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We have some exciting news! The winners for this year’s Student Design Competition have been announced.

Taking home first prize (critic's choice) is Leeds University for their project Kinesthesia: Awareness of the Position and Movements of Parts of the Body.

This project follows the development of a user-friendly interface between the Microsoft Kinect and  NI LabVIEW system design software. These applications are being developed for use in stroke rehabilitation, gait analysis, and laprascopic surgery.

The critic's choice runner up was High Precision Sound Recording System Using a 252ch Spherical Microphone Array from Tohuku University in Japan.

For the popular vote, first prize goes to Controlling SCARA Using Virtual Open Sourced Teach Pendant from the University of Mumbai, followed closely by second-place winner WALL-E from the University of Florida. Greenspeed, the World's Fastest Vegetable Oil Powered Vehicle from Boise State rounds out our popular vote category with third place

Congratulations, again, to all of the contestants for their hard work!

>> Get more details about the student design competition at www.ni.com/studentdesign/.

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Last night’s conference party was an absolute blast. The Moody Theatre was transformed from the Austin City Limits Live stage to the NIWeek conference party venue featuring barbeque, comfort food, and rock’n’roll music from LC Rocks. The night started out young as LabVIEW enthusiasts trickled into the theatre to celebrate the week and making new friends.

Check out the video below for some party footage.

>> Want to come to the party next year? Stay tuned to ni.com/niweek for NIWeek 2013.

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Young people must be motivated to pursue science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)– our future depends on it. At the third and final NIWeek morning keynote, Vice President of Product Marketing and Academic Relations Ray Almgren introduced students, educators, and leaders who are helping to make this happen.  “The problem is that somewhere along the way between dropping our kids off at kindergarten and sending them to college, we manage to extinguish their interest in science and engineering,” Almgren said.  If the so-called “math-science death march” is true, it means that Americans may not be able to provide solutions to problems facing us in the future--or compete with other countries who can.


Fortunately, there is hope. Students and educators from the University of Leeds, The University of Manchester, and Olin College took turns sharing stories of inspiring projects they’re currently developing using tools created by National Instruments:

  • Dr. Martin Levesley and his students from the University of Leeds (winners of multiple awards at this year’s NIWeek) talked about their developments in healthcare technologies. One of their projects, the iVad, simulates heart conditions and can reduce the need for animal testing in labs.
  • Dr. Danielle George and her students from The University of Manchester talked about their partnership with Rolls-Royce. Her students helped to create a sensor grid to test turbine engines. Additionally, since integrating more NI technology into their classrooms, the university has jumped from ranking 34 out of 36 to number one in the country.
  • Dr. Dave Barrett and Drew Bennett and their students from Olin College created a fully automated sailboat, which took home second place in a national championship. Using LabVIEW, the students were able to test codes and reprogram their boat far before other teams even had their entries in the water.

If more educators encourage students to take this sort of hands-on approach in school, the rift that’s growing in manufacturing may shrink. Dr. Tom Kurfess, professor and BMW chair of manufacturing at Clemson University, saw this “valley of death” as the biggest threat to our future. More emphasis should be placed on raising a capable next-generation workforce. Not all of his message was urgent; Kurfess also shared a few projects he found inspiring, such as the Big Dog robot and “coBots,” robots with built-in sensors, which minimize on-the-job accidents.

“The key aspect is education,” Kurfess said. Manufacturing, from layered to additive, is and will be one of the most important fields in America. STEM initiatives, such as the FIRST program, get and keep kids involved in learning. “In times of change,” Kurfess said, quoting the writer Eric Hoffer, “the learners inherit the earth; while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.

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In this short session, Ryan Gariepy, CTO of Clearpath Robotics, gave an overview of using LabVIEW and ROS from WillowGarage.

     ROS, which stands for Robot Operating System, though calling it an “operating system” is a misnomer.  ROS consists of a communication standard defining how to exchange data between robots or components of robots. ROS is also an open-source development platform with a large (and growing) community of APIs, drivers, algorithms, and more that can be used in building a robotics system. There have been requests for interoperability between ROS and LabVIEW so that students and researchers can have their LabVIEW powered robot communicate with a ROS library, and so that users can easily include community-developed ROS content on their robots.

     There is limited support in ROS for real-time OSs such as those found on NI reconfigurable I/O (RIO) products, and since ROS is primarily text-based and difficult to install on anything other than Ubuntu Linux, it has more appeal to CS degree types than it might for the average Robotics Engineering student.  It’s much easier to use LabVIEW and RIO for programming, hardware I/O, and real-time control and then find a way to use libraries and algorithms from the vast ROS community where needed.

