The Newsletter for PC-Based Data Acquisition and Control
Issue 105 www.windmill.co.uk April 2007
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* Windmill Tips: DAQ Programming Tools Checklist
* Excel Corner: See Quick Calculation Results
* DAQ News Roundup
* Data Acquisition Exhibitions
Windmill Tips: DAQ Programming Tools Checklist
Many people want to write their own data acquisition
routines, and Windmill provide tools to help them. The
programming tools take care of all the hardware tasks,
leaving developers free to concentrate on their
applications. These applications can be re-used with
different instruments and devices.
Programmers can use the Tools directly from Windows
running on a web page or when programming in Visual
Basic or other langauges that can integrate ActiveX
1. Find your "CLASSID" which identifies the IML Tools.
From the Windows Start menu select Run.
2. Enter regedit and press OK. You will be shown a list
of registry entries.
3. Click on My Computer.
4. From the Edit menu select Find and search for
5. You should find imltools.IMLtoolsV6 in
6. Download the example HTML page from
edit the CLASSID to match your own.
suit your application.
Note: Your browser must support ActiveX controls, such
as Internet Explorer. For other browsers, like Firefox,
you will need a plug-in for ActiveX controls.
The IML Tools User Manual
Excel Corner: See Quick Calculation Results
Want a quick calculation on a column of numbers but
don't need to store the result? Use Excel's status bar.
You can see the minimum, maximum, average and sum
values. You can also see a count of values, and a count
of numerical values. To change the type of calculation,
right-click the status bar.
In Excel 2007 you can see several results at once.
In earlier versions of Excel you can only see the
results of one calculation at a time. When you change
your data selection in the worksheet, the calculation
will be updated.
A handy way to make a quick calculation without
modifying the spreadsheet.
For more tips on using Excel for data acquisition and
DAQ News Roundup
Welcome to our roundup of the data acquisition and
control news. If you would like to receive more
timely DAQ news updates then grab our RSS newsfeed
at https://www.windmillsoft.com/monitor.xml. Read
http://www.windmill.co.uk/newsfeed.php for notes
on how to display the news on your own web site,
read it via e-mail, mobile phone or a newsfeed viewer.
New free compendium of electrotechnical terms
The standards organisation, IEC, has launched its
electronic and electrical term database online.
Known as Electropedia, this makes it easy to find an
internationally-agreed technology term, in English,
French, German or Spanish. Terms in other langauges
(Arabic, Chinese, Italian, Japanese, Dutch, Polish,
Portuguese, Russian and Swedish) will be added later.
You can search or browse categories, and see
definitions of terms.
Source: International Electrotechnical Commission
Fishbone sensor picks up emergency sounds
Tokyo Electron and Tokyo University have created the
"fishbone sensor", an audio sensor using the
inner working of the human ear as a model. Each of
the 24 cantilevers of the fishbone sensor works like a
human ear membrane to pick up individual frequencies.
After receiving the individual frequencies, the sensor
automatically performs FFT (Fast Fourier
Transformations) for monitor display. The fishbone
sensor is designed to pick up emergency sounds in loud
Source: The Engineer
Sea sponge leads way to cheaper solar cells
Marine sponges can harvest silicon from seawater and
use it to build spiky filaments all over their body,
inspiring the development of a cheap, low-energy
method of manufacturing solar cells. The current way
of making solar cells is done at high temperature and
very low pressure, making it an expensive and energy-
Source: New Scientist
Solar Cells That Work All Day
Solar cells generally crank out the most power at
noon, when the sun is at its highest point and can
strike the cell at a 90-degree angle. Before and
after noon, efficiencies drop off. But researchers
at Georgia Tech Research Institute have come up with
a prototype that does the opposite. Their solar
cell, whose surface consists of hundreds of thousands
of 100-micrometer-high towers, catches light at many
angles and actually works best in the morning
Source: Technology Review
New Shock Testing Standard Released
NIST has worked with industry, government,
professional societies and standards developing
organisations to release an international standard
for characterising mechanical vibration and shock.
The new standard published by the International
Organization for Standardization (ISO) should be
especially useful in environmental testing of
products and components in high-technology
industries such as computer and aerospace
ISO 18431-4:2007 "Mechanical vibration and shock-Signal
processing-Part 4: Shock-response spectrum analysis".
Source: National Institute of Standards and Technology
Data Acquisition Exhibitions
Every four months we list the forthcoming exhibitions
around the world related to data acquisition
RFID Solutions Expo (RIDEX)
16-18 May 2007
Radio Frequency Identification solutions: RFID tags,
Readers, writers, middlewares and integration
Sensors Expo & Conference
Rosemont, Illinois, USA
11-13 June 2007
The only industry event in North America exclusively
focusing on sensors and sensor-integrated systems.
The conference program examines innovations in
measurement & detection, emerging technologies &
applications, systems & embedded intelligence,
wireless sensing and low-power sensing.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
19-22 June 2007
Event dedicated to Malaysia's electronics industry.
For state-of-the-art electronic components,
assembly, production and test equipment, PCB/SMT
microelectronics and semiconductor technology.
21-24 June 2007
Thailand electronics manufacturing including test and
measurement equipment and services.
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