Risorse bibliografiche
Risorsa bibliografica obbligatoria
Risorsa bibliografica facoltativa
Scheda Riassuntiva
Anno Accademico 2019/2020
Scuola Scuola di Ingegneria Industriale e dell'Informazione
Insegnamento 054092 - SENSOR SYSTEMS
Docente Villa Federica Alberta
Cfu 5.00 Tipo insegnamento Monodisciplinare
Didattica innovativa L'insegnamento prevede  3.0  CFU erogati con Didattica Innovativa come segue:
  • Blended Learning & Flipped Classroom

Corso di Studi Codice Piano di Studio preventivamente approvato Da (compreso) A (escluso) Insegnamento

Obiettivi dell'insegnamento

The course SENSOR SYSTEMS will provide the basis for understanding how sensors work (image sensors, temperature sensors, magnetic field sensors, strain and force sensors, displacement, distance and proximity sensors, touch sensors, microphones, MEMS, etc.) and for designing analog and digital front-end circuits. Through the course students will become familiar with sensors and electronic components data-sheets and also with different tools to simulate analog circuits and to program and debug ARM microcontrollers. During the hands-on labs, each student will practice with his own microcontroller, using the main peripherals (GPIO, SPI, I2C, USART, PWM, ADC) and sensor expansion board, for developing both the firmware and the proper hardware configuration, to test the conceived embedded system. The goal of the course is to enable master degree students to select the best sensor for a specific application, develop an optimized front-end circuit and acquire the output signal with a microcontroller.

The course will include 24 hours of theoretical classes about sensors and front-end circuits, 4 hours of practical exercises and 22 hours of hands-on design laboratories. In particular, the NUCLEO board by STMicroelctronics, including a 32-bit STM32 microcontroller, will be used during the design laboratories. Sensors front-end circuits will be studied and simulated using OrCAD PSipce.

3 CFUs will be delivered with Innovative Teaching modality as “Flipped Classroom”, in fact the students will be provided with specific material to autonomously study some advanced sensors and will be asked to develop the projects before classes, in order to actively participate during the exercise and hands-on classes. Homework will be given through the course and their discussion will be objective of the oral exam.

Risultati di apprendimento attesi

Knowledge and understanding (Dublin Descriptor #1)

Students will learn:

  • the working principle of the most used sensors
  • the parameters of practical interest for many sensors
  • the theoretical basis of analog circuit design
  • the architecture and programming of an ARM microcontroller


Applying knowledge and understanding (Dublin Descriptor #2)

Students will apply their knowledge in practical case studies:

  • design the front-end circuit for practical case studies
  • simulate analog front-ends with circuit simulators
  • acquire sensors output with an STM32 microcontroller


Making judgements (Dublin Descriptor #3)

Given a practical case study and thanks to the Innovative Teaching, students will:

  • analyze the critical issues
  • select the best sensor to be used
  • compare different circuital solutions for the analog front-end
  • think the best way to validate the system


Communication (Dublin Descriptor #4)

Students will learn to:

  • explain complex theoretical concept regarding the sensors working principle
  • express and justify their project choices
  • present the outcomes of their work in an effective way


Lifelong learning skills (Dublin Descriptor #5)

Students will be enabled to

  • read and understand sensors and electronic components data-sheets
  • develop a realistic project using the existing sensors
  • analyze new problems and find the best sensor and circuital solution to solve it

Argomenti trattati

Sensors and front-end circuits (20 hours theoretical classes and 4 hours exercise classes)

  • Basics on sensors: definitions, classifications and characteristics.
  • Working principle and front-end circuits of the most employed sensors:
    • light and imaging (photodiode, CCD and CMOS sensor);
    • temperature (RTD, thermistors, thermocouple, thermal diode, IR thermometer);
    • magnetic field (Hall sensors, magneto-resistances);
    • strain and forces (strain gauges, piezoelectric sensor);
    • displacement, distance and proximity (capacitive, inductive, acoustic, optical, magnetic, touch sensors);
    • acceleration and orientation (MEMS);
    • audio (dynamic and condenser microphones).


