Archive for the ‘labview_news’ Category

Wouldn’t it be nice to use standard keyboard shortcuts, such as Ctrl+B for bold, for text editing in LabVIEW? If you have LabVIEW 2013, you can. Just add the following token to your INI file: QuickBold=True


Now, whenever you’re editing text on the front panel or block diagram of a VI, Ctrl+B will bold/unbold text.


Keep in mind that this QuickBold option is only activated while editing a text field, so you can still use Ctrl+B  for removing broken wires.


Special thanks to Certified LabVIEW Architect Darren Nattinger for sharing this awesome tip.


>> Submit other ideas for features at the LabVIEW Idea Exchange.

Nuclear power plants are one of the world’s major sources of energy. In 2012, 12.3% of total electricity came from nuclear power plants. However, these plants can also be incredibly hazardous. Nuclear decommissioning, the process of dismantling defunct nuclear facilities, is dangerous due to high radiation and other factors such as heat, humidity, and caustic fumes.


One solution is to use remote handling techniques, such as operating a robotic manipulator. However, many robotic manipulators can’t handle nuclear decommissioning tasks because of the design of the devices. Using NI LabVIEW system design software and NI CompactRIO hardware, James Fisher Nuclear Ltd (JFN) developed a safe, modular arm that operates with maximum dexterity to navigate in harsh environments.



With the help of LabVIEW, JFN created a valuable tool that can solve many nuclear decommissioning challenges around the world. The robotic arm is safe, reliable, and versatile. Most importantly, it minimizes the risks for human operators working in a harsh environment.


>> Read the full case study. 

For many, the gym’s weight training area is an intimidating place. Because it’s often crowded with intense bodybuilders and pieces of equipment that look like an injury waiting to happen, it’s easy to choose the more user-friendly stationary bike. Professional trainers can show you how to lift weights properly, but training sessions are typically expensive. Luckily, a student from Ireland may have solved this problem.

Martin O’Reilly developed a resistance training biofeedback system and virtual strength and conditioning trainer application for his final year project at NUI Galway. After noticing many issues that currently exist in resistance training, O’Reilly realized he might be able to combine LabVIEW coding, kinematic sensors, and his knowledge of sports science to develop a system that helps a user safely and effectively train towards their fitness goals.


So how does the system work? The user wears Shimmer 9DOF sensors that stream to a LabVIEW application using Bluetooth. The application then acts as the user’s personal strength and conditioning trainer by guiding them through goal-specific exercise routines, providing them with real-time feedback on their training technique, and offering them long-term feedback and motivation towards their overall training goal. Plus, it tells the user exactly how to complete the exercise to reduce the risk of injury.

The system has been tested on 20 users (10 elite athletes and 10 less-experienced resistance training participants) with results showing a great improvement in exercise technique. In the future, O’Reilly plans to “make the sensor set suitable for all users in all environments”--  no more excuses for skipping your workout!

>> Read the full case study.

Since 2008, the Simple LabVIEW Puzzle Challenge thread on the NI Forums has accumulated almost 200 posts from users sharing brainteasers, and their use of LabVIEW to solve them. So if you hear a puzzle like this:


"Four people are crossing a bridge at night. They only have one flashlight. They each walk at different speeds: 1 minute, 2 minutes, 5 minutes, and 10 minutes.  Only two people are allowed across at any one time, and they must walk the speed of the slower person. What is the shortest possible time they can all get across?"


...and instead of using pen and paper, you write this:


LabVIEW Games.jpg


...then this thread is for you! Check out all the different brainteasers people have posted over the years, and how they used LabVIEW to solve them.

This post was written by Penny Wright, MarCom Manager for the LabVIEW Tools Network.



free adjective \ˈfrē\ : not costing any money

If you look up the definition of “free” in Webster’s dictionary, there are 15 different variations – each with multiple sub-variations of the adjective. My initial thought is usually the first definition in the list, which I’ve referenced above. But other than the monetary definition, it can also mean free to be efficient, creative, and even error- or stress-free. And these days, it’s nice to have something useful that doesn’t cost a penny.


Simplifying your development is easy with  apps and add-ons from the LabVIEW Tools Network – no bargain hunting with this list. Just click, install, and go – for free!



In addition, check out Grant Heimbach’s previous post 10 Add-ons (Some Free) That Every LabVIEW Developer Should Use for other ideas.


Enhance your projects with these and more on the LabVIEW Tools Network, the NI app store for engineers and scientists.

Tomorrow is the debut of VI Shots LIVE, a new web show hosted by Michael Aivaliotis and Jack Dunaway. In this live video conference, hosts and guests talk about LabVIEW from different points of view-- technical, business, personal, and professional. The first show airs tomorrow, 1/29, at 12:00 p.m. CST.


