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Data Acquisition Rides Evolving Tech

Written by Jeff Child
Robust Solutions While the fundamentals of data acquisition remain the same, the computing technology it uses keeps evolving and changing. USB and PCI Express brought data acquisition off the rack, and onto the lab bench top. Today solutions are emerging that leverage web interfacing, Raspberry Pi and more. Even though data acquisition has its unique requirements and industry demands, it’s a segment like any other when it comes to embracing the latest and greatest technologies and form factors from the computing world. More than a decade ago, desktop and laptop computing technologies transformed data acquisition. Once typical data acq setups required large racks of slot-cards based on VXI, PXI or other form factors. Today such systems can be implemented with well-established desktop computing interfaces like USB and PCI Express. And if you factor out the kind of data acquisition development done by the defense industry—radar and such—the whole data acquisition board vendor industry has completely moved over to USB and PCI Express for their core products. Over the past 12 months, the latest trends revolve around increasing channel counts and embracing popular embedded architectures like Raspberry Pi. To keep pace, data acquisition product vendors are rolling out board-, module- and box-level solutions that leverage the best available interfacing and analog conversion technology. At the same time, they are improving on ways to make data acquisition easier for non-experts to leverage the technology. DATA ACQ AND RASPBERRY PIThanks to its embrace by the hacker/maker community, Raspberry Pi is arguably the most popular SBC in use today. As a result, many traditional data acq users are designing systems around it because of its flexibility and low cost. This growing base of Raspberry Pi users, along with open-source software becoming more industry accepted, has driven growth and made its use more prevalent in professional data acq applications. The cr
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About the author

Jeff Child

Jeff served as Editor-in-Chief for both and its sister publication, Circuit Cellar magazine 6/2017—3/2022. In nearly three decades of covering the embedded electronics and computing industry, Jeff has also held senior editorial positions at EE Times, Computer Design, Electronic Design, Embedded Systems Development, and COTS Journal. His knowledge spans a broad range of electronics and computing topics, including CPUs, MCUs, memory, storage, graphics, power supplies, software development, and real-time OSes.

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Data Acquisition Rides Evolving Tech

by Jeff Child time to read: 8 min