Benefits Of Motion Sensors

Benefits Of Motion Sensors

Last Updated on by Daniel Lawrence

How keen are you on security? It’s always important to be security conscious. With the right tools like motion sensors, you can improve your security. Read through this guide to see the benefits of motion sensors.

What Is A Motion Sensor?

A motion sensor (or motion detector) is an electronic device that is designed to detect and measure movement. Motion sensors are used primarily in the home and business security systems, but they can also be found in phones, paper towel dispensers, game consoles, and virtual reality systems. Unlike many other types of sensors (which can be handheld and isolated), motion sensors are typically embedded systems with three major components: a sensor unit, an embedded computer, and hardware (or the mechanical component).

These three parts vary in size and configuration, as motion sensors can be customized to perform highly specific functions. For example, motion sensors can be used to activate floodlights, trigger audible alarms, activate switches, and even alert the police.

Motion sensors are applied for a range of security applications, including but not limited to:

  • Intruder alarms— This is the most common application for residential, business, and government properties. Sensors detect when an intruder has entered a premises, or when unauthorized personnel has strayed into a restricted area.
  • Ticket gates— In pay-to-park garages and close-gated, private parking spaces, sensors can scan tickets, which determine whether someone entering or exiting has a valid pass and has paid the proper fare.
  • Entryway lighting— Sensors detect incoming vehicles at gates or within parking areas and activate lights for easier navigation. When the area is clear, the lights go off to conserve energy. Entryway lighting is also used in hallways and select rooms when people pass or enter.
  • Security lighting— Security lights work in tandem with intruder alarms. When a burglar trespasses onto a property, the motion sensor detects unauthorized movement that triggers an alarm. Simultaneously, security lights flash on throughout the area in question to scare off and deprive the intruder of any hiding spaces on the property.

There are two types of motion sensors: active motion sensors and passive motion sensors. Active sensors have both a transmitter and a receiver. This type of sensor detects motion by measuring changes in the amount of sound or radiation reflecting into the receiver.

When an object interrupts or alters the sensor’s field, an electric pulse is sent to the embedded computer, which in turn interacts with the mechanical component. The most common type of active motion detector uses ultrasonic sensor technology; these motion sensors emit sound waves to detect the presence of objects. There are also microwave sensors (which emit microwave radiation), and tomographic sensors (which transmit and receive radio waves).

Unlike an active motion sensor, a passive motion sensor does not have a transmitter. Instead of measuring a constant reflection, the sensor detects motion based on a perceived increase of radiation in its environment. The most widely used type of passive motion sensor in home security systems is the passive infrared (PIR) sensor.

The PIR sensor is designed to detect the infrared radiation emitted naturally from the human body. The receiver is contained in a filter that only allows infrared to pass through it. When a person walks into the PIR sensor’s field of detection, the difference in radiation creates a positive charge within the receiver; this perceived change causes the sensing unit to send electrical data to the embedded computer and hardware component.

Other Types Of Motion Sensors

  • Dual technology sensors — For more advanced security systems, dual sensors combine PIR and MV capabilities. Therefore, one sensor is passive and the other is active. Each sensor works on different parts of the spectrum, and both sensors must be triggered for an alarm to activate.
  • Area-reflective sensors — These are incorporated into LEDs, from which infrareds are emitted to detect movement within the range of a lighted area.
  • Vibration sensors — One of the cheapest options, vibration sensors are switch-activated to send out vibrations that detect motion.

Installing Motion Detectors

As motion sensors have a limited range—anywhere from 50 to 80 feet—you’ll want to place several around your home, especially in areas where people frequently walk, such as hallways, staircases, living rooms, and bedrooms. As a motion sensor may have a harder time detecting someone walking directly toward it, it’s better to place the device alongside a hallway where a burglar would walk parallel to it.

When deciding where to place each sensor, make sure they are at least 10 feet away from bright windows, radiators, and heating vents, as abrupt changes in temperature or HVAC-related airflow may trigger false alarms.

Motion sensors play a major role in any home security system, but with so many options available, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. We’re here to help with our comprehensive guides to motion sensor lights and motion sensors.

How Can Motion Sensors Be Used in a Home

With various types of motion sensors available on today’s market, the benefits of motion sensors are numerous across a vast range of settings. On the insides and outsides of residential properties, homeowners use motion sensors for everything from anti-theft security to child and pet monitoring. So how can motion sensors be used in a home? Here are six ways:

  • Help you monitor your children

If there are areas on your property that are unsuitable for children, motion sensors can be set up around the entrances to these areas and will alert you if your child wanders in. An area such as a garage, for instance, might contain tools and fasteners you wouldn’t want a child touching or possibly handling.

