This class covers, in addition to "true" measuring instruments, other indicating or recording devices of analogous construction, and also signalling or control devices insofar as they are concerned with measurement (as defined in Note 2 below) and are not specially adapted to the particular purpose of signalling or control.[6,7]In this class, the following term is used with the meaning indicated:
"measuring" is used to cover considerably more than its primary or basic meaning. In this primary sense, it means finding a numerical expression of the value of a variable in relation to a unit or datum or to another variable of the same nature, e.g. expressing a length in terms of another length as in measuring a length with a scale; the value may be obtained directly (as just suggested) or by measuring some other variable of which the value can be related to the value of the required variable, as in measuring a change in temperature by measuring a resultant change in the length of a column of mercury. However, since the same device or instrument may, instead of giving an immediate indication, be used to produce a record or to initiate a signal to produce an indication or control effect, or may be used in combination with other devices or instruments to give a conjoint result from measurement of two or more variables of the same or different kinds, it is necessary to interpret "measuring" as including also any operation that would make it possible to obtain such a numerical expression by the additional use of some way of converting a value into figures. Thus the expression in figures may be actually made by a digital presentation or by reading a scale, or an indication of it may be given without the use of figures, e.g. by some perceptible feature (variable) of the entity (e.g. object, substance, beam of light) of which the variable being measured is a property or condition or by an analogue of such a feature (e.g. the corresponding position of a member without any scale, a corresponding voltage generated in some way). In many cases there is no such value indication but only an indication of difference or equality in relation to a standard or datum (of which the value may or may not be known in figures); the standard or datum may be the value of another variable of the same nature but of a different entity (e.g. a standard measure) or of the same entity at a different time.Attention is drawn to the Notes following the titles of class B81 and subclass B81B relating to "microstructural devices" and "microstructural systems" and the Notes following the title of subclass B82B relating to "nanostructures".Attention is drawn to the Notes following the title of section G, especially as regards the definition of the term "variable".In many measuring arrangements, a first variable to be measured is transformed into a second, or further, variables. The second, or further, variables may be (a) a condition related to the first variable and produced in a member, or (b) a displacement of a member. Further transformation may be needed.
In its simplest form, measurement may give merely an indication of presence or absence of a certain condition or quality, e.g. movement (in any direction or in a particular direction), or whether a variable exceeds a predetermined value.
When classifying such an arrangement, (i) the transformation step, or each transformation step, that is of interest is classified, or (ii) if interest lies only in the system as a whole, the first variable is classified in the appropriate place. This is particularly important where two or more conversions take place, for instance where a first variable, for example pressure, is transformed into a second variable, for example an optical property of a sensing body, and that second variable is expressed by means of a third variable, for example an electric effect. In such a case, the following classification places should be considered: the place for the transformation of the first variable, that for sensing the condition caused by that variable, subclass G01D for expression of the measurement, and finally the place for the overall system, if any. The measurement of change in the value of a physical property is classified in the same subclass as the measurement of that physical property, e.g. measurement of expansion of length is classified in subclass G01B.