We know that remote controlled robots are being developed and played with every day, but when it comes to what these robots can do, sometimes we’re limited. Thanks to students and researchers at Temasek Polytechnic, creating a robot that is capable of surveillance, motion, and awareness of its surroundings proves there are no more limitations.
They used NI PXI hardware to control and operate the webcam, sensors, and motors essential for surveillance, and LabVIEW software to show the webcam image to the controller. Using this technology, users can remotely control the robot with a PC and the controller can detect where the robot is going using sensors.
Today we introduced the C Series NI 9861 CAN interface and NI 9866 LIN interface, the newest modules in the NI XNET family of products, and the first low-speed CAN and LIN modules that integrate with the entire NI CompactDAQ platform. The CAN and LIN modules can help engineers increased productivity and flexibility through project reuse for a variety of platforms.
You can use the new CAN and LIN modules with the same NI LabVIEW or ANSI C/C++ software code on a variety of platforms including NI CompactDAQ, CompactRIO, PXI and PCI. Both modules also support synchronization and triggering with other CompactRIO and NI CompactDAQ modules.
Today we introduced eight new relay cards that expand the NI SwitchBlock line of high-density switching solutions for PXI systems. The NI SwitchBlock cards were designed specifically for demanding automated test systems with large numbers of channels to provide an intuitive option for switch configuration, routing, programming and maintenance in a variety of test applications.
The set of new relay cards offers additional simultaneous connections and new differential measurement capabilities to create a custom matrix of relays that meets engineers’ specific requirements. All cards integrate with LabVIEW and NI Switch Executive switch management software to give engineers the ability to graphically configure their switch systems. They also include the new NI Switch Health Center software, which increases long-term system reliability by automatically running onboard diagnostics. NI SwitchBlock includes an expandable carrier that accommodates up to six relay cards while occupying just four slots in a PXI chassis. This gives engineers the ability to combine up to four NI SwitchBlock carriers to create internally routed matrices with as many as 8,832 crosspoints with a single PXI chassis.
For the everyday traveler, the intricate workings of an aircraft may be hard to understand, but what you probably want to know above all is that you’re in a safe mode of transportation.
At EMBRAER, safety comes from testing at every stage during the creation of a plane. The Legacy 500 Iron Bird has over 50 embedded computer systems that must work together seamlessly before a test flight even leaves the ground. Because the testing cannot be accomplished in flight, system engineers at EMBRAER’s ground facility use NI VeriStand and 21 NI PXI systems to fully test the system integration of the plane’s computer systems. They create a simulation of the entire plane and test each system in real time.
When combined with LabVIEW software, EMBRAER engineers have greater functionality for system automation and validation. Using NI tools, EMBRAER reduced the development and testing process of the Legacy 500 Iron Bird by one year.
A 3D display isn’t a new discovery, but its recent surge in popularity is clear, from 3D movie releases to expensive 3D TVs. Enhancing the optical illusion of depth perception is a unique process. The technique essentially happens by presenting two offset images separately to the left and right eye of the viewer. To make the offset images create depth, you then put on those funny looking glasses. Though attractive, these systems are expensive and lack interactivity.
The professors at Tsinghua University set out to change those deficiencies. Carrying out the task of creating a new 3D display system that was interactive and used real objects was a challenge. The process began with creating a virtual model. The team used NI LabVIEW software to read the model document and subsequently set parameters in order to project a new image. The new image was then displayed on an inverted optical structure. Once the image was displayed, they used a USB camera, NI PXI hardware, and NI Vision assistant to recognize movement and control the 3D display.
The final steps were to create a system that would actually show the 3D image. The team used a turntable controlled with PXI hardware and the NI 1764 Smart Camera. Together, these tools captured images and gathered information from all directions while the object rotated, allowing users to choose images they wanted to exhibit for the final 3D display.
3D display of real object
By using LabVIEW software with tools such as NI Smart Camera and Vision Assistant, professors at Tsinghua University were able to conquer their 3D challenge. They created a 3D system display that was interactive, inexpensive, and didn’t require special glasses.
According to leading global market research firm Frost & Sullivan, the PXI market is expected to cross the $1 billion mark by 2017. And in a recent report, they added how NI is paving the way with our continuously advancing PXI modular instrumentation powered by LabVIEW.
“The PXI market is growing, gaining share over rack-and-stack instruments, and National Instruments is the undeniable leader in PXI-based test and measurement equipment,” said Jessy Cavazos, industry manager for measurement and instrumentation at Frost & Sullivan. “This is not surprising considering the breadth and depth of its PXI product portfolio.”
Need we say more?
Check out www.ni.com/pxi to see how the NI PXI platform continues to lead the way for test and measurement.
With the addition of the NI PXIe-6556, NI PXIe-4140 and NI PXIe-4141 instrumentation to the NI PXI platform, engineers working in semiconductor characterization and production test can now significantly reduce their costs and increase efficiency in their projects.
