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Device used to correct the performance of a mechanism automatically, by means of error-sensing feedback. The term properly applies only to systems in which the feedback and error-correction signals control mechanical position or velocity. Servomechanisms were first used in military and marine navigation equipment. Today they are used in automatic machine tools, satellite-tracking antennas, celestial-tracking systems on telescopes, automatic navigation systems, and antiaircraft-gun control systems. The design of servomechanisms is considered to be a branch of both robotics and cybernetics.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on servomechanism, visit Britannica.com.