NXT Sensors

Touch Sensor

NXT Touch sensorThe Touch Sensor gives your robot a sense of touch. The Touch Sensor detects when it is being pressed by something and when it is released again.

Suggestions: You can use the Touch Sensor to make your robot pick up things: a robotic arm equipped with a Touch Sensor lets the robot know whether or not there is something in its arm to grab. Or you can use a Touch Sensor to make your robot act on a command. For example, by pressing the Touch Sensor you can make your robot walk, talk, close a door, or turn on your TV.

Sound Sensor

NXT Sound SensorThe Sound Sensor can detect both decibels [dB] and adjusted decibel [dBA]. A decibel is a measurement of sound pressure.

dBA: in detecting adjusted decibels, the sensitivity of the sensor is adapted to the sensitivity of the human ear. In other words, these are the sounds that your ears are able to hear.

dB: in detecting standard [unadjusted] decibels, all sounds are measured with equal sensitivity. Thus, these sounds may include some that are too high or too low for the human ear to hear.

The Sound Sensor can measure sound pressure levels up to 90 dB โ€“ about the level of a lawnmower. Sound pressure levels are extremely complicated, so the Sound Sensor readings on the MINDSTORMS NXT are displayed in percent [%]. The lower the percent the quieter the sound. For example:

  • 4-5% is like a silent living room
  • 5-10% would be someone talking some distance away
  • 10-30% is normal conversation close to the sensor or music played at a normal level
  • 30-100% are people shouting or music being played at a high volume

Light Sensor

NXT Light SensorThe Light Sensor is one of the two sensors that give your robot vision [The Ultrasonic Sensor is the other]. The Light Sensor enables your robot to distinguish between light and dark. It can read the light intensity in a room and measure the light intensity of colored surfaces.

Suggestions: You can use the Light Sensor to make a burglar alarm robot: when an intruder turns on the light in your room the robot can react to defend your property. You can also use the Light Sensor to make a line-following robot or a robot that can sort things by color.

Ultrasonic Sensor

NXT Ultrasonic SensorThe Ultrasonic Sensor is one of the two sensors that give your robot “vision” [The Light Sensor is the other]. The Ultrasonic Sensor enables your robot to see and detect objects. You can also use it to make your robot avoid obstacles, sense and measure distance, and detect movement.

The Ultrasonic Sensor measures distance in centimeters and in inches. It is able to measure distances from 0 to 255 centimeters with a precision of +/- 3 cm.

The Ultrasonic Sensor uses the same scientific principle as bats: it measures distance by calculating the time it takes for a sound wave to hit an object and return โ€“ just like an echo.

Large sized objects with hard surfaces return the best readings. Objects made of soft fabric or that are curved [like a ball] or are very thin or small can be difficult for the sensor to detect.

* Note that two or more Ultrasonic Sensors operating in the same room may interrupt each otherโ€™s readings.

Servo Motor /ย Rotation Sensor

NXT MotorEach motor has a built-in Rotation Sensor. This lets your control your robotโ€™s movements precisely. The Rotation Sensor measures motor rotations in degrees or full rotations [accuracy of +/- one degree]. One rotation is equal to 360 degrees, so if you set a motor to turn 180 degrees, its output shaft will make half a turn.

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One thought on “NXT Sensors

  1. Good idea. If you or anyone has those details and would like to write a post about the EV3 sensors, please let me know.

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