We’re really excited about VI Shots LIVE, and here are three reasons you should be too!


  1. Awesome guests: This show’s guests are Darren Nattinger, the fastest LabVIEW programmer on earth, and Chris Relf, Certified LabVIEW Architect (CLA) and LabVIEW Champion.
  2. Awesome hosts: Jack Dunaway and Michael Aivaliotis are also CLAs and LabVIEW Champions. They know LabVIEW inside and out.
  3. Free career advice: The show’s topic is “Sustainable Careers in LabVIEW”. Whether you’re a new engineer hoping to build a career or a seasoned professional hoping to avoid burnout, you’ll want to tune in.


So check it out tomorrow at noon CST. The show’s audio/video streaming is mobile device friendly, so you can tune in on the go!


>> Learn more about VI Shots LIVE.

The ability for LabVIEW to write VIs programmatically, commonly called "scripting", existed  long before it became a public feature. Users begged us to release scripting, promising that it would empower them to build wondrous applications that would change the face of LabVIEW. And so, in LabVIEW 2010, we made scripting available to everyone (it had been available through various channels for years before that). Indeed, wondrous applications followed, including a spectacular tool for simplifying the inclusion of math expressions in your LabVIEW code.

However, over the years, there have been some less aspirational uses of scripting. Here then, for your enjoyment, we've listed some of the most gratuitous scripting tools written for LabVIEW:

  • Weird Wires. From diagonal lines to spirals, this LAVA thread shows scripting's power to make wires more visually interesting. In particular, here are some VIs to show you how it is done. Unzip and open "Test". Open another VI that has a wire on it and select the wire. Then run "Test", giving it the path to your VI, the path to one of the other VIs in the .zip (I like "") and any parameters it needs (for the spiral, the zeroth element of the array is the number of loops the spiral should make). You can enjoy watching the spaghetti code in action here.
  • The LabVIEW Harlem Shake. A block diagram that dances to music.
  • Palettes in the Snow: "Snowflake" is a game written in LabVIEW to enjoy on winter days. The whole game is written using continuous LabVIEW scripting to the diagram of a non-running VI. Can you catch the nodes that are caught in the snow storm?

If you'd like to do some scripting in LabVIEW -- gratuitous or otherwise -- you can enable scripting in your LabVIEW. And if you want help (or want to show off your creation for other developers) then check out the scripting community forum.

National Instruments helps engineers and scientists make sense of the world around them by allowing them to interpret massive quantities of data that they encounter in their jobs every day. We understand the value of data, and we use data to make many of our technology decisions.

In 2012, NI announced the inclusion of a new tool in LabVIEW, the Customer Experience Improvement Program. The data provided by this opt-in tool allow NI to better understand general usage patterns and trends with NI software and hardware. We can then use these data to provide better technical support and to more efficiently deliver information on service entitlements and product changes. When combined with a number of other data sets, it can also help us make decisions about product direction.

In the coming months, Microsoft will be ending extended support for the Windows XP operating system. The decade-old OS has given way to Windows 7, released in 2009, as the dominant OS in the general marketplace.

Our customers tend to have longer timelines than consumer or general business applications for OS support. To determine the right timeline for moving Windows XP off full support for NI as a company, we turned to data.

Using several different data sets, including the Customer Experience Improvement Program, Update Service, web traffic, and service requests, NI gathered a clear picture of the typical lifecycle of an OS among our customers. For example, we learned that while Windows 7 was released in the summer of 2009 to highly favorable reviews, it took approximately two years before Windows 7 surpassed Windows XP as the dominant operating system for our customer base. Since that point, XP has continued to decline asymptotically. Interestingly, Windows 8 and 8.1 appear poised to overcome Windows XP within the next few months.



With all of these data, NI made the decision to end support for Windows XP and Vista in 2016.

As we look forward, there are fascinating questions on the horizon regarding the bitness of OSs. For example, Windows 7 32-bit was recently passed by Windows 7 64-bit to take the lead among all OSs that customers use. Also, Windows 8 32-bit barely registers as a blip on the charts compared to the footprint of the 64-bit variety.

There are a lot of decisions to be made in the coming years on all these points and more. You can make sure your data are included in these sets and your use cases are represented by turning on the Customer Experience Improvement Program in LabVIEW.

LabVIEW makes Customer Experience Improvement Program options available from the Help menu. You can also navigate from the Windows Start Menu to All Programs»National Instruments»Customer Experience Improvement Program. Choose Yes, I want to participate in the NI Customer Experience Improvement Program and select OK.

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.