The Portable Time/Space Sensor

Aerial Sensor Node

 . . .  the portable Time/Space Data Acquisition Computer

The Aerial Sensor Node is a compact, battery operated data acquisition system with precision time stamping (100 ns accuracy), location determination (<10 cm) and A/D conversion (up to 24-bit) for phase coherent distributed data acquisition using an unlimited number of nodes.

Front End

The system can be configured with a wide range of Commercial-Off-the-Shelf front end modules including

  • Low, medium, and high voltage multichannel inputs: isolated or non-isolated.
  • Current, Thermocouple, Strain Gauge, RTD, ¼ ½ or full bridge configurations.*
  • Microphone or accelerometer (IEPE powered) 50 kS/s 24 bit.*
  • Analog output
  • Digital input/output
  • Relay output
  • Counter/Timer, Quadrature encoder
  • PWM (Pulse Width Modulation Output)
  • RS-232*, 483, CAN bus.
  • Size: 36 x 24 cm 4 cm. Weight 1150 g excluding battery, cables, sensors.
  • Battery:  22.2 V DC 5 A-hrs*. Weight 800 g. Power consumption 350 mA.

The Aerial Sensor Node can be configured with up to 3 modules*, each with multiple channels. (ranging from 4 to 32 channels depending on module type).

Sensor Types:  the above modules can interface to a broad range of analog and digital sensors, including temperature, strain, pressure, rotation, position acceleration, sound, turbulence (pitot tubes).

Timing System

Absolute time precision: All data acquisition can be time stamped with 100 ns global time accuracy*.  The sampling clock of the A/D and D/A converters can be synched to the master clock source (GPS 1 pps). This means that separate Aerial Sensor computers will be synchronized, independent of the distance between the units.

Drift Free Timing: Because all Aerial Sensor Node systems are globally synchronized*, their time bases will not drift relative to each other or to absolute time (referenced to atomic clocks driving GPS time).  Typical data acquisition systems with 20 or 50 ppm clocks may drift multiple seconds in a 24 hour day, but this will not occur with the DELTA Aerial Sensor Node.


The most advanced option provides for better than 10 cm location accuracy*, sampled 20 times* per second.  This is achieved using differential dual frequency GPS* with a stationary reference ground station receiver.

Attitude/Intertial data

As a supplement to the GPS data, an optional onboard Inertial Sensor* provides three-axis gyroscope, magnetometer, and accelerometer.

On board Computing

The on-board computer provides an FPGA* for real time signal processing and precision clock distribution synched to the GPS 1 pps clock.  DELTA can supply custom algorithms for the FPGA.

In addition, a 32-bit real time processor* provides for system administration, data logging, and interface to optional flash memory. (up to 64 GBytes*).

Data logging:  The raw data as a function of time can be stream to on board solid state disk for subsequent data processing.  Customized FPGA algorithms for the on board FPGA can provide for real time data reduction, signal processing or control algorithms.


  • Synchronous data logging using widely separated data acquisition systems.
  • Turbulence field mapping using multiple airborne sensors
  • Shock wave/sound source localization using multiple sensors.
  • Floating sensor applications for ocean flow/river flow tracking, wave height etc.

 The Aerial Sensor is available from DELTA as a custom configured part.

Aerial SensorSpecs

* indicates configuration for the Autonomous Aerial Sensor Project.

Contact:  or

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