Accurate measurement is critical to our everyday lives, and yet it is often taken for granted. When I buy petrol, I am assuming that the petrol pump is accurately measuring the petrol going into my car. This means that I pay the correct amount of money. Buying food is similar. If I buy 2 kg of sausages from a butcher, or a 400 g can of tomatoes from the supermarket I am relying on accurate measurement to make sure that I get what I paid for.
When designing a house, an architect makes careful calculations and specifies measurements on the plans. This means that the builder knows what size all the parts have to be for the house to be built. If either the architect or the builder are not accurate with their measurements, the house will not be built correctly and may fall down.
Measurement is so important that there are laws governing it1. However, we tend to take accurate measurement for granted. Maybe because it is so easy to get and use accurate tools. Maybe because measurements are everywhere and often invisible.
Measuring temperature with a micro:bit
The micro:bit is easy to program and there are a lot of parts available that you can use to measure things. However, for them to be useful in the real word we need to understand how accurate they are.
So I am making a video series on how to measure temperature accurately with a micro:bit. It will cover the how the sensor works, how to connect the sensor, how to program it, and how to calibrate.
I chose temperature because it can be use for so many different things, and because the equipment is easily available.
The first part is up on the Platypus Technical You Tube channel and covers the basics of how a thermistor works, you can watch it below. The next part will look at how we can connect a thermistor to a micro:bit and take a measurement.
- The National Measurement Act 1960 establishes a national system of measurement and makes sure it can be used consistently throughout Australia.
Dr Lee Walsh the founder and director of Platypus Technical Consultants. Lee is an electrical and biomedical engineer, physiologist, technical consultant and science communicator. He has over a decade of experience in measurement, instrumentation and analysis, particularly in clinical settings, physiology and medical device testing.