     Clearpath Robotics has developed a toolkit (information here) that allows LabVIEW to communicate with ROS which opens up many possibilities for LabVIEW users to bring in content from the vast ROS community for use with LabVIEW. To demonstrate the new toolkit, Ryan controlled a TurtleBot (an education and research evaluation platform that is gaining popularity) using the ROS toolkit in LabVIEW.

     Have you wanted to use ROS and LabVIEW together?  I’m interested to hear about your application—sound off in the comments!

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75% of the world’s population is in emerging countries—so arming underprivileged engineers is more important than ever.  Yet, the tools they need to quickly solve problems related to pollution, energy, or farming are out of financial reach.  At the Planet NI session during NIWeek 2012, innovators from seven countries presented how they are tackling their region’s problems with the help of National Instruments. 

Persistent positivity and the need to inspire the inspired were speaker Robert Swan’s keys to success. Swan, a charismatic globetrotting adventurer-turned-environmentalist, urged attendees to question if the work they were doing was “relevant.”

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“Two words that have stuck with me throughout my life are ‘sustainable inspiration,’” Swan said. In a world where technologies morph the way we think and work, we must be forward-thinking about our goals and invest heavily in our future. (After experiencing firsthand the effects of global warming when transversing Antarctica, Swan dedicated himself to reducing global warming.)

Before Swan, several speakers talked about projects they had created in their communities. Some inspiring projects included:

  • Carlos Ovieda of Mexico spoke about Smart Farms, a project which integrates horticulture and agriculture for sustainable food harvesting.
  • Dr. Suhail Aktah of Islamabad developed a rugged system for water harvesting, which uses gravity and solar power to gather and filter water.
  • Texas Instruments’ Benjamin Saprong, who helped to develop systems that guarded appliances against power fluctuations in Africa.

  “The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it,” Swan said. It’s inspiring to see what people are doing to help the planet now—and in the future—with the help of National Instruments.

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Sure you could happily sleep in on the last day of NIWeek, but here’s an event worth waking up early for. Join us at 8:30 a.m. in Exhibit Hall 4 for Dr. Thomas R. Kurfess’ keynote. Dr. Kurfess is Assistant Director for Advanced Manufacturing for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and Professor and BMW Endowed Chair of Manufacturing at Clemson University. Learn about Dr. Kurfess’ exciting work with scientists and policymakers in various executive branch agencies that support advanced manufacturing, such as the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Department of Defense.


You’ll also hear from Ray Almgren, vice president of product marketing for core platforms at NI, and students of all ages as they demonstrate how technology and hands-on learning are changing the world around us.

Afterward, visit the Technology Theater at noon to witness the LabVIEW Coding Challenge Face-Off. Watch as Andrzej Przybylak, Poland’s fastest LabVIEW programmer, faces off with NI’s Darren Nattinger, reigning champ, for the world’s fastest LabVIEW programmer title.

>>For more information on Thursday’s events and sessions, see the NIWeek program.

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The second keynote presentation of NIWeek 2012 continued highlighting the worldwide application of NI products. Cofounder and NI Fellow, Jeff Kodosky, began the morning with a history of system architectures. Jeff described how professional programmers build parallel software systems using threads, mutexes, and text-based sequential programming languages. Then he remarked “Really? Is this the best we can do? Well, actually, there is a better way and it is called graphical system design—using the parallel graphical notation of LabVIEW to design systems.”

Shelley Gretlein, NI director of software marketing, followed Kodosky to showcase several applications using LabVIEW and NI hardware. Along with leaders from the engineering community, Gretlein shared some of the most exciting projects happening in the world today.

  • The Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS) improves the viability of solar power by using the NI graphical system design approach
  • A hydraulic motion compensated gangway from ISC Ltd. improves access for offshore wind turbines
  • The Kyoto University Radiation Mapping System, or KURAMA I for short, monitors the energy and number of gamma-ray in post-Fukushima Japan

Sir Robert Swan, polar traveler and UN Goodwill Ambassador, was later welcomed on stage to discuss technology access in developing counties. He addressed the audience saying that “the last great exploration is to survive on earth. And the heroes and heroines of that exploration are sitting right in front of me now. It’s in your hands as engineers.”


