Supporting Sensors in Windows 7

Windows 7 includes an amazing set of new features and I describe how to develop applications to use them in my book Professional Windows 7 Development Guide. One of the most amazing new features is the ability to work with sensors of all kinds within your application. In fact, I found this particular technology so compelling that I used an entire chapter to discuss it. Chapter 18 tells you about various sensor types and how to use them in your application, including:


  • Biometric (such as fingerprint and retina readers)
  • Electrical (devices that output some sort of electrical current that don’t fit in another category)
  • Environmental (devices that measure environmental conditions such as temperature and humidity)
  • Light (a device used to measure either the amount of light or a specific kind of light)
  • Location (usually refers to GPS devices, but Windows 7 supports other types)
  • Mechanical (defines a mechanical measurement, such as how far a door is open)
  • Motion (detects any sort of motion)
  • Orientation (measures angular rotation around the center of a mass in one of three axis: yaw, pitch, and roll)
  • Scanner (any device that contains a CCD and is used to capture an image, such as a camera or scanner)

Sensors are created from either hardware (with a driver) or software. The software sensors include a special software sensor, Geosense for Windows. The builder of this software sensor, Rafael Rivera, was kind enough to spend several hours with me online explaining precisely how sensors work in general and this sensor in particular. Geosense for Windows is a great way to discover Windows 7 sensors because you don’t need to buy anything special to experiment with it.

Rafael was also nice enough to provide a review of my book recently. You can find it on his Within Windows blog. If you have an interest in sensors or simply want to find out more about my book, please be sure to read Rafael’s review. Of course, I’m always available to answer your book-related questions at