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Ultrasonic Sensor

Ultrasonic Sensor
Ultrasonic Sensor
An Ultrasonic Sensor allows the robot the ability to understand & visualize the world around it. Ultrasonic sensors rely on a the same principal that bats use to map their environment - which is called echolocation. Echolocation is simply the process of emitting a sound and then waiting for the reflected noise to bounce back. A great example of this is when you might yell in a parking garage on canyon. Since sound travels at a set speed - it takes time for the sound to travel to and from the object, which is heard at a slight delay. By timing this delay you can figure out the distance to an object.

Ultrasonic sensors can come in a variety of packages. Cheaper versions use an "emitter" Speaker that produces the ultrasonic sound, and a "receiver" that detects the sound - while other more advanced devices can use the same emitter/receiver speaker. Ultrasonic sensors are classified as proximity sensors because they are generally used for close proximity sensing. Since sound waves cannot be directed too well at long distances, ultrasonic sensors are really only useful at distances up to 10ft, and generally only accurate from within 5 ft.

Since sound travels through the air, many factors contribute to the Calibration / error of the device such as humidity, pressure/altitude, or anything else that affects the speed of sound. Generally speaking, unless you need your ultrasonic sensor to be highly accurate - these factors don't come into play. Wind Currents and cross wind will also affect your readings.

Based on the operation of ultrasonic sensors, they work best on objects that have a surface that is perpendicular (called normal) to the sensor. Harder objects that reflect sound waves easier will return a better stronger signal as compared to more soft and sound absorbent materials like foam.

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