a motion sensor is a device that detects physical movements of objects and most especially people, in real time. As it detects a movement – for instance, people trying to break your home – the motion sensor sends a signal to your system’s control panel, which connects to a monitoring or call center. This alerts you and the monitoring center of the potential threat inside your home.

Motion sensors are typically incorporated in certain gadgets such as smartphones, tablets and smart TVs. Motion sensors are usually run with a software that processes the motion detection into an information.

Below lists the most common types of motion sensor options available:

1) Passive motion sensors

Passive systems are like your dog – it will sit there and wait patiently for a threat to present itself and then it will act upon that threat. Passive motion sensors identify a threat through picking up body heat that every human being or animal radiates.

Passive infrared sensors are the most widely used motion sensors in home security systems. They detect infrared energy, or simply body heat. The sensor detects heat and movement from an object, animal or person in surrounding areas, creating a protective “grid.” If a moving person or object blocks too many grids and there’s rapid changes in the infrared levels, the alarm will go off. For example, a burglar moving through your yard will have to go slow so as not to make sound, and in doing this he’ll block a grid. Again at your door or window, he’ll block another grid. At this point the alarm will sound.

2) Active sensors

These active sensors act more more like cats than dogs, so they’re not waiting for a threat to take a reading of. Instead, they’re always feeling under threat so they’re sending out sound waves in the area covered. Active sensors send these out 24 hours day until there’s a significant disturbance in the sound waves. Then they will sound the alarm.

So now you know the difference between passive and active systems: passive systems are waiting around for something to read, while active systems are seeking out threats in the area.

Both passive and active motion sensors have a tendency to produce false alarms though because they both rely on one measurement to determine a threat. Because of this, dual technology sensors are introduced here in this article.

3) Dual technology sensors

Dual technology sensors are obviously more expensive than passive or active sensors. But one of the advanatages of dual technology sensors is that they produce less false alarms. Like passive sensors, dual technology sensors detect body heat at the same time they send out huge microwaves just like active sensors. Both must be triggered for an alarm to go off.

4) Vibrating sensors

Detects vibration from movements of a person or object. These can be purchased or made at home.

5) Video motion sensors

Video motion sensors can be passive or active, but when something triggers them they start to record video in the area affected.

The chief purpose of motion sensor is to alert homeowners that a potential threat is occuring in their area. As these motion sensors detect any movement and/or heat in real time, it sends an alert to your control panel, which alerts you or the monitoring center. Many sensors function even when you’re not home, just by telling the system that you’ll be away for a while. Some motion sensor systems can be integrated with a security camera to record videos of what’s happening whenever a motion is detected.