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LabVIEW

LabVIEW is a graphical programming environment used by millions of engineers and scientists to develop sophisticated measurement, test, and control systems using intuitive graphical icons and wires that resemble a flowchart. It offers unrivaled integration with thousands of hardware devices and provides hundreds of built-in libraries for advanced analysis and data visualization – all for creating virtual instrumentation. The LabVIEW platform is scalable across multiple targets and OSs, and, since its introduction in 1986, it has become an industry leader.

Connect to Any Hardware

With LabVIEW, you can use all of your hardware with a single development environment. Connectivity is made possible with driver software, which serves as the communication layer between LabVIEW and your hardware. LabVIEW driver software supplies seamless integration across multiple types of instruments, buses, and sensors, including data acquisition devices; boxed instruments; modular instruments; motion controllers and motor drives; machine vision and image processing hardware; wireless sensors; and field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). In the rare event that a LabVIEW driver doesn’t already exist, you also can import drivers from other programming languages or use low-level communication to implement your own driver.

Figure 1. LabVIEW seamlessly integrates thousands of measurement and control devices.

Figure 1. LabVIEW seamlessly integrates thousands of measurement and control devices.

 

NI Hardware

With more than 50 million I/O channels sold in the last 10 years, National Instruments is a global market leader in PC-based data acquisition, with a complete family of data acquisition products for desktop, portable, industrial, and embedded applications. You can use NI-DAQmx driver software to integrate more than 200 data acquisition devices in LabVIEW on a variety of major buses and form factors, including USB, PCI, PCI Express, PXI, PXI Express, wireless, and Ethernet.

In addition to data acquisition hardware, NI also offers other specialty test, measurement, and control hardware. Modular instruments synchronize measurements, signal generation, radio frequency (RF), and switching components for automated test systems. NI programmable automation controllers combine the ruggedness of a PLC and the performance of a PC for industrial measurement and control applications. Vision devices also offer unique capabilities not found in many traditional sensors, such as verifying component positioning, counting physical elements, and reading bar codes. Each hardware type includes its own driver software for easy integration into LabVIEW.
Examples include:

  • Digital Multimeters
  • High-Speed Digitizers (Oscilloscopes)
  • RF Signal Analyzers
  • RF Signal Generators
  • Signal Generators
  • High-Speed Digital I/O
  • Switches
  • Programmable Power Supplies
  • Reconfigurable FPGA I/O
  • Motion Controllers
  • Vision Systems

The drivers for all of these products were designed with LabVIEW in mind and feature convenient access to all of the available functionality of the hardware. The driver installs directly into LabVIEW and adds new functions to the Functions Palette so you waste no time locating and including support for your hardware. NI device drivers generally implement advanced features such as device name aliases and hardware simulation so you can develop software without tying yourself to a particular device. As long as your device supports the same functionality, the driver can adapt to the new device, even if the underlying technology changed dramatically, such as when moving from a PCI-based data acquisition device to a wireless device.


NI LabVIEW Data Visualization and User Interface Design

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NI LabVIEW contains a comprehensive collection of drag-and-drop controls and indicators so you can quickly and easily create user interfaces for your application and effectively visualize results without integrating third-party components or building views from scratch.

The quick drag-and-drop approach does not come at the expense of flexibility. Power users can customize the built-in controls via the Control Editor and programmatically control user interface (UI) elements to create highly customized user experiences.

 

Visualization and UI Features

Common OS Controls and Indicators


LabVIEW contains all of the standard OS-defined controls such as number and string displays, buttons, slides, progress bars, and tabs. You have the option of using LabVIEW-styled controls, OS-styled controls, or modifying the style of the controls to meet your needs.

Figure 3. Standard LabVIEW Controls and Indicators

Figure 3. Standard LabVIEW Controls and Indicators

Figure 4. Standard Windows Controls and Indicators

Figure 4. Standard Windows Controls and Indicators

Engineering-Specific Controls and Indicators

In addition to the standard controls you find in most full-featured programming environments, LabVIEW contains many more controls and indicators common in scientific and engineering applications. Using the included controls, you can create VIs with front panels that resemble familiar physical instruments and are, consequently, easier for operators to understand and use.

Figure 5. Engineering Controls and Indicators

Figure 5. Engineering Controls and Indicators

Analog and Digital Waveform Graphs

After you acquire or generate data, or if data is readily available in a file or database, you can use a graph or chart to graphically display data.

Graphs and charts differ in the way they display and update data. Graphs display a set of data which is overwritten every time you send new values to the graph. The waveform graph, which displays one or more plots of evenly sampled measurements, plots single-valued functions, as in y = f(x), with points evenly distributed along the x-axis, such as acquired time-varying waveforms. You can add cursors and annotations both interactively and programmatically to highlight important data points.

Figure 6. Waveform Graph with Annotation and Cursor

Figure 6. Waveform Graph with Annotation and Cursor