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Data Acquisition (DAQ)

Build a data acquisition system you can trust to meet your specific requirements. With highly accurate and precise measurements, turn real-world data into insights that drive your business decisions.

What Is Data Acquisition?

Data acquisition (DAQ) is the process of measuring an electrical or physical phenomenon such as voltage, current, temperature, pressure, vibration or sound with a computer. A DAQ system consists of sensors, DAQ measurement hardware, and a computer with application software.


A sensor, also called a transducer, converts a physical phenomenon like temperature or vibration, into a measurable electrical signal like voltage or resistance.

DAQ Device

A DAQ device acts as the interface between a computer and signals from the outside world by digitizing incoming analog signals to be computer readable. DAQ devices include three key components:


  • Signal conditioning circuitry—Transforms noisy real-world signals into forms that can be effectively and accurately measured.
  • Analog-to-digital converters (ADCs)—Digitize real-world analog data into digital representations that can be manipulated by computers.
  • Computer bus—Enables the DAQ device to transmit data to a computer. Examples include USB, PCIe, or Ethernet.


Computer and Software

A computer with DAQ software is required to process, visualize, and store measurement data. DAQ software includes a driver, which is accessed by either application software or a development environment.



NI Data Acquisition (DAQ) Hardware

NI offers multiple platforms for data acquisition, so you can tailor your system to your needs and budget. For DAQ systems that prioritize flexibility and minimal set-up time, consider plug-and-play PC-based systems, which include multifunction I/O devices and modular CompactDAQ hardware. If you need a data logger that can run remotely and reliably with the option to add control, choose CompactRIO, and if you need high channel counts and the highest performance, consider using the PXI platform.

The Complete Guide to Building a Measurement System

Designing a data acquisition system can be daunting. This guide walks you through all the components you’ll need to take quality measurements and explains how to choose the right sensors, bus type, and DAQ devices to meet your needs.