Sensors have become a regular feature in many systems. They reside alongside numerous other peripherals to add to the range of environmental inputs that can be incorporated into the job being done by the system. However, in some systems, the number of sensors threatens to overwhelm the other more traditional peripherals, and may influence performance more than the other peripherals.
Nowhere is this more of an issue than with smartphones. From one or two sensors with dedicated functions, mobile platforms have proliferated the number of sensors dramatically and opened up the sensor data to enterprising developers who have dreamed up new things to do. The architects probably never envisioned these applications when they incorporated the sensors.
As a result, the sensors – including touch sensors for the screens – have become more of a burden when directly connected to the application processor (AP). With sensors for ambient light, proximity, acceleration, rotation, and even magnetic field, pressure, humidity, radiation, and chemical sensing in the offing, it can make sense to offload the management of the sensors from the AP.