USB Sensor Technology




The next level of Sensor System Integration: USB Sensor Solution, where analog and digital output seamlessly integrate.

Smarter Solution

In January of 2008, FUTEK Engineers began their research and development on the new USB Sensor Solution. The team had originally worked on USB technology for Sensors back in 2004 with FUTEK’s VCAL, a portable calibration verification platform.

The advantage of offering a USB Solution was clear. Sensors with analog output could seamlessly interface with digital devices. As the diagram below indicates, in order to build a Traditional Sensor System platform, there are several instruments to consider.


Traditional Sensor System
An ideal platform will include an Amplifier/Signal Conditioner with an Active Analog Filter which will require an external Power Supply. In addition, a Multi-meter (Display) and Data Storage is necessary. Traditional Sensors Systems also had some short comings including the power consumption, unwanted noise, and voltage drop out, that would occur if cable range between the Amplifier and Display instrument was too long.


Even if we disregard the economic factor behind such a platform, the task of integrating these instruments all together is no simple feat. As the second diagram illustrates, utilizing the USB Solution immediately removes the need for an Amplifier (Signal Conditioner), Analog Filter, Power Supply, and Multi-meter.

USB Sensors System
The advantages, besides the cost, are the High Resolution Digital Output, an Integrated Digital Filter to reduce 50HZ/60HZ as well as High Frequency noises, the ability to increase the sampling rate for high speed applications, and capability to store Calibration Values inside the chip (in order to apply the real-time calculation to account for the non-linearity) and also other configurations which are usually stored in a TEDS chip which is no longer needed.

Further more, using the High Speed, bi-directional USB link gives the user power to communicate with the sensor and monitor/control the functionality of features without any need to change the hardware settings manually. Finally, by integrating the FUTEK USB Sensor Solution, the number of instruments interacting would be limited which makes the setup of such a platform much easier.


Multiple Sensors

As the Multiple System diagram illustrates the USB Sensor Solution feature can seamlessly integrate a multi sensor platform. No longer will there be a need for multiple instruments to make the platform work. It is possible to connect up to 127 Sensors using the USB Sensor Solution on one port by utilizing multiple hubs.

Furthermore, instruments (booster) can be provided so that the system can be extended to operate on a 150 feet (45 meters) distance with no impact on the electronic noise. Such options are not easily available or user friendly for Sensors that are operating on analog platforms. The greatest advantage with such a system is that it provides flexibility in system control. If there is a failure point in the system it is much easier to determine where and which precise Sensor it is that has failed.

USB Load Cell Diagram - Hydraulic Press

In the process of automating hydraulic or pneumatic presses for feedback control, traditionally one load cell was used even for heavy duty presses with a few million lbs. of load capacity.

As illustrated in the enclosed diagram, multiple load cells with built-in USB interface can easily be utilized. This approach not only simplifies the installation & handling, but also minimizes the total cost, eliminating the need for a customized sensor.

In addition, it will allow the operator to check the uniform loading of a large platform while monitoring the output of each sensor individually.

It also makes troubleshooting much easier, and the system will still be operational when any sensor is removed for repair or replacement.

The FUTEK USB sensors, combined with FUTEK USB software utilized on a PC, will allow the development of a cost effective intelligent system without the use of multimeters, amplifiers, or data acquisition.



For more information, please contact:-

FUTEK Advanced Sensors Technology Inc.
Tel: 949-465-0900 Fax: 949-465-0905
Email:
futek@futek.com
Website:
www.futek.com

February 2009



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