NI Engineering Impact Awards

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Vote for Your Favorite 2014 NI Engineering Impact Awards Paper

The NI Engineering Impact Awards is the annual technical application contest, showcasing the most innovative projects based on NI software and hardware. Technical judges have whittled down the 120 submissions to 14 finalists, two for each application category.

Now it’s your turn to vote.

This year’s NI Engineering Impact Awards ceremony, held during NIWeek at the Four Seasons Hotel Austin, will honor the NI Community’s Choice Award winner: the submission selected by you, the people, the NI community of engineers and scientists. Voting closes on Monday, August 4, 2014 at 5 p.m. CT.

How to vote:

Read the brief description of each submission listed below. You can also read the full paper of each submission by clicking on its hyperlink and downloading the PDF attachment - and they are ALL worth reading in full!

When you are ready to cast your vote, click on the hyperlink for each paper that you like (yes, you can cast more than one vote). Once you’ve navigated to the specific community page for the finalist paper, be sure to click on the “Like” button at the bottom right corner of the page. Once you’ve “Liked” a finalist, you've cast your vote!


Note that while you can “Like” multiple submissions, you are only able to “Like” each finalist once. “Liking” the same document multiple times will not result in multiple votes for the same submission.

Be cool.

Tell your friends, family, co-workers, and anyone else in your online network to vote. Seriously, the more votes the better. But please be cool and don’t try to game the system. Let’s make sure the Community Choice Award is given to the coolest, most-deserving application.

Voting will close on Monday, August 4, 2014 at 5 p.m. CT. The finalist with the most "Likes" will be honored at the NI Engineering Impact Awards ceremony on August 5, 2014.

Submit any questions or comments about the voting process in the comments section below.

Read the 2014 NI Engineering Impact Awards Finalist Papers


Using CompactRIO and LabVIEW to Monitor and Control a Compact Spherical Tokamak for Plasma Research

Author: Paul Apte, Tokamak Solutions

Challenge: Creating a small, cost-effective tokamak for the approximately 300 plasma research centers in the world to use for exploring magnetic confinement fusion.

Solution: Using NI CompactRIO hardware and NI LabVIEW software to develop a powerful DAQ and control system for a small tokamak, providing plasma physics research centers easier access to the technology they need to accelerate their research, with less expense.

Read more and vote for this paper here

Building the World’s Largest Range, Highest Speed Atomic Force Microscope

Authors: Iman Soltani Bozchalooi, A.C. Houck, and K. Youcef-Toumi, MIT

Challenge: Developing a large-range video-rate atomic force microscope (LRVR-AFM) to observe nanoscale processes in real time.

Solution: Combining the high throughput capability of the NI PXI Express platform and the flexibility and speed of two FPGA platforms with high-speed data acquisition modules to control multiple piezo actuators, minimize probe-sample interaction forces, and visualize measurements in the form of high-resolution microscopy images.

Read more and vote for this paper here


Developing a High-Speed Electrical Analysis for Facility-Wide Energy Research

Author: Craig Eidson, Jennifer Palumbo – Optimation Technology
Challenge: Monitoring the Research Electrical Distribution Bus (REDB) and electrical safety conditions for individual experiments across the Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF), a 182,500 sq ft testing facility located at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado.
Solution: Developing an easily reconfigurable power monitoring solution that provides researchers at NREL with the valuable real-time data they need to overcome the challenges of integrating renewable energy technologies on the grid. More than 70 NI CompactRIO devices were distributed throughout the ESIF to acquire GPS synchronized voltages and currents at more than 50,000 samples per second (Hz).

Read more and vote for this paper here

Controlling a Hardware-in-the-Loop Grid Simulator for the World’s Most Powerful Renewable Energy Test Facility

Authors: Mark McKinney, Ben Gislason, J. Curtiss Fox, Clemson University Restoration Institute

Challenge: Providing energy companies and graduate students a state-of-the-art facility to test both the mechanical and electrical characteristics of a hardware innovation prototype for any energy resource on a utility scale (up to 15 MW) in a controlled and calibrated environment before deploying it on the actual grid. 

Solution: Delivering high-speed deterministic DAQ, control, and communications for a 15 MVA hardware–in-the-loop (HIL) grid simulator using NI LabVIEW system design software and NI PXI, NI CompactRIO, and NI FlexRIO hardware.

Read more and vote for this paper here


Testing eCall Emergency Call Systems With the NI Platform

Authors: Enrique Gutierrez, peiker acustic GmbH & Co. KG

Markus Solbach, Marc Abels, and Sergej Dirks, NOFFZ ComputerTechnik GmbH

Challenge: Developing an efficient multidevice tester with full-featured run-in screening and functionality testing for eCall products.

Solution: Using a NOFFZ UTP Tester and an NI TestStand batch process model to achieve a high level of parallelization and test 28 devices in the climate chamber, which reduced testing time from almost seven minutes to approximately one minute per device under test (DUT).

Read more and vote for this paper here

Developing the Elektra Test System, a New End-of-Line Test Bench for Hybrid Inverters

Author: Alessandro De Grassi and Alessandro Andreoli - Loccioni

Challenge: Creating a test bench for the end-of-line test of Magneti Marelli inverters for the new LaFerrari car hybrid application.

