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National Instruments releases upgraded version of graphical system design software

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article image Software Platform for designing graphical systems

National Instruments have released LabVIEW 8.6, a new version of the graphical system design software platform for control and testing of embedded system development.

The LabVIEW 8.6, developed targeting inherent parallel graphical programming, delivers new tools to help engineers and scientists take advantage of the benefits of multicore processors, field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) and wireless communication.

To take advantage of these technologies, engineers currently are forced to work with multiple tools which are not designed for parallel programming. The LabVIEW 8.6 provides the engineers with a single platform to increase test and control system throughput with multicore processors.

The development time of high-performance FPGA-based advanced control and embedded prototyping applications can be reduced. The distributed measurement systems required to acquire data remotely can be created easily.

“To meet the performance and efficiency demands of cutting-edge applications from robotics to designing hybrid vehicles, users must have the ability to quickly incorporate the latest technologies such as multicore processors, FPGAs and wireless communication,” said James Truchard, president, CEO and cofounder of National Instruments.

“LabVIEW offers the shortest path to apply these technologies using parallel programming while providing users the flexibility to define their solutions with application-specific optimizations.”

Achieve supercomputing with multicore processors

The opportunity for consistent performance in test and measurement systems increases as standard systems gain more processing cores.

Expanding on the built-in multithreading technology of the LabVIEW platform, the LabVIEW 8.6 offers supercomputing performance through multicore-optimized features which can help engineers process increasing amounts of measurement data to meet advanced control application challenges and increase test system throughput.

To increase performance, LabVIEW 8.6 includes more than 1,200 newly-optimised advanced analysis functions that offer faster, enhanced math and signal processing on multicore systems for control and test applications.

Vision applications also can benefit from multicore systems by using advanced image processing functions included in the Vision Development Module for LabVIEW 8.6 that automatically distributes data sets across multiple cores.

Using the new multicore features, test engineers can develop applications to test wireless devices up to four times faster with the new version of the Modulation Toolkit for LabVIEW. Control system engineers can also execute simulation models in parallel up to five times faster with the LabVIEW 8.6 Control Design and Simulation Module.

Additionally, engineers can better identify parallel sections of code using a new feature that reorganizes LabVIEW diagrams.

Add FPGA technology to an application - no digital design expertise required

With the intuitive dataflow paradigm of LabVIEW, engineers can use the LabVIEW FPGA Module and FPGA-based commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware such as CompactRIO to customise measurement and control systems for increased performance in applications such as semiconductor validation and advanced machine control.

LabVIEW 8.6 continues to make FPGAs more accessible to domain experts without experience in low-level hardware description languages or board-level design.

LabVIEW 8.6 further reduces FPGA-based development time with new features that engineers can use to programme CompactRIO programmable automation controllers (PACs) directly without having to separately programme  the FPGA.

In addition, new simulation features reduce the number of time-consuming compilations by validating an FPGA application on the desktop.

LabVIEW 8.6 also offers new IP development and integration features including the new fast Fourier transform (FFT) IP core to offload spectral analysis functions which increases the performance in applications such as machine condition monitoring and RF test. The new Component-Level IP (CLIP) Node enables to easily import existing or third-party IP into LabVIEW FPGA, further opening the LabVIEW platform.

Acquire and analyse data from remote systems with wireless technology

As wireless technology advances, engineers have the opportunity to take measurements in isolated locations. Using wireless technology with LabVIEW 8.6, engineers can extend applications into new areas of data acquisition, such as environmental and structural monitoring.

The flexibility of LabVIEW graphical programming and the ubiquity of Wi-Fi network infrastructure make it easy to incorporate wireless connectivity into new or existing PC-based measurement and control systems.

With support for the new wireless data acquisition devices and drivers for more than 20 third-party wireless sensors, LabVIEW 8.6 simplifies programming of distributed measurement systems with a single software platform.

Engineers now can configure data acquisition applications easily to use Wi-Fi data acquisition (DAQ) hardware without making code changes in LabVIEW 8.6. New 3-D visualisation tools in LabVIEW 8.6 help engineers integrate remote measurements with design models to accelerate design validation.

Interact with LabVIEW applications using any web-enabled device

As constant connectivity and accessibility between people and systems becomes more prevalent, engineers need to be able to use the web to interact with systems from any location on a wide range of devices.

With LabVIEW 8.6, engineers can now convert LabVIEW applications into Web Services on desktop and real-time hardware that they can access from any web-enabled device such as smart phones and PCs. With this feature, engineers can develop remote user interfaces for their LabVIEW applications using standard web technologies such as HTML, JavaScript and Flash.

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