DAQ Systems and the Future of Data Acquisition

Data acquisition is defined as the process of measuring phenomena and physical world conditions such as pressure, temperature, sound, and electricity. This is achieved through the use of sensors that sample analog signals in the environment and then transforms them to digital signals using analog-to-digital converters. The resultant digital numeric values are then capable of being manipulated by a computer thus allowing for the presentation, storage, and analysis of these data.

The data acquisition process is primarily done using a combination of tools and instruments that form what is commonly referred to as a Data Acquisition System (DAS or DAQ). The DAQ system samples available environmental signals and transforms them into machine-readable signals as the software processes these acquired data for presentation or storage.

Basic data acquisition in action using NI.com’s data acquisition tools.

Composition of a DAQ system

A DAQ system comprises a computer with programmable software, DAQ measurement hardware, and sensors. Compared to previous traditional measurement systems, computer-based DAQ systems exploit the connectivity capabilities, productivity display, and the processing power of industry-standard PCs providing a more cost-effective, flexible, and powerful measurement solution.

DAQ System parts

  1. Sensors 

Measuring physical phenomena, such as the intensity of light, the temperature of a room, or the force applied to an object usually starts with a sensor. Variously referred to as a transducer, a sensor is responsible for converting physical phenomenon into measurable electrical signals. Depending on the type of sensor being used, its electrical output can be resistance, current, voltage, or any other electrical attribute that varies from time to time. Some sensors may require additional circuitry and components in order to properly produce signals that can be safely and accurately deciphered by a DAQ device. Some common sensors and the phenomena that they measure include Accelerometer (Acceleration), Microphone (sound), Photo Sensor (light), Thermocouple (temperature) etc.

  1. DAQ Devices and Boards (DAQ Hardware)

DAQ hardware is the interface between signals from the outside world and a computer. It primarily acts as a device that digitizes analog signals so that a PC can interpret them. Here, the 3 key components that are used to measure signals are the computer bus, analog-to-digital converter (ADC), and the signal conditioning circuitry. However, many DAQ devices also come equipped with other functions for automating measurement processes and systems e.g. counter/timers generate and count digital pulses, digital I/O lines output and input digital signals, and digital-to-analog converters output analog signals.

  1. Computer and software

Computers with programmable software control the operations of DAQ devices and are used for visualizing, processing, and storing measurement data. Different types of PCs are used to carry out different types of applications. For instance, laptops may be used in the field for their portability, desktops may be used in labs for their processing power, or industrial computers may be used in manufacturing plants for their ruggedness.

daq systems

Image via www.daqifi.com

Specific Data Acquisition devices are often created to address specific physical properties e.g. there are dedicated systems that are tasked with only measuring pressure or temperature. However, smaller dedicated DAQ systems can be integrated into larger systems through software by simply taking data gathered by individual systems and presenting these to the user.

4 Reasons Why Ireland is the Best EU Country to Setup a Business


Ireland is considered to be the best place to set up a new business. Large companies like Microsoft, Pfizer, Intel, Google, and Facebook have already in Irish operations. Here are four reasons why Ireland has been chosen as the best country for business globally.

Low corporate tax rates


This low rate attracts many foreign companies to establish their business here. The corporate tax rate is only 12.5% which is the lowest in the world. Companies can also get 25% tax credit against research and development costs. Ireland also has double taxation agreements with 72 countries.

Jobs and skilled workforce


Ireland is one of the European Union members. This means that European citizens can easily move within the European Union to work and live. There is also a special tax relief program for employees who relocate in Ireland. Ireland is the only English-speaking country in the Eurozone. They have highly skilled labor. About 48% of 25 to 34-year-olds are the third level qualified. The majority of the workforce is under 35 years of age.

IP exploitation benefits


The Irish Government offers organizations attractive tax incentives for intangible assets. This makes Ireland a good location for investing in intellectual property.

Irish economy


The Irish economy is increasing at a rate of 2.5 – 3% annually. It is now a fast growing country in Europe. The rate of inflation is below the EU average. Productivity is increasing.

These factors make Ireland the best place to do business. More than 1,000 companies have already set up their headquarters here. You can think of starting a business here too.

The Rise and Fall of the Euro


Euro started as a concept in 1995. It became a currency in 1999. It became a hard currency in 2002mby replacing all the currencies of the constituent countries. All the countries involved tried to keep the currency strong, despite the inflation and budget deficits.There were complaints from the strong countries against the weaker ones. Many countries later joined Euro, and there are now 19 countries which use Euro as their currency. Here is an account of the rise and fall of Euro through time.

January 1999

Euro was launched as an electronic currency and was used by banks and foreign exchange dealers. The local currency exchange rate if franc and others were fixed about Euro at that time. Euro began to fall in the international currency markets and was not able to compete with the dollar. This boosted the American economy and the stock market.

September 2000

The European Central Bank asked for help from other banks when it touched its record low of $0.84. The central banks intervened to help.

January 2001

After Bush had become President of the US, he faced the prospect of recession. Government officials declared that they would let the market forces decide the movement of the dollar. There were 13 interest rate cuts by the US central bank. The Federal Reserves made it less likely for investors to move money into US markets. So, the euro became stable and started increasing against the dollar.


January 2002

Euro was launched as a cash currency. It was used by 300 million citizens of the eurozone. The US budget was increasing, and there was a trade deficit which caused concern on the international currency markets. Traders thought that investors might not want to finance the huge deficit by sending the money abroad. So, the dollar began to fall.

December 2002

The ECB agreed to cut interest rate by 0.5%. This made Euro strong in the international market. The dollar recovered a bit after the intervention of the central bank.

December 2003

Euro reached its record high against the dollar in December 2003. The weak Eurozone was not helped by the high Eurozone, making exports very expensive. The trade deficit made the US dollar weak.

These fluctuations in dollar-euro rate over the years led many economists to rethink whether to go for managed exchange rates or not.

Brexit: What It Means for the Global Economy


British voters have recently voted Britain out of the European Union. The debate is now going on regarding the impact of Brexit on the British economy and the rest of the world. The effect of Brexit can be seen in three stages.

Short term consequence

If you have a British company exporting good from Europe, then there won’t be any effect of Brexit on your business. You will still be able to ship products without any tariff. If you are the owner of a European bank whose majority employees are from London, then also it is 100% for the British employees to work in the European bank. There has been a slight decline in the stock market right after the announcement of the Brexit. This shows that investors are not worried about the future profits even after Britain is pulled out of the European Union. But there has been a 7.6% drop in the British pound against the dollar. This is a huge drop compared to the 0.36% regular fluctuations. This may lead to inflation for British consumers as the imported goods will become expensive. The export industries will also become very competitive.

Mid-term consequence

After some months the impact of Brexit is more about real economic activity, rather than about financial market. There is uncertainty in the decision of whether to make capital investments or hire people. Imagine you are an American company having headquarters in London. Now would you consider staying in London or moving to Frankfurt? Even if the companies decide to stay where they are, the ‘wait’ to see what happens can disrupt economic activity for several months. The central bank is not in a good state to help. There may be an increase in the interest rate. So, there are many uncertainties. The business confidence has declined, and there is limited support from the central bank. Britain is at risk of recession.

Long term consequence

People are worried how a post-EU Britain will look like. One possibility is that Britain can become like Switzerland and Norway.These countries are not part of EU but maintain free trade with them. But this will allow free migration for the rest of the EU member states. It will also mean accepting EU regulations for businesses.

The financial and recession problems will eventually go away. The primary concern is whether Britain will choose to be a major international trade center like now by ignoring the fact that they wanted to vote out of EU, or become a small and isolated island.