This book offers an overview of various sensors and sensor systems as required and applied in mechatronics. Emphasis lies on the physical background of the operating principles, illustrated with examples of commercially available sensors and of recent and future developments. The work is adapted from a course book on sensors for mechatronic systems, used by students in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering of the University of Twente, The Netherlands. It tries to give an answer to the following questions:
+ What is the best sensing principle for a specified 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?
A mechatronic system uses information from its internal state as well as from its environment, in order to operate properly. This information is obtained using sensors. In many situations turnkey sensing systems are available on the sensor market.
For many other, newly defined applications, such a solution is not feasible, and a sensing system should be assembled from obtainable or specifically designed subsystems. This book offers a help in achieving the best solution to various kinds of sensor problems encountered in mechatronics, by reviewing the major types of transducers, a characterization of the state-of-the-art in sensing technology and a view on current sensor research.
Sensors operate in at least two different physical domains. Therefore, the first chapter discusses general aspects of sensors, with a special section on quantities, notations and relations concerning these various domains. Moreover, it includes a section devoted to sensor errors and error minimization that apply to most of the sensors discussed in this book. Each of the subsequent chapters deals with one class of sensors, pursuing a classification according to physical principles rather than to measurands. These categories are resistive, capacitive, inductive and magnetic, optical, piezoelectric and acoustic sensors. Each of these chapters starts with a brief
introduction to the physical background, from which follow the basic properties and limitations of such sensors. In subsequent sections, different types and constructions are given, together with the typical specifications and maximal ratings for devices available on the sensor market. For each category of sensors, a number of applications is given. Where appropriate, a section is added on the interfacing ofthe sensor.
This book is written for people involved in designing mechatronic systems and robots but who are not specialist in sensor technology. However, the reader is assumed to have some background knowledge on physics and electronics.
Nevertheless, some basic principles are briefly reviewed as a recollection, to facilitate reading. Moreover, readers who are not familiar with certain parts of physics are briefly introduced into the subject. Finally, each chapter ends with a section on literature (books and journal papers) as a reference for readers where to find further information on the topics discussed in that chapter. No references have been made to web pages because this information source appears to be too volatile for citation in a book. At the back of the book, appendices are found providing elementary electronic interface circuits, together with expressions describing their performance.
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