Solution: Using NI PXI hardware, NI LabVIEW system design software, and NI TestStand test management software, to standardize testing the inverter unit.

Read more and vote for this paper here


Controlling a Robotic Manipulator for Nuclear Decommissioning

Authors: Dr. Carwyn Jones, James Fisher Nuclear Ltd., Justin Gallagher and Dr. David Keeling, Key Engineering Solutions Limited

Challenge: Developing a cost-effective modular robotic manipulator for use with a range of remote handling tasks in nuclear decommissioning applications, which represent some of the most hazardous environments on the planet.

Solution: Using NI CompactRIO hardware, NI LabVIEW system design software, and the LabVIEW Robotics Module to develop a cost-effective, safe, and reliable system that provides accurate remote control of a heavy-duty manipulator in an environment that is otherwise inaccessible to humans.

Read more and vote for this paper here

Developing a Portable 3D Vision-Guided Medical Robot for Autonomous Venipuncture

Author: Alvin Chen and Max Balter, VascuLogic

Challenge: Developing a portable, image-guided, medical robot that autonomously performs blood draws and other IV procedures when medical professionals are unable to successfully access veins.

Solution: Combining the performance of NI CompactRIO hardware, the flexibility of NI LabVIEW system design software, and the extensive NI robotics and machine vision libraries to deliver a safe portable medical device for initial human testing.

Read more and vote for this paper here


Hyundai Uses a Portable Sound Camera for Buzz, Squeak, and Rattle Studies

Authors: Kang-Duck Ih, Hyundai Motor Group and Youngkey K. Kim, SM Instruments Co., Ltd.
Challenge: Creating a portable system to visualize and identify annoying transient buzz, squeak, and rattle (BSR) noise sources in Hyundai automobiles.
Solution: Developing a handheld sound camera with NI LabVIEW system design software that identifies and displays noise sources in real time using microelectromechanical system (MEMS) and FPGA technologies to increase the image update rate and to decrease the total weight of the device.

Read more and vote for this paper here

Characterizing Sound Profiles for a New Airbus Aircraft Using NI PXI

Authors: Johan de Goede and Rob Zwemmer, National Aerospace Laboratory (NLR)

Challenge: Acquiring data at high sample rates from more than 200 microphones and pressure sensors that are distributed in a large wind tunnel while keeping the signals synchronized within 1 µs.

Solution: Using the PXI and PXI Express synchronization bus and the external synchronization possibilities to demonstrate close synchronization of the signals, even if their cabling lengths differ by 100 m.

Read more and vote for this paper here


Weather Radar: Design-to-Deployment Using the NI Platform

Author: Takuo Kashiwa, Ph.D., Yasunobu Asada, Tomonao Kobayashi, Furuno Electric Co., Ltd.

Challenge: Developing a weather radar with flexibility in the signal processing unit to accommodate various potential design changes and incorporate a way to verify the system-level performance by co-simulating the digital and analog sections.

Solution: Adopting the NI FlexRIO platform for digital section hardware, using graphical system design to accommodate potential design changes in the software, and taking advantage of the co-simulation capability between AWR Visual System Simulator (VSS) and NI LabVIEW software to realize the system-level simulation of digital and analog sections together.

Read more and vote for this paper here

Building a Satellite Navigation Test platform Using the NI Vector Signal Transceiver

Authors: David Bourdier, Yohann Gouttefroy, Marc Pollina and Mark Dury, M3Systems

Challenge: Entering the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) automated test market with a high-performance, highly flexibile, and aggressively priced solution that is also scalable and can address growing features in terms of constellations, frequencies, and positioning augmentation systems.

Solution: By combining the NI PXIe-5644R vector signal transceiver’s (VST) FPGA, and RF capabilities with the NI PXIe-8135 controller’s CPU power and NI LabVIEW system design software, we embedded the M3 Systems software radio solution “STELLA-NGC,”  which is a fully configurable GNSS simulator with astonishing features to manage multi-constellations and multi-frequency approaches.

Read more and vote for this paper here


Advancing Subaru Hybrid Vehicle Testing Through Hardware-in-the-Loop Simulation

Author: Mr. Tomohiro Morita, Senior Engineer, HEV Design Department, Subaru Engineering Division, FUJI Heavy Industries, Ltd.

Challenge: Using automated testing to develop a new verification system that satisfies the control quality level required for the motor electronic control unit (ECU) in Subaru’s first production model hybrid vehicle, Subaru XV Crosstrek Hybrid, and creating strenuous test conditions that are difficult to achieve using real machines.

Solution: Building a verification system with the NI FlexRIO platform that makes automatic execution of allof the test patterns possible and replicates the most severe testing environments to ensure the highest level of safety to the user, while obtaining the required control rate and meeting critical timelines.

Read more and vote for this paper here

Remote Condition Monitoring of London Underground Track Circuits

Author: Sam Etchell, Dale Phillips, Barry Ward, London Underground Limited

Challenge: Predicting London Underground track circuit failures to increase signaling asset uptime and schedule appropriate maintenance, and completing the project within a compressed timeline of one year.

Solution: Designing, certifying, and installing a system to simultaneously monitor 385 deep Tube track circuit assets on an operating railway in real time from a central location, and reducing development time and cost by using commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) tools.

Read more and vote for this paper here

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