      To end the day Kyle Gupton, manager of software product management at NI, discussed NI’s long-term vision for mobile devices, which is to connect virtual instruments running on tablets and smartphones to NI hardware devices through wireless connections and to the NI Technical Data Cloud for data and configuration storage. At the core of this vision, of course, is LabVIEW. Jeff Kodosky then joined Kyle to demonstrate an experiment he’s been working on called the physics-based editor—or to the astonished audience, programming a LabVIEW block diagram on an iPad.

Shelley summed up the day by describing why the impact of solving some of these issues is so great and that as tool providers, NI is empowering engineers and scientists that are working on these problems. Just like when CERN set out on the journey to build the largest instrument on earth, LabVIEW and PXI were there. And when just a little over a month ago they discovered the Higgs Boson, LabVIEW was there. Just on Sunday, NASA and the Curiosity rover landed on Mars and LabVIEW was there as well. “These potential impacts and some of this research is why NI wants to ensure that we’re providing the tools to measure, control, prove, or disprove anything that’s out there,” concluded Shelley.

Click here for a full video recap of each keynote presentation.

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The news behind what many call “cold fusion” heated up again last night. Researchers from around the world gathered to share their findings, opinions, and visions on how (or if) this phenomenon can be used in the future.


The Anomalous Heat Effect (AHE) is when excess heat is observed from a reaction that occurs at near-room temperatures. These reactions can be chemical, nuclear, or something else—scientists are still debating what exactly it could be.


“What’s going on in these experiments?” Dr. Robert Duncan, Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Missouri, posed to the crowd. “We don’t exactly know, but the excess heat is real, and that is confirmed by many.” If consistently replicated, the panelists believed that this phenomenon could provide a reliable source of energy that produces no radiation or carbon emissions. AHE research gained notoriety in 1989 after Fleischman and Pons announced the “discovery of cold fusion”. For years, it was dismissed as a hoax as scientists found the results hard to replicate. Now, however, over 200 experiments have recreated the results, which have been verified by three national labs.


NI panelists were less interested in discussing business models and more interested in how to best to study the phenomenon. “At this point,” Duncan explained, “there is no theory without good data.”


National Instruments can provide the right tools needed to more accurately measure the data and control the experiments. “There are so many theories—which is correct? We want to dispassionately follow the scientific method and go where the data leads us,” Duncan said. 

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Curious about how AHE works? Stop by the expo floor and check out the live demonstration in the Big Physics pavilion. 

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KUKA is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of industrial robots. In this session, Dr. Rainer Bischoff from KUKA and Andy Chang from NI give an overview of KUKA and their recent collaboration with NI to integrate an NI CompactRIO on a KUKA youBot for this years’ NIWeek.

     The robotics market is changing and people want to have more control over systems. KUKA is changing to meet these needs by adding more intelligence to arms and mobile platforms. People are requesting standardization among platforms to allow more reuse and provide references for their work. New KUKA products include the omniRobot (a mobile platform slightly larger than the youBot), a lightweight 7-DOF arm, and the youBot which features a mecanum steering base and an open-source controller. Dr. Bischoff shows some interesting applications for the youBot in research including a cooperative tower building application, a ‘gravity compensation’ arm demo, and a ball-following application for teaching.

     Factories of the future will feature more robots that must work with people in the same environment. To help researchers solve many industry challenges, the youBot provides a strong and versatile hardware platform while NI LabVIEW and reconfigurable I/O products (such as CompactRIO) can provide the tools to easily write programs and add sensors and actuators to your robot. The Robotics Environment Simulator (a feature in the LabVIEW Robotics 2012 Module) helps you create a software model of your robot and use it within the LabVIEW development environment. With the NI hardware abstraction I/O layer (HAIOL), it is very easy to switch the target of your code between the Environment Simulator and the real robot. There are quite a few simulation environments available for use, but the LabVIEW Environment Simulator’s ability to easily switch between deployment of code to the simulator and the real robot is very powerful. As Dr. Bischoff states: “One thing I fear is that everyone is going to create their own simulation system—there is no standard.  I hope LabVIEW can change that.”

     The session ended with a live demonstration of the KUKA youBot being controlled by an iPad through an application developed in LabVIEW. At first, the application was deployed to the simulator, but a simple change in the code allowed the application to be deployed to the real robot.

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It turns out large companies have a lot to learn from their smaller counterparts. During his session, "Rapid Innovation on the Cheap: Lessons from DARPA and the Commercial Space Age," noted author and journalist Michael Belfiore discussed how larger organizations can mirror the successes in innovation experienced by DARPA and SpaceX. Specifically, Belfiore highlighted seven ways companies can enhance innovation.

