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Sensors

You interact with your world through your five senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. Robots can have all of these senses (okay, I don’t know of any bots that can actually taste), and dozens more. A sensor is any device on a robot that receives input from the outside world and passes that input on to the robot’s control system. Let’s look at a few of the most common types of robot sensors.

Pressure Sensors

A pressure sensor is basically a switch that, when turned on (or off), sends a signal to the control circuitry of a robot to do something (usually back up or otherwise move to a new spot). Probably the most common type is the bump sensor, often a fender or skirt on the robot that, when hit, presses a switch to which the controller responds. Another common type is the feeler or whisker (common on robo-critters). This is simply a wire that, when pressed or bent, engages a switch. Pressure sensors are probably the most common type of sensors around, and robot builders are constantly experimenting with more effective ways of building them.


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