In this tutorial, I will explore black body radiation, infrared detectors, and the relationship between temperature and emissivity - all with the intention of exploring how infrared (IR) detectors measure temperature from a distance. Arduino will be used, along with an MLX90614 IR thermometer, and a thermocouple for true-temperature approximation of each object. Planck’s discovery of energy quanta and their relationship to thermodynamics is the basis for radiation detectors and infrared temperature sensors. We will use Planck’s law to derive a usable equation that can relate the radiation measured by an infrared sensor to the temperature of a radiative object.

Read MoreTime of flight (ToF) is an approximation of the time it takes a traveling wave to come in contact with a surface and reflect back to the source. Time of flight has applications in automotive obstacle detection, resolving geographic surface composition, and computer vision and human gesture recognition. In the application here, the VL53L1X ToF sensor will be used to track the displacement of a ping pong ball falling down a tube. We can predict the acceleration and behavior of a falling ping pong ball by balancing the forces acting on the ball, and ultimately compare the theory to the actual displacement tracked by the time of flight sensor.

Read MoreUsing the Euler-Bernoulli beam theory, the resonant frequencies of a beam will be measured using a thin film piezoelectric transducer and compared to the theoretical calculations. A Raspberry Pi will be used along with a high-frequency data acquisition system (Behringer UCA202, sample rate: 44.1kHz) and the Python programming language for analysis. The fast fourier transform will allow us to translate the subtle beam deflections into meaningful frequency content. This tutorial is meant to introduce Python and Raspberry Pi as formidable tools for vibration analysis by using measurements as validation against theory.

Read MoreThe pitot tube is a device used to approximate the speed of vehicles traveling by air and water. An in-depth article on NASA's website is dedicated to pitot tubes (also called pitot-static tubes, Prandtl tubes), where it cites the primary application as airspeed indicator on aircraft. For more information on design and limitations of the instrument, I recommend perusing that page. For this tutorial, only the basic theory is explored using Bernoulli's equation and a practical application. An inexpensive pitot tube and a digital differential pressure sensor are used to measure pressure, which is converted to a digital signal using an Arduino board.

Read MoreIn this continuation of the audio processing in Python series, I will be discussing the live frequency spectrum and its application to tuning a guitar. I will introduce the idea of nodes and antinodes of a stringed instrument and the physical phenomena known as harmonics. This will give us a better idea of how to tune the guitar string-by-string and also discern the notes of a given chord - all calculated using the FFT function in Python.

Read MoreRaspberry Pi 3B+ acoustic analysis using Python. Audio recording and signal processing with Python, beginning with a discussion of windowing and sampling, which will outline the limitations of the Fourier space representation of a signal. Discussion of the frequency spectrum, and weighting phenomenon in relation to the human auditory system will also be explored. Lastly, the significance of microphone pressure units and conversion to the decibel will be briefly introduced and explained.

Read MoreFourier Series has been widespread in applications of engineering ranging from heat transfer, vibration analysis, fluid mechanics, noise control, and much more. After evolutions in computation and algorithm development, the use of the Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) has also become ubiquitous in applications in acoustic analysis and even turbulence research. In this tutorial, I describe the basic process for emulating a sampled signal and then processing that signal using the FFT algorithm in Python. This will allow the user to get started with analysis of acoustic-like signals and understand the fundamentals of the Fast Fourier Transform.

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