This lecture assumes no prior knowledge and is aimed at motivated undergraduates with an interest in modelling basic mechanisms of sensory transduction, such as human analysis of simple image features or the tuning properties of neurons in primary visual cortex. We will use vision as reference, but all concepts generalize to other sensory systems. The lecture is divided into two parts: the first part focuses on linear operators (e.g. simple-cell-like units/modules and template matching), the second part on nonlinear operators (e.g. complex-cell-like units and energy extraction). At the end of this lecture, students should possess heuristic tools for thinking about basic aspects of signal processing by sensory systems, as well as sufficient knowledge to approach more advanced literature and potentially implement relevant algorithms in software (if they wish to do so).