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What is a sensor?
A sensor is a transducer that converts a physical, biological or chemical parameter of the real world into a electrical signal, for example: a temperature, pressure, flow, or vibration sensor. Sensors typically measure some physical real world parameter of interest and send digital data representing that parameter to other components of the system.
Sensor components in a system supporting IEEE 1588 will typically include a 1588 clock and a small microprocessor. Such components are often termed 'smart transducers' in that they do some processing on the raw data and add additional information about the measurement, for example the time of measurement.
What is the role of the 1588 clock?
The 1588 clock typically is used in a sensor component in one of two ways:
To generate a timestamp at the moment the data is acquired, or
As a mechanism to generate the acquisition trigger by comparing the time of the 1588 clock to a specified 'trigger time' provided to the component as part of the application.
Since 1588 clocks in all system components will be synchronized to a specified uncertainty, data or actions of system components based on these clocks will also be synchronized according to the application specifications.