Date Submitted: 6 October 2002
Independent Research Project EE 491
Cadets: Joseph Wunder
Many electronic devices today communicate with each other externally and
internally. The information in these devices can be numbers, words, sounds, and
pictures. The simplest form of this information is digital one’s and zero’s. Sequences of
one’s and zero’s are used by electronic devices to pass information back and forth as well
as process the information. The concept of representing information with zero’s and
one’s was devised in 1940 by Claude Shannon in his master thesis at MIT. He devised
theorems that showed how digital one’s and zero’s (or bits) can be used to describe
information. He then pioneered ways in which these bits can be manipulated or sent to
other devices with little or no error.
To demonstrate, in simple terms, the concept of digital communication using bits,
a museum display involving analog to digital conversion and laser bit communication
was constructed. The exhibit also demonstrates how more bits can be used to
communicate a more accurate signal. For this task, an audio information source (CD
player) produces a signal that is converted to digital information. This information will
then be sent to a receiver using laser light switching on and off to communicate zero’s
and one’s. The receiver will pick up the laser light and convert the digital information
back into an analogue signal for output to a speaker. See Figure 1 for a system block
diagram. Covering some of the lasers (removing bits) will demonstrate that less bits
result in a poorer signal and reduced audio quality.
Figure 1: System block diagram for museum display
II. System... [continues]
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