Even though we don’t often realize it, so much of what we do on a daily basis depends on good data. Without data, there would be no way to create new technologies or learn about the world we live in. To move forward, we need a good sense of what’s currently happening. One of the ways that we’re able to keep moving forward with technological advancements is because of, ironically, technological advancements in the field of data measuring. One of the biggest revelations in recent years has been the PC based data acquisition system. Sound intimidating? It’s not. Read on to gain a better understanding.
What It Is
A PC based data acquisition system, typically referred to as a PC based DAQ system, is a subset of the whole data acquisition and control market. From roots in the Apple II and the original IBM PC, the personal computer has played a larger and larger role in this market. Though some systems are still based on older architectures like the Standard Bus and Multibus, the PC has pretty much dominated the field in recent years.
Getting the Data
One of the most frustrating parts of science has always been the collection of data. Despite how advanced we feel as a civilization, up until only a few years ago, many engineers’ ways of acquiring data was by standing in front of a couple of LED displays and periodically writing down the readings. Waveforms were captured by taking pictures of oscilloscope screens. This was not only a waste of time but opened up the door to a lot of human errors.
Fortunately, scientists shouldn’t have to spend their time standing in front of a screen with a notebook now. With powerful and relatively inexpensive PCs, data collection is easier than ever. More importantly, most college graduates with degrees in science or engineering are now trained in programming and have the experience need to run these DAQ applications with ease.
How We’re All Affected
Data acquisition is simply, at the end of the day, the process of sampling signals that measure real world conditions. No matter how uninvolved in science you are, this is important to your everyday life. Whether the numbers being run are trying to find the perfect pressure level for the tires on your new car or the right formulation for the medicine you take every day, we all need data.
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