Acquisition Products Author: Caren D. Potter

For nearly a decade, configuring a personal computer for data collection meant opening the cover and plugging a data-acquisition board into an empty expansion slot. But if scientists take to notebook PCs the way the business community has, this may eventually seem as old-fashioned as getting up to change the channel on the TV.

Notebook PCs have no expansion slots. To be used for data collection, they must have some other way to get the data-acquisition functions normally provided by add-in boards. (Add-in data-acquisition boards are printed circuit boards that make analog signals from physical events understandable to the digitally minded computer. They provide analog-to-digital signal conversion and often some memory and signal-filtering functions, as well.)

Vendors have come up with two main options for adding data-acquisition capabilities to notebook PCs: "cards" that fit into the notebook's PCMCIA (Personal Computer Memory Card International Association)...

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