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15 Posts tagged with the niweek tag

If you’ve ever attended NIWeek, you know how much fun it is to wander through the expo floor, looking at all the amazing demos. It was tough to narrow it down, but here are five of our favorite demos from this year’s conference.


The myRIO Giant Tetris Wall

Playing Tetris on your desktop is pretty fun. Playing Tetris on a giant light-up screen is way better! This giant Tetris wall was powered by a myRIO device. It was a huge hit with NIWeek attendees.




The Remote-Controlled Omni-Rover

Don’t underestimate the power of LEGO! This remote-controlled omni-rover was constructed using LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 parts and is controlled by an EV3 remote control.



The myRIO-Controlled Guitar

Who needs guitar lessons when you’ve got NI tools? This myRIO device controls a custom hardware setup to automatically play a guitar. NIWeek attendees could choose songs for the guitar to play, making this demo the life of the expo floor party.

myRIO guitar.jpg



The USRP-Controlled Helium Blimp

In this demo, an NI USRP device controls a 900 MHz helium blimp. The USRP records and plays back signals off the air, allowing NIWeek attendees to steer the blimp up, down, and all around.


helium balloon.jpg 



Haptic Tug-of-War   

This sweet app brought tug-of-war into the digital age using a 4-slot NI CompactDAQ device and LabVIEW 2014. NIWeek attendees challenged a variety of animals, from a ladybug to Godzilla, to intense games of tug-of-war.






Didn’t see your favorite demo on this list? Comment on this post and let us know which one you liked best.



>> Watch these demos in action on YouTube.


If you visited the LabVIEW Zone at NIWeek 2013, you might have noticed an interesting chess board. I know, many people think “interesting chess” is an oxymoron, but stay with me.

Engineer’s chess, or robot chess, was inspired by wizard’s chess in the world of Harry Potter. Pieces move on their own, according to the players’ verbal commands.

In our version of wizard’s chess, you play against NI LabVIEW software, which runs on an embedded NI CompactRIO controller. The controller contains the chess algorithm, and controls the motion and vision of the chess demo.



The engineering chess board.


A LabVIEW user interface lets you know how much time you have left. When it’s your turn, you move your piece like a normal chess game, then push a button to confirm your move with the computer. 

LabVIEW responds based on its pre-programmed chess algorithm, moving all pieces associated with its move via an electromagnet—so it appears the pieces are moving by magic, without being touched.

We originally told you that LabVIEW was undefeated at chess, but we've realized our mistake (and wish we could use the obliviate charm to erase your memories). At least two NIWeek attendees and a few NI employees beat LabVIEW on the "easy" skill level (which thinks one move ahead). However, we have yet to hear about anyone defeating the "hard" LabVIEW algorithm (which thinks 20 moves ahead)!

NI engineers are working to extend the demo so that you can play against remote opponents instead of just a computer. One day soon, you’ll be able to challenge a friend in Dubai to a game, while watching the pieces move right in front of you!


>> Watch engineer’s chess in action.


What do semi-trailer trucks, electron beam machines, and the Milan Cathedral have in common? They’re all involved in NI customer applications! Not only that, but these and 15 other applications will be featured at the Graphical System Design Achievement Awards (GSDAA)—our yearly technical application contest.


This hydraulic gangway uses NI LabVIEW and NI CompactRIO to provide a stable walking surface even in dangerous conditions.

NI customers create some incredible applications, and all year long we tell you about them. Now, this is your chance to actually participate in the process and make sure your favorite app gets the props they deserve.

How? At NIWeek 2013, one amazing customer application will win the NI Community’s Choice Award. Our judges read through more than 150 submissions and selected just 18 finalists. Now, you get to pick which one you want to win the NI Community’s Choice Award. The finalist with the most votes will be honored at the GSDAA ceremony during NIWeek 2013. Voting ends August 5!

