Archive for the ‘National Instruments’ Category

While my summer in Austin has come to an end, I am bringing a few new things back to Rose-Hulman. At NIWeek, NI introduced us to the concept of mini systems for the myDAQ. This takes complex engineering problems and places them on a small add on board for the popular device. I wanted to bring one back for Rose-Hulman. What you see here is the myGRID kit, yet to be assembled. The myGRID allows students to explore power engineering and an introduction to smart grid technology. The board plugs into the side of the myDAQ. Students can write control software in LabVIEW to power the houses and  manage the power from the solar array and generator.

For more information on the myDAQ and myGRID check out ni.com/mydaqzone.

I am happy to report that I have pass my Certified LabVIEW Architect exam! This meas that I have reached the highest level of LabVIEW certification. If you are interested in LabVIEW certification check out ni.com.

Day 3 brings NIWeek to an end. What an amazing time to get out and meet fellow engineers. This year was super exciting as I got to see some old friends and make many new ones. Among these were people from Intel, Xilinx, and TI. Besides saying good bye to all the people I met, Day 3 also featured a keynote from Storm Chaser Tim Samaras. Tim has been featured on The Discovery Channel and is truly passionate about what he does. Not only does he chase tornadoes but he has also made several inventions that capture lightning in never before seen ways. I cant wait until NIWeek 2012. It always amazes me to see all the innovation and excitement this event generates!

The NIWeek Conference Party is in full swing now, but I decided to run home to catch up on some rest before that last day of NIWeek. I wanted today’s blog to touch on the Expo Floor in more detail, but I just didnt have time. With a crazy day of meetings and running my demo, there was little time for rest. However, I do not leave you empty handed. Below is a link to the Youtube video NI did on my demo. In addition, you can check out more demos by visiting niglobal. A few other media outlets stopped by and I will be sure to share as soon as I get a link! What a super fun, busy day!

 

And just to show off the “other” shuttle at NIWeek:

Day 1 of NIWeek has come to an end. While I have been way busier than I planned (which is a good thing), I have a lot to share. So here is the 90 second tour (in case you were not one of the 3,300+ engineers and scientists present)!

Expo Floor: NI is famous for its interactive demos. This year the Expo Floor featured a bunch of new demos. From a water drop 8 x 8 pixel image generator to some robots that can cover any terrain, the floor was exciting to say the least. The LabVIEW Zone featured the new LabVIEW for LEGO MINDSTORMS, the LEGO MINDSTORMS Space Shuttle, Angry Eagles (an Angry Birds like game), robots from Virgina Tech, and the Hermes Space Shuttle. All of which showed cool new ways to use LabVIEW and get the community excited about the different products. Of course there were over 100 different booths from companies showing off their latest projects. From exploring FPGAs at Xilinx to the latest MSP430 MCUs at TI, visitors got a front row seat to some amazing technology. I will be sure to share some pictures tomorrow and show off the cool stuff that is NIWeek. If you are in Central Texas, you can stop by the Austin Convention Center and see some of this stuff for yourself. Check out ni.com/niweek for more details!

Technical Sessions: The bread and butter of NIWeek is the hands on and technical sessions presented by NI and its partners. With sessions ranging from LEGO to CERN, there was something for everyone. While I did not get to catch more than a few minutes of any one session during my hectic day, the quality and community engagement in the discussions blew my mind. The theme of NIWeek last year was “Its Time for Innovation” and the discussion I witnessed and the projects people are doing with NI hardware truly is inspring.

Graphical System Design Achievement Awards: Like watching the fireworks at Walt Disney World, NI bids its innovators good night by recognizing their outstanding projects. Over the past year, companies,students and researchers submit their cool engineering projects (using NI products) to be considered for an award. The submissions are then voted on and finalists are selected. Tonight those finalists got recognized. With projects ranging from robots to stopping atoms to automated silicon testing, this event celebrated the innovation National Instruments is know for. The event was attened by several engineering big shots. Just a few of these people include Dr. James Truchard (CEO of National Instrumets), Jeff Kodosky (the Father of LabVIEW), the Editor of Popular Science Magazine, the Editor of EE Times, the Vice President of Marketing for Xilinx, just to name a few. Also in attendance were a few GSDAA Alumi.

Keynote: I already touched on this already, but lets just say it was amazing as usual. With cool designs in RF and test, it is something you should definitely check out later at ni.com/niweek.

So there is the brief. Tomorrow I will be sure to post more.

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What happens when you get National Instruments, Intel, Xilinx, Texas Instruments and other leading tech companies to put on a show in Austin, Texas? NIWeek of course. Over 3,300 engineers and scientists decent on Austin for a week of learning and fun.

From life sized “Angry Eagles” to a full spacecraft to tornado chasers, NIWeek is full of innovative products that will shape the world of tomorrow. From automated test to rocket science to the renewable energy, what is being discussed and learned at this event is interesting to all.

