intelligent sensing for automation (sidebar)

May 1, 2004
Sensing a Standard

IEEE P1451.4 is an emerging standard for adding plug-and-play capabilities to analog transducers. The underlying mechanism for plug-and-play identification is the standardization of a Transducer Electronic Data Sheet (TEDS). A TEDS contains the critical information needed by an instrument or measurement system to identify, characterize, interface and properly use the signal from an analog sensor.

The TEDS is deployed for a sensor in one of two ways. First, the TEDS can reside in embedded memory, typically an electrically erasable programmable read-only memory (EEPROM) chip, within the analog transducer. Second, a Virtual TEDS can exist as a separate file, downloadable from the Internet. This concept of Virtual TEDS extends the benefits of the standardized TEDS to legacy sensors and applications for which the embedded memory or EEPROM is not available.

IEEE P1451.4 defines the method of encoding TEDS information for a broad range of senor types and applications. In order to cover such a broad range while also keeping memory usage to a minimum, the IEEE P1451.4 TEDS concept utilizes the concept of templates that define the specific properties for different sensor types.

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