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In-circuit and on-chip emulators

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article image Existing set of graphical objects can be used to analyse the behaviour of an embedded application on any target hardware.

iSYSTEM, represented in Australia by Alfa-Tek , has released emulator support for NI's LabVIEW embedded development module, the newest extension to the LabVIEW graphical programming environment.

By connecting an emulator to the front panel of LabVIEW an existing set of graphical objects can be used to analyse the behaviour of an embedded application on any target hardware. The in-circuit or on-chip emulator can then be used as a development tool for embedded systems design as well as a measurement tool for system testing.

Experienced LabVIEW programmers who are novice embedded designers can use the interface of the in-circuit emulator or on-chip debugger without much experience with such tools. iSYSTEM uses the tool with which the user is already familiar; LabVIEW, using graphical programming objects (virtual instruments) to remotely control an emulator. Users can build a LabVIEW program to download embedded software to a target system, to execute the application and read/write data, as well as run automated tests. The results of such tests or the behaviour of the embedded application can then be displayed in an appropriate LabVIEW panel. The results can also be exported to other tools such as test databases and analysis tools.

Companies developing embedded systems currently use graphical programming environments for building prototypes and complex test systems. LabVIEW and the appropriate National Instruments hardware can support both embedded systems development and tests. Because of the well-defined interfaces between the iSYSTEM emulators and LabVIEW, users can maintain the knowledge and experience from the early phases of the software development process, as well as prototypes and software already developed. This allows a seamless transition between the different development steps, allowing the use of a graphical development environment for a complete end-to-end embedded systems project, and benefit from major innovations in embedded tools.

Within the V diagram, iSYSTEM provides software/hardware integration and National Instruments provides prototyping and tests. With the integration of debugging and emulation technology in LabVIEW, the software development and system test can be done within one piece of software. The LabVIEW programmer can use an in-circuit or on-chip emulator without experience with such tools. They use LabVIEW graphical programming objects (VIs) to remotely control an emulator. A LabVIEW program can download embedded software to a target system to execute the application and read/write data, as well as run automated tests. The results of such tests and the behaviour of the embedded application may be displayed in an appropriate LabVIEW front panel application, or can be read into other tools such as test databases and analysis tools.

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