Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:
Hemingway wrote “The Old Man and the Sea” from like 6 to noon. Then he traipsed to a bar to get sloshed by 3. Tough schedule. Still, this raises the question: How many books would Papa have written if he took a mobile device with him at the Florida Bar? He might have written a dozen more with a tablet set among the genial company of his crude but hospitable companions. The possibilities are endless. And that is the beauty of the mobile devices like tablets and smartphones. You can literally stay on top of things without being chained to them. The possibilities for greater productivity are endless.
That possibility of greater productivity is at the heart of a recent announcement from Measurement Computing, the designer of value-priced data acquisition hardware and test and measurement software. The company’s new BTH-1208LS model is a wireless, multifunction DAQ (data acquisition) device that offers Android and Windows device driver support and battery-backed Bluetooth connectivity. And, yes, you can also plug it into a USB connection if need be.
Hard-connect options are always good. Still, the deal here is that the BTH-1208LS is a multifunction DAQ device offering short-range (almost 33 ft.) wireless data acquisition capabilities. So, you can squeeze it into hard to get places, forget about running a bunch of wires, and acquire your data as you hoover around the site. And it comes with the software tools you need to develop data acquisition measurement apps for your Android tablet and smartphone.
But before we get into the software, here are some specs: Sampling rates are 1 kS/s over Bluetooth and 50 kS/s over USB. The BTH-1208LS offers eight 11-bit single ended or four 12-bit differential analog inputs, two 12-bit analog outputs, eight digital I/O, and one 32-bit event counter.
Now, the software. To help you develop and deploy Android apps, the BTH-1208LS comes with a newly developed Universal Library for Android. This Library includes classes that communicate with analog I/O, digital I/O, counter I/O, and timer I/O device subsystems, and it supports Android project development on platforms like 32- and 64-bit Windows, Linux, and Mac.
To further help you get up and running, Measurement Computing has some complimentary, ready-to-run demo apps for the Android up on Google Play you can download. Among these are a data logger, counter input, and analog and digital input and output. But to really get the idea, check out the short tutorial “5 Steps to Creating and Deploying Android Data Acquisition Apps” as well as a short video on how to run the Universal Library for Android app. Both are linked off today’s Pick of the Week write-up.
The BTH-1208LS also comes with virtual instrumentation software for acquiring and displaying data and generating analog signals as well as a utility for installing, calibrating, and testing. (TracerDAQ and InstaCal, respectively, for those of you familiar with Measurement Computing’s software line.) For Windows people, there’s also a Universal Library. It supports Visual Studio and Visual Studio .NET programming. Drivers for the DASYLab data acquisition, graphics, control, and analysis software as well as the NI LabVIEW measurement and control system design software from National Instruments accompany the BTH-1208LS.
The BTH-1208LS is available in a standard version as well as a board-only version for embedded designers and OEMs. Pricing begins at $199 for a standard unit. Measurement Computing also offers a complete system with a Google Nexus tablet for $429. All of this leaves me with a gut feeling that the BTH-1208LS is the start of an affordable wireless DAQ device boom. You can learn more about it from today’s Pick of the Week and make that call for yourself.
Thanks, Pal. — Lockwood
Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering
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