Windmill Software Ltd
Data Acquisition Intelligence

November 2008

The Newsletter for PC-Based Data Acquisition and Control
Issue 124      November 2008
--------------------ISSN 1472-0221----------------------

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* Windmill News: Windmill Glossary Update
* DAQ News Roundup

Windmill Glossary Update

We've updated our glossary of terms relating to data 
acquisition and control.  We've included links to more 
in-depth articles for several terms, and added 
many terms suggested by you, including...

  Bluetooth was designed as replacement for short-range 
  cables. It allows up to seven devices to be monitored 
  over short distances, typically about 10 meters.

Cable Gland
  Secures an electric cable entering equipment and 
  provides a seal between the external and internal 
  surfaces of the equipment.

  When one channel's signal causes an undesired effect 
  on another.

Fall Time
  The time a signal takes to change from a specified 
  high value to a specified low value.  Usually measured as 
  the time to fall from 90% to 10% of the step height or 
  maximum amplitude, but sometimes over 5 to 95%.

  The precision with which a measured value can be repeated.

Rise Time
  The time a signal takes to change from a specified 
  low value to a specified high value. Usually measured 
  as the time to rise from 10% to 90% of the step height 
  or maximum amplitude, but sometimes over 5 to 95%.

  An EIA (Electronic Industries Association) protocol 
  for serial communications. Each signal line comprises 
  two twisted wires. The voltage-difference between the 
  two lines shows the signal value, rather than the 
  voltage-level. You can connect 10 devices to a 
  single cable.

Steady State Error
  A measure of the accuracy of performance of a control 
  system. In a stable system, the steady state error is 
  the difference between the desired input and the actual 
  input. When the error is large, the resultant output 
  will not match the desired output.

  Wibree is a interoperable radio technology for small 
  devices like sports sensors.  It was designed by Nokia 
  for applications where ultra low power consumption, 
  small size and low cost were the critical requirements.
  Wibree has recently been brought into the Bluetooth 
  stable and renamed Ultra Low Power (ULP) Bluetooth.

  Wireless Fidelity. A wireless communications network 
  conforming to IEEE 802.11 specifications. 

  Wireless communication method commonly used in 
  home automation.

For the full glossary go to

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  Read for notes
on how to display the news on your own web site, 
read it via e-mail, mobile phone or in your browser.

Sniffing Out a Better Chemical Sensor
   Marrying a sensor that can distinguish hundreds of 
  different chemical compounds with a pattern-recognition 
  module that mimics the way animals recognise odours, 
  researchers at the National Institute of Standards and 
  Technology have created a new approach for "electronic 
  noses". They expect the detector to be a potent tool 
  for monitoring industrial processes and sniffing out 
  environmental contaminants.
   Source: NIST

Watching the wine wirelessly
   Steeped in tradition, Europe's vintners have found 
  themselves hard pressed to compete with the modern 
  processes used to produce New World wines. Now European 
  researchers are offering the continent's winemaking 
  industry the opportunity to improve quality, save 
  water and reduce pesticide use without giving up 
  age-old practices. An automated wireless precision 
  monitoring system that uses sensors to check soil 
  moisture, air temperature and humidity is available. 
  Currently in use in several Italian vineyards, the 
  Vine-Sense system allows vintners to accurately time 
  harvesting, fight pathogenic attacks, cut water 
  consumption and lower the cost of chemical treatments 
  without even having to visit the vineyard.
   Source: ICT Results

New mini-sensor to detect greenhouse gases
   The European Union is funding a project called MINIGAS 
  to develop a tiny, super-sensitive and cost effective 
  gas sensor to detect greenhouse gases. The MINIGAS sensor 
  will be less than 2 centimetres in length and at least 
  twice as sensitive as other sensors of its size. The 
  sensor will also be able to detect explosives vapours 
  and chemical agents such as nerve gases, when 
  integrated in security sensor systems.
   Source: VTT

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Windmill Software Ltd, PO Box 58, North District Office,
Manchester, M8 8QR, UK
Telephone: +44 (0)161 833 2782
Facsimile: +44 (0)161 833 2190
E-mail: [email protected]


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