This sensor is a switch. It tells the robot whether its bumper is pressed (sensor value of 1) or released (sensor value of 0).

How the Bumper Switch Works: Completing the Circuit

The VEX IQ Bumper Switch is based on probably the most commonly used electrical device: the switch. A switch consists of two terminals (places to attach a wire) and a wire bridge to 'make' the connection when the switch is pressed. As in the illustration, when you press on the connecting wire, you 'complete' the circuit, and the Robot Brain registers that in your program!

Basically the Bumper Switch is a part of a circuit which is unconnected, or broken. When you press the Bumper Switch, the connection is made, and electricity is allowed to flow.

Common Uses of the Bumper Switch

  • This sensor can trigger a robot action when pressed or released.
  • This sensor can be used as a toggle to turn on or off motors when pressed.

  • This sensor can detect walls or objects when the bumper runs into them.

  • The sensor can detect other parts of the robot, such as an arm, when it presses in the bumper.

Uses of the Bumper Switch on a Competition Robot

  • While in autonomous mode, a Bumper Switch can be used so that your robot will wait to carry out a certain action until it is pressed by some sort of object.
  • The Bumper Switch can detect when it comes into contact with a surface such as a perimeter wall, or an object such as a game piece.
  • Two Bumper Switches can be used, for example on the front and side of the robot, so that the robot can position itself in a corner. Then the robot can more accurately navigate from that corner to other positions on the competition field. 
  • You can use a Bumper Switch to have your robot detect when one part of it, such as its arm, comes into contact with another part of it, such as its chassis.

For more information, help, and tips, check out the many resources at VEX Professional Development Plus

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