On-Board Wind Tunnel Model Data Acquisition System

Period of Performance: 05/16/2001 - 02/16/2002


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Tanner Research
34 Lexington Avenue Array
Ewing, NJ 08618
Principal Investigator


In order to develop new optical wind-tunnel measurement techniques, model-mounted sensors are used as references. However, existing sensor instrumentation is expensive, bulky, and difficult to install, limiting the user's ability to rapidly swap models during tests. In order to meet the needs of these on-board sensor suites, users need a low-cost, highly miniaturized, modular acquisition system. Tanner Research, Inc. has developed a number of state-of-the-art, multichannel acquisition systems for specialized applications, including high-speed imaging, neurobiological instrumentation, and soldier-wearable sensors for command and control. We have demonstrated a 16 channel remote sensor and acquisition unit in a volume of less than 2 cubic inches, and a 128 channel, high gain signal conditioner, digitizer, and transmitter, using a single IEEE-1394 cable, small enough to mount on a microscope stage. In the Phase I effort, we propose to augment our existing multichannel data acquisition module with appropriate signal conditioning in order to deliver a prototype on-board acquisition system that will meet the existing needs for model-mounted sensor instrumentation. In Phase II we will enhance the prototype design, and develop a suite of software tools for configuration and control of the acquisition modules and for storage and management of the acquired data. Miniaturized sensor instrumentation modules, providing signal conditioning, amplification, digitization and single cable data transmission to standard PCs will greatly enhance wind tunnel data collection, by allowing designers to construct models with a plethora of on-board sensors, while still providing rapid installation into he test environment. Such modules will find application in a wide variety fields, such as avionics, civil engineering, and biology.