What’s DAQ again?

Even though the initials don’t exactly match, DAQ stands for Data Acquisition, which “is the process of sampling signals that measure real world physical conditions and converting the resulting samples into digital numeric values that can be manipulated by a computer”. There are two components of DAQ: the hardware or device used to physically collect the signals, and the software used to process and eventually do something with the signals, such as store, display, or analyze them.

The fact that we still live in an analog world but use all sorts of digital devices to interact with it, makes data acquisition a very relevant topic. Going from one domain (analog) to the other (digital), and vice-versa happens all the time around us. What do you think is happening with your voice signal when you talk with someone else on your cell phone?

Who should read this blog

First of all, I like to place DAQ in the broader context of automation. Sometimes, you just need to convert your signal from analog to digital, do some signal processing, and then back to analog (like it’s the case with your voice over the cell phone). Or you need to understand some physical process through the data you gather from it. In many cases however, the signals of a given process will take part in an automated system, or even a closed-loop control system.

With that in mind, I’ll be sharing some posts about Data Acquisition and Automation, and going through examples with hardware and Python code, so you could apply some of that stuff to your job, school work, or hobby. By no means this blog will be a course in Signal Processing or Control Systems. If you’re ready to dig that deep, I strongly recommend the MIT open courses. If you’re not ready for those yet, but want to learn more about signals and coding, this is probably a good source.

How often new posts will be published?

The plan is to put up a new post every other week or so. It takes quite a bit of work to write a technical post: doing some research, coding, trying different things on hardware, making all the graphs and images, and even doing the actual writing!

Not to mention I still have a daytime job and all current projections indicate I will need one for many years to come. The good news is that I really enjoy generating technical content and teaching stuff. So I will always find time to work on a new post. Things will get even more interesting once I start making videos to go along with the content of Things DAQ. Just sit tight and stay tuned.

The guy doing the writing

My name is Eduardo Nigro and I’m a Mechatronics Engineer with a strong background in Physics, Mathematics, Dynamic Systems Modeling, Heat and Mass Transfer, Signal Processing, Statistical Data Analysis, and Optimization. I have been a hardcore engineer since 1993, and a geek for as long as I can remember.

Eduardo Nigro founder of Automate Your Test

I’ve always been around data acquisition and used MATLAB for 25+ years as the software side of it. Recently (early 2021), I decided to learn Python and make my knowledge on this subject accessible to those who want to learn more about it. On the hardware side, I’ll be dealing mostly with Raspberry Pi and LabJacks. But you might bump into other devices as we move forward.

Learn more about me on my LinkedIn profile

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