Module Overview

Interfacing and Data Acquisition

This module will further enhance the student’s electronics base and present them with an introduction to PC hardware and sensors. It will underline the issues in interfacing sensors to computer digital environment. A significant portion of this course is devoted to practical learning using LabVIEW and using it as an interfacing software environment. This will allow the student to use this knowledge practically in follow on modules and mechatronics projects.

Module Code

MECH H2026

ECTS Credits


*Curricular information is subject to change

Introduction to LabVIEW

Use LabVIEW to create applications. Understand front panels, block diagrams, and icons and connector panes. Use built-in LabVIEW functions. Create and save programs in LabVIEW as subroutines. Program with Arrays, Strings, Clusters, Structures (Case, Sequence, For & While Loops), time delays and formula nodes, data logging, file I/O, error handling, charts/graphs. Create applications that use plug-in DAQ devices.

LabVIEW Data Aquisition (DAQ)

Using a plug-in data acquisition device (USB). Setup of analogue input, analogue triggering, signal conditioning, signal processing, analogue output, digital I/O (port & line), timing and counters. Other DAQ buses (PCI/PCI Express, PXI/PXI Express, Ethernet & Wireless).


Typical characteristics of transducers and their interfacing requirements. Selection criteria. Introduction to a sample of transducers and their uses.

Signal Conditioning

Amplification (Op-Amps, Instrumentation Amplifiers, Wheatstone bridge, pull-up resistors), Attenuation, Isolation, Filtering, Excitation, Linearization. A/D and D/A converters in interfacing (basic definitions, commercially available systems).

Interfacing Technology & Techniques

Communication techniques overview & comparisons: serial, parallel, GPIB, USB, Ethernet, Radio Frequency &Wireless. Interfacing to different inductive loads, need for isolation, typically used hardware (darlington pairs, relays, flyback diodes, H-Bridge, line drivers, opto-couplers, pulse width modulation). Interfacing to TTL compatible digital circuits.Instrument control. Interfacing examples. PC I/O cards. Industrial PC’s. PC 104.

The module will be delivered by weekly in person lectures and practical laboratory sessions.  

Additional online resources will be made available to further supplement the students learning.

Module Content & Assessment
Assessment Breakdown %
Formal Examination70
Other Assessment(s)30