1. Focus on a mission.

2. Streamline the chain of command.

3. Work in small teams.

4. Do more with less.

5. Offer prizes

6. Outsource

7. Take risks

Do you know of other ways to spark innovation? Leave a comment with your idea!

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The annual NI Community Block Diagram Party on Tuesday night was a success! Attendees explored the expo hall while enjoying food, drinks, and music as they met fellow conference attendees from all around the world.

Read the following list for other party highlights:


  • The Challenge the Champions contest in the Technology Theater was a hit! It was a LabVIEW trivia contest between the LabVIEW champions and the marketing team. Dares were made, keyboard shortcut option questions were tossed, and the LabVIEW champions won with 130 points.



  • There were many cool demos, like the Intel Industrial Control in Concert, and one of the most popular was at the First Robotics booth. Students from Anderson High School in Austin facilitated what they have learned about robotics and shared their robotic test fields. Mentors David Rich and Aaron Osmar both were Anderson High alums, who continue to contribute to First Robotics programs such as Girl Scout Robotics and FIRST Robotics Competitions.


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  • The world's largest LabVIEW user meeting was held after the Challenge the Champions contest.A Knight of NI, Christian Altenbach, shared the evolution of coding before the era of LabVIEW.


The after party continued at the annual LAVA/OpenG NIWeek Bar-B-Q!

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Thanks to Sumedha Ganjoo from the LabVIEW Partner Program for this recap!

Is there a solution out there that can help a company building cutting-edge toolkits share their tools with all LabVIEW users? Is there a way for LabVIEW users to get access to quality LabVIEW code and tools that they can use to build their solutions? If you were curious to know the answer to either of the above questions, this was the the hands-on session to be at. Stephen Roso from the LabVIEW Partner team addressed how add-on developers can leverage the VI Package Manager (VIPM) and the LabVIEW Tools Network to reach out to users and improve their development experience. JKI’s VI Package Manager is a free tool for creating, sharing, downloading, and managing add-ons. Starting in 2012, VI Package Manager ships with LabVIEW and can be installed by clicking on the “Find Addons..” link on the Getting Started Window.

For those new to VI Packages and add-ons, the session introduction covered what classifies as a LabVIEW add-on and what is a VI Package. The hands-on later focused on various exercises to familiarize users with different features available in VI Package Manager, like creating a package from scratch, adding examples, Help and Tools menu items in LabVIEW, adding licensing agreements to add-ons, and downloading add-ons. And yes, all of this can be done from one single place--VI Package Manager! My favorite part while running through all the exercises was that I didn’t have to leave the LabVIEW development environment, even when installing new add-ons. I could use the add-on VIs right away without anything impeding my coding mojo.

Attendees were curious about the LabVIEW Tools Network and its expansion plans and also asked Michael Aivaliotis from JKI about VIPM Pro features. You know a hands-on session is good when there are more people than machines to work on and when the blogger doesn’t even get a handout manual because there are too many people. (no complaints here, it was an excellent session!)

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Last night, nearly 200 engineers, scientists, editors, researchers, students, NI executives, and industry experts attended the 2012 Graphical System Design Achievement Awards ceremony to honor the 18 contest finalists. Dave Wilson, director of the academic segment at NI, gave the audience an overview of each finalist’s application before revealing the big winners.

So, which engineers took home the awards?

Advanced Control Systems

Winner: Building a Nanomeasuring Machine Using LabVIEW and NI PXI

By Johannes Klöckner, Stephan Zschäck, Felix Balzer, and Brandon Percle, Ilmenau University of Technology, Germany

Finalist: UC San Diego Uses LabVIEW and NI Single-Board RIO to Build an Agile Mobile Robot

By Nicholas Morozovsky and Professor Thomas Bewley, University of California, San Diego, USA

Advanced Research

Winner: Developing an EMI Desktop Evaluation System Using a New Measurement Technique

By Naoki Hoshino, PERITEC Inc., Japan

Finalist: Cleaning Up Dirty RF: RF/Communication Physical Layer Research With LabVIEW and NI USRP

By Jan Dohl, Dresden University of Technology, Germany

Automated Test

Winner: Using LabVIEW, NI TestStand, and PXI to Test a Medical Glucose Meter and Insulin Delivery System Within a Regulated Manufacturing Environment

By Matthew Kelton, Advanced Instrument Technologies, and Venkat Raghavan, TestPro Systems, USA

