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NIWeek 2011

27 Posts tagged with the labview tag

Last week NI hosted the 17th annual graphical system design conference in Austin, Texas. More than 3,000 engineers and scientists made it down to NIWeek and had the opportunity to network, attend technical presentations, and see NI tools in action.


In case you weren’t able to make it to NIWeek this year, here are some of our favorite apps from the show floor.


Angry Eagles

This cool app consists of an Angry Birds game recreated in LabVIEW and an actual slingshot that uses NI CompactDAQ with digital and analog I/O. Users can launch the slingshot, as they would in a regular game of Angry Birds, thereby launching a bird in the game running in LabVIEW.




Going to the Stars With NI LabVIEW

If you never thought you’d get to travel into space, think again. Commercial space flight is on the horizon. Star Systems Inc. made an appearance on the NIWeek expo floor with its prototype spacecraft for private space flight. The system includes a PXI controller and LabVIEW to integrate all the subsystems and test engine setup.




Soccer-Playing Robot

One of the objectives of RoboCup is for an entire soccer team of humanoid robots to play a team of World Cup champions and win by the year 2050. Dr. Dennis Hong and his team are getting closer and closer to meeting that goal. This year, their CHARLI-L2 humanoid robot won first place in the 2011 Adult Size RoboCup Competition. Hong brought two robots, powered by LabVIEW, to NIWeek. Not only are they adorable – they are pretty good at soccer too.




>> Follow the Sweet Apps blog to read about some of the coolest applications created by NI customers.


Wow. Talk about an audience of 3,300 getting blown away. After a heart-pounding keynote presentation by extreme storms researcher Tim Samaras, the NIWeek Community team caught up with Peter Olivias from Los Alamos National Lab and Doug Ary from Lockheed Martin on the expo floor. Standing in front of Samaras' storm-chasing truck, Peter spoke about how lucky his TWISTEX team is to get paid to do something as adrenaline-pumping as chasing tornados. Attending his fifth NIWeek, Douglas expressed his excitement about recently switching to NI LabVIEW software. He says the change has made his work "easier and faster" and that LabVIEW is simply "the way to go."




The NIWeek Community hopes that all attendees enjoyed their NIWeek 2011 experience as much as Peter and Douglas did. We look forward to seeing everyone again next year!


The final day of NIWeek 2011 kicked off with amazing illustrations of how NI graphical system design tools are powering the future of innovation, particularly for the engineers of tomorrow.


Ray Almgren, NI VP of marketing for core platforms, gave the stage to high-school and university students from around the world. They demonstrated how they have been using LabVIEW and other NI tools to design and prototype all sorts of unique technologies, including the following:


  • A really cool 3D display from university students from Beijing, China
  • An autonomous device for plugging leaks in deepwater oil pipelines, created by MIT students
  • A unique medical device – and an automated test system to analyze it -- created by two Austin high-school students
  • A baseball pitching analysis device from Rice university students
  • A haptic feedback system for tumor detection from the University of Leeds in the UK
  • An automatic horn tuning system stimulated by live audio data, created by students from the University of California, San Diego


The keynote event closed with a fascinating presentation from severe storms researcher Tim Samaras, star of the Discovery Channel series, Storm Chasers. Tim demonstrated how he uses LabVIEW and other NI tools to analyze tornadoes. His video footage alone – featuring up-close and personal experiences of thrashing storms and ultra-high-speed footage of lightning – was enough to mesmerize the crowd.


All in all, today’s keynote was a perfect closing to a week jam-packed with innovation.


Visit to check out the videos from all of this week’s keynotes.


And of course, be sure to register for NIWEEK 2012. See you next year!


Tim Samaras is a National Geographic Emerging Explorer and costar of the Discovery Channel series Storm Chasers. He is passionate about the advancement of science and engineering and an expert on all weather phenomena. And one other thing - Samaras knows a lot about tornadoes. In fact, he's the Guiness Book of World Records holder for measuring the lowest pressure of a tornado and the only person to collect video from inside a tornado. Whatever you decide to do on Thursday, do not miss his closing keynote presentation.


