Measurements Instruments Design

Many instruments are available off-the-shelf.

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 and Science & Technology Problem Solvers!


Measurements are the tools used to see 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 give a numeric value back when compared to something is a measurements device. Some examples are hands for measuring the size of a horse (not real accurate) to 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 will return an image of what lies within.

On the very-microscopic sized things, there are light-microscopy, con focal microscopy (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.

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.