Finalist: Emulating a System Controller CPLD for Automated RF Daughterboard Test

By Rick Garza, Averna, USA

Education

Winner: Creating a Real-Time Simulator for Power Quality Signals

By Miguel E. Hernandez, Davis Montenegro, and Gustavo A. Ramos, University of the Andes, Colombia

Finalist: Measuring and Analyzing the Effects of Waves in an Experimental Basin Using PXI Express

By Álvaro Álvarez Vázquez, Environmental Hydraulics Institute of Cantabria, Spain

Energy

Winner: Bringing Mobile Phone Coverage to Rural Areas With a Green, Off-Grid Energy Solution

By Dr. Mike Rendall, Diverse Energy Ltd, United Kingdom

Finalist: Developing a Fracturing Pump Controller Using NI LabVIEW, Compact FieldPoint, and CompactRIO

By Gregory C. Cala and Brad Westfall, Data Science Automation, USA

Life Sciences

Winner: Controlling a Heart Simulator with CompactRIO and LabVIEW

By Dr. David Keeling and Ali Alazmani, University of Leeds, United Kingdom


Finalist: Using NI FlexRIO for Photoacoustic Quantitative Ultrasound (PAQUS)

By Pasi Karppinen, Jari Tuovinen, Timo Karppinen, Edward Hæggström, University of Helsinki, Finland; Petro Moilanen and Jussi Timonen, University of Jyväskylä, Finland; and Zuomin Zhao and Risto Myllylä, University of Oulu, Finland

Finalist: Developing a Mobile X-ray Imaging System for Diagnosis Using LabVIEW Software and NI Hardware

By Duckjune Kim, Kwang-Hee Lee, Dr. Sang-Hoon Ji, Dr. Soo-Yeol Lee, and Dr. In-Beom Lee, the Korea Institute of Industrial Technology, South Korea

Structural and Physical Test and Monitoring


Winner: University of Nevada Researchers Use LabVIEW, PXI, and CompactRIO to Measure the Effects of Earthquakes on Bridges

By Patrick Laplace, University of Nevada, Reno, USA

Finalist: Developing an Engine Connecting Rod Fatigue Test System Based on CompactRIO

By Hongrui Liu and Zhentao Liu, Zhejiang University, China

Transportation


Winner: Siemens Uses CompactRIO, LabVIEW, and DIAdem to Determine Root-Cause of Damaging High-Voltage Transients

By Ryan Parkinson and Jacob Cassinat, Siemens, USA

Finalist: Automated Dynamometer Testing of an Advanced In-Wheel Electric Drive System for Electric Vehicles

By Mark McDonnell, Protean Electric Ltd., United Kingdom

Student Design Award


Winner: University of Leeds
Students: Chris Norman, Dominic Clark and Barnaby Cotter

Finalist: Tohuku University
Student: Jumpei Matsunaga
Professor: Shuichi Sakamoto

Application of the Year

Controlling a Heart Simulator with CompactRIO and LabVIEW

By Dr. David Keeling and Ali Alazmani, University of Leeds, United Kingdom

Green Engineering

Automated Dynamometer Testing of an Advanced In-Wheel Electric Drive System for Electric Vehicles

By Mark McDonnell, Protean Electric Ltd., United Kingdom


Humanitarian

Controlling a Heart Simulator with CompactRIO and LabVIEW

By Dr. David Keeling, University of Leeds, United Kingdom

Community’s Choice

Creating a Real-Time Simulator for Power Quality Signals

By Miguel E. Hernandez, Davis Montenegro, and Gustavo A. Ramos, University of the Andes, Colombia

Editor’s Choice

Developing an EMI Desktop Evaluation System Using a New Measurement Technique

By Naoki Hoshino, PERITEC Inc., Japan


LabVIEW FPGA Innovation Award, Sponsored by Xilinx

Developing a Fracturing Pump Controller Using NI LabVIEW, Compact FieldPoint, and CompactRIO

By Gregory C. Cala and Brad Westfall, Data Science Automation, USA


Multicore Award, Sponsored by Intel

Using NI PXI Modular Instruments and LabVIEW to Build UHF RFID Development Platforms

By Joel Joseph S. Marciano Jr., University of the Philippines Diliman, the Republic of the Philippines

>> Congratulations to all the finalists and winners! Visit ni.com/gsdawards to learn more about the contest and read the winning papers.

