Phidgets Offers New Draw Wire Sensors

Phidgets, Inc. has released a sensor that provides unique robotic control solutions for builders and makers. The draw wire sensor allows for position control of mechanical parts where linear potentiometers or rotary sensors won't work.
A draw wire sensor extends like a tape measure
A draw wire sensor extends like a tape measure
CALGARY, Alberta - Aug. 13, 2015 - PRLog -- This week, Phidgets Inc. has announced that they are now selling a line of draw wire sensors. Like a digital tape measure, these sensors report the length of cable being pulled from the device. As you might expect, the draw wires are spring-loaded, so the wire pulls back in if there’s any slack on the line.

Quote- Mike Paradis, Phidgets Support and Documentation -“In a system where a part only needs to slide back and forth or rotate in place, linear or rotary sensors will work just fine. But in a system where you need to measure a part whose movement doesn’t fit into either of those categories, a draw wire sensor provides an easy solution.”

The lineup of sensors comes in two varieties: potentiometer and encoder. The sensors with potentiometer output simply vary the electrical resistance proportional to the length of wire pulled. The encoder version of the sensor outputs a set of quadrature pulses each time the wire moves by a tiny amount. Either variant is available in half meter, one meter and two meter wire lengths.

For complicated robotics applications such as a mechanical arm, multiple draw wire sensors can be used in tandem to read the 3D movement of the arm. M5 mounting threads are located on the back of the sensor and on the end of the wire for easy mounting and installation.

The rationale behind stocking this rather specialized sensor was explained by Chester Fitchett, CEO of Phidgets Inc: “Unless you’re buying in bulk or willing to pay industrial-grade prices, it’s really difficult to find a good draw wire sensor online. We’re hoping that these relatively scarce sensors will draw more people to our store.”

Whether you buy the encoder or potentiometer version of the sensor, Phidgets sells interface boards that allow you to read these lengths directly into your computer. With their comprehensive software library, you can use these values in a program written in C#, Java, Python, or a number of other languages.

Please visit for more information about these sensors and other sensing and control solutions.

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