Measurements Instruments Design

Many instruments are available off-the-shelf. (discussion)

But what if you need a device to do something a little differently than the off-the-shelf unit?

What if you have a process that does not allow a bench top instrument to work in said environment?

What if it needs to go in an aircraft, a jungle, the Ocean or on someone back?

What's a Scientist to do?

CALL: Martin Sala


Measurements are the tools used to define and observe the very small, the every-day and the Big to a scale that the mind has no reference with which to grasp. Any tool that will return a repeatable numeric value when compared to something is a measurements device. Some examples are hands for measuring the size of a horse (not real accurate) and a LASER interferometer (very accurate) determining the size of a machine-part.

Measurements give values to things detectable with the senses such as velocity, temperature, color, pitch, texture, humidity and size. It is common to measure things that are invisible to the senses such as voltage, magnetic fields, chemical composition and the very large and small. This also includes things that we can see or wish we could see; like the volume of a bottle, the density of someone's head, a bacteria or the surface of Jupiter.

One specialized area of measurement are visualization. Looking inside a Christmas present the night-before without ever opening. This is a major component of reverse engineering. Tools used for these kinds of measurements include X-ray cameras, MRI, CT, Ultrasound and Thermography. All return images of what lies within.

On the very-microscopic sized things, there are light-microscopy, con-focal-microscopy example [Click Here for Description] (for producing optical 3-D images), Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and Transmission Electron Microscopy(TEM). All can produce detailed and sometimes multi spectral images or measurements.

Multi-spectral images are those acquired detecting wavelengths of light specific for an object, for example Marijuana.

In the `90's we lived on 35 acres in Livingston County, NY. I had said for years, "I will only consider purchasing a private aircraft after I have my own air-field." So I mowed one field into a 2,000ft. strip, put in a wind-sock and a taxi-way. I did this for five summers and summer after summer, the Sheriffs' Dept and the NY State Police could be seen hovering in helicopters, but never once stopped in for coffle and doughnuts. I never bought the aircraft. . .

At the molecular and atomic level, there are X-ray diffraction, NMR, IR spectroscopy and so on. These techniques more infer than elucidate a structure.