Sensors and Actuators

The details
Computer Science and Electronic Engineering (School of)
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 5
Monday 15 January 2024
Friday 22 March 2024
21 July 2023


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BENGH730 Mechatronic Systems,
BENGH731 Mechatronic Systems (Including Year Abroad),
BENGH732 Mechatronic Systems (Including Placement Year),
BENGH733 Mechatronic Systems (Including Foundation Year),
BSC H737 Mechatronics,
BSC H738 Mechatronics (including Placement Year),
BSC H739 Mechatronics (including Year Abroad)

Module description

Sensors and actuators are key components in a mechatronic system. In recent years, the inclusion of electronics in many vehicle functions has created the demand for engineers who can design systems with integrated mechanical and electrical components.

he modern automobile contains a large number of sensors and actuators that are integrated in mechatronic systems found throughout the vehicle. In addition, many producers are showing great interest in virtual prototyping, which requires the ability to derive an accurate mathematical model of a system, and to create simulations that accurately predict system performance.

This module is dedicated to the study of such components, including devices that are based on new and emerging technologies such as micro electromechanical systems (MEMS).

Module aims

Students taking the module will be able to work on the process of modelling systems after learning the models that already exist for systems. Since new sensors and actuators are being developed on a continuing basis, students will be instructed on how to adapt to the use of newly developed devices. After completion of the module, the students will be able to: describe, design and analyse the mechatronic systems working based on sensors and actuators.

Module learning outcomes

After completing this module, students will be expected to be able to:

1. Describe the basic performance specifications of analogue and digital sensors and actuators
2. Explain the key issues in hardware implementation of analogue and digital actuators and sensors
3. Model and analyse actuators and sensors for use in mechatronic systems
4. Design and construct the appropriate interface circuits for the sensors and actuators.

Module information


* Introduction

* Mechatronic systems and performance criteria
* Elements of interface mechanics-electronics (Sensors and Actuators)

* Sensor performance criteria and selection

* Analong sensors
* Digital sensors
* Sensor specification

* Actuator performance criteria and selection

* Servomotors, DC and AC motors, Linear actuators
* MEMS sensors and actuators

* Modeling and Control

* Analog and digital filtering
* Introduction to kinematics and robotics and the basics of image representation
* Modeling and Control of Dynamic Systems

Learning and teaching methods

20 hours of lectures, 20 hours of laboratory, 2 hours revision lectures


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography for this year.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Progress Test     25% 
Coursework   Design Assignment  22/03/2024  75% 
Exam  Main exam: In-Person, Open Book (Restricted), 120 minutes during Summer (Main Period) 
Exam  Reassessment Main exam: In-Person, Open Book (Restricted), 120 minutes during September (Reassessment Period) 

Additional coursework information

This module will be assessed through examination and coursework. The coursework will consist of a progress test based on an MCQ assessment and an assignment based on laboratory work carrying out measurement (using sensors), implementation of analogue/digital filters and utilization of actuators. This will lead to the design a simple actuator/sensor prototype that will be assessed through demonstration and a report that describes the design work and evaluation of the system that was built.

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
40% 60%


Coursework Exam
40% 60%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Manoj Thakur, email: mpthak@essex.ac.uk.
Dr Manoj Thakur
School Office, email: csee-schooloffice (non-Essex users should add @essex.ac.uk to create full e-mail address), Telephone 01206 872770



External examiner

Prof Sandra Dudley
London South Bank University
Professor of Communication Systems
Available via Moodle
Of 24 hours, 12 (50%) hours available to students:
12 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.


Further information

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