Optical Encoder An optical encoder is an electromechanical device which has an electrical output in digital form proportional to the angular position of the input shaft. Optical encoders enable an angular displacement to be converted directly into a digital form. An optical encoder is an angular position sensor : It is used to determine direction of rotation of a controlled shaft and the extent of that rotation. It has a shaft mechanically coupled to an input driver which rotates a disc rigidly fixed to it. A succession of opaque and clear segments are marked on the surface of the disc. Light from infrared emitting diodes reaches the infrared receivers through the transparent slits of the rotating disc. An analogue signal is created. Then electronically, the signal is amplified and converted into digital form. This signal is then transmitted to the data processor.