Windmill Software Ltd
Windows Engineering Software

14 August 2006

The Newsletter for PC-Based Data Acquisition and Control
Issue 97         August 2006
--------------------ISSN 1472-0221----------------------

Welcome to the latest issue of Monitor.  This month: 
how our people counting software now makes it 
easier to accurately monitor footfall.  Plus, how 
scientists are using the free Windmill software for 
reliable, continuous measurement of CO2.

We hope you find the newsletter useful. Should you 
wish to cancel your subscription you can do so at

* Windmill News: Improved People Counting Software 
* Windmill Notes: Determining Soil Health
* DAQ News Roundup
* Data Acquisition and Control Exhibitions

Windmill News: Improved People Counting Software

We've improved our people counting software to make it 
much easier check the accuracy of the counts and, if 
necessary, to automatically adjust the appropriate 

During validation of the system, the software 
calculates, and improves, the accuracy of counting.  
It compares the actual count to the software count, 
analyses video pictures of people passing, then makes 
suggestions to improve the accuracy.  You can accept 
these with just one mouse click, or you can adjust the 
suggestions before applying the changes.  For instance, 
it may be that the system is counting shadows as people.  
The software detects that this is the likely source of 
the error and makes appropriate adjustments.  

Once the settings are saved the system counts reliably 
for that situation.  Each counting position can be 
uniquely configured to take account of lighting, 
person size, shadows and so on.

The software is used by the Video Turnstile system, 
supplied by Biodata and others.

Windmill Notes: Determining Soil Health

Researchers in Mexico have developed a new method for 
continuously measuring the carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted 
during respiration of microorganisms like bacteria. 
This accurate, low-cost, system makes it much easier 
to reliably determine soil fertility or contamination.

CO2 is often used as an indicator for microbiological 
activity in soils or sediments.  Inhibition of microbial 
respiration indicates a contaminated soil.  In 
agricultural science, the amount of CO2 efflux of soils 
is an indication of soil fertility.  CO2 respiration 
measurements are also used to evaluate microbiological 
remediation processes, predicting or optimising 
microbial processes in contaminated soils.

Previously, continuously monitoring CO2 emission was 
expensive.  It needed a strict flow control, repeated 
calibration, air filtering and continuous correction 
for temperature and atmospheric pressure.

The new system is an open one, with a continuous 
air-flow through.  Evolved CO2 is absorbed and 
precipitated as carbonate by a Ba(OH)2 solution, 
causing a decrease in ionic strength and conductivity 
of solution.  This decrease in ionic strength can be 
continuously detected by a conductivity meter. 

The researchers, from the Instituto Mexicano de 
Tecnologia del Agua, connected their conductivity 
meter (from Orion Research Inc) to a PC running 
Windmill 4.3 data acquisition software.  This they 
downloaded for free from the Windmill web site.  

Windmill read the conductivity and temperature of 
the alkaline Ba(OH)2 solution from the meter and 
automatically transferred the data to Microsoft 
Excel software.  Excel corrected the conductivity 
readings for temperature and calculated the 
CO2 concentration.

This new laboratory method reduces costs for 
reliable, continuous measurements of CO2 evolution 
and, according to the researchers, offers the 
possibility for nearly all biological and chemical 
laboratories to adapt to this technology.

Further Reading:
Afferden, M., Hansen, A.M., Kaiser, C. and Chapelain, N. 
(2006) 'Laboratory test system to measure microbial 
respiration rate', Int. J. Environment and Pollution, 
Vol. 26, Nos. 1/2/3, pp.220-233.

Free Software Helps Determine Soil Contamination

Other Data Aquisition Applications

DAQ News Roundup

Welcome to our roundup of the latest findings in 
data acquisition and control.  If you would like to 
receive more timely DAQ news updates then grab our 
RSS newsfeed at  Read for 
information how to display the news on your own 
web site, read it via e-mail or through a newsfeed 

US Aim to Reduce Control Systems Vulnerabilities
   The US National Cyber Security Division have launched 
   a web-based control systems security program to 
   improve the security of control systems (SCADA, DCS, 
   etc).  The web site includes recommended practices 
   and case studies.
   Source: US-Cert

Fingertip Digitizer can Control Devices
   Researchers at the University of Buffalo say their 
   "Fingertip Digitizer", which users wear on the tip 
   of the index finger, can be used to direct the actions 
   of an electronic device.  It is claimed to help bridge 
   the gap between what a person knows and what a computer 
   knows.  A real-time, multi-rate data acquisition system 
   used with the Fingertip Digitizer reads the force 
   feedback exerted by an object as it is touched by the 
   user.  To read hand gestures, the system tracks the 
   acceleration and location of the fingertip device as 
   the finger moves and gestures.
   Source: University of Buffalo

Wine-tasting robot to spot Fraudulent Bottles
   A robotic wine taster, capable of distinguishing between 
   30 different varieties or blends of grape, has been 
   developed by engineers in Japan.  It is about twice 
   the size of a 3-litre wine box and comprises a 
   microcomputer and optical sensors.

Use of Wireless Technology in Manufacturing to Grow 26% Annually 
   Wireless technology is about to see widespread adoption 
   on the plant floor and in the field.  The worldwide 
   market for wireless technology in manufacturing is expected 
   to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 26% over the 
   next five years, according to a new ARC Advisory Group study. 
   Source: Arc Advisory Group

Keeping cool on the pitch
   Biological engineering students at the University of 
   Arkansas have developed a wireless biosensor for 
   sports players.  The prototype sensor has been designed 
   to accurately record and monitor an American football 
   player's body temperature while the player is active.
   It wirelessly gathers and monitors body temperature and 
   communicates information on many players in real time. 
   It includes a thermocouple temperature sensor, a 
   transmitter, two amplifiers and a base-station receiver 
   connected to a laptop with user-interface software.
   Source: The Engineer

Data Acquisition Exhibitions and Conferences

Continuing our quarterly list of exhibitions around 
the world covering data acquisition and control.

Instrumentation Scotland & Offshore Systems
   Aberdeen Scotland
   6-7 September
   Bienniel event for companies who supply products 
   and services specific to the offshore industry and 
   those representing processing, power generation, 
   paper, distilling, water and waste, and 
   marine engineering.

   Beijing China
   13-16 September
   International fair for measurement, instrumentation 
   and automation.

   Brno Czech Republic
   18-22 September
   International engineering fair featuring automation, 
   measuring, control and regulation.

   Moscow Russia 	
   18-20 September
   The leading Russian annual exhibition of 
   technologies and equipment for process automation 
   and embedded systems.

Analytica China
   Shanghai China
   19-21 September
   3rd International trade fair for analysis and 
   laboratory technology.

   Milan Italy
   20-23 September
   Automation, instrumentation, sensors, control systems 
   and IT for industry.   

ISA Expo 2006
   Houston Texas USA
   17-19 October
   Automation conference, exhibition and training.  Aims
   to provide automation and control professionals with 
   a venue for dialogue, discussion and discovery. 

HET Instrument 	
   Utrecht Netherlands
   30 Oct - 3 November
   Industrial automation and laboratory techniques

International Congress for Wireless Sensors & Networks
   Paris France
   28-29 November
   Addresses the trends and challenges of the 
   wireless sensors market.

* Copyright Windmill Software Ltd
* Reprinting permitted with this notice included
* For more articles see

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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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