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Data Acquisition Systems: An Integral Part Of Undergraduate Engineering And Technology Programs

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.183.1 - 3.183.5



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Paper Authors

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Ajay Mahajan

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David McDonald

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1559

Data-Acquisition Systems: An Integral Part of Undergraduate Engineering and Technology Programs

David McDonald and Ajay Mahajan Lake Superior State University

This paper describes example student projects and course activities in data-acquisition systems in undergraduate engineering and technology programs at Lake Superior State University. The focus of the paper is to show that students from electrical, computer and mechanical engineering as well as manufacturing engineering technology programs study and use modern data- acquisition systems in several courses as well as independent project work. Though LabVIEW software along with National Instruments data-acquisition boards are most commonly used, other systems such as SAGIAN Inc.'s CAMILLE system is used also in certain applications. It is shown that students in mechanical engineering and technology programs who have traditionally avoided electronics and computers have readily and enthusiastically taken to data-acquisition systems.


The use of modern data acquisition systems that use virtual instruments (VIs) has increased dramatically in industry [1,2] in instrumentation and controls applications. This technology has influenced the design of modern test equipment with more intelligence “built directly into the machines of today for higher productivity and accuracy” [3]. In addition, manufacturing and process control industries are becoming PC converts in instrumentation and control” [4]. It is apparent that all areas of industry are changing to modern computer-based data-acquisition and control systems.

It is important that engineering and technology graduates obtain proficiency and confidence with modern computer-based data-acquisition systems. According to Steve Lekas, Vice President of New Products at IOTech, companies no longer have fully staffed departments to develop test systems and programs, hence technical employees need to “put their own test system together” [5]. All engineering and technology students, therefore, need to have a basic understanding of data-acquisition systems so they can correctly and confidently specify and use these systems after graduation.

The strategy to improve students’ ability and confidence with modern computer-based instrumentation focused on integrating the use of this equipment into several courses. The target audience included all electrical, mechanical, and manufacturing majors in engineering and technology. The implementation plan involved introducing students to the use of this equipment in fundamentals courses, and then reinforcing its use in advanced courses, independent studies,

Mahajan, A., & McDonald, D. (1998, June), Data Acquisition Systems: An Integral Part Of Undergraduate Engineering And Technology Programs Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/1-2--7011

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