NIWeek kicked off its 30th birthday celebration with a more mature attitude than past gatherings of its zealous user community, focusing on new technologies and their benefits to users. Leading the advance is the latest version LabVIEW, which is celebrating 20 years in the market with the unveiling of LabVIEW 8.20.
Unlike prior NIWeek openings with motorcycles on stage and stop action photos of water balloons being pierced by darts, demos this year were a bit less visceral, but not less impressive.
A real time demo of LabVIEW 8.20’s Web services got a thumbs up from a design team in Brazil, with shots from Google Earth that showed the Rio de Janeiro neighborhood that was communicating with the crowd in the Austin Convention Center. Another demo showed the music handling capabilities of LabVIEW and FPGA processors, as well as the deft spinning moves of an audience participant who tracked dance footsteps on a screen, stepping on squares on a sensor-laden mat in time to the music.
LabVIEW CEO James Truchard and other speakers covered the history of LabVIEW, with a demo of LabVIEW 1.2 running on a decades-old Macintosh that had “a full Mbyte of memory.
But it is the new 8.20 that got the bulk of attention. The new release pushes the software further into the design side, adding MathScripts and object oriented programming. The mathematical capabilities let engineers bring mathematical models and algorithms into LabVIEW, either writing them in the NI language or importing them from other design tools such as MatLabs.
An FPGA wizard will make it simpler for engineers to program devices for different tasks. Also included is a Modulation Toolkit that gives engineers the ability to develop models to simulate communications systems and evaluate parameter and design decisions. The company also continues to upgrade its Graphical System Design capabilities, which have grown significantly since a light switch described binary changes in version 1.
United Launch Alliance will fly 3D-printed flight hardeware parts on its rockets starting next year with the Atlas V. The company's Vulcan next-gen launch vehicle will have more than 100 production parts made with 3D printing. The main driver? Parts consolidation and 57% lower production costs.
The new small-form-factor EZ-BLE PRoC (Programmable Radio on Chip) module is a derivative of the existing PRoC BLE Programmable Radio-on-Chip solution. The EZ-BLE PRoC module integrates the programmability and ARM Cortex-M0 core of the PRoC BLE, two crystals, an onboard chip antenna, a metal shield, and passive components.
The engineers and inventors of the post WWII period turned their attention to advancements in electronics, communication, and entertainment. Breakthrough inventions range from LEGOs and computer gaming to the integrated circuit and Ethernet -- a range of advancements that have little in common except they changed our lives.
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