Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Though open source data acquisition (DAQ) systems have been published, closed source proprietary systems are the standard despite often being prohibitively expensive. High costs, however, limit access to high-quality DAQ in low-resource settings. In many cases the functions executed by the closed source and proprietary DAQ cards could be carried out by an open source alternative; however, as desired function count increases, the simplicity of integrating the designs decreases substantially. Although the global library of open source electronic designs is expanding rapidly, and there is clear evidence they can reduce costs for scientists one device at a time, they are generally made to carry a function well, but are often not capable of scaling up or easily being integrated with other designs. Just as other open source projects have found success by having modular frameworks and clearly documented specifications, a framework to unify and enable interoperation of these open source electronics systems would be greatly beneficial to the scientific community. To meet these needs and ensure greater accessibility to high-quality electronics sensing and DAQ systems, this article shares and tests a news framework where new open source electronics can be developed and have plug-and-play functionality. The Broadly Reconfigurable and Expandable Automation Device (BREAD), consists of a basic set of guidelines and requirements to which others can contribute. Here 7 slices (boards) are provided, demonstrated, and validated: 1) Amplified Analog Input, 2) Audio Analysis / Fourier Transform, 3) +/- 10A Current Sensor, 4) 4-Channel Relay Controller 5) 4 Channel Stepper Motor Controller, 6) 4 Channel Type-K Thermocouple Reader and 7) 2 Channel USB Port. Implementing systems using BREAD rather than closed source and proprietary alternatives can result in cost savings of up to 93%.
Open source framework for a Broadly Expandable and Reconfigurable data acquisition and automation device (BREAD).
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