For sports fans only: Tim Dehne, Senior
VP at NI, models Microvisions display-in-a-baseball- cap.
Austin, TX—Head-mounted displays and oil rigs may not seem to go together. But both were showcased as extreme examples of how enigneers are applying National Instruments' products at a keynote presentation at NI Week 2003 in August, an event for users of National Instruments' increasingly broad line of test and instrumentation solutions.
Jason Tauscher, staff engineer at Microvision (www.mvis.com) described how his company is using LabView and FlexDMM, a digital multimeter introduced at last year's NI Week, that offers continuous read rates from 6 1/2 digits to 5 KS/s at 4 1/2 digits and a sampling rate of 1.8 MS/s (http://sine.ni.com/apps/we/nioc.vp?cid=11453&lang=US), to test MEMS mirrors for scanned beam displays. Microvision typically mounts these displays in headsets for industrial use. Tascher, though, wowed the crowd by showing off a version in the bill of a baseball cap. Very cool.
He explained how conventional testing techniques were too slow for his application, which involves frequencies of 10 to 25 kHz in the horizontal axis and 60 Hz in the vertical axis. Plus, he required a tenth of a pixel resolution in an 800 × 600 display for the photoarray, and about a 2-micron positional accuracy. "With FlexDMM, we now have the ability to collect true position MEMs output, plus we can look for resonant peaks, other secondary modes, and any mechanical interactions between horizontal and vertical drives," says Tauscher.
Another NI product made its way into a much harsher environment this past year. The application is in an oil field, where equipment must survive high temperatures and long operating hours. Advanced Measurements, a systems integrator, developed a system for its customer, oil field service provider Key, to monitor the performance of oil rigs and log maintenance work.
Steve Conquergood described how Advanced Measurements (www.advmeas.com) employed Compact Fieldpoint, which is essentially ruggedized intelligent control I/O (http://sine.ni.com/apps/we/nioc.vp?cid=11560&lang=US) to collect and display torque, flow, and pressure information on a measurement panel programmed in LabView. The data is then transmitted via satellite link back to Key's home office for analysis.
Are they robots or androids? We're not exactly sure. Each talking, gesturing Geminoid looks exactly like a real individual, starting with their creator, professor Hiroshi Ishiguro of Osaka University in Japan.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.