Data acquisition tools are used by Acquiry and many industries around the world to collect, manage and analyze information about the physical world. Data acquisition is the process of measuring real events and then changing over onto the next examples into soft, computerised numeric values which are then controlled via a personal computer. Acquiring the data and storing it electronically is a challenge, involving many steps, each of them being crucial in determining the result of the analysis. Data acquisition has become an integral part of many industries requiring the use of various software programs to make sense of the data collected.
There are mainly two types of data acquisition tools, those being the use of computer sensors and those using mechanical instruments. Computer sensors are usually used by field crews, such as those operating helicopters or other surveillance aircraft, or by scientists studying natural landscapes. The sensors themselves are usually miniature electronic devices that are capable of determining the location, height, orientation and direction of a certain object. Mounted on a specially designed computer board or microchip, these sensors can detect physical differences, detect objects and even determine the speed and direction of motion of a particular object, all through the use of radio frequencies. The importance of such instruments became obvious during World War I when wireless telegraph operators needed to send urgent messages to their respective commands in order to send help to military units located far away.
Microscope observation techniques were used to obtain detailed images of objects from above, below or to the sides. Optical microscope devices attached to specialised slide tracks, were instrumental in providing views of objects that traditional light microscope microscopes could not provide. During World War II, optical microscopes were developed and eventually made available to the forensic tool makers and research teams. These early devices used lenses and mirrors to provide magnification and image resolution beyond those available with earlier instruments and methods of data acquisition. Lens design technologies and associated mechanical systems were also vastly improved.
Modern data acquisition tools and techniques are vastly different from those used during World War II. Most modern microscopes employ electron beams and lasers for acquiring images. One important advancement was the development of microdisposable pen technology, which allowed experts to easily collect samples from difficult to reach places. Data acquisition instruments such as wind, mini digitizers and digix, and other related tools, emerged to facilitate analysis of physical samples and to make such samples accessible for forensic analysis.
Forensic scientists use modern data acquisitions in a wide variety of ways. For example, such tools may be used for the purpose of physically locating objects which have been misplaced, lost or stolen. Objects of significant value such as cash or important documents may be easily recovered using such technology. Special computer databases called microcentre machines (MEMS) are used in most major forensic cases. Through these specialized computer databases, highly sophisticated computers can rapidly and accurately retrieve important digital evidence in a fraction of the time and cost of established court-based investigative procedures.
Data acquisition systems usually come with software designed to protect confidential patient medical records. The user may also install other devices, like hard drives, digital cameras, digital video recorders (DVR) and a host of other items. In many cases, these tools require a direct connection to a computer, making the entire process transparent to the user. Modern devices for data acquisition are fast, reliable and energy efficient. They can even run a variety of programs, depending on the requirements of the case at hand.