Academic year 2013-14

Sensors and Data Acquisition

Degree: Code: Type:
Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science 22641 Optional subject
Bachelor's Degree in Telematics Engineering 22599 Optional subject
Bachelor's Degree in Audiovisual Systems Engineering 22645 Optional subject

 

ECTS credits: 4 Workload: 100 hours Trimester: 2nd

 

Department: Dept. of Information and Communication Technologies
Coordinator: Antoni Ivorra
Teaching staff:

Antoni Ivorra

Language:

English

Timetable:
Building: Communication campus - Poblenou

 

Introduction

This elective course will deal with theoretical and practical aspects regarding the acquisition of numerical data and signals from nature by means of electronic sensors. The course aims three main teaching objectives: 1- to overview the fundamental features of measurement systems and the physical and electronic foundations of those systems, 2- to introduce the principles of design for electronic circuits capable of interfacing the electronic sensors to analog-to-digital converters and 3- to put in practice the above knowledge – and to get lab and hardware prototyping skills – by implementing electronic data acquisition systems.

It must be noted that this course emphasizes the relevance of hands-on lab work; both in grading and in effort the students will have to devote. In fact, an incidental goal of the course is to provide the students with practical knowledge and skills so that they are encouraged to carry out simple electronic hardware projects by themselves after the course. With this objective in mind, in the laboratory sessions it will be used one of the most popular microcontroller boards among electronic hobbyists: the Arduino Uno.

Short syllabus: General characteristics of measurement systems, circuit theory fundamentals, signal conditioning circuits, electronic sensors and their principles of action, analog-to-digital converters (ADCs) and sources of errors and interferences.

The following table contains links to websites describing the free projects developed by students of the course at academic year 2012-2013.

"Basket" by Victor Pedreño and José M. Gómez https://sites.google.com/site/sadg3project/home
"Handy Musical Interface" by José Luis Díez and Xavi Lizárraga https://sites.google.com/site/provasad/home
"Weather Station" by Jorge A. Beltrán, Noemí Colll and Erik Gotera https://sites.google.com/site/freeprojectweatherstation/home
"Pulse Rate Monitor" by Carles Folgarona and Pablo Vélez https://sites.google.com/site/photoplethysmographproject/
"MIDI flute" by Pablo E. Sánchez and Albert Valls https://sites.google.com/site/windinstrarduinomidicontroller/

 

Prerequisites

1- very basic knowledge of circuit theory (i.e. Ohm’s law, Kirchhoff’s circuit laws, RC circuits charge and discharge equations, …), 2- undergrad level general physics (e.g. physics first year course in any engineering discipline), 3- signal theory basics (i.e. Fourier transform and sampling theory) and 4- computer programming basics. In terms of courses at the Polytechnic School of the UPF: 1 and 2- “Ones i Electromagnetisme”, 3- “Senyals i Sistemes” and 4- “Fonaments de la Programació”.

Students from the bachelor's degree in Computer Sciences are encouraged to enroll the course; no previous knowledge on electronics is assumed. However, it is worth noting that the course contents will be significantly harder for them than for students from Audiovisual Systems Engineering or Telematics Engineering as those other students have taken a course on electronics. This circumstance will be taken into account during grading.

 

Associated competences

Cross-disciplinary competencesSpecific competences

Instrumental 

G1. Ability for analysis and synthesis
G2. Organization and planning ability
G3. Ability for applying knowledge in practice
G4. Information management skills
G5. Decision making
G6 or G7. Oral and written communication in
academic or professional environments (in
Catalan/Spanish or in English)

Interpersonal

G8. Teamwork

Systemic
G11. Ability for applying flexibly and
creatively the acquired knowledge to new
scenarios.
G14. Concern for quality
G15. Ability for generating new ideas

Professional specific competences

P1. Ability for engineering projects preparation and development

P5. Knowledge for taking measurements, performing calculations, technical reports, task planning and other analogous tasks.

Fundamental learning specific competences

B13. Knowledge of circuit theory fundamentals and ability for analyzing and designing simple electronic circuits.

Other competences

O1. Ability for implementing simple electronic circuit prototypes based on discrete components.

O2. Ability for performing circuit analysis using a SPICE simulator.

Specific competences engineering

AU36. Basic web design

 

Assessment

 

Assessed Competences

Assessment activity (and typology)

Assessment methodology and criteria

Minimum grade to pass the course

Recoverable (in July)

Weight on final grade

B13

AL1. Lab introduction feedback test

(Written Test)

Short multiple-choice test performed at the end of the second lab session.

0

No

2.5%

G3, G8, G14, B13, O1, O2

AL2. Pressure sensor project

(Execution test)

During the second session corresponding to this project the professor will check the progress of the students.

