Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 1 session / week, 3 hours / session

Course Goals

The overall goal of this course is for students to attain a broad familiarity with many different sensors useful in a broad definition of "HCI" (Human-Computer Interaction)

  • Develop judgment of what sensors and modalities are appropriate for different applications
  • Know how to electronically condition the sensor, hook it up to a microcomputer, and process the signal (at least basically)
  • Have some idea of how/where these sensors were used before
  • Have a reasonable idea of how different sensors work
  • Develop a sense for recognizing bad data and an intuition of how to resolve problems


Buy at Amazon Fraden, J. Handbook of Modern Sensors: Physics, Designs, and Applications. 4th ed. Springer, 2010. ISBN: 9781441964656. [Preview with Google Books] (3rd edition also OK)

Buy at Amazon Horowitz, P., and W. Hill. The Art of Electronics. 2nd ed. Cambridge University Press, 1989. ISBN: 9780521370950.

Readings in these books will be complemented by auxiliary references in other books, magazines, and Websites.

Coursework and Grading

This course combines lecture and lab-based instruction. Students are required to complete several problem sets and labs, and a project due at the end of the term with a final report and in-class presentation.


Problem sets 30%
Final project 30%
Lab performance 30%
Attendance, participation and reading 10%


1 Introduction: Electronics PS1, L1 (optional)  
2 Introduction: Electronics (cont.) L2 PS1, L1 (optional)
3 Introduction: Electronics (cont.) PS2 L2
4 Pressure, Force PS3  
5 Pressure, Strain, & Piezoelectrics PS3 PS2
6 Electric Field and Capacitive Sensing L3 PS3
7 Capacitive Applications & Magnetic Sensing PS/L4 L3
8 Inertial Sensing   PS/L4
9 Optical Sensing   Project proposal due
10 Acoustic and Thermal Sensing    
11 Digital Sensor Processing and Modules    
12 RF and Acoustic Coherent Sensing, Bioelectric Sensing & Related Topics    
13 Final Project Presentations