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Remember Oprah’s bold statement back in 2005? No, not the one about that book that she loved, defended, and then hated, this statement: "Women of America, you need to rise up and get a proper bra fitting."

Well, NI products were ahead of Oprah.

So I work in the Marketing Communications group here at NI, with a bunch of lovely ladies. On the case studies team, it’s our job to figure out how to best communicate the applications that engineering firms are creating with NI products. I don’t know what it is, but it seems like most of the applications that come are way are so, well, man-centric. It’s testing race cars and figuring out how to design communication systems for the military, and engineering bridges to ensure that they’re stable in all of the right places.

What I am not seeing is a way to test exactly how long I can have my straightener on high, clamped tightly on my bangs before the molecular structure of the hair actually changes, leaving me with tiny, singed ends. Or, how to know exactly how many times I am going to be able to button the super-cute but cheaply-made vest I just bought before the button comes off. See? I can think in terms of strain testing.

Well, ladies. Strap on your seatbelts. LabVIEW has something for you. A girl application. An Oprah application. Forget about making sure that bridges are stable in all of the right places, LabVIEW is going to make sure that you’re stable in all of the right places.

That’s right. Pankhurst Design and Development Ltd (PDD) of Hammersmith, London to designed and built a bra-sizing rig in LabVIEW for FigLeaves, a UK-based lingerie shop. PDD in-turn selected LiveWires to handle the PC-based software, data acquisition and motor control.

PDD developed a torso with 2 latex breasts that can be inflated and deflated by pumping water in and out of them.  In this way, a good fit can be achieved for the “cup size” of each bra.  The torso also has a motorized back plate that effectively allows the circumference to be altered, thus allowing the “band size” of each bra to be determined.  A National Instruments PCI-7344 motor control card controls the 3 motors in the system – one for the back plate adjustment and two for the peristaltic pumps associated with each breast.

Check out that image, it's my favorite part, its inflatable breasts and all:

bra2.jpg

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http://www.baltimoresun.com/media/photo/2009-02/45123069.jpg

 

This latest installment of Sweet Apps comes from Clemson University. We first got wind of this from a story on PhysOrg.com (and was subsequently covered by Engadget).

 

It's what would happen if Shaquille O'Neil and Sir Isaac Newton friended each other on Facebook:

 

A Clemson-student chapter of the Structural Engineers Association, led by professor Scott Schiff, collaborated with the Clemson Athletic Department to create measurement and analysis system that rates the intensity of slam dunks made by the Clemson basketball team. The system essentially takes measurements from accelerometers placed on the basketball hoop and turns that data into a slam dunk meter that is then displayed on the Clemson jumbotron. Talk about structural health monitoring, huh?

 

The slam dunks measured by the system peak around 30 g's. Compare that to the typical 5 g's you'd experience on a roller coaster and you get an idea of the magnitude of force these superstars dunk with.

 

Oh yeah, and the students used LabVIEW to acquire and display the data. Check out the video and you'll see the screen shots of their front panel. Booya!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Side note: In writing this blog post, I was compelled to include the following picture, as it reminded me of Morgan's post on talking elephants.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3590/3358290691_404ef692c9.jpg?v=0

Who knew they could shoot some hoops as well? And just think of the intensity of Dumbo's slam dunk. Through the roof!