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What is SMPL?

SMPL (pronounced 'simple') is the Simple Modular Physical Link system, an ecosystem of hardware components designed to make creating a test, measurement, and control system the easiest possible experience with minimal soldering and customization required. The system was designed by Leeman Geophysical LLC in 2022 and released in 2023 as an open standard. The design goal was simple - to eliminate the technical challenges faced by scientists and industrial integrators when creating solutions to basic data acquisition and control problems. All too often we see the problem of `I need to measure and record the output of this load cell and displacement transducer' solved with $5000 of very nice, but greatly over specified data acquisition systems sold on the market today.

The truth of the matter is, all systems in the end convert a physical measurement to a voltage. That voltage is then measured and recorded. The transformation from physical to voltage happens as a combination of the transducer technology chosen and the signal conditioning required to turn the transducer output into a signal of the proper range. SMPL provides building blocks to work with sensors and actuators of many forms, but reducing them to raw voltages going across standard connectors. This means a simple voltage input/output data acquisition system may be used to interface to practically any instrument without the need for specialized and expensive proprietary DAQ system components. SMPL is data acquisition system agnostic. It can be used with anything from a volt meter to a paper strip chart recorder to a high frequency and high bit depth precision analog to digital converter.

With the building block nature of the SMPL components, a simple block diagram drawing of your system almost directly converts into a purchasing list and hookup diagram. This saves time in design and lets your system build on the years of experience our team has interfacing with sensors in applications ranging from livestock monitoring to grain bin assessment to rock mechanics apparatus.

Who is SMPL For?

In short, everyone who doesn't want to waste time dealing with the minutia of interfacing to their transducers. SMPL was designed with research and development laboratories in mind as often during the course of R&D the exact system needed is not a well defined problem as it is in many more traditional engineering projects. Maybe the load or displacement of the system is less than expected and more gain is needed, maybe the analog to digital converter left from a previous project has a different voltage range than the instrumentation available, or maybe you need 4 sensors instead of 2. SMPL makes all of that simple!

The modular nature of SMPL makes it easy to expand, remix, reuse, and alter on the fly. SMPL is the nuts and bolts of the electronic data acquisition world. Keeping some cables, modules, and a smattering of transducers in the lab means you can rapidly test hypotheses and build a system that grows with your research ambitions and ideas.

SMPL isn't only for the laboratory though. It can be an economical choice for industrial control and monitoring applications. Industrial measurement applications often go through many iterations as the plant equipment is changed, new requirements present themselves, or technologies evolve. The modular nature of SMPL also makes maintenance easy as technicians can swap modules as opposed to spending time troubleshooting large complex blocks. Downtime can be reduced by swapping the easily identifiable SMPL modules pushing the troubleshooting to offline times while the plant is back up and running.

Don't See What you Need?

Maybe you've looked through the book, but are not finding something that helps with your problem. Let us know! Drop a line to support and an applications engineer will get back with you to help you find a solution to your problem. It could be that an existing product will work or you may inspire the next addition to the SMPL family.