NIWeek draws strong attendance, focuses on global challenges

AUGUST 7, 2009--Speaking to attendees at the 15th annual NIWeek conference, executives from National Instruments (NI; Austin, TX, USA; www.ni.com) discussed how NI products are helping address global challenges.

Aug 7th, 2009

AUGUST 7, 2009--Speaking to attendees at the 15th annual NIWeek conference, executives from National Instruments (NI; Austin, TX, USA; www.ni.com) discussed how NI products are helping address global challenges. The NIWeek graphical system design conference and exhibition drew more than 3,000 attendees and over 80 exhibits by vendors and system integrators. Indepth technical coverage of machine-vision related news from NIWeek will appear in forthcoming articles in Vision Systems Design.

James Truchard, NI president, CEO, and cofounder, opened NIWeek by highlighting how LabVIEW graphical system design software has helped engineers and scientists meet and exploit the complex engineering challenges associated with parallel architectures and multicore programming. Vice president of marketing John Graff hosted NI engineers on stage to demonstrate new products including LabVIEW 2009, X Series multifunction data acquisition devices, NI VeriStand real-time testing software, and the NI wireless sensor network.

A series of demonstrations showed how these products meet demands for a variety of industrial, test and embedded applications. Graff also highlighted customers who are using NI products. Analog Devices reduced its cost of test by a factor of 10 by building its MEMS microphone test system on LabVIEW and PXI instrumentation. Animage, a veterinary medical imaging device manufacturer, prototyped and deployed a scanning machine in nine months using only four team members working with LabVIEW and NI CompactRIO.

A team led by business and technology fellow Mike Santori unveiled several new technologies. Presentations included NI Real-Time Hypervisor software for parallel and multicore processing, the IP Node for LabVIEW FPGA, and a prototype of a NI FlexRIO adapter module for Camera Link image processing. Demonstrations included a collaboration with Tektronix on a high-speed digitizer that exceeds 10 GS/s and programmable NI wireless sensor network nodes. New Web-based software, built on LabVIEW, for system design and user interfaces was previewed.

Jeff Kodosky, business and technology fellow and cofounder, explained how NI graphical dataflow programming can serve as an effective alternative to text-based programming for advanced applications and enhance productivity.

On the last day of the conference, Ray Almgren, vice president of academic relations, emphasized that it is crucial for professionals to work with students of all ages to inspire their interest in science, technology, engineering, and math. Almgren examined how students are tackling the Engineering Grand Challenges, as outlined by the National Academy of Engineering, with projects using LabVIEW graphical system design including robotics innovation, medical device design, and green engineering projects.

Almgren highlighted several collaborations on university-level projects including the development of small, agile robots for rescue purposes, green engineering applications such as research into alternative fuel sources, and biomedical projects to benefit third-world communities.

David Barrett, director of SCOPE (Senior Capstone Program in Engineering) at Olin College, closed the conference by illustrating how robotics could be the world's next major disruptive technology. He explained that the proliferation of robotics is happening now and that robots are currently saving lives, from assisting in surgical procedures to replacing humans in dangerous working conditions.

-- Posted by Conard Holton, Vision Systems Design, www.vision-systems.com

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