This paper reviews the evolution of intelligent, distributed, microcontroller based machine and process monitoring systems. It considers basic building blocks that support such systems through the development of fault diagnostic methods, intelligent system based approaches and sensor-based machine monitoring. It then identifies three approaches that may be utilized when designing monitoring system architecture: integrated, distributed and embedded. Current applications of these approaches, when deployed individually and in combination with each other, are then discussed. In particular the paper considers the efficacy of micro-controller based embodiments, in both current and future monitoring activities.

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