In addition to Samaras' address, you'll see Ray Almgren, NI Vice President of Software, Education, and Training, and student teams from around the world as they showcase innovative solutions using graphical system design that tackle socially relevant engineering challenges.


And if you've been keeping up with the LabVIEW Coding Challenge, stop by the Tech Theater at noon to watch the finals. The highest scorer in the week-long challenge will compete against a member of LabVIEW R&D.


For more information about Thursday's events, see the NIWeek program.


Today’s keynote presentation was filled with information on innovative technologies of the future. We all were amazed by the soccer-playing robots, biomimetic robotic tuna fish, and programmable water wall!


We met up with JKI Product Marketing Manager Justin Goeres from the San Francisco Bay Area, and he was very excited about the future technologies. He was most passionate about how much LabVIEW software has evolved in the past 13 years and is eagerly anticipating what’s to come on the final day of NIWeek.



If you aren’t at NIWeek in person, make sure to stay tuned into the NIWeek Community for more updates on new product releases, keynote speeches, and inspiring demos featured on the expo floor.


Jeff Kodosky, NI cofounder and “Father of LabVIEW,” opened the second day of NIWeek by summing up the 25-year history of LabVIEW and its graphical structured dataflow programming language, explaining how it basically beats the pants off of sequential programming languages. He detailed why he pursued a graphical dataflow language in the first place and why it holds great promise for the future of innovation, especially over text-based programming.


For example, “The explosive growth of mobile devices and multitouch interfaces is changing how we use computers,” said Kodosky. “This new technology makes text-based programming look…outdated and irrelevant.”


Building on Kodosky’s statements about the future, NI director of software marketing, Shelley Gretlein, hosted several engineers on stage to demonstrate exactly how LabVIEW and other NI graphical system design tools are driving the future of innovation. From medical technologies, urban infrastructure engineering, and even gaming, all the way to research in smart grid development and fusion for alternative energy, presentations from multiple NI customers and engineers proved that Kodosky’s invention already is building the future.


Highlights of the keynote demonstrations included…


  • Creating a new OCT scanning system (that’s only about the size of a six pack) using the LabVIEW FPGA Module and NI FlexRIO
  • Improving urban infrastructure and monitoring bridges with new NI Wireless Sensor Network devices and the forthcoming NI Technical Data Cloud
  • Developing smart grid technology in India using NI Single-Board RIO
  • Researching fusion energy by controlling plasma inside a Tokamak device using LabVIEW Real Time and multicore targets
  • Having fun with soccer-playing robots, biomimetic robotic tuna fish, and programmable water drawings (You had to see it to appreciate it.)
  • Dancing with a gesture-recognition interface application that turns body movements into programming commands within LabVIEW (Seriously!)
  • Using fingertips to physically draw a functional LabVIEW block diagram on a large multitouch interface screen


To get the specifics behind these interesting applications of NI graphical system design tools, check out


We hope your NIWeek is off to a great start! Here are a few of today's highlights:


  • Keynote address featuring the "Father of LabVIEW" starting at 8:30 a.m. in Ballroom D - Jeff Kodosky, NI cofounder and Business and Technology Fellow, will look back at the creation of graphical programming and share fundamental programming concepts vital to the next 25 years of graphical system design for meeting the most demanding application challenges.
  • Annual conference party at The Moody Theater (Austin City Limits) from 7-10 p.m. - The biggest part of them all! Enjoy drinks and dancing to one of Austin's coolest cover bands at this NIWeek tradition. Buses will run from the convention center to the museum between 6:30 and 11:30.
  • Technology Theater sessions from 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. in the Expo Hall - If you didn't get a chance to stop by the Tech Theater yesterday, be sure to check out some of Wednesday's presentations.


For more info on these and the rest of Wednesday's events and session, see the NIWeek program.


