Four development stages of instrumentation

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  Instrumentation is the source of information and an important tool for human beings to obtain knowledge about nature and understand the world. As the basic structure of information society, information superhighway has established its position as a bridge and link in the logical relationship between man and nature. The test instrument is located in the ring between the information superhighway and nature. It is an important source of information in the information superhighway. Throughout the development of instrument technology, it has gone through the main stages: analog instrument, digital instrument, intelligent instrument and virtual instrument.

  (1) analog instrument: before the 1950s, the electrical measurement technology was mainly analog measurement. The basic structure of this kind of instrument was electromagnetic mechanical type, which mainly used the pointer to display the measurement results.

  (2) digital instrument: in the 1950s, with the introduction of digital technology and the emergence of integrated circuits, electrical measuring instruments gradually evolved from analog to digital.

  it is characterized by converting analog signal measurement into digital signal measurement and outputting the results in digital mode. It is suitable for measurement with fast response and high accuracy. At present, such instruments are quite popular, such as digital voltmeter, digital frequency meter, etc.

  (3) intelligent instrument: it appeared in the 1970s and is the product of the combination of modern testing technology and computer technology. It is a test instrument with microcomputer or microprocessor. The measurement results have the functions of storage, operation, logical judgment, automatic operation and automatic control, that is, it has a certain intelligent function, so it is called "intelligent instrument".

  intelligent instrument changes the control link, data acquisition and processing, self zeroing, self calibration, automatic range adjustment and other functions of traditional digital instruments to microprocessor, so as to improve the measurement accuracy and speed.

  (4) virtual instrument: this concept was put forward as early as the 1970s, but it became possible only after the emergence of bus standards such as PCI, GPIB, VXI and PXI, and developed rapidly with the introduction of card instrument, VXI bus instrument and PXI bus instrument.

  virtual instrument is an instrument with visual interface built on the basis of computer by adding relevant hardware and software.

    virtual instrument is the product of the combination of modern computer technology and instrument technology. Software plays a vital role in the whole process of instrument development and use. It can be said that without software, there will be no virtual instrument. Based on the idea of "software is an instrument", it uses computer technology to realize and expand the functions of traditional instruments, and truly realizes the instruments designed and defined by users to meet their special requirements.

  up to now, the application scope of instruments and meters has been very wide, and is further expanding from traditional application fields such as chemical composition analysis, physical quantity detection, mechanical quantity measurement, astronomical and geographical observation, automatic control of industrial production process and product quality measurement and control to non-traditional application fields such as biomedicine, bioengineering and ecological environment. At the same time, with the development of high-tech and industries such as polymer chemistry, molecular biology, life science, clinical medicine, pharmacy, materials science, environmental monitoring and control in the new century, the application field of instruments will be expanded more rapidly. With the progress of modern science and technology, the application field of instruments and meters is becoming wider and deeper. All this undoubtedly provides a strong driving force for the further development of instruments and meters, and shows a bright prospect.