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Sweet Apps

25 Posts tagged with the data_acquisition tag

The sleek physique of an Aston Martin makes it look like it can travel effortlessly at high speeds, so why not put its racing skills to the test? Not so fast – the engine workload of a race car, which spends most of its time at full throttle, is much more demanding than a normal car driving down the highway. Even a luxury car like an Aston Martin couldn’t hold up without serious modifications.


Aston Martin Racing (AMR) has competed in the 24 Hour Tour Le Mans, the world’s most demanding sports car race, since 2005. Last year, AMR won the championship in the Grand Touring Endurance category with its Aston Martin V8 Vantage. The transformation from luxury car to race car involves significant reengineering, so AMR put its engine engineering team to work.




Severe damage can be caused if race car engine behavior isn’t measured and understood. With the help of Computer Controlled Solutions (CCS), the team created a data acquisition device using NI CompactRIO hardware and NI LabVIEW system design software. This reliable and high-precision measurement system allowed AMR to perform necessary adjustments, ultimately improving engine longevity.


>> Read another Sweet App about racing.

>> Read the full case study.


Did you know that nine swimming world records were shattered at the 2012 London Olympics? Despite bans on high-tech swimsuits and other technology, swimmers continue to get faster every year. Now, engineering students at The University of Texas at Austin have built something that could help swimmers get to the next level: a smart starting block that uses LabVIEW.



The block uses Nintendo Wii sensors to measure the normal and shear forces. These sensors then transmit the data through Bluetooth back to LabVIEW. The system also includes a webcam that acquires images, providing video of the dive. The LabVIEW program analyzes the data automatically, giving swimmers more information on what they need to fix.


Most impressively, these students were barely familiar with LabVIEW at the beginning of the project. Well done, team!


>> See more LabVIEW student design projects.


When soldiers are under fire, it’s hard for them to determine where the gunfire is coming from and to distinguish it from other noises in the area. To solve this problem, Raytheon BBN created a shooter detection system that helps our armed forces recover from an attack.

Boomerang uses seven microphones to detect the location of incoming small-arms fire, based on the shock wave and muzzle blast produced by the gun. In less than one second, Boomerang’s clock face display indicates the direction, range, elevation, and azimuth. A recorded voice also announces the direction and range of the fire.


Boomerang shooter detection.png

Raytheon BBN chose the Chameleon DAQ system from PVI Systems in order to combine the NI PXI platform with an out-of-the-box DAQ solution. The system uses NI PXI-449x and NI PXI-668x for signal acquisition and timing.

“The DAQ rates, up to 204.8 kS/s for 24-bit dynamic signal acquisition, are simply amazing.”
- Jeff Mazurek, Raytheon BBN

Boomerang doesn’t generate false positives from road bumps, door slams, firecrackers, or other noises commonly mistaken for gunfire. They successfully tested Boomerang in a football stadium, where simulated crowd noises and reverberations put the system’s algorithms to the test. It’s currently used by U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Raytheon BBN even developed a wearable, miniaturized version of the Boomerang system!

>> Watch a video of Boomerang in action.


Fun fact: you have five to six million odor-detecting cells in your nose, and research shows that the human brain can process roughly 10,000 smells in an area the size of a postage stamp. As you can imagine, replicating the sense of smell is extremely difficult due to its complexity.


However, researchers in Europe are tackling the challenge. A team from the Polytechnic University of Valencia in Spain and the University of Gävle in Sweden put their minds together and developed a multisensory odor-discriminating system that can “sniff” crushed fruit and determine if it is an apple or a pear.


The system includes 32 metal oxide semiconductor sensors that “sniff” the air and collect data through an NI USB-6218 data acquisition module. The researchers also use NI LabVIEW to retrieve measurements and control the power sources, which include the NI GPIB bus that drives the currents for the sensors and heaters, and the digital multimeter that measures the output voltage of the sensor on the load resistor.


>> Check out another system that can identify you based on your body odor.


As the price of gas increases, more and more people are choosing to buy electric cars. However, there was a serious lack of information about what happens to the large electric batteries in the case of a fire. As a result, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) decided to investigate the hazards faced by firefighters who put out electric vehicle fires. How are those fires different than standard gasoline vehicle fires? Can the firefighters get shocked by the big batteries? What happens when those batteries burn? How much heat energy do they put out?




