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Robot sensors are elements that robots use to detect both environmental and their own state. With controllers and actuators, sensors are one of the main units of a robotic system. In its most basic working principle, a robot takes environmental data with its sensors, processes that data with its controller and decides to take an action. After the action decision is made, it takes the action with its actuators. From this perspective sensors can be seen as an essential part of a robot.
In the broadest definition, a sensor is an object whose purpose is to detect events or changes in its environment, and then provide a corresponding output. A sensor is a type of transducer; sensors may provide various types of output, but typically use electrical or optical signals. For example, a thermocouple generates a known voltage in response to its temperature. A mercury-in-glass thermometer, similarly, converts measured temperature into expansion and contraction of a liquid, which can be read on a calibrated glass tube.
A good sensor obeys the following rules: