Archive for the ‘university’ Category

Most plastics come from petroleum polymers that don’t decompose after time and fill up landfills all around the world. Thankfully, researchers at the University of North Texas have created biodegradable plastics that can replace their petroleum-based counterparts. These plastics are derived from natural polymers, such as cellulose and corn starch, that easily decompose in compost. The University of North Texas is continuing research about biodegradable plastics to develop a plastic that can fulfill the consumer’s initial needs, but degrade quickly once thrown away.





By using NI LabVIEW and NI CompactDAQ, researchers built a reliable automated system that monitors and enhances biodegradation, as well as meets ASTM D5338-98 (2003) standard requirements. "We knew from the outset that our system needed to be controlled using the LabVIEW graphical programming environment because of its flexibility and rapid deployment capabilities,” said Mark Pickens, researcher with the University of North Texas. “Given the fact that we were building a complex system with many sensors, NI CompactDAQ proved to be invaluable and versatile in realizing our objectives."




>> Check out these “green” street lamps designed with LabVIEW.


Today, bridge structures are tested with unique constraints. Vehicle loads and extreme conditions give researchers a better understanding of the impact these structures can withstand. However, bridges are not being designed for both of these conditions at the same time.


Researchers at the University of Nevada, Reno are using graphical system design to test bridge sections and the extreme conditions they may endure. To better understand the behavior of these immense structures during an earthquake and the combined load of a vehicle, researchers wanted to accurately test how the vehicles suspension system interacts with the movement of a bridge. They achieved this by building bridge sections and simulating earthquakes with large hydraulic shakers.


NI data acquisition hardware and the NI LabVIEW Real-Time Module helped the researchers easily program a system that could monitor critical components of their simulation such as strain, force and displacement. The ability to collect and process accurate data all with one platform made the test system a huge success. The entire system design gives researchers the capabilities to better understand the behaviors and movements of the structures we drive across every day.



>>Read the full case study here

Two important elements in a sustainable urban infrastructure are public transportation and green structures. Not only are they important, but they also help create sustainable living conditions for a

community. That’s why engineers at National University of Singapore created the first working prototype of a zero-energy bus stop (node) that was also user friendly for commuters.


Powering a zero-energy bus node that is self-sustainable requires electricity. The engineers needed to situate solar panels on the top of the bus node. To further the energy supply, they mounted the solar panels on a rotational base that causes the panels to adjust with the weather information received by a controller. Using the energy supply from the abundant sunlight created enough to power one entire bus node.


The next crucial element was creating a solar panel powered system. The engineers created a three-part system made up of sensors, actuators, and a controller. They used NI CompactRIO hardware and LabVIEW software to give the controller capabilities for obtaining up-to-date arrival times, current traffic conditions, and other navigation information for passengers right on-site.

The use of integrated NI hardware and software helped engineers create the first working prototype of a zero-energy bus node. This entire bus node is 100 percent self-sustainable in electricity consumption and Singapore now has a ready platform for energy control activities that will help create a more sustainable infrastructure in the future.




>>Read about all the additional features of the bus node.

Some of the most common human activities are actually rather complex. Take walking, for example. It is a “repetitive process that requires the coordination of the lower limbs to move forward and maintain body balance with one foot in contact with the ground at all times.”

Darwin Gouwanda and Arosha Senananayake are two engineers from Monash University in Malaysia who developed an application that analyzes stride, stance phase, and swing phase – things that occur between the heel-strike to another heel-strike of the same foot (otherwise known as a gait cycle). Acute injury to one of the limbs can disrupt this process and cause abnormal gait. Significant differences between normal and abnormal gait can be found in the duration of a stride, stance phase, and swing phase. To quantify these parameters and study a person's gait, they developed a wireless gyroscope-based gait monitoring system to help them diagnose and track the rehabilitation progress of patients.

System Overview.jpg

The gait monitoring system measures the angular rates of the lower limbs, and identifies and quantifies gait cycles. They used LabVIEW to develop a user-friendly GUI and collect simultaneous real-time data streaming from two wireless gyroscopes, which is in turn sent to a workstation. Using the LabVIEW Advanced Signal Processing Toolkit shortened the development time and reduced the tedious programming work because it offers comprehensive signal processing tools and algorithms.

Just another example of how engineers use NI tools to improve everyday life.


>> Get more technical details for this application.

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. 


>>Learn more about LabVIEW and the 3D display system

NI just released the NI USRP-2920 and NI USRP-2921 instruments, which offer a new educational platform for true hands-on learning with real-world signals in university RF and communications labs. The new platform combines the NI universal software radio peripheral (USRP) hardware with LabVIEW and lab-ready course material.


The platform provides educators with an affordable solution that exposes students to practical application of abstract mathematical theories that have traditionally been taught using a theoretical, math-focused approach in which students derive formulas and build simulations. Students can now explore the link between abstract mathematical theory and practical implementation through hands-on experimentation with a working communications system.


Get the details at