Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:
Throughout this month, National Instruments has been broadcasting its interactive “Sensor Measurement Fundamentals Webcast Series” then quickly posting rebroadcasts on a dedicated webpage. I’ve watched six rebroadcasts over the last couple of days. They are awfully good. There’s one live, interactive broadcast left, and it’s on for tomorrow, February 27 at 11 a.m. (central). More on tomorrow’s webcast in a moment. First, here’s what these rebroadcasts are about.
Sensor Measurement Fundamentals is a complimentary 7-part webcast series for engineers and scientists needing to acquire accurate measurements as part of their monitoring, test, or control systems. The presentations seem equally suitable for the well-acquainted data acquisition handler and those who are less sure of themselves.
The series is a comprehensive endeavor. Topics already covered are data acquisition basics and technology; frequency and encoder measurements; voltage measurements; load, pressure, and torque measurements; vibration measurements; and strain measurements.
The rebroadcasts run from 14 to 25 minutes, with most being in the 20-minute-plus range. The live Q&A session with attendees at the conclusion is not — alas — provided, most likely due to the tight timeframe between the live session and the posting of the rebroadcast.
Prior to launching the Adobe Presenter performance of a webcast, you’re offered the opportunity to download that episode’s slides as well as additional related data such as an eBook or white paper. You can also jump to an NI product page, which is invariably well stocked with educational resources ranging from blogs to videos to technical papers.
An NI Product Manager, all of whom are hands-on engineers, serves as the presenter for each webcast. The format follows a general pattern: introduction, theory and fundamentals, device options, brief demo using NI hardware/software, and maybe a quick (say 30-second) case study.
Assuming that you have a familiarity with engineering stuff, none of the broadcasts are techno-nerdy. Rather, they are “hands-on” technical discussions presented by one engineer to another. The discussions are especially helpful delineating the differences between similar devices, such as the many kinds of rotary torque sensors. Tips and tricks for using the sensor under consideration flow freely, and new (to me any way) technologies like FBG (Fiber Bragg Gratings) sensors for strain measurement are explained so that you get the idea where and how they might prove useful.
The final broadcast in this series focuses on temperature measurements using thermocouples, RTDs, and thermistors. NI says that this webcast will cover connecting sensors to instruments, signal conditioning requirements, and methods to reduce errors. Since this is a live broadcast, you’ll have the opportunity for a real-time chat with NI experts at the end of the main session. If this webcast is anything like its predecessors, you’ll want to check it out.
Whether or not you can make it tomorrow, hit the link over there and take in a rebroadcast or two that fits your lot in life. The “Sensor Measurement Fundamentals” webcast series is very well done. One or all of the presentations is well worth your time.
Thanks, Pal. – Lockwood
Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering