A novel high-resolution optical encoder with axially stacked coded disk for modular joints

physical modeling and experimental validation

Sarbajit Paul, Junghwan Chang*, John Edward Fletcher, Subhas Mukhopadhyay

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)


A novel approach to realize a high-resolution absolute encoder with compact disk size for the application in a light weight robotic arm modular joint is proposed in the present research. First, the high resolution coded disk of the absolute encoder is designed using graph theory-based Hamiltonian cycle. Unlike the traditional 1-D binary coded tracks, the proposed generated code is a 2-D n × n matrix code with 0s and 1s as the matrix elements and n numbers of uniquely coded tracks. The 2-D matrix code improves the code density of the encoder system by 2n2 compared with that of the traditional 1-D codes (2n). Second, the coded tracks are arranged axially along Z-axis to stack the tracks within a constant disk diameter and to avoid the radially divergent track patterns. These combined operations result in a high-resolution absolute encoder with a compact constant disk diameter which is essential to comply with the size constraint of the modular joint. With the proposed designed framework, a prototype with n= 2 is manufactured using 3-D printing technology. The designed encoder with two tracks is tested on a rotary system and the absolute angle values are obtained using the unique codes generated by the photosensors installed in the prototype.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6001-6008
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Sensors Journal
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2018


  • Absolute encoder
  • axially stacked disk
  • directed graph
  • high resolution
  • modular joint

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