Microcomputer technology has added a new dimension to the design of test instrumentation, but the connotations of the name microcomputer have a tendency to build barriers rather than offer solutions to problems. Historically, computers have been treated as systems or identifiable subsystems in instrumentation applications. The implications of complex hardware and mystical programming is often sufficient to direct the user to alternate technologies. In a new light, clear of earlier prejudices, the microcomputer becomes a functional module like other LSI devices. Flexible and economical systems involving logical control, data gathering, and numerical calculations are possible utilizations of these relatively new devices.
This paper discusses a facility to assist the designer in development of test instrumentation. Emphasis is placed on use of the microcomputer as an integral part of system design. Test instrument applications are cited.