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We’ve Moved! in Sweet Apps

Posted by bcwilson Apr 27, 2016

Here at NI, we’ve been blogging in one form or another for over six years. We started with Sweet Apps, where we shared the most unique applications our customers and employees were developing. A year later we launched NI News in Real Time to share general news announcements, and finally, in 2013, we launched Product Pulse to keep everyone up to date on our latest product releases.

But why post all this great content in three different places? Why not publish it in one place, on one blog, with categories for easy viewing? To make things easier, we’re bringing all three blogs under one roof.


Our community team’s already moved you to this group, but to make sure you get the news as soon as it’s available, turn on email notifications in the right-hand notifications menu.


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We can’t wait to share with you what everyone’s up to! And as always, if you have a story to share, email us at


     Road maintenance in England and Wales is underfunded by 55 percent each year due to the extensive damage of potholes. These deep underground cavities are a major factor in causing axle and suspension failure in the United Kingdom, which costs motorists an estimated 2.8 billion pounds every year. If all authorities were given the budgets they need to fix their roads, it would take 12 years to catch up to the current accumulation of work. To improve this problematic situation, Sean Fuller used LabVIEW software and myRIO hardware to develop the myPothole Detector.     






     MyPothole Detector addresses the problem of quickly identifying and logging potholes. It harnesses the power of myRIO using the built-in accelerometer, which determines whether a pothole has been detected using the z-axis acceleration and signal processing. A GPS module is connected to myRIO via the serial port and logs the current location when a pothole is detected. By connecting myRIO to a PC with Google Earth installed, potholes can be plotted live onto the map. This makes it easier for authorities to quickly see which areas are affected most and allows them to prioritize the fixing-schedule.


     Sean Fuller, the developer of myPothole Detector, is currently on a one-year internship at NI. He studies BEng (Hons) Electronic Engineering at the University of Portsmouth and is planning on incorporating LabVIEW in his final year project upon his return. Sean’s engineering creativity combined with the efficiency of the NI platform is a recipe to effectively decrease the detrimental effects of potholes in the United Kingdom.


Next Steps


>>See it in Action and Learn How to Build Your Own



The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) charity works to “save lives at sea” across the United Kingdom and Ireland. Rescuing 23 people a day, this institution owns the largest fleet of inflatable boats (IBs) and rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) in the United Kingdom.


Ocean waves cause almost all high-speed planing vessels, including IBs and RIBs, to vibrate in a nonlinear manner called “boat motion,” which is one major cause of long- and short-term injuries with physiological and psychological effects for the crew. The RNLI needed a new strategy to reduce human exposure to these harsh vibrations.


For this project, the University of Southampton studied the RNLI D-class IB by performing four full-scale experiments—stationary tests, drop tests, flat water trials, and wave trials—each affecting a different aspect of hydroelasticity. Boat motion was measured using 52 sensors through 74 channels attached to various parts of the boat. The analog signals were converted from these sensors into digital signals and were saved during each experiment.


To increase reliability, simplify coding, and reduce compilation time, a rugged and reliable data logger flexible enough to accommodate a wide variety of sensors was needed. Additionally, a stand-alone system small enough to fit inside a waterproof case in a restricted space was essential. The cRIO-9074 integrated system met these

boat.pngrequirements and could be reconfigured into a data logger. With a variety of C Series modules, the University of Southampton could wire almost any signal into the CompactRIO system. Coding for this data logger was developed using LabVIEW software, making programming simple and fast.


The CompactRIO system was robust and rugged enough to simultaneously measure performance and deformation and save the data while under extreme conditions. The University of Southampton’s next step is to link performance and deformation together to find the origin of the effect of hydroelasticity and isolate the components dominating this effect.


Next Steps



More than 17 million people and counting in the world have cerebral palsy. One in three of these people cannot walk, one in five cannot talk, one in 10 has a severe vision impairment, and one in 25 has a severe hearing impairment. With the help of the NI platform, these people's lives are expected to improve by using a distributable therapy device developed with LabVIEW software and Single-Board RIO hardware.


The staff at the University of Leeds and Leeds Teaching Hospital developed a novel therapeutic game environment for the upper limb rehabilitation of both stroke survivors and children with cerebral palsy. Since the system proved promising in smaller studies, the group pushed for larger national trials. The device needed to be mass producible and suitable for home delivery, assembly, and use to ensure the success of these larger trials. NI Alliance Partner Key Engineering Solutions Limited was asked to help Leeds staff redesign the system to be mass producible, lower cost, and more maintainable.




Originally, the prototype system used CompactRIO hardware and LabVIEW to control the assistive joystick and communicate data back to the game. This was reliable but not cost-effective for mass production. LabVIEW, Single-Board RIO, and two NI 9505 DC servo drive modules were used for the development of this novel rehabilitative technology toward a distributable commercial product.


The short-term trials revealed that cerebral palsy motor function improved with the use of this device. Conducting longer-term trials across the UK would help reaffirm results that were uncovered in short-term trials, which would be a major step toward ensuring the full promise of the rehabilitative technology. This device could be the answer for home-based rehabilitation to help supplement treatment while reducing the burden on trained physiotherapists and the National Health Service.

Next Steps


A National Instruments Alliance Partner is a business entity independent from National Instruments and has no agency, partnership, or joint-venture relationship with National Instruments.


When you picture a typical lab there’s likely a well-lit room with engineers and scientists conducting experiments in a controlled environment suited to performing sensitive operations. Jim Trezzo’s laboratory is oftentimes a far cry from what most call a typical lab. As a product lead at OpenROV, a low-cost open-source (both hardware and software) underwater vehicle platform, Trezzo’s lab is most often dockside, in a boat or near a test tank. He counts on NI VirtualBench to help facilitate his testing and experiments wherever his work takes him.



Jim Trezzo’s typical lab bench (when not waterside)


“NI VirtualBench has been a great system for the development work I am doing around an acoustic location system for an underwater ROV (Remotely Operated underwater Vehicle),” says Trezzo. “Having a portable professional bench top instrumentation system has been a big plus. While some of my work is in a traditional lab bench environment, much of the testing and experimentation is out in the field... I can pack up my ROV, a few laptops, and VirtualBench into a canvas bag and be ready for in-the-water testing.”

OpenROV is just one example of the many innovative projects where scientists and engineers use VirtualBench and other NI technology to help facilitate testing and measurement. If you or your organization has a unique NI story, let us know. We want to hear about how you use NI hardware and software.

>>> Read more about Jim Trezzo’s OpenRov project.


About the Blog

Sharing the coolest, weirdest, and most impressive applications created by NI customers and employees using NI products. Tune in each week to see what's new!

Owned by: elizabethkidd Rodney_Hargrave avaleria bcwilson JamieLynn

Tags: labview, applications, technology, case_studies, customer_solutions, sweet_apps, sweet, cool, user_applications

Group Type: Members Only

Created: Jan 21, 2009

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