Electronic Design

Development Environment Provides Internet-Ready Measurements

Engineers can use the LabVIEW 6i development environment to take advantage of the Internet in their design processes. Its Player browser plug-in, measurement intelligence, and other features are crafted to increase productivity and enhance collaboration.

Designers can share test results and measurement data with colleagues on site and around the world with LabVIEW 6i's built-in Internet tools. They can publish or subscribe to data with no programming. Additionally, they can continuously stream live data from any user interface control to the web or other applications just by clicking the mouse. This environment makes it easy to distribute measurement applications throughout an enterprise as well.

Meanwhile, the LabVIEW Player browser plug-in lets users instantly access virtual instruments (VIs) from their web browser. Designers can create VIs and then distribute the applications to colleagues via the Internet. This plug-in is available for free from the company's web site.

Also, LabVIEW 6i includes measurement intelligence, which is the integration of measurement hardware, sensors, and software to automatically recognize and configure available measurement components. This capability lets engineers build applications in fewer steps and with less programming, thereby decreasing development time. For instance, engineers can direct a remote computer to acquire data. Then, they can instruct a powerful workstation to analyze the results and publish the data anywhere.

The measurement intelligence feature includes a comprehensive waveform data format that defines names, unit information, and frequency characteristics of measured signals. Users can employ it to integrate measurement data and hardware connectivity throughout many acquisition, analysis, and visualization functions. Single-icon measurement functions generate and manipulate waveforms. They also log waveforms to spreadsheet files and process measured signals.

Compared to previous versions of the environment, LabVIEW 6i has improved execution, performance, memory usage, program load times, and file footprint size. Earlier editions computed a 10,000-point FFT in 693 ms, but 6i executes it in 25 ms. Many applications using 6i show a 20% decrease in application size and memory usage. Single-point data-acquisition rates are 4.7 times faster, too.

Advanced computer graphics technology lets the environment deliver 3D user-interface controls for developing professional, easy-to-use measurement systems. Significant new graphic functions include multiaxis charts and graphs, along with a new digital I/O graph that represents timing data and digital patterns. Additional Windows-style controls include property pages, a multicolumn list box, and tip strips to describe user-interface objects. And, LabVIEW 6i boasts image-acquisition and motion-control libraries.

LabVIEW 6i is available for Windows 2000/NT/9X, Mac OS, Linux, Solaris, and HP-UX. French, German, and Japanese versions also are available. Pricing starts at $995. Upgrade pricing starts at $395.

National Instruments, 11500 N. MoPac Expwy., Austin, TX 78759-3504; (800) 258-7022; fax (512) 683-8411; www.ni.com/labview.

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