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Cloud Instrumentation, the Instrument Is In the Cloud
A short bit of history helps to understand why the cloud instrumentation development is so significant.The first created instruments, let us call them traditional instruments, are of standalone or box format. Users connect sensors directly to the box instrument front panel, which contains the measurement circuitry and displays the results. Initially it was on analog meters and later with digital displays.
In many cases, test engineers wanted to have instruments communicate with each other, for instance in a stimulus/response experiment, when a signal generator instructs a digitizer when to start taking samples. This was initially done with serial links, but in the 1970s the Hewlett Packard Interface Bus, which evolved into today's IEEE-488 interface, became extremely popular for connecting instruments.
The next major breakthrough in measurement technology came with the availability of desktop computers, which made it more cost effective to run test programs, control instruments as well as collect data and allow test engineers to process and display data. Plug-in IEEE-488 boards allowed minicomputers and later PCs to perform these tasks.
Today such interface cards are often not needed thanks to instruments that communicate with PCs directly over USB or the Ethernet, and most recently even over wireless Ethernet schemes.
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