Sensors and sense organs

How is information extracted from the physical world? Clearly this is crucial to a VR system. In engineering, a transducer refers to a device that converts energy from one form to another. A sensor is a special transducer that converts the energy it receives into a signal for an electrical circuit. This may be an analog or digital signal, depending on the circuit type. A sensor typically has a receptor that collects the energy for conversion. Organisms work in a similar way. The ``sensor'' is called a sense organ, with common examples being eyes and ears. Because our ``circuits'' are formed from interconnected neurons, the sense organs convert energy into neural impulses. As you progress through this book, keep in mind the similarities between engineered sensors and natural sense organs. They are measuring the same things and sometimes even function in a similar manner. This should not be surprising because we and our engineered devices share the same physical world: The laws of physics and chemistry remain the same.

Steven M LaValle 2020-01-06