What is Signal Processing?
Signal processing is about extracting information from preprocessed signals in order to draw the right conclusions based on this information. A distinction is made between analog and digital signal processing.
For example, if you look closely at an analog signal from a piezoelectric force sensor, the signal contains not only the measurement curve of the actual process, but also parasitic signal components such as noise signals or vibrations. The latter have their origin in the mechanical structure. With suitable signal processing, the measurement curve of the actual process can now be filtered out.
Methods of Signal Processing
There are countless methods and tools to get the important information out of signals.
Common tools in analog but also in digital signal processing are filters. Here a signal is processed in such a way that unwanted signal components are filtered out. A good introduction to the topic of filtering can be found in this tutorial.
In digital signal processing, Fourier transforms - commonly referred to as FFT (Fast Fourier Transform) - are very common. Fourier transforms are used to decompose discrete signals, which are usually in time domain, into their frequency components. It is often easier to analyze signals in the frequency domain, which is achieved with an FFT.
Signal Processing in Systems
The transition from signal conditioning to signal processing is usually smooth. Devices such as charge amplifiers which processed signals in the past, now go much further. Charge amplifiers such as the LabAmp offer extensive tools for processing the measurement signals and make them available to the user again in processed analog or digital form.
Modular data acquisition systems such as KiDAQ go further, forming an entire system and combining signal conditioning and signal processing. With the software jBEAM there is a very extensive analysis software that allows comprehensive processing of acquired measurement signals.
For applications that require very specific and partly standardized processing of measurement signals, very specific measurement systems and measurement software are available. For NVH applications this is the hardware KiNOVA in interaction with KiSUITE.