Data acquisition: Tour of hardware/software applications


Finding no typical industry or application for data acquisition processor (DAP) boards and software, Microstar Laboratories has created a place to explore applications in action. Applications described include one that performs in-place diagnosis of control valves for the process industry, and another that analyzes broadband sonar to detect fish size and species in real time.

Pure Technologies has installed the SoundPrint system on nine major cable-supported bridges around the world, including the Quincy Bayview Bridge in Illinois.

One application, now installed all over the world, was developed by Pure Technologies Ltd (Calgary, Alberta, Canada). The company created a patented infrastructure monitoring system that uses acoustical techniques to detect potential failures in buildings, parking structures, bridges, and containment vessels. Called SoundPrint, the system uses an array of sensors to measure the energy released when tensioned steel wires fail.

Recent contracts include the Chesapeake Bay Suspension Bridge in Maryland and the Forth Road Bridge in Scotland. With the completion of these projects, the system will be installed on nine major cable-supported bridges around the world.

Customers like Pure Technologies can take advantage of the hardware and software engineering that Microstar Laboratories has built into all DAP products to allow their use in Microsoft Windows applications with timing-sensitive components. Unless these applications use independent, real-time processing as implemented in DAP products, they could be adversely impacted at runtime by system or network delays.

The Microstar Laboratories Website provides more on this and other applications using Microstar’s DAP board onboard processor, which has a real-time operating system that Windows applications can control. This frees the time-critical parts of applications from system delays and lets users implement control systems under Windows. Other control system topics covered on the Website include:

  • Performance that optimizes itself;

  • Configuring high-performance PID;

  • Rough data, smooth signals; and

  • Self-testing control loops.

Read more about the topics listed above on the Microstar Website

. Click on “Applications.”

—Edited by Renee Robbins , Control Engineering editorial director

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