November Featured Case Study: Simulating the Spine With LabVIEW

Friday, December 6, 2013

What to do when a complex, custom piece of medical testing equipment needs a new PC but isn’t compatible with the latest Windows OS? Turn to LabVIEW, of course!

Years ago, the University of Waterloo’s Kinesiology Department built a system that simulates the forces our spinal columns undergo. Using a two-axis motion control card and an NI multifunction PCI DAQ board, the system subjects spinal column samples to compression, rotation, and torsional forces.

Essentially, the system allows us to see what our spines go through on an everyday basis, and which forces could cause injuries like painful herniated disks.


Recently, the university realized the system’s PC was old and slow, but the existing software was incompatible with new Windows software. Waterloo turned to Enable Integration, an NI Alliance Partner with 60 years of combined experience with NI products. Enable recommended LabVIEW, since it would allow the university to reuse the custom routines they’d written for their motion control board—saving Waterloo time and money.

Since the team implemented LabVIEW, the testing system has a new and improved GUI, a simplified control panel, and the ability to expand in the future. Sounds like a win to us!

>> Check out another medical LabVIEW app.