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Improving The Laboratory Experience With Modern Computer Based Instrumentation

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1997 Annual Conference


Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Publication Date

June 15, 1997

Start Date

June 15, 1997

End Date

June 18, 1997



Page Count


Page Numbers

2.230.1 - 2.230.5



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Paper Authors

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Ray Adams

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Paul Duesing

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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

Improving the Laboratory Experience with Modern Computer-Based Instrumentation

David McDonald, Ray Adams, Paul Duesing, and Ajay Mahajan Lake Superior State University


The extensive use of modern, computer-based instrumentation in industry has created a clear need to provide students with instruction in this technology. This type of instruction is best accomplished by integrating learning experiences in computer-based instrumentation throughout the curriculum. The instrumentation system is first introduced in technical fundamental courses, in technical specialty courses, and finally it is used for design and/or control in senior level courses. By using modern instrumentation in several courses, students’ develop confidence and proficiency with this new technology. This paper reports on the method for improving the learning experience in electrical and mechanical laboratories at Lake Superior State University with grant support from the National Science Foundation and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers Education Foundation.


Modern instrumentation and control systems are becoming increasingly dependent on computer- based systems. These systems cover the spectrum from data acquisition to design and control as cited by the following references. The use of modern data acquisition systems that use virtual instruments (VIs) is increasing in industry.”[1,2] This technology has also 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 many areas of industry are changing to modern computer-based instrumentation systems.

Another factor which indicates the importance of graduates having skills in modern instrumentation is company downsizing to a leaner technical staff. 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.

Adams, R., & Duesing, P., & Mahajan, A., & McDonald, D. (1997, June), Improving The Laboratory Experience With Modern Computer Based Instrumentation Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 10.18260/1-2--6610

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