Developing the code for your measurement system can take anywhere from days to years. No matter how large or small the task, software development often takes the most time of any step in the measurement application development process. To help engineers become more efficient in this area, National Instruments offers several time-saving technologies and useful tools.
NI-DAQ software is one tool that saves significant time in the software development stage. It includes the DAQ Assistant (see photo) that lets you interactively configure entire data acquisition tasks, including timing, triggering, and sensor scaling. Once you create and run the task, you can reopen the assistant and modify the parameters if necessary. Providing all of the functionality through a menu interface allows the DAQ Assistant to minimize the time spent programming. LabVIEW 7 Express analysis functions like spectral measurements, and histograms also integrate seamlessly with the DAQ Assistant allowing the assistant to acquire and input data directly into these analysis functions without any manipulation or additional programming.
For more complex data acquisition applications, the DAQ Assistant can automatically generate modifiable NI-DAQmx code for LabVIEW, C, or Measurement Studio.NET. By using this code as a starting point, you begin with functioning code, rather than starting with a blank screen. Automatic code generation can save an enormous amount of time that might normally be spent consulting manuals and running through trial-and-error steps of learning the proper method for programming the DAQ device. As a result, users can focus on coding only the unique parts of the application.
NI-DAQmx also includes virtual channels. Without virtual channels, a large amount of programming time is spent just converting sensor voltages into proper engineering units. Conversely, a virtual channel lets you interactively associate a physical channel on your DAQ hardware with voltage, sensor, or custom scaling information. Because virtual channels are compatible with LabVIEW or any other NI development environment, they eliminate the need to perform sensor scaling programmatically.
In total, over 150 person years were spent by NI engineers on the development of NI-DAQmx software. It was designed to improve dramatically the productivity and minimize the time costs of measurement application software development. In turn, cost savings such as these help get products to market faster and at a more competitive price. For more information please visit www.ni.com.