Sensor Technologies for Interactive Environments
This class will explore sensor technologies for smart environments and
interactive applications; giving students a broad introduction to state-of-the-art
techniques, exposure to current research, and practical experience that will assist
in developing and fielding such systems in their own work. We will introduce
the principles and operation of many sensor families and discuss applications in
computer-human interfaces, new musical instruments, medicine, environmental
sensing, ubiquitous computing, and other current areas of interest.
Credit Hours: 0-12-0
Tuesdays, 9 AM - 12 noon in E15-054
Offered Spring Term, 2001
Space and facilities are limited - permission of instructor required.
Email Joan Wood - [email protected] with your name, department, and interest in the class
Instructor: Dr. Joseph Paradiso
TA: Ari Benbasat
Working Syllabus (assuming 12 lectures once per week)
Lecture 1: Introduction and basic signal conditioning electronics for standard sensor systems
Signal-to-noise and grounding issues, A/D conversion, simple digital filtering and detection
Lecture 2: Pressure and force sensing
History, carbon grains, Force-sensitive resistors and microresistive
structures, Silicon pressure sensors, Load cells, Pressure through
displacement (capacitive, sonar, inductive, optical), Resistive bendy sensors,
Resistive strain gauges, Fiber optic strain gauges and pressure systems
- Application discussion
Lecture 3: Piezoelectrics and related materials
Intro to ferroelectrics, crystals, PZT, PVDF, electronics
and signal conditioning, Electrostrictors and electroactive polymers,
- Application discussion
Lecture 4: Electric Field Sensing and Inductive Techniques
Capacitive sensing modes and techniques, Hall sensors, metal detectors, LVDT's, VR Trackers,
Wireless tag sensors
- Application discussion
Lecture 5: Optical sensing
Devices (LDR's, solar cells, photodiodes, APD's, phototubes...), imagers,
Focal plane imaging/tracking, occultation, range by intensity of reflection,
Laser ranging (triangulation, phase slip, TOF), defocus systems
- Application discussion
Lecture 6: Thermal and acoustic sensing
Temperature sensors (thermistors, integrated temperature sensors, thermocouples,
PIR, pyroelectric), acoustic pickups & techniques, sonar systems, beamformers
- Application discussion
Lecture 7: RF and Microwave Systems
Radar principles, chirped rangefinders, UWB radars, RF location systems, Doppler systems
- Application discussion
Lecture 8: Inertial and orientation devices
Orientation sensors (compasses, ball-cup, bubble levels), Gyroscopes, accelerometers, MEMs
devices, IMU's, analysis techniques
- Application discussion
Lecture 9: Macroparticle, chemical, and environmental systems
Smoke detectors, Optical scattering, Smell, chemical and gas sensors and techniques
Environment sensing systems (chemical, air, wind, humidity), Remote techniques
- Application discussion
Lecture 10: Medical and radiation sensing
Basic sensors for medical monitoring (heart rate, ECG, EKG, blood pressure, etc.)
Radiation detection (Geiger counters, scintillators, drift & proportional chambers, silicon strip
detectors, calorimetery)
- Application discussion
Lecture 11: Digital sensor modules
Smart sensor concepts, wireless sensor units, essentials of sensor fusion
- Application discussion
Lecture 12: Project reviews (if projects) or special/breaking topics (if not)
Reading Materials
Prime Texts:
Jacop Fraden - Handbook of Modern Sensors
Thomas Petruzzellis - The Alarm, Sensor, and Security Circuit Cookbook
Supplementary Texts:
Larry Baxter - Capacitive Sensing
HR Everett - Sensors for Mobile Robots
Ramon Pallas-Areny - Sensors and Signal Conditioning
Horowitz and Hill - The art of electronics
Selected papers will be distributed before each class, pertinent to the topic discussed.
Lecture notes will be developed as the class progresses and distributed as appropriate.
Credit will be assigned on the basis of periodic assignments and a final project or paper.
I've considered a laboratory component for this course - certain lectures would benefit from this. At the
least, there will be in-class demonstrations where pertinent. I may have the students do some lab work in
the context of certain assignments, and there will certainly be practical experience garnered from the final
The class will meet in a 3-hr-lecture, once per week. I cover the bulk of this material at a very high level
and fast clip now in the Fab class MAS863 (in essentially one lecture!), this class would break it out and go
much deeper.
All lectures will include practical examples, most of which I'll try to draw from media-related applications
such as input devices, interactive environments, wearable computing. I want to draw this emphasis more
strongly as the course develops to distinguish it properly from a generic sensors survey course. The
lectures are planned to divide roughly into halves - the first half covering basic technology and the second
half going though application examples. This will, of course, vary from lecture to lecture...
Ari Benbasat will be the main TA for the course. Other TA's and possibly guest lecturers will participate,
as relevant.