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Data acquisition (DAQ) hardware is a category of hardware that is involved in aggregating signals that can be sent into a computer system and used as internal data. These somewhat conventional kinds of technology have been part of computer interfaces for some time, but also have very relevant uses related to newer technologies like mobile platforms and big data systems.
Different kinds of data acquisition hardware often attach to PC slots or available ports and connections in a personal computer hardware environment. Some of these are in the form of cards, with individual components for signal processing and memory handling.
One way to explain data acquisition hardware is that these tools can take an analog signal and stream it into a PC environment. Tools like timers can act as data acquisition hardware modules that translate data for a computer.
Another way to explain this is that data acquisition hardware utilizes a process called signal conditioning where analog data must be converted into digital data with sensors and other tools. In order to handle the chronology of signal conditioning, users may need to set sampling rates and provide for precise timing for computer system data analysis. These and other metrics are a large part of what developers will look at when implementing data acquisition hardware setups.
One of the most promising applications of data acquisition hardware is in converting environmental data to a computer, in order to help automate facilities management or other tasks that used to require human decision making. For example, as analog data like temperature, humidity, various molecular parts per million and other metrics are fed into computers with tools like sensors, these computers can be made to adjust atmospheric hardware systems to micromanage physical spaces without any human involvement.