There's often a big buildup before lottery drawings. That's particularly true in the National Instruments booth at National Manufacturing Week, where lottery payoffs come with surprising frequency.
Visitors get a real behind-the scenes peek at the lottery system, since the buildup of the lottery machine that dominates NI's booth occurs in public demonstrations of the LabView tools used to create a Pick Three lottery machine. During ongoing presentations, NI engineers demonstrate the steps taken to build a lottery machine, ranging from controlling the motors that move the ball carrier to the vision system that displays and determines the numbers of the three balls that are selected.
Presenters go through the steps needed to build a lottery system, turning on
the motor that rotates the tumbler, then opening slots so balls fall through.
Finally, a vision system gives attendees a readable look at the balls which
determine whether they'll leave the booth with prizes such as a memory stick or
even a PDA loaded with NI's LabView software.
The system on display was built using LabView, demonstrating the techniques that let real-world operators go from initial design through manufacturing setup with the same tool. This eliminates mistakes and eliminates the training time engineers often need to learn design and manufacturing software.
Elsewhere in the booth, visitors can see an educational tool called Elvis, as well as a demonstration of ways that design engineers can check the performance of prototypes and simulation software, making sure that the two work together to provide accurate predictions about the performance of real world products.
NI's lottery system is fully automated, but people still run the show.