Control design engineers typically build early prototypes in an effort to verify the dynamic behavior of their embedded control algorithm. Selecting the right hardware platform for their prototype system is an important decision with several factors to consider, including I/O connectivity and software integration. Modular hardware, such as real-time PXI systems, delivers expansive I/O connectivity and links to common control design software.
With real-time PXI systems, design engineers can create custom prototypes with I/O connectivity for high-speed analog, digital, counter/timer, CAN, serial, and other signal types. Different plug-in I/O modules, combined in the same PXI chassis, can share timing signals for better performance, creating a more accurate representation of the control system. Additional signal conditioning hardware such as SCXI can be combined with the PXI system to provide direct signal connectivity to pressure transducers, accelerometers, and other sensors.
Another factor to consider is how the prototype hardware will integrate with the control design software tools. Design engineers typically develop their control algorithms in higher level languages such as LabVIEW and Simulink®. With real-time PXI, design engineers can easily download a control algorithm from either environment. Engineers can use function blocks in LabVIEW to build their control model or import control systems from Simulink® with the new LabVIEW Simulation Interface Toolkit. Using LabVIEW Real-Time, they can then download these algorithms to real-time PXI systems with one mouse click.
There is currently much discussion around the term "platform," which may be preceded by the adjectives "mobile," "wearable," "medical," "healthcare," etc. However, regardless of the platform being discussed, they usually have one key aspect in common: They tend to be wireless. So, why is this one aspect so fairly universal? The answer is convenience.
Everyone has a MEMS story. For most of us it’s probably the airbag that saved our lives or the life of a loved one. Perhaps it’s the tire pressure sensor that alerted us about deflation before we were stranded alone on a dark muddy road.
Bioimimicry is not merely a helpful design tool -- it also encourages designers to think not only about how to solve design problems by imitating nature, but how to make the products, materials, and systems they design more ecologically sound and nature-friendly.
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