The Desktop PC Model

The Desktop PC was a revolution in micro-computer design for many reasons. OpenDAQ looks at the modular concepts of the desktop PC for inspiration in implementing modular hardware that is designed to accomplish specific DAQ tasks.

The Desktop PC implemented fundamental computer hardware that would be used in all computer applications on a mother-board. This hardware was fixed, was not intended to be upgraded, and would serve the needs of the PC for the lifetime of the unit.

To implement tasks that were not covered by the basic mother-board hardware, the PC took a novel approach. A common bus was implemented that would accept multiple plug-in cards. Hardware functionality could be added to the PC simply by purchasing plug-in cards for each added function that was needed. When combined with the software necessary to control the hardware, a flexible PC was born.

Some PCs were configured and sold as off-the-shelf solutions. Other PCs were customized by selecting specific plug-in cards to suit the jobs to be performed. All PCs could be upgraded in the field by replacing or adding plug-in cards. Such flexibility was a first in the micro-computer world and set the stage for all subsequent PCs, even those offered today.

The actual OpenDAQ implementation may not be cards that plug into slots with edge connectors. But the concept of using a common bus to provide the connection between a common core and DAQ-specific hardware elements is one of the defining features of OpenDAQ.

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