Enhanced Graphical Design Tool Unveiled

National Instruments this week rolled out the 20th anniversary edition of its flagship LabView platform.

With the NI LabView Toolkit for Lego Mindstorms NXT, LabView users can create and download virtual instruments to operate and co
With the NI LabView Toolkit for Lego Mindstorms NXT, LabView users can create and download virtual instruments to operate and co

At his annual NI Week keynote address in Austin, Texas, on Aug. 8, National Instruments President and Chief Executive Officer James Truchard unveiled LabView 8.20, the 20th anniversary edition of the graphical system design platform for control, test and embedded system development. NI Week, a three-day conference and exhibition for National Instruments customers, was expected to attract more than 20,000 paid attendees this year.

LabView 8.20 adds features designed for advanced analysis and control, improved distributed system management and new targets for human-machine interfaces (HMIs). For instance, new libraries in LabView allow engineers to use streamlined field programmable gate array (FPGA) targeting tools to implement high performance, hardware-based machine monitoring and protection systems, and the new LabView Touch Panel Module, which helps them to use the same software to create Microsoft Windows CE-based HMIs.

The new LabView Touch Panel Module, along with new shared variable capabilities for communicating with handheld devices, makes it possible for automation engineers to quickly add Windows CE-based HMIs to their measurement and control systems. With the shared variable, engineers can easily display values from their real-time controller code directly on custom operator interfaces often used in embedded machine control and monitoring systems, further simplifying the development of handheld systems for field monitoring applications. For high-channel-count systems, the LabView 8.20 Datalogging and Supervisory Control Module adds programmatic channel configuration tools to help developers dynamically define up to 2,500 channels.

20-year evolution

“The success of LabView over the past 20 years is a result of its intuitive graphical programming environment that a broad set of engineers working in many different domains can use,” said Truchard. “LabView continues to evolve into a powerful control software solution, bringing custom measurement and real-time execution capabilities together with industrial and advanced control algorithms for a unique, integrated platform stretching across many different applications.”

National Instruments also announced the NI LabView Toolkit for Lego Mindstorms NXT. With the new toolkit, LabView users can create and download virtual instruments to operate and control the Mindstorms NXT robotics platform. Third-party software and hardware developers also can use the toolkit to create native blocks for Mindstorms NXT software. Mindstorms NXT, the next generation of the popular Lego robotics invention system, became available earlier this month and includes a new programming environment, custom developed by NI and powered by LabView.

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