## Introduction measurement systems Interfaces, Data Domain and Conversion

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In measurement systems the functions of signal transduction, conditioning. processing, and display are not always divided into physically distinct elements. Furthermore the border between signal conditioning and processing may be indistinct. But generally there is a need for some signal processing of the sensor output signal before its end use. Some authors use the term interface to refer to signal-modifying elements that change signals, even from one data domain to another, such as an ADC. These always operate in the electrical domain.

A
data domain is the name of a quantity used to represent or transmit information. The concept of data domains and conversion between domains is very useful to describe sensors and electronic circuits associated with them [11. Figure 1.2 shows some possible domains, most of which are electrical.
In the
analog domain the information is carried by signal amplitude (i.e., charge, voltage, current, or power). In the time domain the information is not carried by amplitude but by time relations (period or frequency, pulse width, or phase). In the digital domain signals have only two values. The information can be carried by the number of pulses or by a coded serial or parallel word.

The analog domain is the most prone to electric interference (see Section 1.3.1). In the time domain the coded variable cannot be measured, that is, converted to the numerical domain in a continuous way. Rather, a cycle or pulse duration must elapse. In the digital domain numbers are easily displayed.
The structure of a measurement system can be described then in terms of domain conversions and changes, depending on the direct or indirect nature of the measurement method.
A physical measurement is said to be direct when quantitative information about a physical object or action is obtained by direct comparison with a reference quantity. This comparison is sometimes simply mechanical, such as in a weighing scale.

In indirect physical measurements the quantity of interest is calculated by applying an equation that describes the law relating other quantities measured with a device, usually an electric one. For example, one measures the mechanical power transmitted by a shaft by multiplying the measured torque and speed of rotation.

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