Displacement Measurement

What are sensors on a robot and why are sensors important to robots

What are sensors on a robot and why are sensors important to robots

The sensor is a device that could be mechanical chemical or electrical. The working of each sensor is based on the transduction principle which is energy conversion from one form to another. Sensors in robot allow it to react with its environment in a flexible way. With the help of sensors, robots are able to see and feel, and this would help the robot to perform complex tasks. Robot sensors measure robots’ condition and its environment and inform robots controller as electronic signals. Robots need sensors to control themselves. In order to control their own actions, robots need to know information about the position and the movement of its body and parts.





Robots can understand their surroundings with the help of sensors. With the help of sensors, robots are able to protect themselves so the robots will be safe. Sensors are the system that alerts the robots

What can be sensed by the robots by the help of sensors

  • Direction, light
  • Sound, frequency
  • Temperature
  • Object proximity: the presence of the object and the distance can be determined
  • Physical orientation and position
  • Magnetic and electric fields
  • Resistance

What are the required features of sensors

  • Accuracy
  • Operation range
  • Quick response
  • Calibration
  • Reliability
  • Cost and ease of operation

What is an end effector in robotics

An end effector is a device at the end of the robotic arm, which is designed to interact with the environment. Mostly end effector consists of gripper and tools.

What are the different types of sensors used in industrial robots

There are two categories of sensors used in industrial robots they are internal and external. Internal type is used to control the position and velocity of the manipulator’s joints while the external is used to coordinate the operation of the robot with the other equipment.

Commonly used sensors in robotics

Position sensors

Position sensors can monitors the location of the joints and give the information to the controller by this the robot can determine the position of the end effector, the end effector is a part of the robot

Range sensors

These sensors can measure the distance between a point in the robot and the point that surrounds the robots. This is mostly done with the help of cameras. These sensors are used in end effector to calculate the distance between the sensor and the work part. Types of range sensors are sonar, laser range finder, structured light, etc, large distance can be measured by this sensor.

Heading sensor

Heading sensors are sensors that can determine the robot’s orientation and inclination with the given reference.

Velocity sensors

The speed of an object could be known with the help of this sensor. Due to the effects caused by the mechanical force, gravity, etc, the desired speed and required force to reach the speed can be computed.

Vision sensor

To pick certain devices vision sensors will be useful, robots can handle workpiece which is randomly piled by using a 3D vision sensor

Force sensor

Parts fitting and insertion can be done by the help of this sensor robots can do precise fitting and insertion of machine parts with the help of the force sensor. A robot can insert parts that have the phases after matching their phases in addition to simply inserting them

Proximity sensors

This sensor can detect the presence of an object within a specified distance. Many sensors give feedback to the robot if it is near an object or obstruction and this can be done by a contacting or by non-contacting methods and this type of sensors is called proximity sensors

Contact proximity sensors

It is a device that consists of a rod that extends from one end and a switch or other linear position which monitors the element which is located within the body of the sensor. So when the robot manipulator moves, the sensor will be active only if the rod came into contact with an object.

Non-contact proximity sensors

In this type, the sensors are depended on a variety of operating principles to make the proximity determination. Reflected light, ultrasound are some of them

Accelerometers and gyroscopes

The accelerometer can measure the linear acceleration based on vibration while gyroscopes can be able to detect the orientation by using angular momentum.

Tactile sensors

Tactile sensors help the robots to touch and feel. Tactile sensors can be used for measuring applications and they would interact properly with the environment.

Eddy current sensors

These sensors are used as proximity switch and they operate on eddy current principle. These sensors will use a sensing coil to induce a high-frequency current in the target. The amplitude of the sensor-generated oscillations depends on the distance between the metal surface and the coil. The position can be obtained by monitoring the amplitude.


post-graduate in Electronics & communication.

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