Automated Instrumentation Advances

May 1, 2004
As a major upgrade to the vendor’s LabView graphical development products, LabView 7.1 extends Express technology for automated instrumentation and real-time applications with a variety of new features.

LabView 7.1 includes five new Express VIs (Virtual Instrumentation) for the vendor’s digitizers, signal generators and high-speed digital I/O. Redesigned NI-DAQmx measurement services software, available in real-time applications for the first time, increases performance of single-loop PID applications by 30 percent and simplifies hardware-timed loop implementation. A new LabView 7.1 PDA Module delivers more data acquisition functionality, including faster multichannel acquisition and analog and digital triggering. Engineers can use this module to create customized handheld DMM applications and communicate with Bluetooth-enabled devices. LabView 7.1 also introduces advanced execution timing and graphical debugging for low-level control and visibility of real-time system execution. With the new timed loop, an enhanced while loop in LabView, users can specify precise timing of code segments, coordinate multiple time-critical activities and define priority-based loops for creating multirate applications. To further optimize performance of their applications, engineers can use the new LabView Execution Trace Toolkit with the LabView Real-time Module to quickly identify sources of jitter, such as memory allocation and race conditions. In addition to speeding development of real-time applications on existing platforms, this release extends LabView Real-Time to run on certified desktop PCs. Additionally, the new LabView 7.1 FPGA Module improves efficiency and functionality of embedded FPGA applications. The latest version features single-cycle while loops that execute multiple functions with a single 25ns “tick” of the 40MHz global clock. With this feature, engineers can use LabView to develop FPGA code that executes as efficiently as hand-coded VHDL, the vendor says. Further, engineers now have three new FPGA targets, including the vendor’s Compact Vision System for creating high-performance custom machine vision applications. LabView 7.1 is priced from $995.