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Everybody! Are you ready for another action-packed day at NIWeek? Here are a few things worth making room for on your schedule:

  • Jeff Kodosky’s keynote at 8:30 a.m. in Exhibit Hall 4: Don’t miss Jeff Kodosky, the coinventor and “father” of LabVIEW, as he shares fundamental programming concepts vital to meeting the most demanding application challenges during the next 25 years of graphical system design.
  • NIWeek Conference Party from 7:00 to 10:30 p.m. at the Austin City Limits Moody Theater: Party with new friends and enjoy good food and cold drinks. Plus, dance like no one’s watching to great live music.
  • Nurturing Innovation in Emerging Countries: Reducing Social Disparity Through Technology from 10:30 a.m. to noon in Room 3: Through Planet NI, National Instruments provides access to graphical system design technologies for innovators in emerging countries. In this forum, hear from environmentalist and global leader Robert Swan, SME business owners, NGOs, and educators from Africa, Latin America, Lebanon, India, and Southeast Asia. Learn how access to technology is creating jobs, reducing social disparity, and helping students in impoverished areas.

For more information on Wednesday's events and sessions, see the NIWeek program.

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Peter Corke's vast experience in robotics spans many robotics areas. In this session, Corke discussed his experiences and looked at some of the priorities facing the industry in the future.

Robotic arms have been around for some time, and Corke began working with them in the early 1980s. In the 1990s, rapid changes in computer technology resulted in improvements for robots and controllers. Some examples of changes include the proliferation of real-time OSs and field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). Along with these hardware changes, standardized software tools such as the Robotics Toolbox, which consists of a collection of standard algorithms, allow rapid application development and provide a point of comparison for those developing new tools. Corke wasn’t alone in his development of standard tools. Starting in the 1990s and continuing today, there has been an explosion of tools (“glueware”) such as ROS, JAUS, and NI LabVIEW system design software. Roboticists assemble their robots using these tools to handle aspects of system design such as UIs, safety, navigation, instrument I/O, and datalogging.

Today, hundreds of tools exist. Determining how to assemble these tools to build a robot is one of the biggest challenges. Corke continues to work on his Robotics Toolbox by working to port the toolchain to a diverse set of environments such as Python, ROS, and LabVIEW. Corke gives some general advice to NI: stick to what you’re good at. I/O and sensor connectivity has always been a strong point, and coupled with an FPGA, NI can make big contributions in robotics.

Corke is excited about the future of robotics education. Advances in tablet computers and electronic textbooks have opened doors for a more interactive education experience for future engineers. Robotics is more accessible than ever through the growing ecosystem of low-cost controllers and components sold through Internet stores.

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The first keynote event of NIWeek 2012 got us off to a great start! NI president, CEO, and cofounder Dr. Truchard opened the day by stating that we are now in the era of software-based design. Truchard explained that “software is where it’s at.” We use software to build our instrumentation, share technology, and make complex systems work. Truchard went on to discuss how NI started with virtual instrumentation when it introduced LabVIEW in 1986. Later that role has expanded into graphical system design. With the graphical system design approach “for the first time in history we can have advanced measurements and advanced control in the same system.” Today, graphical system design gives engineers and scientists the tools to solve important problems now and in the future.


Eric Starkloff, NI VP of product marketing for test and embedded systems, followed Truchard by welcoming attendees to the biggest NIWeek ever with 3,400 attendees. Along with leaders from engineering and marketing, Starkloff shared some of the most exciting products from NI, including the following:


·         LabVIEW 2012, the heart of graphical system design, with sample projects and templates and new self-paced online training to raise users’ productivity

·         Stand-Alone NI CompactDAQ for sophisticated embedded applications without the need for a PC

·         NI Single-Board RIO General Purpose Inverter Controller, powered by the LabVIEW RIO architecture

·         PXI platform advancements, such as the new PCI Express Gen 2 all-hybrid chassis and the best-in-class quad-core Intel Core i7 embedded controller

·         The NI PXIe-5644R vector signal transceiver, a new category of RF instrumentation that combines an RF signal generator, RF signal analyzer, digital I/O, and LabVIEW FPGA

In addition to these products, Starkloff and his team gave the audience a sneak peek at many more products to be revealed in the coming days. So join us for the rest of the week for even more great new products and demonstrations.


>>Find more detailed information about LabVIEW 2012.

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This morning you could feel the excitement in the air as the keynote presentation began. Dr. T kicked off the keynote by reiterating that NIWeek is an event that brings together the Edisons of the world, and NI strives to empower them with the hardware and software that takes their ideas from conception to reality.

This year’s opening keynote focused on LabVIEW 2012 and the surprise under the cover. After a great build up, NI revealed the world’s first RF vector signal transceiver (VST), NI PXIe-5644R. Watch the video below to see what fellow NIWeekers are saying about this morning’s keynote.

