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An intelligent sensor, as the name suggests, is a sensor device that is able to perform a number of intelligent functions as part of its task or duty. An intelligent sensor is able to self-test, self-validate and self-adapt as well as self-identify. These sensors understand the environment they are put into and they can manage a wide range of conditions.
An intelligent sensor is able to detect conditions and respond to them. Intelligent sensors should not be confused with smart sensors, where "smart" refers to being technologically advanced. A smart sensor may have advanced features, but it does not have conditional functions which make it "intelligent."
An intelligent sensor is capable of managing its functions as a result of stimulus from external functions (outside environment). This shows that an intelligent sensor has the architecture of advanced learning, adaptation and signal processing, all in one integrated circuit. An intelligent sensor requires specialized hardware called signal conditioning circuitry to monitor and control itself and other appliances.