Talk about a grand finale to the first day of NIWeek 2011! This year's annual Block Diagram Party featured a toast to honor the 25th anniversary of LabVIEW, a double-dare style trivia game, and an action-packed NIWeek Scavenger Hunt. Jeff Kodosky, better known as the Father of LabVIEW, kicked off the night's festivities with a toast to the original developers of LabVIEW 1.0, the entire LabVIEW community, and the current software development team, who put their brilliant heads together to design today's most exciting product release, LabVIEW 2011. As a robot powered by LabVIEW buzzed around the audience, the group raised their glasses to the past, present, and future of graphical system design.



photo1.jpgCheers to LabVIEW!

The LabVIEW 1.0 developers (above) and a copy of LabVIEW signed by the original team (below)


Next up: the much-anticipated Challenge of the Champions! Two four-person teams (the Challengers and the Champions) faced off, each answering trivia questions to avoid a coding challenge tie-breaker. Their LabVIEW knowledge was put to the test with simple questions like, "Who is the Father of LabVIEW?" (Hint: see above) to real toughies such as, "What four block diagram structures were available in LabVIEW 1.0?" In the final moments of the contest, the underdogs pulled through, ultimately defeating the LabVIEW champions and winning $50 gift cards (Don't worry, the former champs didn't go home empty-handed. NI just gave them $25 gift cards instead).

photo 2.jpg

Underdogs...Can't Help But Love 'Em.

In an exciting head-to-head competition, the challengers defeated the LabVIEW champions.


But the fun didn't stop there. NIWeek attendees finished their evening with a scavenger hunt that boasted some pretty awesome prizes, if we may say so ourselves: an Apple Parrot AR.Drone Quadricopter, Apple Beats by Dr. Dre Solo Headphones, and Apple TV. The tasks integrated with social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and the NI Community, and ranged from the simple, such as "Update your current Facebook status and tag NIWeek," to the straight-up silly: "Form a conga line for at least one minute and get at least five people to join you." After twenty minutes of racing around the expo floor, the teams turned in their score sheets and the lucky winner was announced.

photo 5.jpgTo the Winner Goes the Spoils...

First-place winner Michael Reed poses with his new Apple Parrot AR.Drone Quadricopter



Think the Block Diagram Party sounds cool? You betcha...but it's only Day 1. Check in with the NIWeek Community tomorrow to catch more exciting news and events!


The NIWeek expo hall opens today! Meet with more than 200 exhibiting companies, which you can find on page 68 in the NIWeek program, and stop by the following pavilions:


  • LabVIEW Zone: The LabVIEW Zone highlights how graphical system design helps users tackle some of the most challenging engineering and scientific problems of our time. Stop by to see examples of systems built with LabVIEW and to hear from users about how LabVIEW has increased their productivity. Also sign up for the Challenge the Champions contest and the LabVIEW Coding Challenge in the LabVIEW Zone.


  • Connect @NIWeek Lounge: Take a break and relax in the Connect @NIWeek Lounge in the back of the Exhibition Hall. In the lounge you’ll find comfortable couches, Wi-Fi connection, and electrical outlets so you and your devices can recharge throughout the conference.


  • Technology Theater: Check out page 72 in the NIWeek program to see the schedule for the Technology Theater. These 30-minute sessions include presentations from NI, Intel, Xilinx, MIT, and more.


In addition, be sure to check out all the awesome demos showcasing NI hardware and software. If you’ve already had a chance to scope out the expo floor, leave a comment and tell us about your favorite demos so far!


After the much-anticipated release of LabVIEW 2011, an exciting keynote presentation, and an endless amount of cool demos, the expo floor was buzzing with excitement on the first day of NIWeek. This is the largest NIWeek to date, with more than 3,300 attendees, 222 sessions, and 108 exhibitors, and everyone is ready to see what else is in store.


We met up with Norm Dingle from Noblesville, Indiana, who is now attending his third NIWeek. Norm is most looking forward to meeting up with industry friends and enjoying this year’s NIWeek.



If you aren’t at NIWeek in person, make sure to stay tuned into the NIWeek Community for more updates on new product releases, keynote speeches, and inspiring demos featured on the expo floor.


