In every aspect of technology, the measurement of different physical quantities is very crucial to technical operations. Although, attaining precision in measurement is very difficult it isn’t impossible at all. With the technological advancements in the field of information processing and accumulation, precision in measurements has been achieved up to 6 decimal places and in a few cases, up to 10 decimal places as well. Depending upon the application, the desired precision of the instrument can be designed. Having said that, there are limitations to technologies as well, that determine the precision of the instrument. In this article, we’ll be discussing the types of instruments that are available in the market and the types of technology these instruments use. The technologies are primarily divided into two categories, analog and digital.
These instruments, primarily, are the oldest types of instruments used for measurement purpose. These instruments measure the quantity with the help of mechanical or electrical applications. The precision in these instruments can be achieved up to 2 decimal places. A few examples of analog instruments are clocks, speedometers in vehicles, measuring scale, weighing balance etc.
As a counterpart to the analog technology, digital instruments make use of digital technology. In other words, the technology used in digital instruments is electronic. It makes use of computer programmes and processors to measure, process, and display the results. Since these instruments make use of electronic technology, these have highly reliable precision models. A few examples of different types of technologies used for measurement in this category are listed below:
- Laser Instruments
Measuring instruments make use of the laser to mark the position and measure the quantity. The data accumulated by the instrument is then processed through various logic gates and the resulting data is displayed over a digital screen. An example of this technology is an advanced height gauge. These instruments can be programmed with different types of lasers and corresponding probing devices to make sure the measurement is precise.
- Capacitance Based Instruments
These instruments make use of capacitors to measure the physical quantities. A variation in the capacitance of the device can be plotted in the form of data. This data is then processed and a precise figure of the physical quantity is achieved.
- Resistance Based Instruments
Similarly, a resistance based instrument makes use of resistors for measuring the physical quantities. The variation in current and voltage values forms data, which is processed and displayed to the user.
- IR Based Instruments
Another technology which is most commonly used in digital instruments is IR technology. IR(Infra Red) is a form of invisible light. These instruments are highly used where high-end precision is required. For example, medical and defense applications.
Apart from these two technologies, every instrument has a setup to either convert digital signals into analog or vice versa. This is done to eliminate the errors while measuring and smoothening of the data. Although the precision in analog instruments has been improved over time, the technological limitations of the analog devices prove digital instruments a better option over them.