With the advances in inexpensive electronics, sensor and transducer systems are becoming pervasive in our society. To provide a product advantage the design engineer not only needs to be able to implement a new sensor into an electronic system, but he must be knowledgeable of his system's technical performance advantages, or disadvantages, and cost. Only with an intimate, detailed, knowledge of the interface between the physical and electronic world, for the particular application, will he know if the sensor device and system will perform satisfactorily. Hence, potential sensor options, their physical phenomena and operation, and the methodology for determining performance analysis all must be known.
This course provides a learning opportunity to design, analyze, and characterize a sensing system's performance based upon a sensing technology of the student's choice. Dependent upon student skill sets and application interests they will team into small groups of 2 to 3 students to execute a sensing technology based upon an application definition. The students will provide a preliminary design proposal, progress reports including a theoretical performance analysis and, depending upon the proposal, experimental performance evaluation. While understanding commercially available sensing systems is encouraged for comparative proposes, students will not be allowed to simply analyze and characterize a working system. In order to promote class interaction and knowledge diversity, the students are expected to provide peer review of their classmates' efforts. Based upon the final technical report, the students will compose a draft invention patent application for their proposed sensor product.