Tom Bress, senior engineer at Exponent Failure Analysis Associates, conducted full-scale burn tests of electric vehicle batteries in a vehicle simulator and fire fighters put the fires out. He used LabVIEW and a NI CompactDAQ chassis to acquire data. He monitored thermocouples, heat flux sensors, and voltage and current on the simulator and on the fire hose nozzle. He also controlled the burners using a digital relay module and communicated with the propane mass flow meter using VISA and a serial cable. Most interestingly, he communicated with the batteries while they were burning using a CAN bus module in the NI CompactDAQ system. Basically, he pretended to be the onboard car computer and used the XNET protocol VIs to send and receive data from the battery. As a result, he could monitor the internal voltages and temperatures of the batteries while they were on fire. Awesome!


Bonus fact: Tom is also the author of Effective LabVIEW Programming, scheduled for publication by NTS Press in August of this year. Clearly, he knows his way around a block diagram.


>> Check out another high-temperature LabVIEW application: an automated meat smoker.


In track and field competitions, the difference between winning and losing can be mere milliseconds. An inefficient start can ruin an entire race. So, how can runners make sure they’re using the best possible form? Well, using NI CompactDAQ hardware and NI LabVIEW software, four Georgia Tech students built smart starting blocks in just two months.


Their TrackVIEW system uses LabVIEW and NI Vision tools to acquire images of the runners during their first three steps out of the starting blocks. These images can then be analyzed for efficiency and proper form. Strain gages and accelerometers in each of the block’s footpads also feed data into the NI CompactDAQ device.



Unlike most of the tools currently on the market, TrackVIEW provides a low-cost but high-tech training tool for high school and college coaches. As one student said, using LabVIEW and NI CompactDAQ to transfer data to the computer was the easiest thing ever!

>> See other ways NI empowers student innovation.


Strokes, or the sudden interruption of blood flow to the brain, affect more than 15 million people around the world and are one of the most devastating modern-age diseases. Although more than 65% of those who suffer from a stroke survive, recovery is by no means an easy process. Many patients struggle to find the motivation required to finish the tedious and challenging exercises necessary to recover. But a team of postgraduate students from the University of Belgrade in Serbia may have found the solution: a Nintendo Wii.



The team realized that poststroke arm rehabilitation and one of the most popular pastimes in the world, playing video games, are similar because they involve numerous repetitions of a limited number of movements. They then built a system that combines Nintendo Wii games with the traditional poststroke rehabilitation of the upper extremities.

The system, which runs with the help of LabVIEW, consists of a movement acquisition system, a controller, and a WiiMote actuator called RehaAssist for Wii. The controller captures the movement, compares the captured kinematics of the patient to the task presented, and scores the movement.

So far, the system supports four Wii games: Wii Bowling, Wii Frisbee, Wii Table Tennis, and Wii Wakeboarding.  The game variety not only helps to prevent boredom, but also expands the number of movements exercised by the patient. Unsurprisingly, the system has already been met with widespread excitement from clinicians and patients alike, because who gets upset when the doctor’s orders are to play Wii Bowling all day long?

>> Check out another video game spinoff: Real-Life Mario Kart.


Have you ever dreaded going to the doctor’s office for your annual physical exam? Well, thanks to researchers at Texas Tech University, you might not have to leave your couch to complete your next one. The concept of noncontact detection of vital signs has been around since before 2000, but interest and research efforts in this technique have really taken off with the advancement of technology over the last decade. This isn’t a surprise, considering bioradar systems have the potential to help track tumors, administer smart e-healthcare, search for survivors after earthquakes, and monitor sleeping infants and adults to detect abnormal breathing patterns.

Previously, the Doppler radar technique was used to sense physiological movements. Unfortunately, this technique was expensive, was predominantly instrument-based, and required several advanced RF/microwave components including a spectrum analyzer, signal generator, and signal analyzer. To improve on this technique, researchers implemented a system using NI PXI hardware to achieve real-time signal processing simultaneously with data acquisition in NI LabVIEW system design software.

The PXI system generates a 5.8 GHz single-tone signal which is transmitted through an antenna toward the subject’s body. Once the signal reaches the body, it bounces back and is modulated by physiological motions, including respiration and heartbeat. The reflected signal is then captured by the receiving antenna and is downconverted and digitized. Lastly, LabVIEW is used to read the digitized data and to display the data in a time domain.


This smart bioradar system is just the beginning and serves as a great starting point for biomedical engineering professionals, radar engineers, and signal processing experts to further explore the field of noncontact detection of vital signs. In other words, the possibilities are endless!

>> Get more info on this smart bioradar system.



