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Born analog

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Definition Edit

Born analog refers to information that was created in a non-digital format and subsequently digitized.

Overview Edit

When information is "born analog," it arises from the characteristics of the physical world. Such information becomes accessible electronically when it impinges on a sensor such as a camera, microphone, or other engineered device. When data are born analog, they are likely to contain more information than the minimum necessary for their immediate purpose, and for valid reasons. One reason is for robustness of the desired "signal" in the presence of variable "noise." Another is technological convergence, the increasing use of standardized components (e.g., cell‐phone cameras) in new products (e.g., home alarm systems capable of responding to gesture).

Today, cell phones routinely contain not only cameras, microphones, and radios but also analog sensors for magnetic fields (3-D compass) and motion (acceleration). Other kinds of sensors include those for thermal infrared radiation; air quality, including the identification of chemical pollutants; barometric pressure (and altitude); low‐level gamma radiation; and many other phenomena.

Examples of born‐analog data providing personal information and in use today include:

Once they enter the digital world, born‐analog data can be fused and mined along with born‐digital data.

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