0

No

7.5%

G1, B13

AC1. M1-M3 feedback test

(Written Product)

Multiple-choice test plus one or two problems.

0

No

5%

G6(or G7), G8, G14, P1, P5, B13

AL3. Lab free project oral presentation and demo

(Execution Test)

Each student team will give a short oral presentation supported with PowerPoint slides on the developed free project.

The professor will assess the presentation in terms of preparation, organization, structure, balance and timing.

Presentations given in English will be positively graded (+25% of the grade for this activity).

The professor will asses the project execution and results in relation to the complexity of the project, correctness of the methodology and originality.

5 over 10

No

10%

(presentation)

+

25%

(project execution)

G1, G2, G3, G5, G6 (or G7), G8, G11, G14, G15, P1, P5, B13, O1, O2,AU36

AL4. Lab free project web

(Written Test)

Each student team will create a web site presenting their free project.

The professor will assess it in terms of quality and richness of the presentation and correctness of the described methodologies.

In a secret ballot (through Aula Global) the students will rank all the projects and this ranking will provide 25% of grade for this activity (10 over 10 for the project highest rank and 0 for the project with the lowest rank)

Web sites in English will be positively graded (+25% of the grade for this activity).

0

No

15%

G1, G2, G4, B13

AF. Final exam

(Written Test)

Modules 1 to 4 will be assessed by multiple choice questions plus two to four comprehensive problems to be solved.

5 over 10

Yes

35%

Some common remarks:

- Deadlines for deliverables will be strictly enforced. Three points (over 10) will be subtracted from the corresponding activity grade per day of delay (integer “ceil” counting from minute 1 after scheduled time deadline).

- In case a student cannot attend a session in which a feedback test is performed (AC1, AC2 and AL1), his or her grade for that test will be 0. Under no circumstances feedback tests will be repeated for individual students.

- As a geenral rule, grades for lab activities AL2, AL3 and AL4 will be the same for both lab team members. In case a student cannot attend a lab session in which those activities are assessed, his or her labmate will carry out the activity by himself or herself and, under the agreement of the present labmate, the non-attending student will get the same grade as assessed student.

- Punctuality will be strictly enforced. Particularly in lab sessions: nobody will be admitted in lab 20 minutes after the scheduled start time and grades will be penalized since 5 minutes after the scheduled start time.

-  The student is responsible for keeping electronic copies of all deliverables.

-  Grade revision dates for tests and deliverables will be indicated in the Aula Global.

-  Very important: copies or plagiarism will not be tolerated at all!

 

Contents

Contents module identifierContents module title and main topics

Module 1 (M1) 

Introduction to measurement systems
- Sensors and transducers (definitions and main concepts)
- General architecture of modern data acquisition systems
- Measurement systems characteristics (Accuracy, Precision, Repeatibility,
Reproducibility, Resolution, Range, Span, Linearity, Transfer function,
Sensitivity, Hysteresis, Drift, Selectivity)
- Calibration and systematic and random errors
- Measurement systems dynamics

 Module 2 (M2)

Overview of circuit theory fundamentals
- Ohm’s law
- Kirchhoff’s circuit laws
- Voltage dividers
- Equivalent circuits
- Ground loop
- Diodes
- Time transients in RC circuits
- Impedance
- Transfer function (frequency analysis)
- Capacitively coupled noise
- Inductively coupled noise
- Simple passive filters

 Module 3 (M3)

Signal conditioning circuits
- Ideal operation amplifier (OA)
- Inverting and non-inverting OA configurations
- Common mode voltage and differential voltage
- Output voltage saturation
- Single supply OAs
- Limitations of real OAs (offset voltage, bias currents, PSRR, CMRR, bandwidth, slew rate)
- Differential amplifier configuration
- Instrumentation amplifier
- Wheatstone bridge
- Isolation

 Module 4 (M4)

Analog-to-digital converters and digital sensors
- Quantification errors
- Sample-and-hold
- Flash ADC
- Integrating ADC
- Successive approximation ADC
- Multiplexors
- Aliasing in the context of low frequency data acquisition
- Digital sensors

 Module 5 (M5)

Guided lab sessions and free project
- Intro to the lab and photodiode project
- Pressure sensor project
- Free project

 

Methodology

This course emphasizes the relevance of hands-on lab work; both in grading and in effort the students will have to devote. Said that, it must be pointed out that the course also follows a more conventional course structure in which lectures and problem solving seminars are combined with short tests – for feedback purposes – and a final written exam. This conventional teaching structure is mainly, but not exclusively, intended to provide the fundamentals that the students will require in order to perform the lab projects and other similar future projects.

