The arduino sends pulses to the servo motor much like sending them to an ESC. The pulses have a different meaning. The pulses describe a spot to go to. Within the servo there is a feedback mechanism that counts shadows or turns a variable resistor. The servo circuit board then moves the servo to that spot. It knows when it has reached the spot when a certain number of shadows have past or when the resistance reaches a certain value. The arduino has to keep sending the same position over and over again to hold the motor in a current spot. Short pulses go one direction, long pulses the opposite direction, medium pulse widths go to the middle. Middle is typically 1.5 milli seconds.
A common type of servo provides position control. Commonly, servos are electrical, hydraulic or pneumatic. They operate on the principle of negative feedback, where the control input is compared to the actual position of the mechanical system as measured by some sort of transducer at the output. Any difference between the actual and wanted values (an "error signal") is amplified (and converted) and used to drive the system in the direction necessary to reduce or eliminate the error. This procedure is one widely used application of control theory. Typical servos can give a rotary (angular) or linear output.
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