To support your favorite finalist and increase their chances of winning, follow these steps:

1. Join the
NIWeek 2013 group.
Vote here!



How many engineers does it take to build a robot?


The team at Enable Training and Consulting, Inc. decided to bring a demo to their booth at NIWeek 2012 that would really create some buzz. They set out to build a Delta robot, powered by LEGO MINDSTORMS and LabVIEW. Engineers, marketers, interns, and co-op students teamed up to tackle the challenge and bring the Trace-a-Tron to life.


Players at Enable’s booth used an iCade arcade joystick to control the Delta robot, which consisted of three motors driven by a LEGO MINDSTORMS brick. The robot included a light sensor, and the longer a player kept the sensor locked on the reflective tape circle spinning below, the more points the player scored. Using the original Trace-o-Tron program, written in LabVIEW, a computer tracked each player’s performance and announced the high scores via Twitter.


So what did the best Trace-o-Tron players win at NIWeek? Some sweet Enable-branded Silly Putty in plastic eggs, straight from the Yolk-a-Tron 5000.


>> Read about the robot's journey to NIWeek from start to finish.


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.





The Graphical System Design Achievement Awards is our annual technical application contest, showcasing the most innovative projects based on NI software and hardware. This year, over 120 applicants from 23 countries submitted papers showcasing their greatest accomplishments using graphical system design.




While a panel of technical judges chooses the winners for each application category, we want you to tell us which paper YOU think should win. To vote for the NI Community’s Choice Award, just click the “Like” button underneath your favorite submission on the NIWeek 2012 Community. The finalist’s paper with the most “Likes” wins!



NI will honor the Community’s Choice Award winner at the 2012 Graphical System Design Achievement Awards ceremony, held during NIWeek.



>> Read about the finalists and start voting.



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.



Happy Valentine's Day, Sweet Apps readers! We LabVIEW very much.


At National Instruments we help make the dreams of engineers and scientists come true on a daily basis—and sometimes we’re the Cupid that brings two companies together.


In 2010 Intel and Sisu Devices—an NI Alliance Partner—met at NIWeek, and it was love at first byte. Okay, not really, but they did decide to work together to develop a demo based on “Pipe Dream,” a computer-animated music video created by Animusic in 2004. Sisu calls it the “Pipe Dream Demo” and Intel calls it the “Industrial Control in Concert Demo,” but whatever you want to call it, this demo showcases the ability to create a robotic orchestra. That’s right, no humans play this concert, just machines and some NI LabVIEW code.


Using NI hardware and software, the two lovebirds created this real-world masterpiece in only 90 days in time for the Intel Developers Forum. They used LabVIEW to implement the entire system, and LabVIEW Real-Time was the real-time operating system used on most of the embedded controllers throughout the system. How sweet is that?

If you'd like to see this demo in person, it will be on display in Intel's booth at the Embedded World trade show in Nuremberg, Germany, from February 28 - March 1. National Instruments will also have a booth at the show, so come visit us in Hall 4, Booth 4-422!



>> Learn more about building embedded control and monitoring applications with NI products.

>> Interested in musical Sweet Apps? Check out this piano-playing robot.





Applications Engineer Ryan Theuer helps NI customers innovate every day.  So when his bride-to-be wanted a photo booth at their July wedding reception, Ryan used the opportunity to create his own solution using NI LabVIEW software. With PBC pipe and a curtain, he built a fully-enclosed, mobile photo booth that not only cost a fraction of a rented one, but also included even more features.


Ryan first wrote the app’s code using LabVIEW, then stripped down and reformatted an old computer to operate only the LabVIEW run-time engine and NI-IMAQdx vision acquisition software. These two programs worked together to acquire and process the images taken in the photo booth. After assembling a 4 ft. by 5 ft. structure; incorporating a photo printer, web camera, and touch screen; and, of course, winning his fiancé’s approval, Ryan was ready to debut the photo booth at their reception.