Lectures and problem solving seminars. Contents modules M1 to M4 will be taught in a conventional manner. That is, lectures on theoretical and practical aspects, together with examples of solutions to problems, will be given by the professor. In seminars exclusively devoted to problem solving, the students will have the opportunity to interactively participate in the class.

Guided lab sessions. The lab sessions are organized in three projects: 1) “Introduction to the lab: measurements with a photodiode versus human vision” (first two sessions), 2) “Pressure sensor project: implementation of a barometer/altimeter” (third and fourth guided sessions) and 3) free project based on sensors.

The first four lab sessions (of two hours each and corresponding to projects 1 and 2) will be guided, particularly the first two ones. That is, the students will have to follow a lab guide in which all the consecutive steps for performing the circuits, the measurements and the simulations will be detailed.

These four guided lab sessions will require that the students study in advance some specific materials contained or indicated in the lab guide. Such previous study will not be tested directly at the beginning of the sessions but it will be assessed in a short multiple-choice test at the end of the second lab session (AL1) and during the execution of the fourth lab session (AL2).

No report will be required for any of the four guided lab sessions.

Autonomous lab sessions (free project). A short set of project proposals will be presented as examples of projects that the students will be able to perform (e.g. a pulse rate meter based on photoplethysmography, a 3D pointing device based on accelerometers, a simple weather station...). However, lab teams will be encouraged to develop their own original proposals. Those proposals will be checked by the professor for feasibility in terms of complexity, technical limitations, availability of materials and equipment...

All the necessary electronic components, materials and tools will be provided by the lab assistant with some obvious limitations regarding the range and quantity of available elements. In the exceptional case that the students require further materials fordeveloping their projects, they will have to acquire them by themselves with their own money. A cap of 25 Euros per lab team (demonstrable with purchase tickets) will be imposed so that all of them can compete equally (a fraction of the grade will depend on ranking according to students votes)

It will be requested that all these projects are based on the Arduino microcontroller platform. Students will familiarize with the Arduino platform during the third and fourth guided sessions. As a matter of fact, an unsupervised lab session has been allocated before these two lab sessions so that the students can familiarize by themselves with the Arduino boards and software by means of examples and tutorials.

Project development will be loosely supervised by the professor. It is expected that most of the development will be performed during unsupervised lab sessions and outside of the lab (students will be allowed to take home the materials).

Oral and web presentation of free project.

Each student team will give a short oral presentation (10 minutes) supported with PowerPoint slides on the developed free project. The professor will assess the presentation in terms of preparation, organization, structure, balance and timing. Presentations given in English will be positively graded. The professor will asses the project execution and results in relation to the complexity of the project, correctness of the methodology and originality.

In addition, each student team will create a simple web site presenting their free project (for instance, created in Google Sites). The professor will assess it in terms of quality and richness of the presentation and correctness of the methodology. In a secret ballot (through Aula Global) the students will rank all the projects and this ranking will provide the remaining percentage of grade for this activity. Web sites in English will be positively graded.

 

 In-class activityOut-of-class activity
TopicFull groupMedium groupSmall group 

M1

4

0

0

10

M2 

4

0

0

10

M3

8

0

0 20

M4

4

0

0 4

M5

0

0

12 24

Total:

20

0

12

68

Total: 100

 

Resources

Suitable books available as free electronic resources at the web site of the UPF library (http://www.upf.edu/bibtic/):

1. “Handbook of modern sensors: physics, designs, and applications”, Third edition, Jacob Fraden, publisher: Springer-Verlag, 2004. ISBN 0-387-00750-4
2. “Measurement and instrumentation: theory and application”, Alan S. Morris and Reza Langar, publisher: Academic Press, 2012. ISBN 978-0-12-381960-4
3. “Linear circuit design handbook”, edited by Hank Zumbahlenas with the engineering staff of Analog Devices, publisher: Elsevier/Newnes Press, 2008. ISBN: 978-0750687034.

Additional suitable books:

1. “Sensors and Signal Conditioning”, 2nd Edition, Ramón Pallás-Areny and John G. Webster, publisher: Wiley-Interscience, 2000. ISBN: 978-0471332329
2. “Introduction to Engineering Experimentation”, 3rd Edition, Anthony J. Wheeler and Ahmad R. Ganji, publisher: Prentice Hall, 2009. 978-0131742765

Note: all these books focus on different specific topics covered by the course and they go much deeper into those topics than what will be required in the SAD course. That is, none of them should be considered as the reference book for the course. Nevertheless, the first one (Handbook of modern sensors: physics, designs, and applications) may be considered as the closest one to the ideal reference book for the SAD course.