The book in front of you introduces the subjects of sensing and actuation. At first, it would seem that nothing could be easier; we may think we know what a sensor is, and certainly we know what an actuator is. But do we know it so well that it actually escapes us? There are literally thousands of devices all around us that qualify in either category. In Chapter 1, there is an example that lists many of the sensors and actuators just in a car. The count is approximately 200, and this is merely a partial list! The approach adopted here is to view all devices as belonging to three categories: sensors, actuators, and processors (interfaces). Sensors are the devices that provide input to systems and actuators are those devices that serve as outputs. In between, linking, interfacing, processing, and driving are the processors.
In other words, the view advocated in this text is one of general sensing and
actuation. In that sense, a switch on the wall is a sensor (a force sensor), and the light bulb that turns on as a result is an actuator (it does something). In between, there is a “processor”—the wiring harness or, in case a dimmer is used, an actual electronic circuit—that interprets the input data and does something with it. In this case, it may be no more than a wiring harness, but in other cases, it may be a microprocessor or an entire system of computers.
+ 1 Introduction
+ 2 Performance characteristics of sensors and actuators
+ 3 Temperature sensors and thermal actuators
+ 4 Optical sensors and actuators
+ 5 Electric and magnetic sensors and actuators
+ 6 Mechanical sensors and actuators
+ 7 Acoustic sensors and actuators
+ 8 Chemical and biological sensors and actuators
+ 9 Radiation sensors and actuators
+ 10 MEMS and smart sensors and actuators
+ 11 Interfacing methods and circuits
+ 12 Interfacing to microprocessors
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