Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Build Your Own Sensors

Engineering a photogate

Build your own sensors (BYOS) activities give students the opportunity to build their own detectors and measurement devices. Students assemble an electronic circuit and use Logger Pro software to calibrate and test their sensor.


Ever picked up a sensor and wondered, “How does that work?” Vernier Build Your Own Sensor activities give your students the opportunity to build basic, functioning sensors that work with Logger Pro.

During these activities, your students build sensors from simple electronic circuits on a breadboard. Then, they calibrate their new sensors with Logger Pro and test them out. Your students can learn many important science and engineering principles by building their own sensors.

How It Works

  1. How does an electronic sensor work? Review the background information about how the sensor converts a measurement into an electrical signal.
  2. Build the sensor on a prototyping board (breadboard) using a transducing component, such as a thermistor or photoresistor, with resistors and other electronic components. Power your sensor and “read” its output using a Vernier Breadboard Cable.
  3. Connect the sensor to a Vernier interface and use Logger Pro to calibrate its output. The calibration process translates the electric output signal from the sensor into a proper measurement.
  4. Evaluate your new sensor. Does it work like you expect it to? Over what range will it measure correctly? How does it compare to a commercial sensor?

Build Your Own Sensor Activities

Choose an activity that fits your curriculum. These BYOS activities require familiarity with simple circuits and Logger Pro, and they are appropriate for high school and college students.

Each Build Your Own Sensor activity requires a Vernier interface, Breadboard Cable (Analog or Digital), and Logger Pro software. Additionally, many require simple electronic components, such as resistors and LEDs.

Engineering for Science Classrooms

Build your own sensors, engineering projects, bridge competitions, and more for integrating engineering concepts into your science or STEM curriculum. Engineering for Science Classrooms »

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