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Smart Sensor Instrumentation Development Example Including The New Paradigm Of An Fpga Based System

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Modern Software Measurement Techniques

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1282.1 - 12.1282.13



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Paper Authors


Jonathan Hill University of Hartford

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Dr. Jonathan Hill is an assistant professor in the College of Engineering, Technology, and Architecture (CETA) at the University of Hartford, Connecticut (USA). Ph.D. and M.S. from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and BS from Northeastern University. Previously an applications engineer with the Networks and Communications division of Digital Corporation. His interests involve embedded microprocessor based systems.

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Devdas Shetty University of Hartford

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Dr. Devdas Shetty is the founding chair holder of the Vernon D. Roosa Endowed Professorship at the University of Hartford, Connecticut (USA), where he is also Dean of Research, which is a University-wide function. In addition, he is the Director of the highly reputed Engineering Applications Center (EAC) at the University of Hartford. His areas of expertise are Mechatronics, Product Design, Manufacturing and Automation.

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Jun Kondo University of Hartford

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Mr. Jun Kondo is a research engineer in the Engineering Applications Center (EAC) of the College of Engineering, Technology, and Architecture (CETA) at the University of Hartford, Connecticut (USA) M.B.A., M.E., B.S. from the University of Hartford and M.A., B.A. from Western Illinois University. He is specialized in Data Acquisition using National Instruments PXI and cRIO systems.

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


This paper showcases two complementary approaches for the design and implementation of smart sensor systems. They are (a) Hardware-in-the loop approach (b) Using a single field programmable gate array (FPGA) to construct an entire intelligent instrumentation system. The first example presents a mechatronic approach, which is a blend of mechanical, electrical and software elements along with smart sensors. The major elements of the hardware in the loop approach are (1) Use of a language-neutral approach to code development, created using visual object oriented simulation. (2) Design of the smart sensor that composes of sensors, DSP unit, data acquisition and PC. (3) Use of system dynamics and computer simulation in the system development. These basic principles have helped to develop the hardware-in-the- loop simulation concept and at the same time, assist in rapid prototyping.

For the second approach the paper showcases a new computer engineering paradigm, use of a single field programmable gate array (FPGA) to construct an entire mechatronic intelligent instrumentation system, which is uniquely tailored to the application. Apart from the FPGA itself, this research is based on classical computer engineering principles, where a processor uses a bus to access peripherals. The elements of the FPGA based system approach are: (1) Software tools such as the Xilinx embedded developers kit (EDK) are used to implement an entire microprocessor system using FPGA and an analog adapter board. (2) The operating system is selected and required libraries and device driver software is written. (3) The application software is written and tested. While such a processor system is described using a hardware description language such as VHDL, the resulting description is not considered software but rather is used to configure the hardware. Once configured, writing the libraries, drivers, and application involves conventional software development tools.

In contrasting the approaches, the mechatronic approach is more abstract, simulation based, and eventually produces a PC based system. The second approach involves details of an FPGA based microprocessor system. The measurement and smart sensing example chosen here is a new non-contact, in-process surface roughness inspection probe that is portable, low cost and accurate. Rather than using a contact method such as a contact stylus that could scratch the sample surface, this new probe was developed by the author’s and it uses a precision laser and measures the surface scatter to evaluate roughness. The paper highlights the results of sensor application and provides a comparative evaluation of two instruments. This new paradigm also provides opportunities for research in combining the two approaches.


This paper showcases two complementary approaches to the design of smart sensor systems. Hardware-in-the-loop simulation is a cost-effective mechatronic approach to perform system tests in a virtual environment. While conducting system tests, the mathematical models are used in the virtual environment along with the components undergoing tests in the closed loop system. As such, rapid prototyping and hardware-in-the-loop simulation are an integral part of today’s product development process. The use of a single field programmable gate

Hill, J., & Shetty, D., & Kondo, J. (2007, June), Smart Sensor Instrumentation Development Example Including The New Paradigm Of An Fpga Based System Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1962

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