This paper presents the development of a non contact surface roughness measurement instrument and its modification from a pc based system to a standalone system. Surface roughness is a measure of localized small-scale height variations or imperfections on the surface of a material. The measurement parameter of surface roughness is described as roughness number, Ra which is the average roughness expressed in micro scale. The type of surface finish under study is created by grinding applications. This surface must meet a specified pre-determined finish. One method used for non-contact measurement of an engineering surface is to measure the back-scatter of a laser light source. The amount of back-scatter is directly proportional to the Ra value [1] [2]. One drawback to pc based system is that it is not portable. A computer handles data acquisition and provides a user interface. The inspection probe is attached to the computer via a limited length of wire. In an industrial setting, it would be more efficient and flexible to bring the inspection probe to the surface in question rather than to bring the surface to the inspection probe. The procedure and the design described in this paper will eliminate the need for the wire tether and the computer altogether. The functionality for both data acquisition and user interface will be replaced by an embedded system. This embedded system will consist of a microcontroller, a multichannel analog to digital converter, an Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) and a keypad input device.

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