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.
  • High speed image sensor.
  • Course Grading

  • Weekly attendance with iClicker: 10%
  • Labs: 60%
  • Final Project: 30%
  • Course Info

  • Lecture: Mondays @ 2pm in ECEB 3013
  • Lab Section 1: Tuesdays @ 9am in ECEB 4022
  • Lab Section 2: Wednesday @ 9am in ECEB 4022
  • Instructor




    • Professor Viktor Gruev

    • Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

    • Web Page:

    • Email: vgruev AT illinois DOT edu

    • Office Hours: Mondays at 1pm in ECEB 2052



    • Anthony Li <> Office hours: Wednesday  11am to 1pm in ECEB 4022

    • Mebin George <> Office hours: Tuesday 1:30pm to 4pm in ECEB 4022