Thomas Burrow


My portfolio of engineering projects.


Instrument Control


At my research position during the summer of 2012, it quickly became clear to me that there was a need for instrument automation. After discovering SCPI (a USB instrument control protocol) and its support in MATLAB, I spent most of the summer writing code to operate four lab instruments (function generator, 6.5 digit multimeter, scope, spectrum analyzer) and a webcam (to observe the sample being tested). This code did everything I was hired to do, and could do it 24/7 if needed.

For a different project my team was involved in (related to pesticide distribution), I was asked to write code to automate testing and data collection with a precision digital scale. It is a short and self-contained function that is easy to display, so it can be viewed here (see this and other samples by clicking on images to the right). I don't have a MATLAB brush, so these links use a JS one.

The (SCPI based) code for my primary project is, by comparison, thousands of lines long with about a dozen nested scripts and functions. It has a status window that opens and displays streaming data, along with the amount of time remaining. In addition, it uses several "best practice" methods such as querying the instrument between commands to ensure completion of all code (using an *OPC? query loop).

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