Software unites imaging, motion, and data

Several sensor companies, including Endevco (San Juan Capistrano, CA; www.endevco.com) and Brüel & Kjær, have developed a range of devices that incorporate the IEEE P1451.3 Transducer Electronic Data Sheets.

Several sensor companies, including Endevco (San Juan Capistrano, CA; www.endevco.com) and Brüel & Kjær (Norcross, GA; www.bkhome.com), have developed a range of devices that incorporate the IEEE P1451.3 Transducer Electronic Data Sheets (TEDS). "TEDS transforms dumb transducers into intelligent ones that hold sensitivity, calibration history, mounting location, and transducer identification on a read/write integrated circuit embedded in the transducer. This technology offers gains in productivity by automating much of the work of configuring a system," says Henrik Håkonsson, Brüel & Kjær managing director.

Data embedded in the sensor allow a TEDS-compatible system controller to automatically determine the nature and characteristics of each transducer. Alternatively, by attaching legacy sensors to in-line charge converters equipped with TEDS, systems developers can build P1451-compatible systems. Endevco's 2801 in-line smart remote-charge converter module, for example, can add smart-sensor technology to existing single-ended piezoelectric devices, therefore providing TEDS features to nonintelligent devices.

To support these devices, a number of companies, including Endevco and National Instruments (NI; Austin, TX; www.ni.com), are building PC-based products that communicate with TEDS-based sensors. "The trend in smart-sensor technology," says Ray Almgren, National Instruments vice president for product strategy, "is to allow TEDs to be offered as virtual instruments in packages such as LabView, providing systems developers with a quick way to develop test, measurement, and display systems."

National Instruments offers these virtual instruments in its LabView software package that currently includes graphical-user-interface (GUI) driven Vision Builder image-processing tools and Motion Assistant motion-controller software. According to Almgren, the company will roll out a GUI-based data-acquisition assistant—DAQ Assistant—to complement the software family sometime next year.

With these tools, developers can interactively build systems that combine data acquisition, input/output motion, and vision systems using a single GUI. For developers requiring a real-time development system, NI has announced version 6.1 of its Vision Development software. "Running under the ETS real-time operating system from Venturecom (Cambridge, MA; www.vci.com), LabView real-time profiler allows developers to time task execution and modify code accordingly," says Almgren.

Next year, NI is expected to introduceseveral real-time distributed multiprocessing tools and modules.

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