Simple Motor Optical Encoder: Conclusion

An Overview Of The Simple Motor Optical Encoder
           While many encoders out there use this or similar methods note that this is as simple as it gets. Most optical encoders work best in closed/sealed enviornments where they cannot be influenced by the outside. Because of that you will find that many times encoders are just attached to the back of your motor. This makes them far more effective, however then your encoder is not attached to your mechanics but your motor.

What To Do Now
           Now you know how to track distance traveled (aka position feedback). Depending on what you're interested in building, a few new metaphorical 'doors' have opened up for you. Robotics often need to track distance moved, a robot arm for example or any form of 'shuttle'. Since the IR detector does have a 'slower' response time you are limited at how fast you can move in these systems, so this type of optical encoding shouldn't be put into the super-high speed world.

           This tutorial was successful but there is much left to be desired and room for improvement. Better components would be my first thought. The IR components used in this tutorial were off-the-shelf super duper cheap-o parts. Even a dollar or more for better Emitter/Detectors would allow for you to build a much more reliable system. Always remember: if what you're looking is an inexpensive, quick, easy & reliable encoder option this form of optical encoder feedback might be useful for your application.
           If you have any further questions, I implore you...don't be shy, take a look at the forums or ask a question there. I check them out regularly and love getting comments & questions.