Technology [tek-nol-uh-jee]: the branch of knowledge that deals with the creation and use of technical means; the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes, especially in industry.

How is technology applied to my environment?

Technology can mean many different things. In my environment, I reference the more common modern use of technology: Computers. Almost all modern vehicles are computer controlled in some form or fashion. In my case, I work with an Onboard Data Recorder. You may sometimes hear these referenced as "Black Boxes" in various industries (Ironically, usually painted orange for visibility in a crash site). In my case, it is a set of blue boxes with a myriad of wires connected to them, which also power the dashboard instrumentation.

The motorsports industry uses Onboard Data Recorders to monitor critical systems when the ability to use gauges is not practical or available. They allow crew members to look at data in very high resolution, to pin-point variations in events or locate small problems before they become big problems.

The data recorder on our car records a number of vital signs (19, to be exact) with the resolution of 200Hz, or one sample every 0.005 seconds. During a 4.8 second run, that comes out to 960 sample points per sensor, or 18,240 sample points total.

  • Engine RPM
  • Driveshaft RPM
  • Oil Pressure
  • Oil Temperature
  • Water Temperature
  • Accelerometer
  • Engine Intake Manifold Pressure (Boost Pressure)
  • Primary Fuel Pump Pressure
  • Primary Fuel Flow Rate
  • Transmission Hydraulic Pressure
  • Transmission Temperature
  • Exhaust Gas Temperatures of all 8 cylinders

Additionally, there is a small case which contains a Micro-Processor and functions as a timer for several different systems. It receives input from the buttons on the steering wheel, and controls valves and solenoids based on manually entered times (which are displayed in the two LCD displays).


This is only 7 of the 20+ data graphs which are saved by the onboard data recorder.