A sensor measures something. I think that's the only thing they have in common ;)
You may have missed my point. If this is all sensors have in common, then it doesn't make any sense to have a sensor subsystem or a sensor API.
On the other hand, if "sensor" means something that produces samples at a high speed stream like your physics experiment example, a subsystem or API might make sense. In that case, though, one has to make it clear that is what "sensor" means (and really, one should use a different name, like maybe "streaming sensor").
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