Schaumburg, IL. Autotestcon kicked off here this week with vendors highlighting significant product innovations. Jean Manuel Dassonville, modular solutions outbound manager at Agilent Technologies, cited three key trends driving the need for innovation: first, applications are scaling up, driving the need for multiple stimulus and measurement channels; second, effective test requires infinite stimulus and analysis capability; and third, high-end applications demand close synchronization among multiple channels.
For its part, Agilent demonstrated several new instruments highlighted in EE-Evaluation Engineering's September Special Report. Those instruments included the M9391A PXI vector signal analyzer, introduced last month. The company paired the new VSAs with VSGs in a demonstration of 2×2 MIMO test. With two PXI chassis, instruments can be combined to support up to 4×4 MIMO test. The company also demonstrated a modular digitizer implementation that can stream data to disk and an infinite-playtime arbitrary waveform-generator implementation, which, Dassonville said, employs a novel architecture in which data can be created in real time from one memory segment while another memory segment is updated over the relatively slow instrument system backplane.
National Instruments highlighted many new products that it introduced last month at NIWeek, including instrument driver FPGA extensions. In a technical session, Ryan Verret, a senior product manager at NI, presented a paper titled “IVI Revisited: Building Next-Generation Test Systems with Open FPGAs while Preserving Software APIs,” in which he elaborated on how NI has provided users of FPGA-based products like its vector signal transceivers with access to the instruments' FPGAs while maintaining stability through the API. He noted that many vendors, including NI, ZTEC Instruments, Sundance, Agilent, Teradyne, Marvin Test Solutions, VTI Instruments, and Guzik all offer instruments that include user-accessible FPGAs.
Through FPGA access, he said, users can accelerate computation, facilitate data reduction, perform inline processing, manipulate instrument state, orchestrate test systems, and facilitate DUT control.
The session in which Verret presented, titled “FPGA Test Applications,” was chaired by Wade Lowdermilk of RADX Systems, whose company was hosted on the Autotestcon exhibit floor by NI, where it highlighted its LibertyGT software-defined synthetic-instrument solutions. RADX also announced it has partnered with BAE Systems on real-time synthetic-instrument technology.