By Anders Guldahl
Sensing is all about the ability to detect or measure changes in physical properties. In the context of an electronic control system, the requirement is to translate a parameter such as temperature, pressure or movement into an electrical signal. While some sensors directly produce a voltage output, which provides the ideal input for a microcontroller-based system, the majority of sensors depend on resistive, inductive or capacitive circuit elements whose behavior varies according to a known characteristic. These sensors typically require an external circuit to convert their output into a measurable signal for capture by a microcontroller (MCU).