Plainly Piezo: The Everyday Devices With The Geeky Name

Posted on: 19 April 2017


Do you use a fish finder? There's a piezo device situated within it to let you know when you've located that large-mouth bass you've been trying to catch for the last couple of weekends. Did you fire up your gas grill after you caught that elusive bass? You used another piezo device when you pressed the ignitor switch. Are you timing how long it sits on the grill? When your watch beeps, yep, it's another piezo device. If you pan-fry your fish indoors and let it burn, the piezo device in your battery-operated smoke detector will alert you, loudly. So what role does this little device play in our everyday lives?

In the case of alert mechanisms, they're called piezoceramic audio transducers. These are tiny little circular buttons that take audio sound and convert it into electrical signals. That's what alerts you to where your fish is, ignited your gas grill, beeps your watch, or tells you that there's smoke in your house.

Isn't That Just A Fancy Term For Sensor?

You might think so, but transducers and sensors are actually different. Transducers produce output. In the case of audio, they produce audible beeps. That is, they alert you. Sensors are more "input" transducers. They also alert you, but through acquiring information. In your car, your digital gas alert sensor would alert you that you are low on fuel. Piezo systems use a medium such as ceramic to produce sound and electricity. Even your DNA uses piezoelectricity! In other words, piezo systems generate some form of energy.

Here's More Every Devices That Use Piezo Energy

Piezo systems are used for more than alerting devices. Your cell phone, ear buds, even greeting cards that play music when you open them have piezo technology within them. Hospital ultrasounds, focused ultrasound waves like those used in kidney stone lithotripsy surgery, are medical applications. Here's more:

  • dot-matrix printers
  • laser printers
  • microphones
  • tennis rackets
  • micro-robots
  • ultrasonic pet training collars

They all use piezo systems, such as from nPoint, to function according to their purpose. The more scientific, extraordinary usages would include nano-positioning devices. These devices create precision movement within the field of nanotechnology. How does that translate into every day life? Nano-positioning using piezo technology allows the creation of those tiniest computer chips that run our gadgets. From computers to microwaves to cell phones, piezo tech is inexplicably part of how we live--using everyday devices with the geeky little name.