Intelligent Sensors

Academic year
Subject Area
Biomedical Engineering
Language of Instruction
Mode of Delivery
ECTS Credits
2nd Cycle Studies - Mestrado

Recommended Prerequisites

- Computer programming

- Electronics

- Embedded Systems 

Teaching Methods

Lecture classes for theoretical presentation of the topics of the syllabus using audiovisual means.

Laboratory classes for testing and evaluation of the various concepts taught in the theoretical lectures. During the second half of the semester, organized into working groups, students design and demonstrate the progresses of a smart sensor of medium complexity.  

Learning Outcomes

The course of Smart Sensors aims to provide students with fundamental knowledge necessary for the design and development of smart sensors. To achieve this objective, the student should get to know the main methods of transduction and signal conditioning as well as being able to use embedded systems based on microcontrollers capable of signal acquisition, processing and data communication. This knowledge should give the student the ability to design, implement and program a smart sensor of medium complexity and integrate this sensor in a monitoring or distributed control system with ability to interface with high-level computers.  

Work Placement(s)



Theoretical program

1. Introduction to smart sensors

2. Characteristics and performance parameters of the sensors

3. Principles of physical transduction and main types of sensors

4. Circuits for advanced signal conditioning

5. Sensor Networks

6. Sensory data processing


Laboratory program

• The microcontroller as a central element of a smart sensor

• Time measurement: interface with SONAR

• Counting pulses: interface with incremental encoders

• Signal conditioning with switched circuits: digital thermal anemometer

• Signal acquisition: analog anemometer

• Phase detection: continuous wave SONAR

• Synchronous detection: optoelectronic sensor

• Sensor Networks  

Assessment Methods

Project: 50.0%
Exam: 50.0%


Bibliografia principal:

Jacob Fraser, “Handbook of Modern Sensors: Physics, Designs, and Applications”, 5th ed. Springer (2016)

Lino Marques, “Manual laboratorial de Sensores Inteligentes”, Universidade de Coimbra, 2015.

Lino Marques, “Slides de suporte às aulas de sensores inteligentes”, 2007-2014


Bibliografia complementar:

Ramón Pallás-Areny, John G. Webster, “Sensors and Signal Conditioning", 2nd ed, Wiley, 2000.

John P Bentley, "Principles of Measurement Systems", 4th ed, Pearson (2005)

Walt Kester, et al, “Sensor Signal Conditioning”, Analog Devices, 2002. (online:

Mark Johnson, "Photodetection and Measurement: Maximizing Performance in Optical Systems", McGraw-Hill (2003)

•          Lucio Di Jasio, "Programming 16-Bit PIC Microcontrollers in C: Learning to Fly the PIC 24", 2nd ed. Newnes (2011)