Different Types of Robot Sensors

In this article, we learn about the different types of robot sensors.

Types of Robot Sensors

1. Acceleration Sensor-Types of Robot Sensors

An acceleration sensor is used to measure acceleration and tilt. An accelerometer is a device used to measure acceleration.

There are two types of power that can affect an accelerometer:

Static Force

This is the force of friction between any two objects. By measuring this force of gravity we can determine how much the robot is bending. This measurement is useful for balancing the robot or for determining whether it is running on a flat surface.

Dynamic force

This is the amount of acceleration required to move an object. Measurement of dynamic force using an accelerometer tells the speed at which the robot is moving.

The accelerometer comes in different configurations. Always use the right one for your robot. Here are some factors to consider before choosing an accelerometer:

1. Sensitivity

2. Bandwidth

3. Output type: analog or digital

4. Number of axes: 1,2 or 3

2. Temperature Sensor- Types of Robot Sensors

A temperature sensor is used to detect changes in ambient temperature. Based on the principle of changing the voltage difference for a change in temperature, this change in voltage will provide the same value as the ambient temperature.

TMP35, TMP37, LM34, LM35, etc. are some of the commonly used temperature sensor ICs.

3. Proximity sensor-Types of Robot Sensors

It is a type of sensor that can detect the presence of a nearby object at a certain distance without any physical contact. The working principle of the proximity sensor is simple. A transmitter transmits electromagnetic radiation or generates an electrostatic field and the receiver receives and analyzes the return signal for interference. There are different types of proximity sensors and we will discuss some of them that are commonly used in robots.

Infrared (IR) Transceivers

The IR LED transmits a beam of IR light and if it detects an obstruction, the light is only reflected by the IR receiver. Some IR transceivers can also be used to measure distances.

Ultrasonic Sensors

These sensors generate high-frequency sound waves; Indicating the echo received. Ultrasonic sensors can also be used to measure distances.


The photoreceptor is a light sensor; However, it can still be used as a proximity sensor. When an object comes very close to the sensor, the number of light changes which changes the resistance of the photoreceptor. This change can be detected and processed.

There are many types of proximity sensors and some of them are usually preferred for robots. For example, capacitive proximity sensors are available that detect changes in the capacitance around it. The inductive proximity sensor detects objects and distances through the use of an induced magnetic field.

4. Sound sensor-Types of Robot Sensors

A sound sensor is a microphone commonly used to detect sound and return the same voltage as the sound level. A simple robot can be designed to navigate based on the sound received using a sound sensor.

Sound sensors are not as easy to implement as light sensors because it creates a very small voltage difference that will be amplified to generate the measured voltage change.

5. Light Sensor-Types of Robot Sensors

Light sensors are used to detect light and create voltage differences. The two main light sensors commonly used in robots are photoreceptors and photovoltaic cells. Other types of light sensors such as phototubes, phototransistors, CCDs, etc.

A photoresistor is a type of resistor whose resistance can vary in light intensity; more light leads to less resistance and less light leads to more resistance. These inexpensive sensors can be easily applied to robots depending on the light.

Photovoltaic cells convert solar rays into electrical energy. This is especially useful if you are considering building a solar robot. Although the photovoltaic cell is considered a source of energy, the intelligent implementation combined with a transistor and capacitor can convert it into a sensor.

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