In the world of big data it is easy to forget just how hard it can be to get a decent measurement of temperature, pressure and other process parameters. A lot of tricky issues need to be handled ‘at the edge’ if one is to avoid digital garbage.
A new 29 page white paper from National Instruments, ‘An engineer’s guide to accurate sensor measurement,’ explains in some depth how physical phenomena are converted into electrical signals and digitized. Some sensors do not respond linearly to change and may require signal conditioning. Additional components and circuitry may be needed to take advantage of the full dynamic range of measurement hardware and to reduce noise.
The Guide explains how different sensors work and what best practices are required to connect them with instrumentation, to implement signal conditioning and minimize measurement error. Coverage includes design, operations and calibration of temperature sensors, strain gauges and acoustic devices. Big data/IoT aficionados might like to read through the publication to get a feel for the potential for error in field deployed devices and how much effort goes into trying to get the basic measurement right.
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