>> Learn more about the world’s first RF vector signal transceiver.

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Head to Ballroom E at 4:45 p.m. to hear from a panel of experts on this interesting phenomenon.

In trying to replicate the anomalous heat effect, research facilities have observed over 200 instances of intense heat. This demonstrates either an unknown physical event or a need for better measurement and control tools. In both cases, NI has the tools to delve deeper into this challenge.


“NI is interested in providing the best tools, such as LabVIEW software and NI PXI and CompactRIO hardware, towards advancing scientific research. This includes helping to understand the underlying physical phenomena behind anomalous heat generation and performing advanced measurements and control on these experiments,” said Stefano Concezzi, Vice President of Scientific Research Segment and Lead User Program. “The National Instruments mission is to equip any scientist and engineer seeking to accelerate productivity, innovation, and discovery.”


You have 30 minutes to get over there. This should be a lively discussion; don’t miss it!

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NIWeek is in full swing and we're thrilled you're here in Austin! Check back here all week for real-time conference updates, technical session recaps, new product demo videos, and more. To leave comments or participate in group discussions, join the NIWeek 2012 group by logging in and clicking on "Join this group" in the right-side menu on the group homepage.

Be sure to follow @NIWeek and type #niweek in your tweet to send updates to the entire NIWeek community.

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Hope your NIWeek is off to a great start! In addition to all of the tracks, summits, and social events starting today here are a few things we think you should check out:

  • Dr. T’s opening keynote at 8:30 a.m. in Exhibit Hall 4: Start your NIWeek experience with today’s keynote featuring, Dr. James Truchard and Eric Starkloff, NI vice president of marketing for test and industrial embedded. See the latest innovations that will equip engineers and scientists with tools that accelerate productivity and discovery.
  • Texas Day from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. in the Austin Convention Center:  If you’re an engineering professional from around the state, take this opportunity to network with your peers in a variety of interactive technical sessions, panel discussions, and hands-on and case study presentations for beginners and advanced developers. Also attend the luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in Ballroom A.
  • NI Community Block Diagram Party from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. in the Exhibition Hall: Enjoy food, drinks, and music at this event. Watch the Challenge the Champions contest in the Technology Theater, attend the knighting ceremony of new Knights of NI, or make history and join the world’s largest user group gathering.
  • Challenge the Champions from 5:45 to 6:15 p.m. in the Technology Theater: Watch the LabVIEW Champions battle the NI LabVIEW Marketing Team in a game of LabVIEW wits. Join this annual fun event to find out who will win bragging rights.

For more information about Tuesday’s events, check out the NIWeek program.

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The NIWeek Academic Forum brings together engineering and science educators to share knowledge and exciting advancements, as well as ways to meet challenges in engineering education. At this point, the challenges are well framed: cost, time, and space barriers make it difficult to provide hands-on learning experiences, but hands-on learning experiences are crucial for engaging and retaining students. What’s a modern engineering educator to do?


Attendees were in luck as today's Evolution of Design in Engineering Curriculum Panel Session brought together leading experts to discuss teaching and research challenges such as enrollment, engagement, retention, funding, and technology instruction.

Here are some highlights:

  • In the past, people learned engineering by “doing engineering.” Something was lost in translation during the rise of computers. However, hands-on design is now seeing a much-needed resurgence.
  • In a post-computer world it’s no longer commonplace to take apart a broken radio or television, so students don’t develop the same level of physical intuition. This makes it even more important to provide hands-on education starting with first-year courses.
  • Make incremental changes. Implement hands-on learning in elective courses and let the reaction of students be the driving force for implementing it across curriculums.
  • Find other like-minded advocates and don’t let incumbents become a deterrent. (aka, the times they are a-changin'.)

>>Check out all the amazing things students are doing with the NI education platform at the LabVIEW Student Community.

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Today’s energy challenges present ample opportunities for NI and our partners to improve the smart grid. During his session “Energy: Challenges Create Opportunities,” Owen Golden, vice president of the global energy segment, explained how our partners have solved energy-related problems before they happen.

Companies and governments have increased their investments in the smart grid out of necessity. Pressures to upgrade current systems arise as technologies become more advanced. Failing to maintain the grid can result in massive power outages. Just last week, more than 620 million people in India lost power due to malfunctioning grids.

