The Role of Actuators and Sensors in CPS (Cyber-Physical systems)

By: Arya Brijith, International Center for AI and Cyber Security Research and Innovations (CCRI), Asia University, Taiwan,sia University, Taiwan,


This article is about sensors and actuators and how they play a vital role in CPS (Cyber-Physical Systems)


Sensors are devices that transform physical or environmental values into electrical impulses. Not only are sensors widely used in cyber-physical systems and the Internet of Things, but they are also present in many independent electronic gadgets. [1] Take your mobile phone for instance, there are multiple sensors embedded in it. The fingerprint sensor to unlock your phone, Google Voice assistance that gets activated based on voice commands, radio sensors, and many more. With various applications of sensors, it is crucial to understand their role, especially in CPS (Cyber-Physical systems). Before we dive into the impact of sensors and actuators in CPS, let us gain insights into what they exactly are.

What are sensors and actuators?

Sensors are devices that transform physical or environmental values into electrical impulses. They are essential for gathering data from the actual world and making it possible for machines to communicate with and comprehend their environment. 

Conversely, actuators are machines that convert electrical information or orders into mechanical motion. They oversee carrying out commands from a controller or computer system to make things happen in the real world.

Basically, a system processes the data that sensors gather from their surroundings. The controller instructs actuators on what action to take by sending signals to them based on this data. The ability of machines to perceive, interpret, and react to their environment is made possible by the smooth communication between sensors and actuators. Cyber-physical systems, which are essential to contemporary automation and technology, are built on this foundation.

How does it impact CPS?

CPS is a sophisticated combination of physical elements that interact directly with the outside environment and computing algorithms. These systems use sensors and actuators to collect information from their surroundings, process it utilizing calculating factors, and further respond by impacting or managing physical processes.

The backbone of the functioning of CPS is the integration of sensors and actuators. These systems are based on a dynamic feedback circle in which sensors collect data from the real world and a computing system processes it. The regulator of the system uses this data to give commands to the actuators, telling them what to do. CPS is made up of interdependent digital, analog, physical, and human factors that are designed to work together using integrated physics and logic.[2]

CPS is incredibly intelligent and adaptive because of this coordination between sensors and actuators. They diligently shape and impact the environment around them rather than simply gathering data. Whether in transportation, manufacturing, healthcare, or any other industry.

The capacity of sensors in CPS to deliver real-time environmental data is fascinating. Sensors are always collecting data on a range of characteristics, including stir, pressure, temperature, and more. The regulator of the system also processes this data in real-time. They also help make better use of resources in industries like automobiles and healthcare.


Sensors and actuators play a vital role in cyber-physical systems. The CPS’s combination of actuators and sensors is revolutionary. Real-time data from sensors allows for quick decision-making based on available facts. They act as CPS’s eyes and ears. Meanwhile, actuators convert digital orders into physical actions. They provide CPS the authority to implement changes. By actively reshaping and changing our surroundings, sensors and actuators work together to change how humans interact with them.


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Cite As

Brijith A. (2023) The Role of Actuators and Sensors in CPS (Cyber-Physical systems), Insights2Techinfo, pp.1

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