NI FlexRIO products provide FPGA-based reconfigurable I/O (RIO) for PXI systems, using the LabVIEW FPGA Module software.
The user-configurable NI FlexRIO product family takes advantage of industry-leading PXI hardware and software integration to give engineers a COTS solution that is specifically designed to more easily implement field-programmable gate array (FPGA) technology for advanced automated test and measurement systems.
NI FlexRIO solutions combine two distinct hardware components, a programmable PXI or PXI Express-based FPGA module and an I/O adapter module.
The four new NI FlexRIO adapter modules are ideal for real-time measurements, non destructive testing (NDT) and ultrasound applications, communications systems as well as scientific research.
Dave Lines, chief engineer at Diagnostic Sonar, a leading developer of ultrasonic systems for industrial and medical applications says that they used NI FlexRIO to design an advanced ultrasound instrument in less than three months.
He adds that the tight integration of NI FlexRIO hardware and LabVIEW FPGA software enabled their entire development process including architecture specification, FPGA coding and real-time 3D display creation to be significantly shortened, allowing them to create an instrument that was much more customisable and scalable compared to existing systems.
The new NI FlexRIO adapter modules reflect the continued investment of National Instruments in FPGA-based RIO and expand the company’s selection of PXI modular instrumentation with user-configurable FPGAs.
Designed for test and measurement applications that require real-time performance and hardware signal processing, the new modules include the following unique capabilities:
- 4-channel, 14-bit, 250 MS/s broadband high-performance digitiser adapter module
- Designed to meet a wide range of signal processing application needs including communications system design, intermediate frequency (IF) acquisition, multiple input, multiple output (MIMO), radar and scientific research
- 16-channel, 50 MS/s, 14-bit digitiser adapter module
- Used for test and measurement in areas such as experimental physics, NDT and medical imaging
- 32-channel, 50 MS/s, 12-bit digitiser adapter module
- Optimised for NDT and ultrasound applications
- Includes AC-coupled differential inputs with integrated VGAs and time-varying gain curves as well as 16 digital outputs for pulser stimulus
- 32 single-ended and 16 LVDS/mLVDS channels, digital adapter module with data rates up to 300 Mbit/s
- Used for test and communication requiring mixed digital logic
Engineers can control and reconfigure the FPGA on the NI FlexRIO host module using the LabVIEW FPGA software. The latest version of LabVIEW FPGA incorporates enhancements that specifically address the increasing demands of advanced test systems.
Key features of LabVIEW FPGA software
- Improved integration with existing and off-the-shelf IP including direct compatibility with Xilinx IP blocks such as filters, fast Fourier transforms (FFTs), memories and first-in-first-out memory buffers (FIFOs)
- Better simulation capabilities make debugging and verification faster and more accurate with an IP behavioural simulation engine and tool integration with Mentor Graphics ModelSim
- Draws on the support of LabVIEW FPGA IPNet, an online resource that helps engineers browse, download and share the latest IP for FPGA designs
In addition to seamless integration with LabVIEW, the new adapter modules join a broad portfolio of more than 400 NI PXI software-defined hardware products for automated test.
Engineers can combine all NI FlexRIO products with more than 1,500 PXI instruments from NI and more than 50 other vendors to address the requirements of practically any test application.