Big Advancements for Big Rigs

Posted by kimboller Feb 19, 2013

Picture this: you’re on a busy 70 mph highway and before you know it, an 18-wheeler pulls up next to you. If you’re like me, you waste no time putting the pedal to the metal until you’re safely past the big rig, free to enjoy the comfort of the open road. Considering that current commercial vehicle stability control systems usually only monitor the behavior of the front towing engine and pay little attention to the trailers in the back, I’d say we have a good reason for speeding!


However, there’s a growing need to improve the safety and efficiency of commercial freight transportation as increased traffic and cargo volumes in the U.S. and Europe have led to congested roadways. One solution is to reduce the number of vehicles on the road by using a tractor with multiple trailers, but advancements in stability control are needed to ensure the safety of multiple-unit trucks.

Fortunately, researchers at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (ICAR) are looking to solve this problem. They’re using the NI PXI platform, M Series DAQ devices, and the NI LabVIEW Control Design and Simulation Module to prototype a multiple-unit vehicle measurement and control system to assess the vehicle’s dynamic state, evaluate system stability, and apply corrective actions to maintain stability.

>> Love cars and trucks? Read how NI tools are being used to test Formula 1 race cars.






Fun facts about the Hawksbill sea turtle:

- They get their name from their sharp, curving beak.

- Their shells change color slightly based on water temperature.

- They primarily eat sea sponges but also occasionally eat jellyfish and anemones.


Not-so-fun facts about the Hawksbill sea turtle:

- They’re currently critically endangered, mostly due to human impact.


Fortunately, students at the School of Science and Technology, Singapore, are on the case! The Perhentian Islands, formerly a large nesting ground for green and hawksbill sea turtles, now contain a turtle hatchery to boost declining turtle populations. The students needed to build a hardware system to constantly measure the temperature of soil at different depths in order to determine if incubating eggs in pails is as viable as incubating eggs buried under the sand.



Baby sea turtle on the Perhentian Islands.

The students developed a multitemperature sensor-based data-logging system that can be buried at different depths to measure the temperature of soil over a 24-hour period. The temperature sensors are connected to a multiplexer, NI myDAQ hardware, and a computer running NI LabVIEW software. The information gathered from this system will be used to help keep sea turtles around for future generations to enjoy.


>> Learn more about NI myDAQ here.


If you haven’t heard, Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner casually dove off a platform 24 miles above the ground yesterday. Over 8 million viewers watched live on YouTube as “Fearless Felix” became the first human to break the sound barrier with his body. Baumgartner and his team spent many years preparing for the record-smashing jump— and the technology they used to ensure his safety included NI LabVIEW software.



Of course, Baumgartner’s survival wasn’t guaranteed. In fact, the live feed was delayed 20 seconds in case of an accident. If he managed to avoid an unstoppable spin (he narrowly did), his life depended on the integrity of his pressure suit. At 102,800 feet, the temperatures plummet to 70 degrees below zero Fahrenheit and the atmosphere is so thin that his blood would have vaporized if his equipment failed.


Testing his pressurized jump suit and helmet was a larger goal of the mission. His suit, equipped with sensors and recorders, measured everything from his speed to his heart rate. Back at mission control, his team used LabVIEW to monitor various I/O like altitude, pressure, and oxygen levels. In the future, such equipment could save an astronaut's life if a spacecraft malfunctions.


The Red Bull Stratos jump is proof that with proper testing and the right technologies, not even the sky is the limit for human accomplishment. Congratulations to Baumgartner and his entire team!


>> Check out our first Sweet App on Red Bull Stratos.


The Sweetest Demos of NIWeek 2012

Posted by mlax Aug 13, 2012

Controlling a Heart Simulator

See how the University of Leeds developed a realistic, reliable, and reconfigurable testing environment to advance and improve a novel heart assist device without the need for animal testing. This demo uses NI CompactRIO to create a stand-alone hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) testing environment, combining a physical mechanical heart with a circulatory blood flow model to create an end solution that physically and hemodynamically replicates in-vivo models.





The Hydraulic Fracturing Van

In this demo you'll see high-speed pump condition monitoring using field-programmable gate array (FPGA) timing and analysis with ultra-rugged hardware to withstand the harshest oil and gas environments.



SmartGrid Monitoring and Control

See how NI engineers used NI CompactRIO embedded controlling power to create an optimized self-healing grid that monitors and displays PMU and SGA measurements for efficient grid management. They also  took advantage of fast sample rates for predictive fault anticipation.



