Data Acquisition Means More Than Just Details

December 22, 2017 by  Filed under: Computer 
 

Data acquisition is crucial for a number of different fields, including medicine and science. But along with the sensors and different types of input devices that feed data into the systems, there are sophisticated programs that organize the details into a coherent whole.

Depending upon what type of data acquisition is being used, there are a number of software program types that can organize, manipulate and present information in ways that are tailored to the needs of the user. As data systems get more and more intricate, the demands made on the software grow and change in response, and modern equipment usually has embedded computers as well as the ability to interface with a wide range of external computational devices.

One factor that has dramatically changed the requirements software must meet is the increase in the number and type of sensors used by data systems.  These days, sensors are used in everything from grocery stores to automobile repair shops and manufacturing facilities attach them to their machines to monitor fluctuations.  Most people are aware of the airplanes black boxes, which are simple data logging devices, but the sensors within the boxes have dramatically evolved over the last few decades and the amount of data collected has increased substantially.  With all the diversity in sensors, the software to manage the data has become much more specialized and the days of one generic software program being adapted for many different functions are over. 

Another bit of the puzzle is the increase in processing power of computers.  In the 1960’s, the IBM data machines could process a mathematical instruction in about 4 to 6 milliseconds.  Modern computers can process so much faster that the comparison is nearly meaningless, and even with the streaming nature of data system’s input, most systems can easily handle a huge amount of information from a hardware and operating system point of view.  This has resulted in software being streamlined and coding enhanced to provide quicker results.

The internet has also demanded more from data acquisition software.  Many programs allow for results to be posted on internet websites, letting many users access information remotely.  This has created the option of global level discussions about everything from medical patients to scientific breakthroughs, all supported by data results accessible via the web.

 Data acquisition software is constantly evolving to keep pace with the demands made from new sensor types, better information distribution techniques and improved hardware and operating systems.  It’s interesting to think of how far the software will advance in the years to come.

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