Other spaces homeowners often childproof with motion sensors include sheds, liquor cabinets, and drawers with adult content. If you have large, exotic animals on your property, it’s also wise to childproof the enclosures with motion sensors.

  • Alert you of stray pets or wild animals

Motion sensors can be used to notify you if your pet wanders into the wrong area. For example, if there’s an area on your property with delicate plants or items that a cat or a dog could easily ruin, a sensor could send you an alert if your pet wanders in there.

Sensors can also alert you of instances where neighborhood dogs or other wild animals wander onto your property.

  • Alert you if your teen sneaks out or returns late

Teenagers often do wild things, but rules and curfews do apply as long as they’re minors. For their safety and a parent’s peace of mind, sensors can be installed around windows, entrances, and garages that will keep you alerted — and wake you if necessary — if your teen sneaks out or arrives home at an inappropriate hour.

If there’s no reason for anyone in your household to be opening the garage door after 10 pm, a sensor will notify you of this suspicious activity and will allow you to intervene before your son or daughter manages to escape for a night’s cruise.

  • Keep burglars and predators out of your house

This is one of the most obvious benefits of motion sensors. Whether you live in a tight-knit neighborhood or on a more secluded property, your home could become the target of an invasion. It might be a burglar looking for items to steal inside your home, or it could be a predator out to harm you or your loved ones. In any case, preventing an intrusion is the most crucial aspect of home security.

Motion sensors can be set up on all corners of your property to sound off alarms and trigger lights if an unwanted presence enters your backyard, or comes too close to your front porch at the wrong hours. The culprit will be detected, sounding the alarm before they even manage to get inside.

  • Alert you of arriving guests

If you live in a large house, answering the door can be inconvenient when you’re upstairs washing your hands. A motion sensor can alert you of when a car pulls into your driveway, and this can give you time to get downstairs and greet your guests as they approach your front door.

Then again, you might receive a guest you don’t want to see. With a motion sensor and camera-equipped security system, you could preview who is at the door from the comfort of your bedroom or living room, and decide from there whether you want to answer the door.

  • Open doors automatically as you come and go

In addition to security and surveillance, motion sensors can also activate convenience functions such as door openers. If you live in a smarthome, for example, and the locks are activated remotely via handheld devices, you could unlock the front door from your phone as you approach the house, and have the door open automatically via motion sensors.

A similar process could be installed for your garage door and activated as you pull into your driveway. If someone in your household is handicapped, motion sensors could be installed to activate all the necessary doors in the house whenever they need to enter or exit a room.

  • Activate lights when you enter a room

If someone in your household has a habit of leaving lights on when they exit a room, a motion sensor can help you save on your electrical bill. When someone enters a room, the sensor will detect movement and activate the light. Once the room is vacated, the sensor will detect the lack of movement or body heat and turn off the light.

Light-activating motion sensors can be especially useful for small or handicapped people who might have trouble reaching a light switch. If your ceilings are high, and there’s an overhead light that only activates with its own switch, a motion sensor can solve the problem when taller household members aren’t around.

Benefits of Having a Motion Sensor

When it comes to security you want to make sure that your home is taken care of. From the locks on every door or window throughout your house to the constant upgrades that one makes to various security systems or home efficiency systems. A motion detector certainly has multiple advantages when it comes to efficiency as well as security, but is there drawbacks?

The adage for real estate is location, location, location, and that rings true when dealing with installing a motion-activated outdoor light. If you live in a high traffic area where vehicles and pedestrians are constantly zooming by your home, a motion-activated light will light up your yard but could prove to be more of an annoyance than anything else. There are ways around this, however, so you must pay close attention to the placement of the light.

The motion-activated lights offer assistance for those coming home to a dark house at night. As soon as you drive up your driveway and notice that the walkway is pitch black, you will breathe a sigh of relief because you know that as soon as you step foot out of the car, your motion-activated lights will detect that you are home and pop on, shining up the yard and walkway so that you can avoid your children’s toys.


Motion sensors are an essential part of any security system: they represent one of the best ways to detect intruders and other suspicious activity. If you’re ready to increase the security of your home or business, get a motion sensor.