Here's a screenshot of the program:


Photobooth Screenshot.PNG


Needless to say, it was a big hit! Once inside the photo booth, guests used the touch screen to enter their names and the number of people in their group, then a clock counted down five seconds before taking four consecutive snapshots. After striking their poses, the group could choose between black-and-white or color prints, add their photos to the guestbook, and receive copies by printing them or sending electronic versions to themselves via email or text. The photo booth also features a custom background and cool video message function that allows guests to record a 30-second speech for the bride and groom.





Ryan’s photo booth was such a success that he plans to rent it out for future events. He’s already received his first booking from another NI employee who’s also ready to say “I do”!


Congrats to the newlyweds!


>> Did you have a chance to attend NIWeek? Check out some of the sweetest apps that made it to the expo floor!


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.




>> Check out more cool demos and sweet apps from NIWeek.


We all remember what we learned in grade school, about how Benjamin Franklin discovered electricity by flying a kite in a lightning storm. While this would have been an interesting experiment to reenact during NIWeek, our engineers decided to show off the new NI PXIe-4844 optical sensor interrogator and its immunity to high voltage as well as its ability to perform measurements in hazardous environments by creating an indoor lightning storm during the keynote presentation.


To create this lightning storm, NI borrowed two 4 ft Tesla coils capable of producing arcs of over 250 kV from our favorite experimental rock group, ArcAttack, who you may have seen on America’s Got Talent. Even though the band wasn’t at NIWeek to perform with these high-tech instruments, the audience was still able to rock out as we measured the temperature from the high-voltage arcs using 300 ft of fiber optic cables, the new optical sensor interrogator, and an optical temperature sensor.


Watch the full demo during the NIWeek keynote presentation, or skip to 4:13 to get right to the lightning storm:





After all those electrical strikes, the sensors and equipment were left undamaged – just as they would in any other harsh or hazardous environment.


If this demo wasn’t entertaining enough, check out the guys from ArcAttack as they perform the theme song from Doctor Who with more lightning and Tesla coils.




I think I just woke up my inner geek.


Learn more about optical sensing and fiber Bragg gratings.


Our engineers ask customers to do the darndest things for the NIWeek graphical system design conference. For example, we asked one of our customers, Sisu Devices, to build a demo for our expo floor using a NERF gun, NI LabVIEW software, and vision tools.


NI vision tools track the NERF darts shot at the target and then move the target to block the darts using a 2-axis motion system.


Russ Aldridge from Sisu Devices shares all the details about how his company built the device:



I'd certainly say that's a Sweet App. Check out more demos from the NIWeek show floor and see what other customers are doing with NI tools.


Vecna Robotics' Battlefield Extraction-Assist Robot (BEAR) recently paid us a visit at the NIWeek graphical system design conference where we all learned about the strengths and talents of this versatile, humanoid robot. Using NI LabVIEW and CompactRIO, engineers were able to design a prototype and proof of concept for this patent-pending robot. The BEAR was designed to locate, lift, and rescue people in harm's way, and (simply put) to do what humans can't such as lift heavy loads and carry them long distances.


In addition to extracting humans, the BEAR can help with more logistical tasks, like handling munitions and delivering supplies. It’s payload capacity is 500 lbs, so it could definitely help as an extra hand on the battlefield. And because of it’s dexterity, it could perform maintenance functions as well, such as inspection, decontamination, and refueling. Saving time and effort allows troops to focus on the task at hand, which indirectly reduces the risk soldiers are exposed to.


Vecna Robotics President Daniel Theobald gave us a closer look of the BEAR during NIWeek:




And, like we said, the BEAR is designed to do more than just look cute:




Learn more about LabVIEW for robotics applications.


When the Racing Green Endurance (RGE) team departed from Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay in early July to begin their more than 16,000 mile journey on the Pan-American Highway, they did so in an electric sports car powered, in part, by NI LabVIEW and NI CompactRIO.




