Sensors and Actuators

Holders: Assist. Prof. Bračun Drago

Subject description


English language, basic understanding of physics, mechanics and electrictricity.

Content (Syllabus outline):


The role of sensors and actuators in mechatronic systems. Basic principles of sensing and actuation. Performance characteristics of sensors and actuators.


Measuring basic physical quantities with an emphasis on measuring and generating linear and angular paths and velocities in control systems. Inductive sensors, potentiometers, DC and AC tachogenerators, digital encoders, laser interferometers. Measuring forces, torque and power.

Camera: camera model, calculation of an optical system, optical abberations, image sampling, calibration. Object illumination. Overview of basic image processing operations.


Generic principles and actuator structures.

Functional characteristics of actuators: output parameters, dynamic characteristics, properties of energy conversion. Electrical actuators: DC and AC motors, stepper motors, linear motors. Design characteristics, safety and maintenance.

Case studies:

Industrial robot: general structure, sensors and actuators, realizations, Denavit-Hartenberg model of direct kinematics, inverse kinematics, programming basics.

Position systems of numerically controlled machines: general structure, sensors and actuators, functional and design characteristics, calibration.

Objectives and competences:

The course objective is to acquaint the students with theoretical knowledge and practical skills in the field of mechatronic systems and automation.


Upon the successful completion of this course, the students will:

  • learn the fundamental operation principles for the basic sensors and actuators, i.e. the principles of detection and conversion of target quantities;
  • learn to theoretically describe the basic sensor and actuator assemblies, model the assemblies and analyse their operation;
  • learn to define the requirements and systematically plan sensor and actuator systems;
  • learn to assemble, test and use a mechatronic system consisting of sensors and actuators;
  • learn to use a camera;
  • practically master the fundamentals of designing simple electronic circuits for the purposes of connecting sensors and actuators.

Intended learning outcomes:

Knowledge and understanding

The students gain the basic knowledge in the field of sensors and actuators. They understand the principles of operation and integration. They are able to determine the specifications, develop and use sensors and actuators in an arbitrary mechatronic system.


The students will apply the gathered knowledge in various fields of mechanical engineering: measurements, process monitoring and control, building mechatronic systems etc.


The students are able to generalise the fundamental knowledge. They are able to find the role of sensors and actuators in a wider context of automation.

Transferrable skills – related to more than one course

The knowledge, tools and techniques mastered can be used in various fields of process and product automation.

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