myDAQ Robot

Posted: July 13, 2011 in Engineering, National Instruments, News, Robotics
Tags: , , , ,

As most of you know, I work at National Instruments! Besides being an awesome place to work, sometimes they like to do internal competitions. This summer the challenge is to create something using the NI myDAQ. NI ran a similar challenge last year and some of the results can be seen in the myDAQ Zone.

I teamed up with another intern, Scott, and we decided to make a robot. Working under a $25 budget, we decided to engineer a robot from some spare parts most people have at home. Using a L293, some duct tape, LEGO wheels (you knew I was going to slip LEGO in somewhere), a hobby motor and gear box, and a box. Using some super glue we stuck most of the parts together. As you can see from the picture we even used a soda can (we recycle at NI) to act as a skid.

We wanted to keep this project “college themed” we “dead bug” soldered the wires to the L293. To keep the myDAQ safe, we put it inside the box. However we still wanted to use the myDAQ and cut a hole in the side to we can still use the DMM. The project uses only 4 digital I/O ports to interface with the L293. The myDAQ uses USB power. To get around this, we have a small battery box to provide the current needed to the motors. Building instructions and pictures will be posted after the competition is complete.

Since the project isn’t due for a few more days, Scott and I plan to add some lights and additional sensors. The myDAQ has the full power of LabVIEW and as a result we can do some cool things. For example, our robot will have a web interface and use my netbook’s camera to navigate. Using the LabVIEW web publishing tool, other employees at NI will be able to log on and control the bot!

Check back later for a video and more pictures! This project has been a blast! For more information on the myDAQ and LabVIEW, check out

  1. Brian Bachmeier says:

    After reading that you work at NI, I thought it would be great to ask you some questions about Labview.
    I have been considering buying LabView software but there are so many differenent versions. I think my primary usage would be with Mindstorms NXT but who knows!!
    I noticed that there are a couple of new versions of LabView (
    1. LabView for Mindstorms
    2. LabView for Education

    Do you have any advice or recommendations?

    • 08milluz says:


      Having used both, I would suggest Education. It gives you a bit more freedom with progressing beyond MINDSTORMS.

      Another solution, if you are a college student and interested in a myDAQ, you could purchase one of those (you get the hardware and LabVIEW for $200) and download the NXT Module off

      In addition to working at NI, I am also a Certified LabVIEW Developer and I run another website,, The website is specifically for learning LabVIEW and it supports classes I teach at Rose-Hulman. Look at the documents on that page to get you started.

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