RGE is a student-led project at Imperial College London that aims to demonstrate the potential of zero-emission cars. The team partnered with Radical Sportscars to produce the SRZero electric sports car, which is based on the chassis of the Radical SR8, a British supercar that, until recently, held the Nürburgring lap record for the fastest production car in the world. The SRZero uses a fully electric powertrain that can achieve a top speed of 120 mph. The car has a unique twin-motor electric drive system that makes it possible for the car to travel further than any other electric car before needing to be recharged. Based on their collaboration with RGE, Radical Sportscars plans to launch a production version of the vehicle in 2011.


LabVIEW and CompactRIO power the car’s control systems, making it possible for RGE to integrate all the components in the power train. CompactRIO controls the battery management system to monitor and protect the health of the Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries. CompactRIO also manages motor controllers, driver interfaces and the car’s safety systems.




"CompactRIO, powered by LabVIEW, is the brain of the car," said Alec de Zegher, chief control engineer on the project. "The control system we have built using NI tools enables us to tightly integrate and manage all the different systems on the car."


Toby Schulz, the team’s energy and vehicle systems engineer, added, "We chose CompactRIO to run the SRZero because of its powerful, robust and flexible nature, important attributes when building an experimental electric vehicle. With CompactRIO, our control systems can be adapted and expanded at ease. From our experience with Formula Student, we knew using LabVIEW graphical programming and CompactRIO reconfigurable hardware would enable us to rapidly design and iteratively prototype advanced control systems for the car, allowing us to get from initial concept to a full, road-legal deployment in just months."


RGE will drive the car from Alaska to the world’s southernmost city, Ushuaia, Argentina, and if successful, will become the first electric car to travel the entire Pan-American Highway. One of the team’s stops on their journey will be Austin, Texas, during the first week of August for NIWeek 2010.


Visit the team’s website to learn more about the car and the technology powering it and to follow their progress by blog and via a live tracking map.


Imagine stepping into an elevator and saying to the attendant, “Take me to Mars, please.”

The Spaceward Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to furthering space science and technology in education, has been developing technology for a space elevator. This futuristic concept is an alternative to scheduling space shuttle trips, providing a fixed transport to space using a ribbon-like cable kept in place by the centrifugal force derived from the earth’s rotation.

Watch this video to learn more about their vision:

To accomplish their goal, the foundation used funds from NASA as motivation in the Space Elevator Games to challenge scientific and engineering communities to create a wirelessly laser-powered robot that would climb a 1 km tether at a speed of 5 m/s. The team that could create the space climber would win a whopping $2 million.

That’s where KC Space Pirates came in with their space climber, which they had been working on for more than four years. They powered their 1 kg robot with photovoltaic cells using an 8 kW TRUMF industrial laser aimed through an optics system. To create their functional high-speed tracking system, they used NI LabVIEW, the LabVIEW Real-Time Module, and CompactRIO.

Watch the video of their space-climber robot before the 2009 Space Elevator Games:

They used LabVIEW for the control panel that managed laser power, robot position, status monitoring, and system parameter control. LabVIEW gave KC Pirates the ability to add flashing alerts for temperature and set the indicators to read straight up during nominal operation.


CompactRIO sampled the optics sensor inputs, determined the relative position of the climber in its field of view, and controlled voice coils to aim a steering mirror. Its real-time processor performed floating-point math operations and handled the data transfer to the host PC.

2010-06-17_094309_image 2.jpg

As for the Space Elevator Games, KC Pirates tracked their climber to within 6 in. of the full kilometer distance and at oscillation frequencies up to 20 Hz. So unfortunately, KC Pirates did not take home the hefty winner’s purse.

However, the Space Elevator Games continue this fall with $1.1 million for the team that meets the 5 m/s challenge.

Our Sweet Apps bloggers found this cool application through a submission to the Graphical System Design Achievement Awards. Learn more about how to submit a paper to this contest and win a free trip to NIWeek.

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