The NI PXIe-6556 high-speed digital I/O with PPMU helps engineers to generate and acquire a digital waveform at up to 200 MHz, perform DC parametric measurements with one percent accuracy on the same pin and nearly eliminate timing skew due to the built-in timing calibration feature. It also provides the option to switch in another NI source measure unit (SMU) for higher precision.
The new NI PXIe-4140/41 SMU modules provide four SMU channels per PXI Express, with sampling rates of up to 600,000 samples per second, which can drastically reduce measurement times. The NI PXIe-4141 SMU features next-generation SourceAdapt technology, so unlike traditional SMU technologies, engineers can custom tune the SMU output response to any given load.
Combined with LabVIEW, the new PPMU and SMU modules add to the modular software-defined approach to semiconductor test by increasing quality, reducing cost and decreasing the time of test across validation, characterization and production.
Last week NI hosted the 17th annual graphical system design conference in Austin, Texas. More than 3,000 engineers and scientists made it down to NIWeek and had the opportunity to network, attend technical presentations, and see NI tools in action.
In case you weren’t able to make it to NIWeek this year, here are some of our favorite apps from the show floor.
This cool app consists of an Angry Birds game recreated in LabVIEW and an actual slingshot that uses NI CompactDAQ with digital and analog I/O. Users can launch the slingshot, as they would in a regular game of Angry Birds, thereby launching a bird in the game running in LabVIEW.
Going to the Stars With NI LabVIEW
If you never thought you’d get to travel into space, think again. Commercial space flight is on the horizon. Star Systems Inc. made an appearance on the NIWeek expo floor with its prototype spacecraft for private space flight. The system includes a PXI controller and LabVIEW to integrate all the subsystems and test engine setup.
One of the objectives of RoboCup is for an entire soccer team of humanoid robots to play a team of World Cup champions and win by the year 2050. Dr. Dennis Hong and his team are getting closer and closer to meeting that goal. This year, their CHARLI-L2 humanoid robot won first place in the 2011 Adult Size RoboCup Competition. Hong brought two robots, powered by LabVIEW, to NIWeek. Not only are they adorable – they are pretty good at soccer too.
NI has introduced a 14 GHz version of its NI PXIe-5665 high-performance RF vector signal analyzer (VSA), which delivers best in-class dynamic range and accuracy in a cost-effective PXI form factor.
The new VSA features industry-leading phase noise and dynamic range, regardless of form factor, including traditional rack-and-stack instruments. Because of its PXI platform, the VSA can deliver measurement speeds up to 20 times faster than box instruments and for less cost. Additionally, it takes advantage of multicore computing architectures and parallel programming capabilities through LabVIEW. It also offers peer-to-peer data streaming for signal processing and a flexible multiple input, multiple output (MIMO) architecture for phase-coherent measurements.
The VSA consists of the new NI PXIe-5605 downconverter, the NI PXIe-5653 local oscillator synthesizer and the NI PXIe-5622, a 150 MS/s intermediate frequency (IF) digitizer. This combination creates an ideal solution for spectrum and wideband vector signal analysis over a frequency range of 20 Hz to 14 GHz with analysis bandwidths up to 50 MHz. It features the industry’s best third-order intercept point at +24 dBm with an absolute amplitude accuracy of ±0.10 dB as well as an impressive error vector magnitude of 0.33 percent for a 256 QAM modulated signal. It also delivers an exceptionally low phase noise of -129 dBc/Hz at a 10 kHz offset at 800 MHz and an average noise level of -165 dBm/Hz.
Watch the video below to see how the NI PXIe-5605 compares against a traditional box instrument.
Virginia Tech recently was named the overall winner of EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge, a three-year collegiate vehicle engineering competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and General Motors (GM). The Virginia Tech team designed and built an extended-range electric vehicle using E85 (ethanol) and capable of achieving fuel efficiency of 81.9 miles per gallon gasoline equivalent. The team used NI technology to design, prototype, validate and deploy a control strategy for the hybrid components of the vehicle.
To interface with and control the vehicle, the Virginia Tech team chose CompactRIO to act as a hybrid vehicle supervisory controller that would balance power distribution between the vehicle’s combustion and electric systems. The controller was programmed with LabVIEW, which also served as the runtime environment for the main driver display in the vehicle. The LabVIEW Statechart Module was used to create a high-level state machine control architecture for splitting torque between the hybrid components. Prior to deploying their control strategy to hardware, the team used NI VeriStand and NI PXI to create a hardware-in-the-loop simulation and validation system that evaluated the fuel and electric energy consumption of the vehicle as well as test safety features.
Sixteen North American universities participated in EcoCAR and re-engineered GM-donated vehicles to minimize fuel consumption and emissions while maintaining its utility, safety and performance. In addition to winning the overall competition, Virginia Tech won awards for Shortest 60-0 MPH Braking Distance, Best AVL Drive Quality, Best Dynamic Consumer Acceptability and Best Fuel Consumption. The team also received the National Instruments Most Innovative Use of Graphical System Design award. NI is a platinum sponsor of EcoCAR.