Tim Dehne, Senior VP R&D, National Instruments
Austin, TX -- Many of the 2,500 NIWeek attendees who flew in from 47 countries might have been a bit surprised when keynoter Tim Dehne began telling them the world was flat. But most overlooked his geographically-challenged statements as he unveils the latest NI products, demonstrating them with the creativity NIWeek attendees have come to expect.
It helps that Dehne, NI’s senior vice president for R&D, is speaking about globalization, quoting the author of the best-selling book “The World is Flat.” The Internet, flight, and improved communications capabilities have flattened the world, making it more of a level playing field for people and companies around, or maybe across, the globe.
While noting that globalization is about low-cost products and labor forces, Dehne notes that engineers can and must differentiate themselves by being creative. “Even in a flat world, companies are willing to pay for innovation,” he says.
During NIWeek, NI continues to prove its innovative side with novel presentations for its product capabilities. Texas A&M students demonstrate the versatility of Compact Vision and CompactRIO systems, using a vision system to sort ball bearings as they fly through the air. The vision system determines their diameter, which ranges from a half inch to 5/8 inch. The two controllers then control a motor that turns a flat surface below the bearings, bouncing them into hoppers at a rate of three per second.
Amidst banter about the lack of marketing people’s technical skills and R&D personnel’s lack of communication talent, speakers also introduce a power measurement technique that determines when an iPOD uses the most power. This knowledge comes with tips on how to save a few milliwatts to extend battery life.
Spokesmen also address the merger of PCI Express and PXI, which boosts the speed of PXI Express to 6 Gbytes per second. The two closing elements include a band saw that stops when a person’s finger hits the moving blade. However, this is not the Texas Band Saw Massacre, since a hot dog fills in for Dehne’s finger. The other was a demo of one of the DARPA Grand Challenge vehicles, which uses NI equipment to find its way.