Your assignment is to prepare and submit a paper on engineering application. So how do we make a digital representation of analog signals? We use an Analog to Digital Converter (ADC). The ADC is an electronic device that “accepts an analog input-a voltage or current-and converts it to a digital value that can be read by a microprocessor” (Embedded.com).
The ADC lies at the heart of the encoding side of digital systems and is “perhaps the most critical component in the entire signal chain” (Pohlmann). ADCs discretely sample analog signals, measure its amplitude, and finally represent the measurement as a binary word.
Whereas conversions made with the [ADC] counterpart—the digital-to-analogue converter [DAC]—can subsequently be improved for higher-fidelity playback, errors introduced by the [ADC] will accompany the audio signal throughout digital processing and storage and, ultimately, back into its analog state. Thus, the choice of the [ADC] irrevocably affects the fidelity of the resulting signal. For critical applications such as the long-term preservation of historic audio signals, to the greatest extent possible, the [ADC] must exhibit audio transparency—that is, it should neither add to nor subtract from the sound. To assess the degree of transparency, the converter’s electrical measurements and subjective aural performance, as well as the converter’s operating parameters such as sampling frequency and word length, must be considered. Finally, the signal-level input to the converter, converter-component design, and external conditions such as grounding and shielding can greatly affect the fidelity of the resulting file. (Pohlmann)
The type or structure of an ADC describes the way it is implemented. Microlink Engineering Solutions classifies ADC types into five – (1) Successive approximation converter, (2) Dual slope integrating converter, (3) Charge balancing converter.