Beer Brewing Automation

Check out this automated beer brewer that uses NI Single-Board RIO and a custom RIO Mezzanine Card. The NI Single-Board RIO monitors temperature and controls the pumps, safety I/O, and heating elements while also hosting a LabVIEW web service for remote monitoring of the brewing process.



…And Two Keynote Demos That Were Too Sweet For The Demo Floor


Data Dashboard and LabVIEW Touch Programming

Listen as Jeff Kodosky and Kyle Gupton talk about using mobile devices to view data taken anywhere in the world. Data can be published to the NI Technical Data Cloud and can be read on your data dashboard. See future LabVIEW touch base programming examples including creating VIs on a tablet.




Optimedica Catalys Eye Surgical Device

Listen as NIWeek veteran and co-founder of OptiMedica, Mike Wiltberger, describes the latest innovative medical device from OptiMedica based on LabVIEW and graphical system design methods. The Catalys uses R Series Multifunction RIO to control femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery offering a reproducible, noninvasive technique to replace the least predictable and most technically demanding steps of conventional cataract procedures.





Each year, nearly 9,500 children fall from their cribs and bump their head so severely that they need hospitalization. But now, new parents can sleep a little easier because students at the University of Texas at Tyler have developed a system called the Crib Guardian, which monitors a young child’s movements and reports abnormalities back to the caregiver. By using NI LabVIEW for data acquisition and analysis, NI USB-6008 for digital I/O, and NI 6011E for analog input, the team has created an affordable alternative to the expensive monitoring systems on the market today.

baby 4.jpg




The Crib Guardian includes a sensing module placed beneath the mattress that records the child’s movements and sends the data to a computer for analysis. The system uses algorithms to classify each movement and determines if an alert is necessary.


The caregiver has a wireless alert receiver that vibrates, buzzes, and lights up when an alert is sent. By using the different algorithms with LabVIEW, the Crib Guardian sends three different kinds of alerts: a yellow light for “caution”, a blue light for “child at rail”, and a red light for “danger”. These alerts, which are unique to the Crib Guardian system, help prevent suffocation, head trauma, and children falling from the crib.





>> Check out the details on how the Crib Guardian was born.



X-ray technology, which we use for everything from scanning luggage to finding broken bones, hasn’t changed much since it was invented in 1895. X-ray machines tend to be both bulky and immobile, needing to be plugged into the wall at all times. In addition, they are prohibitively expensive, meaning that some hospitals in developing countries are forced to go without this life-saving technology.


Thanks to a start-up company in California, that may be changing soon. Scientists at Tribogenics have developed a portable X-ray device that can easily fit in your pocket. By harnessing static electricity to power the device, they have successfully produced a number of X-ray images, including that of a microchip.


Of course, any device emitting X-rays needs to be thoroughly tested. Tribogenics uses NI chassis, acquisition boards, and digital I/O boards for all of their test stations. In addition, they chose NI LabVIEW software to control the data input/output, control different instruments, and analyze the data.


“We want to ensure our products are reliable and consistent, so we conduct a lot of materials testing,” said chief scientist Dr. Carlos Camara. “Because LabVIEW is compatible with a number of systems, our lab technicians can run through tests quickly and keep things standardized. It’s simple and effective.”


So keep an eye out the next time you visit the doctor’s office—they might be using one of these handheld devices!


>> Read about another life-saving Sweet App.


Brazil is known for a number of things: miles of sunny beaches, the 2016 Summer Olympics, the Carnaval celebration, and... being the world's largest sugarcane producer? Yes, in fact Brazil is a global leader in converting sugarcane to ethanol, which some have called "the most successful alternative fuel to date". Now researchers have found a way to kick this bioethanol conversion process into high gear.


Using vacuum extractive fermentation (VEF), ethanol is removed as it is produced, which metabolizes yeast more productively. VEF also reduces water consumption when cooling tanks, because the heat generated in fermentation is used for ethanol evaporation.



The researchers at the Centro de Tecnologia Canavieira (Sugarcane Research Center) used NI Compact FieldPoint and LabVIEW to create a  system to control and supervise the vacuum extractive fermentation  process.


"We integrated the VEF process with NI products to bring this new fermentation process to an industrial scale," said Dr. Daniel Ibraim Pires Atala from the Centro de  Tecnologia Canavieira. "Using NI products, we  passed the laboratory bench design stage, increased the scale to a semi-industrial unit, and gained immediate acceptance by the sugar alcohol industry."


>> Cane you dig it? Get the full story behind this Sweet App.

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