Today started with a keynote overing some new products including a new Single-Board RIO, multicore CompactRIO, Wireless DAQ and more. Some of the coolest demos showed how NI hardware can be used in a transmission dyno and a smart grid setup. Today NI also demoed the first off the shelf LTE Advanced (like LTE but faster, say 1 gigabit per second) system. Day two will be even more exciting!

This Monday kicks off NIWeek 2011 in Austin, Texas. Over 3000 engineers, scientists and hobbyists will descend on the Austin Convention Center. This year features some amazing projects (including the LEGO MINDSTORMS Space Shuttle). With a market that ranges from LEGO MINDSTORMS to the CERN Large Hadron Collider, National Instruments products are used in some truly amazing ways.  I will be posting live from the keynotes, expo floor and Graphical System Design Achievement Awards. Hopefully you can catch a glimpse of where technology is going and how we are getting there. Stay tuned for more information. NIWeek is a lot of fun!

If you want to get involved via facebook or twitter, use “#niweek” and check out ni.com/community for more details!

Dare I say a late Christmas in July? Today the mailman brought me two new toys that I have been looking forward to getting my hands on.The gentlemen over at Mindsensors.com and OpenElectrons.com sent me a rather nice gift. First up is the Teemino. As you may know, I recently got a DRIOD cell phone. I have been wanting to play with the ADK for a while now, but never had any hardware. The Teemino is an ADK board made by OpenElectrons.com.  I have a few projects in mind for this board, but I want to start simple (just blinking a light). Check back for more updates with this board.

The next item probably deserves a whole post in itself. The NXShield is an Arduino shield that replicates (most) of the NXT. The shield has not 3, but 4 motor ports and 4 sensor ports. It fits the Arduino Uno or similar form factor. (It actually wont fit the Arduino Mega or Teemino due to a power jack on the board.) The motors and sensors are controlled via I2C. Furthermore, since it is Arduino, you could stack in an xBee shield (or other custom shield) and make a modular robot. Maybe make a NXT to NXShield communication using a Dexter Industries NXTBee? Or we could even mix in that GPS Bee I posted about. With the Arduino platform, the possibilities are endless!

Now just adding a motor port is awesome, but the NXShield has 6 servo motor headers. This means it can really drive just about anything. It would seem the Arduino is now the limiting factor in the system, but what did I say about fitting Arduino form devices??? Well the NXShield does in fact work with Maple (and a few other Arduino boards). Currently the libraries are only for the Arduino, but I plan to do some porting to make it all work together. I will be sure to post my library on the files page as well as some code examples.

Speaking of porting, there is another platform this could work with. By now you have to be wondering when I am going to mention National Instruments or LEGO. Well fear not! National Instruments released a LabVIEW for Arduino toolkit. It has support for I2C (as well as GPIO and SPI). See where I am going yet? You could actually use the NXShield with an Arduino running LabVIEW. Expect some VIs and code examples to get you started there as well.

So WOW! What a day and what an opportunity! I cant wait to get started!

I finally got around to posting the video to youtube. There is some Oscar quality acting by Scott and myself. You should check it out.(Please note: I do not sleep, dance or reenact Dragon Ball Z at work. However, there is a slinky on Scott’s desk that I do sometimes play with. And no, I do not work in marketing.)

Our project did very well. The actual robot is being displayed/demoed today at NI for the final round of judging. The video includes a brief overview of how we build the physical bot and the software (both with Vision Module and without) is posted on the files page.

The LEGO Mindstorms Space Shuttle has been busy! With its recent travels all over the US, from St. Louis, to Chicago, to NASA Langley and Kennedy, this model is in need of some upgrades and repair. Since the next big event for the model is NIWeek (August 2-4) in Austin, Texas I have been working to make some of the functions more fluid. As you can see from the picture, the shuttle is in a lot of pieces. However, the missing wing and rudder are actually normal. (For transport the port wing and tail/rudder are removed so it can fit in its box.)

My latest upgrade is adding some more torque to the cargo bay doors so they can close from any angle. Many of us forget that much of physical actions we see the space shuttle do in space cannot be reproduced in the gravity of Earth. Even with LEGO, this model pushes the limits of what is actually possible. The image also gives you a rather good look at what is actually going on inside the nose. Many people dont see the mechanical drive behind each function. For your reference, the motor that is parallel to your line of sight drives the port cargo bay door, the motor horizontal in the image drives the starboard cargo bay door. The two motors that are in the background actually drive the Canadarm. All this fits into the nose of the shuttle and is hidden by the Techinc skin of the model.

Should you be in the Austin area and want  to see the model, there is a special “Texas Day” at NIWeek. See ni.com for more information. The next scheduled appearance of shuttle is at Brickworld Fort Wayne in October.