This year's NI Week conference (August 15-17) marked the 25th anniversary of National Instruments.
Just out is Version 6.0 of Measurement StudioTM. This package's expanded measurement capabilities include the ability to integrate vision and motion hardware into measurement applications. Engineers can do this via new intuitive, task-oriented software interfaces. There are also more driver ActiveX controls for Visual Basic for better instrument compatibility. Using the updated interface controls, engineers can readily display data on "professional quality" graphs.
In automation, NI announced the FieldPointTM 2000 Family that enables using LabVIEW embedded on compact industrial I/O nodes to build real-time distributed monitoring and control systems. Via LabVIEW, design engineers can create customized applications that they can download to a real-time operating system running on a dedicated processor in a FieldPoint 2000 module. Each intelligent node can act as an independent component in a networked system as well as communicate with a host Windows PC. Engineers can integrate the modules into existing systems using Ethernet.
The company also highlighted the recently introduced VI Logger, stand-alone, configuration-based software for data logging. The ready-to-run package integrates with NI measurement hardware. Using dialog windows rather than programming, non-specialized users can readily create data-logging applications. The software can also detect out-of-range signals and generate a response such as an alarm or corrective action.
But while product introductions are an NI Week staple, a highpoint for technology journalists is always the luncheon with company co-founder, CEO, and President James Truchard. Earlier in his NI Week keynote, Truchard emphasized how small in size systems have become over the lifetime of the company. Such developments allow engineers to embed test systems on the production line rather than afterward. Thus they can correct errors as they occur rather than accumulating a bin of bad parts at the end of the line.
In opening remarks at the luncheon, he noted someone's comment that there was less to see this year at NI Week. But, he offered, that was a good thing since it indicated maturity of the technology because there is less to show since the complexity is hidden by the interface. "Engineers, using just drag-and-drop functions, don't need to be computer experts to code and develop applications," Truchard added.
Such functional transparency certainly is a sign of a technology's maturation and acceptance, in other words, a given. This is true whether it is with the ubiquitous LabVIEW package that can run on multiple computers, or the computers themselves, and even for technologies such as lasers and fiber optics.
To learn more, go to www.ni.com.