Sensors front-end circuits simulations (8 hours design laboratories)

  • Introduction to OrCAD PSpice environment.
  • Different types of analysis (DC, transient, AC, noise, etc.).
  • OpAmp stability and compensation.
  • Photodiode noise analysis.
  • Sensors front-end circuits simulations (Instrumentation Amplifier for thermocouples, oscillators for capacitive and inductive sensors).


Microcontrollers for embedded sensors systems (4 hours theoretical classes 14 hours design laboratories)

  • Introduction on ARM-Cortex M cores, STM32F4 microcontroller by STMicroelectronics peripherals and Nucleo development board.
  • Basics on the main microcontrollers peripherals (GPIO, PWM, ADC, SPI, I2C, USART, etc.) and simple projects (pushbutton, blinking LED, sending strings to remote terminal, using communication interfaces etc.).
  • Sensors expansion board: hardware description and details of the sensors included in the board.
  • Hands on activities to interface sensors with the microcontroller using its peripherals:
    • readout of a temperature smart sensor with I2C interface;
    • measure light intensity through a Light Dependent Resistor;
    • detect sounds with a microphone;
    • acquire the x, y, z accelerations with a tri-axial accelerometer.


Students are required to know the main Operational Amplifiers configurations (inverting, non-inverting, Instrumentation Amplifier and filters), and basics of C-programming. These concepts are acquired in courses such as “Fundamentals of Electronics” and “Fundamentals of Computer Science”. Additional materials will be provided for those students which don’t have strong basics on these topics.

Modalità di valutazione

The assessment will be based on a quick SKIM TEST and, if it is passed, on an ORAL EXAM, which covers the whole course contents and also aims at verifying and discuss the homework. The same importance will be given to all the sections of the course. The skim test and the oral exam will be held on the same established day (available on-line in POLIMI web-site).

The skim test consists in 5 multiple choices basics questions, to be answered in 10 minutes. With at least 4/5 correct answers the skim test is passed and the student is admitted to the oral exam. If the score in the skim test is lower than 4/5 the exam is not passed and it must be repeated in one of the following exam sessions.

The oral test (about 50 minutes) will include 3 parts:

  • theoretical questions about sensors parameters and working principle (D.D. #1 and #4);
  • solving practical problems, based on homeworks, selecting a sensor and simulate the analog front-end circuit using PSpice (D.D. #1, #2, #3, #4);
  • discussion of one microcontrollers project (selected by the professor) developed in class or as homework (D.D. #2, #5).

In each part of the oral exam a mark between 0 and 33 will be assigned, taking into account all the aforementioned D.D., and the overall mark is the arithmetic average of the three parts. The examination is passed if the overall mark is equal or higher than 18/30 and the score of each part is higher than 15/30. The mark will be communicated to the student at the end of the oral exam.

Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaFranco Zappa, Microcontrollers, Editore: Società Editrice Esculapio, Bologna, Anno edizione: 2017, ISBN: 9788893850223
Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaFranco Zappa, Electronic Systems, Editore: Società Editrice Esculapio, Bologna, Anno edizione: 2012, ISBN: 9788893850858 www.editrice-esculapio.com/zappa-electronic-systems/

Forme didattiche
Tipo Forma Didattica Ore di attività svolte in aula
Ore di studio autonome
Laboratorio Informatico
Laboratorio Sperimentale
Laboratorio Di Progetto
Totale 50:00 75:00

Informazioni in lingua inglese a supporto dell'internazionalizzazione
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Disponibilità di libri di testo/bibliografia in lingua inglese
Possibilità di sostenere l'esame in lingua inglese
Disponibilità di supporto didattico in lingua inglese
schedaincarico v. 1.6.1 / 1.6.1
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