Great Tools for Prototyping Scientific Instruments
After many years of developing instruments I’ve settled on a suite of quality hardware and software tools that work together seamlessly.
On the hardware side one needs a robust computing platform with I/O capabilities that are flexible enough to make control and data acquisition functions easy to implement. On-board memory is also needed, plus suitable sensors, and analog signal conditioning blocks, as well as a means to rapidly send data to and from a host PC.
On the software side, an instrument should be easy to interact with, giving visual access to your data (i.e. provide a graphical user interface, or GUI) and offer good tools/algorithms to manipulate that data.
Here you'll see how powerful multi-core and logical core/multi-threaded processors such as the Parallax Propeller and XMOS chips can acquire your data and how National Instruments LabVIEWTM serves as a front-end to effortlessly display and analyze it.
I've used these tools to design and build many different instruments. Time-and-time again they have proven to be a winning combination; the resulting synergy not only leads to great outcomes but these results can also be achieved with remarkably short development times.
Click on the images below to see more information about each of these tools.