The first keynote event of NIWeek 2011 represented a veritable Chex Mix of fun for technophiles. From a crash course on the history of measurement technologies to the future of LTE communications and everything in between, no matter what industry you represent, there was something in the event for everyone to get their fix.


NI president, CEO, and cofounder Dr. Truchard opened the day by explaining how, when he entered the industry in the early sixties, general purpose analog instrumentation was king of innovation – and had been since the 1920s. The sensitivity and cost of those instruments, among other drawbacks, kept the process of invention and deployment at a snail’s pace compared to today. Then came the era of transistors and ICs, which started a continually accelerating trend of efficiency gains and miniaturization that carried engineering through the next 45 years, until now. Truchard then summarized how we are now in the era of graphical system design, where software, not instrumentation, takes center stage. How engineers can now reach new levels of productivity by using LabVIEW system design software as the tool that pulls together instrumentation of any type, for any application.


Following Truchard was Eric Starkloff, NI VP of test and industrial embedded marketing, who hosted several teams of NI engineers and customers who demonstrated all sorts of productivity gains achieved with NI products. The demonstrations included many new NI products, including the following:


  • NI VeriStand 2011 for real-time test, demonstrated in an avionics solution
  • The first multicore NI CompactRIO and one-slot Single-Board RIO, seen in evolving smart-grid technologies
  • The industry’s highest-performing 14 GHz RF PXI Vector Signal Analyzer, outperforming the Agilent PXA in head-to-head RF test combat
  • Multiple new products for semiconductor test, including new SMU and PPMU tools
  • Wireless CompactDAQ and other cDAQ devices, used to create an NI version of the popular Angry Birds video game – Angry Eagles. (Complete with a giant slingshot device on stage.)
  • LabVIEW 2011, of course, the heart of the NI approach to graphical system design


Starkloff and his team unveiled these and many other products as well as teasing the audience with talk and demos of some forthcoming NI innovations. It was a great opening to NIWeek 2011. And if today was any indication of what the rest of the week holds, we’re all in for an exciting time.


To get detailed information about the new products unveiled today, visit


On Monday at NIWeek, Ryan King presented "Advanced Error Handling". This session will be reprised today at 3:30pm. I encourage anyone writing applications with LabVIEW to attend Ryan's talk.


Error handling is a tricky topic. It is far more than "skip downstream functions if error in is set" and "display an error in a dialog box". There are times when you need to trap an error and translate it to a different error. There are times when you need to retry a function until the error does not occur. There are times when you just need to suppress the error. And then there are an endless list of activities that you might need to do in your particular app to compensate for a specific error ("hardware on fire" may require "start fire suppression system").


Ryan walks the audience through APIs available from National Instruments and third parties to create a truly robust error generation-propagation-handling-reporting system -- far more comprehensive than General Error Even if you don't absorb all the details about error handling in this one session, you will at least have a better awareness of the complexity of the problem, so the next time you're writing an application, you can pause and think about that error wire and whether it's really doing what your system needs it to do.


And we're back for another awesome NIWeek. In addition to all the tracks, summits, special events, and Peer2Peer roundtables that begin today, here are a few things to keep on your radar:


  • Dr. T's opening keynote at 8:30 a.m. in Ballroom D - Don't miss today's keynote, featuring Dr. Truchard and Eric Starkloff, NI Vice President of Marketing for Test and Industrial Embedded. Be sure to tune in as these NI leaders get us ramped up and excited to celebrate the 25th anniversary of LabVIEW. We'll also get to check out some of the latest product and technology demos and hear about real-world graphical system design solutions.
  • NI Community Block Diagram Party at 5 p.m. in the Expo Hall - I love that we will do anything to get "block diagram" into an official conference party name. Works every year! Anyway, don't miss the first party of NIWeek! Enjoy food and drinks and hang out with your fellow LabVIEW developers. And if you're up for a little friendly competition, participate in the third annual scavenger hunt (starting at 6:20 p.m. in the Connect @NIWeek Lounge) for a chance to win an awesome grand prize!
  • Texas Day from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Austin Convention Center - Tuesday is also Texas Day at NIWeek! If you're an engineering professional from around the state, be sure to attend the special luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Expo Hall Cafe to meet local NI field engineers and NI Alliance Partners.
  • Challenge the Champions from 5:45 to 6:15 p.m. in the Expo Hall - Sign up in the LabVIEW Zone to participate in an interactive trivia competition that puts a team of NIWeek contestants against the LabVIEW Champions for bragging rights and prizes.


