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An infrared slotted optical switch is a device similar to the photo-reflector except that the emitter is pointed directly into the phototransistor. The slotted optical switch can be used to build shaft encoders. Shaft encoders can give the robot feedback on how far its wheels have turned or on synchronizing two wheels' velocity. A shaft encoder usually consists of a slotted optical switch and a striped wheel with a palette of radically alternating holes or slots on it. The palette of stripes will alternately reflect or not reflect light to the phototransistor, yielding a pulse-train output. The robot can then tell how far its wheels have rotated by counting the pulses.

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