ECE437: Sensors and Instrumentation


Course Description

The goal of this course is to give senior and graduate students in engineering a hands-on introduction to the fundamental technology and practical applications of sensors. Various sensors, including capacitive, inductive, ultrasonic, accelerometers, image sensors and others will be covered in the course. Instrumentation techniques incorporating computer control, sampling, and data collection and analysis are reviewed in the context of real-world scenarios. There will be weekly laboratory assignments where students will have hands on experience with various sensors.

The course is based around a custom board equipped with various sensors, such as a high speed camera, touch sensor, humidity sensor, temperature sensor, pressure sensor, accelerometer and position sensor. Additional peripheral sensors using the PMOD interface standard can also be attached to the sensor board. The board interfaces with these sensors via an FPGA device and it can also communicate with a PC via USB 3.0 interface. Students will use Verilog language to program the FPGA and communicate with various sensors and PC.


  • Introduction to Verilog and to Opal Kelly FPGA board.
  • Introduction to programming state machines in Verilog.
  • Computer controlled instrumentation via Python.
  • Temperature sensors and introduction to I2C interface protocol.
  • Pressure sensors and introduction to USB interface protocol.
  • Ultrasonic sensors.
  • Capacitive sensors.
  • Accelerometer and magnetometer sensors.
  • H-bridge and stepper motor control.
  • CMOS image sensor.
  • Course Grading

  • Labs: 45%
  • Midtererm: 15% 
  • Final Project: 30%
  • Class Participation: 10%
  • Course Info

  • Lecture: Mondays @ 2pm in ECEB 3013.
  • Lab Section AB1: Tuesdays @ 9am in ECEB 4022
  • Lab Section AB2: Thursday @ 9am in ECEB 4022
  • Zoom Info

    The first week of classes will be online.  The first lab meeting on Tuesday (January 18th) and Thursday (January 20th) will be online.  We will be discussing logistics about the class lectures and labs.  Please join at 9am on either day on zoom. Here is the info for the zoom session:

    General Course Information

    Here is general information related to this class (COVID, academic integrity, sexaul misconduct, etc)





    • Professor Viktor Gruev

    • Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

    • Web Page:

    • Email: vgruev AT illinois DOT edu

    • Office Hours: by appointment



    • Zhongmin Zhu
      Office hours:  Fridays 1:30pm - 3:30pm


    • Mebin George
      Office hours: Wednesdays 10:30am - 12:30pm