Active electro-optic sensors, that is, sensors that transmit as well as receive (typically laser) light are of increasing importance to the military but also can have application in areas such as industrial inspection and machine vision. These systems frequently require some form of agile pointing ability. We describe how potential active electro-optic sensors may be implemented using nonmechanical devices to steer and shape the transmitted and return light. Functions of the nonmechanical devices may include large angle pointing, beam stabilization, and adaptive beam shaping. The requirements on the nonmechanical devices that will allow them to perform these functions are presented.© (1999) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.