by Design, LLC
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Successful intelligent sensor design requires knowledge from a wide variety of disciplines in both technical and business fields. This page offers some resources that we've found to be helpful through the years.
There are a tremendous number of books available that are extremely useful to designers, but these are three of the best we've found for foundational concepts:
Intelligent Sensor Design Using the Microchip dsPIC™
by Creed Huddleston
We're admittedly biased since Real-Time by Design's president wrote this book, but the reviews on Amazon™, at Electronic Design magazine, and at Sensors magazine indicate that we're not the only ones who think it's a good introduction to the world of intelligent sensor design if you're going to use Microchip's dsPIC™ digital signal controller as your processing engine.
Intelligent Sensor Design is targeted for software and hardware developers who need to quickly understand the foundational concepts needed to create intelligent sensors. To that end, the book offers an introduction to intuitive digital signal processing design, discusses the various ways intelligent sensors can communicate with other components in a system, and offers detailed design examples of three different intelligent sensor applications using the dsPIC™ DSC as the hardware platform.
The book offers a solid overview of the considerations with which designers must wrestle when developing sensors for use in the real world, but it doesn't pretend to be the definitive work for the important topics of digital signal processing or hard real-time programming.
Understanding Digital Signal Processing (2ed)
by Richard Lyons
While Intelligent Sensor Design offers an introduction to the concepts of digital signal processing, this book covers the subject in depth and is simply the best text on DSP that we've seen. Not only does Understanding Digital Signal Processing provide a thorough exploration of the important DSP topics, it does so with a writing style that is easy to understand and free of much of the cryptic language found in so many textbooks.
Lyons' background as a practicing engineer comes through in his writing, with an emphasis on getting results without becoming unnecessarily bogged down in the associated mathematics. His explanation of the concept of "negative frequency" is outstanding and alone is worth the price of the book.
Doing Hard Time: Developing Real-Time Systems with UML, Objects, Frameworks, and Patterns
by Bruce Powel Douglas
Doing Hard Time works the reader through the extremely challenging issues that must be addressed when designing hard real-time systems. Douglas presents techniques that help developers ensure that the systems they create are architected and implemented so that they work correctly by design and not by luck. With an easy-to-read style, the book is well worth the time spent harvesting its wisdom.
Articles and Internet Resources
The amount of good information offered in book form is dwarfed by that available through magazine articles and by additional material found on the Web. These links represent just a sampling of what's available:
Sensors magazine covers both intelligent and standard sensor technologies and is an excellent source of information for both sensor technology and the sensor markets. The January, 2003 issue included an article written by Creed Huddleston entitled Digital Signal Controllers Turn Thermocouples into Superstars that discusses the use of intelligent sensing techniques to significantly improve the quality of temperature measurements in harsh environments.
For research and insights into the intelligent device market, Harbor Research, Inc. is an excellent site to visit.
M2M magazine focuses on the machine-to-machine device market and thus offers significant coverage of the intelligent sensor segment, which is a subset of the larger M2M market.
For more theoretical approaches to intelligent sensing problems, two good places to start are Texas A&M's PRISM (Pattern Recognition and Intelligent Sensor Machines) site, which includes a host of lecture notes and presentations, and the ARC Research Network on Intelligent Sensors, Sensor Networks and Information Processing (ISSNIP).
Electronic Hardware Design
Of course, for those interested in designing with Microchip™ products, the Microchip website offers a tremendous number of application notes and datasheets for using their products.
For high-speed applications or for situation in which the developer would like to add the advantages of advanced digital signal processing without having to modify any of the code in an existing application, Quickfilter Technologies' products can provide great solutions quickly and easily.