Check back here all week for real-time conference updates, new product demos, videos of cool stuff happening on the show floor, and more. Also, for official conference info, or to tune into what attendees are saying about Shark Week, follow @NIWeek and @LabVIEW.


Welcome to NIWeek 2011!

Posted by jaking Aug 1, 2011

Welcome to NIWeek and welcome to  Austin, Texas! We hope you are as excited as we are about the action-packed week ahead, including keynotes, technical sessions, and, of course, some great parties. Check  back here all week for real-time conference updates, new product demo videos, videos of other cool stuff happening on the show floor, and more. To leave comments or participate in group discussions, be sure to join the NIWeek 2011 group by logging in and clicking on "Join this group" in the right-side menu on the group homepage.


And if you want to follow along on Twitter, be sure to follow @NIWeek and type #niweek in your tweet to send updates to the entire NIWeek community. 


Track and summit sessions begin tomorrow. But if your NIWeek experience starts today, here's what's happening at the Austin Convention Center:


  • Alliance Day: Hundreds of product developers, consultants, and systems integrators are joining members of the NI leadership team to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the NI Alliance Partner Network.
  • Academic Forum: This forum is a platform for academic professionals to share best practices, discuss the future of engineering, and network. During his keynote, Dave Wilson, director of Academic and Corporate Marketing at NI, will explore the future of engineering education and the innovative technologies that are required to effectively prepare students for the challenges of tomorrow.
  • Big Physics Symposium: The symposium brings together scientists, researchers and specialized vendors to network and discuss best practices and instrumentation strategies that can be applied in control, measurement and diagnostics. Ryotaro Tanaka, director of Controls and Computing Divison at JASRI/Spring-8, will give a keynote, “Adapting the Accelerator Control System – How Do We Meet the Demands,” that explains advanced accelerator operations.
  • NIWeek Kickoff Happy Hour from 5:30-7 p.m. in the Expo Hall: Don't miss this opportunity to hang out and network with NI sales engineers, National Instruments Alliance Partners, the NI R&D team, LabVIEW Champions, exhibitors, and other NIWeek attendees


See you tomorrow!


What's New at NIWeek?

Posted by Mackie Jul 28, 2011

Every NIWeek is different, and this year NI is introducing one new technical track and special event to make your NIWeek experience even better. We’ve also brought NIWeek to Gowalla so you can stay even more connected at NIWeek.


  • The Future of System Design Symposium: This new symposium brings together top researchers, industry providers, and designers to explore the future of system design. Learn about cutting-edge system design technologies and research, including processors and FPGA convergence, high-level synthesis tools and flows, and approaches for increasing design productivity. Symposium presenters include experts from Xilinx, Brigham Young University, and The University of Texas at Austin.


  • Structural Test and Measurement Track: Focused on improving accuracy and design in testing, this new track examines the latest innovations in optical sensing, noise reduction, and real-world monitoring technologies. Presenters include research and industry leaders from The University of Texas at Austin, Eaton Corporation, and CAE Engineering.


  • Stay More Connected on Gowalla: Join us on Gowalla and let your network know you’re at NIWeek by adding the NIWeek icon to your Gowalla passport when you check in at the Austin Convention Center.

  • New Skyway in the Austin Convention Center: ACC recently added a new skyway to the third floor from the escalator landing at 4th Street and Trinity. This new addition allows you to easily access the mezzanine level in the convention center.



>> Get more details on what’s new and more in the NIWeek 2011 program.

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