The course offers an overview of various sensors as required and applied in mechatronics and robotics. Emphasis lies on the physical background of the operating principles, illustrated with examples of commercially available sensors and of future and recent developments. It tries to give an answer to the following questions:
- what is the best sensing principle for a specific mechatronic system or robot task?
- are commercially available sensors adequate for these tasks?
- how to make the most of these sensors?
- what are their basic limitations?
- how to design a sensor system based on available sensing devices?
- which improvements could be expected in the near future, based on current sensor research?
Sensor research continuously induces improvement of performance or even opens up completely new designs, particularly through rapid advances in microtechnology. Therefore, such developments are touched upon too and an introduction is given into the possibilities of microfabrication technology. Where appropriate a section on the electronic interfacing of the sensor is included.|
- Sensors for signal transduction from the mechanical to the electrical domain: resistive, capacitive, inductive (magnetic), electro-optic, and piezo-electric sensing methods.
- Introduction into fabrication technology: photolithography, etching, deposition techniques.
- Physical backgrounds: piezo-resistivity, piezo-electricity, properties of sensor materials, noise. Applied to linear and angular displacement measurements, force and torque sensing, angular velocity sensing and accelerometers, flow sensing.
- Interfacing of sensors, signal conditioning, modulation and (synchronous) detection.