Archive for the ‘labview_case_study’ Category

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.

Laparoscopic surgeries use small incisions and video equipment to perform operations without the cutting and trauma typically associated with surgery. This method reduces damage to healthy tissue, which is great, but also means that surgeons can’t physically feel the area they’re operating on. 

The Egypt-Japan University of Science and Technology created a tactile display system to give doctors their sense of touch back. Using NI LabVIEW software, NI PXI-6259, and springs, researchers reproduced the stiffness and shapes of real objects and created a control system to analyze and display the tactile readings.lvnoctcasestudy.jpg

The tactile system uses two shape memory alloy (SMA) springs to mimic objects with varying shapes and stiffness. Then the pins in a 5x5 matrix detect the displacement and stiffness of the springs as variables.

The control system uses LabVIEW to gather data every 50ms, so the team used the PXI-6259 DAQ device to handle the huge amount of data moving back and forth. An Arduino kit and power source amplified the control output in order to create the high current required to move the SMA springs.


This groundbreaking solution addresses one of the challenges of laparoscopic surgery and could be used in mobile applications or virtual reality environments as well as surgical operations.

>> Find out more about this application.

Most of us know that Muhammad Ali and Michael J. Fox have Parkinson’s disease, which leads to shaking and difficulty with movement. Each year, more than 50,000 Americans are diagnosed with this neurological disorder. What you might not know is that detecting Parkinson’s is very complex, especially in the early stages of the disease.

Norconnect, Inc. set out to build a system that could algorithmically determine if subjects have Parkinson’s disease. Using NI LabVIEW and a USB-6008 data acquisition device, they built a system that detects Parkinson’s based on electromyogram (EMG) signals from hand muscles during handwriting.


The system works with gel surface EMG electrodes. These electrodes are placed in predetermined locations on the hands, and gloves hold the electrodes in place. Subjects then write on a tablet for a predetermined amount of time, during which the USB DAQ devices collects data and LabVIEW analyzes the data.

The system’s analytical program was built in LabVIEW and evaluates muscle activity during the controlled handwriting movements. LabVIEW’s intuitive graphical programming features enabled the team to develop a GUI for data collection within minutes. This statistical software is the defining differentiator between Norconnect’s system and others on the market.

Today, the system is used in medical centers and university athletic departments, and the Norconnect team presented their results at an international conference in Florence, Italy.

>> Learn more about using LabVIEW on a tablet.