Posts Tagged ‘LabVIEW’


So unless you have been living under a rock, I am sure you have heard of the ‘smart sock’, Sensoria Fitness. Heapsylon, the company behind Sensoria, sent me a prototype of Sensoria Gaming. Sensoria Gaming seeks to leverage the smart fabric and enable it to do much more than track your workout. The sock is able to isolate the pressure over different areas of your foot, allowing for unique inputs. The sock is super accurate and this lends itself to many applications. You can generate pressure heat maps and watch how pressures changes with balance. Sensoria Gaming gives the tools to use this input in a new setting, both in software applications and physical products.

Remember that helicopter post from before? Now you know why it crashed. (Turns out I stink at flying those things!) Actually it was much easier once I finished the project. As you can see in the picture below, I took a servo motor and duct taped it to the controller. I used some LEGO parts to make an arm and control it with an Arduino. The Arduino is connected to my computer. I connected the sock to my computer and used some LabVIEW magic to make the sock talk to the arduino. I add in some filtering for signal stability and there you have it. A brief video of it working is below, as well as some ‘outtakes’ from flying…


Sensoria has a bit of time left on Indiegogo if you want to get in on it. This is not my only hack with the smart sock, so rest assured, more cool projects are coming.

My helicopter hack video:

Official pressure map video from Heapsylon:

I have made a few posts about my senior design project, but this one is by far the best. We have completed the main deliverable for the project. Check out the video below to see what we did. The robot has amazing accuracy.

Happy New Year! 2012 is here and I have some new code to celebrate the holiday!

The Dexter Industries dWifi sensor has opened up a whole new world for LEGO MINDSTORMS. For those of you who have looked at the sensor, you will notice it requires that a “newline” character (decimal 13). The dWifi also likes each byte to be sent individually. To cope with these requirements, I have posted a block that does all the work for you. As you can see from the screen capture on the right, there is a simple loop to send each byte (including the newline byte added to your string). The file is posted and is live now on the Files page of my blog. You can use the regular Set Speed and Read VIs that come with the RS485 2.0 download.

Stay tuned for more dWifi LabVIEW and NXT-G updates!

My senior design project has made some great progress. Besides all the software we have written, we have now officially mechanically integrated our robotic arm with our NI DaNI base. There are still some minor issues to work out, but the majority of the work is done. In the new year, we will be working on creating a demo to show off the robot’s flexibility. We will be posting a video with the new, integrated system working after classes resume in January. Since we have a fair bit of time (about 2 months) remaining, we plan to go hog wild on this project. If its worth doing, it worth over-doing, right?


We are entering the final stages of robot assembly and test. Last week, DaNI got a line following sensor from Parallax. This sensor is much like the Mindsensors Line Leader for LEGO MINDSTORMS. It has 8 IR light sensors that see the difference between the ground a line. We have a PID loop running on the FPGA on the NI Single-Board RIO to control out line following. Basically a PID loop helps us correct for not following the line correctly by using the error of our sensor measurements to determine which direction we need to move. To learn more about PID, wikipedia has a great article!
Also, Jason, one of my teammates, has finished the Inverse Kinematics for the arm. I have integrated the arm control into the motor drive train. The arm is scheduled to be mounted by Monday. After that we just need to physically validate our software drive model and we are done! Check out our video below!

My Senior Design Project at Rose-Hulman is integrating a kinematic robotic arm on the National Instruments Robotics Starter Kit (DaNI). DaNI is small mobile robotics platform based on NI SingleBoardRIO and Tetrix. We are working with the arm and DaNI as two separate systems right now and plan to integrate it in December. We spent the last few weeks working on constructing and controlling the arm. All software done in LabVIEW! Check out the video below to see our progress!

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

In addition to NIWeek, I have a few new projects in my queue. After a busy week and a lot of LEGO, I will be taking a (short) break to explore some new toys from Texas Instruments. Right, you will see the new Panda Board designed by Texas Instruments. The board is an open source design featuring the TI OMAP 4430 (same as in the Droid 3 and Droid Bionic). Furthermore the OMAP featured on this board has much of the RF built into the single piece of silicon. The board can run Ubuntu and Android. I plan to make a thin VM to target the board from LabVIEW (similar to LabVIEW for Arduino).

The next two boards from TI are equally awesome! First up is the smaller TI Launch Pad with Cap Touch Booster Pack. This addon contains a capacitive touch board and a new MSP430 to interface with it. It has a built in proximity sensor and is pretty cool to play with. Over the next few days I plan to experiment with it and see what ideas I come up with. The last board to join my army of embedded (soon to be robotic) projects is the Beagle Board. With a community of over 50,000 members, the Beagle packs an ARM Cortex A8 and can run several variants of Liniux. I plan to get LabIVEW working on this board as well, but what is more important is that this board integrates nicely with daughter boards, bringing the power of the Beagle to new heights. Expect to see some code in the next few days. I want to thank TI for these boards and helping me to continue my hobby. TI makes amazing digital and analog products that are great for building cheap low power projects. For example a Launch Pad costs $4.30 from the TI eStore.

And just in case you were wondering, I have a lovely bot built from the NXShield from I plan to shoot a video this weekend and post it later next week.

The LEGO MINDSTORMS Space Shuttle is gearing up for NIWeek and to get ready for the event, I have developed a new debug interface. Originally designed for me to keep track of all the motors and sensors during an event, this interface serves as Mission Control for the LMS Shuttle. It provides the ability to stop a program should the conditions get too dangerous as well as view real time data off each NXT. The “guts” of this interface have been around for a while but I decided to clean up the UI for NIWeek.

I plan to continue to develop this screen by adding the ability to switch from remote control to autonomous mode and add some manual drive features.

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 and 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  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!