Through the customization of our products, several of our partners have decreased risk and increased efficiency in energy production. Golden specifically highlighted hydraulic fracturing as a method used to supply energy for the grid. Although the process has existed for 50 years, it is just now substantially contributing to natural gas production.  Some of our partners have utilized our tools to properly measure and control hydraulic fracturing systems, keeping workers  safe.

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The NI LabVIEW Claw Demo is a modern take on the classic claw arcade game. Engineers retrofitted a 25 year old claw machine to be controlled with LabVIEW and a dual-core NI CompactRIO device running Windows. Instead of using a joystick, attendees can control the demo using an iPad running the new Data Dashboard iPad app (out on the iTunes App Store later this fall). To help the player increase their chances of winning, there are two cameras mounted at the top of the machine, plus the CompactRIO device uses stereoscopic algorithms to determine and highlight the topmost item. Come try your luck at the claw machine in the LabVIEW Zone during NIWeek!

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This is one of the most impressive and fun demos of industrial control I’ve ever seen. Intel partnered with Sisu Devices to create this demo in just 90 days. Using the power of the Intel Atom along with NI LabVIEW software, NI CompactRIO hardware, and NI vision products, the engineers created three different operating systems that work with 250 industrial connected devices and 36 paintball hoppers to shoot 2,300 rubber balls at instruments that play 2,372 notes. It’s incredible to watch and really shows the power of graphical system design, the power of the Intel Atom, and the time-to-market benefit (90 days!!!) of using NI products.

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My wife will be accompanying me to Austin during NIWeek, but not attending the conference.  Are there any ways for like-minded "NIWeek widows" to link up to explore Austin during the day?

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Andrzej Pryzybylak, who lives in Krakow, Poland, has been using NI LabVIEW software for only three years. Despite challenging programmers with decades of experience, he won this year’s Polish LabVIEW Developers Coding Championship. He will be attending NIWeek to face off with the perennial winner, NI R&D’s Darren Nattinger, for the right to be called the World’s Fastest LabVIEW Programmer.

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Andrzej works for Veritech System Design, an NI Silver Alliance Partner, as a LabVIEW developer.  He was introduced to LabVIEW during his studies at AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakow. He likes to run and also play chess, and he’ll need all the strategy he’s learned in chess to defeat Darren Nattinger, who has won the World’s Fastest LabVIEW Programmer title for four years in a row now. Let’s hope that Andrzej’s preparation will serve him well so he can unseat the reigning champ. Come and support Andrzej during the Coding Challenge Face-Off at noon on Thursday, August 9, at the Technology Theater in the Expo Hall!

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Sistemi Software Integrati (SSI) is proud to participate in this great event. In partnership with Robotronix, a Silver NI Alliance Partner, we will do two demonstrations in the Robotics Pavilion at Booth 237.


The first demo integrates the RobotroniX ERUPT platform (Embedded RobotroniX Unmanned PlaTform), a robot control platform based on NI Single-Board RIO hardware, with the SSI Multiagent Adaptive Platform based on Swarm Intelligence and BEE DDS middleware. The second demo is an example of a distributed sensor network where sensors located both in Austin and in Taranto, Italy, cooperate using BEE DDS.


SSI has developed a solution that integrates a set of coordinated agents, such as nodes of one or more mobile networks (BeeSWARM) and nodes of one or more fixed networks (BeeSENSE),  to control complex systems in the current operational scenarios involving network-centric design and autonomous decision-making paradigms.

The BEE DDS is a product developed by SSI according to the Real-Time Data Distribution Services (RT-DDS) standard of the Object Management Group (OMG). For the LabVIEW users, we're also presenting the BEE DDS Toolkit that helps LabVIEW programmers design and build LabVIEW applications without worrying about the deployment of data produced and received, all through the use of BEE DDS.


The time has come ... everything is ready.
We await you!

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1.    Know What Sessions You Want To Attend

Trying to gauge who else will be attending the same session as you is very important. Look at the program of sessions available online to plan your NIWeek, and then think about what industries will be in attendance of the same session. This will help you figure out what type of people you will meet, and your “plan of attack”.

2.    Now You Know Where, But Why?

Take a moment to figure out why you are attending each session. You know that you will be learning about new hardware and software, industry breakthroughs, and about the graphical system design approach, but what else do you want to get out of attending? Knowing this will help you establish goals for NIWeek, including how many new contacts you want to make and which companies or industries you want to make connections with.

 

3.    Be Confident About What You Do

At NIWeek, you will meet many people with extreme enthusiasm for LabVIEW, PXI, and their personal applications. Try to remember that this is a time to learn from your colleagues, and humbly share your knowledge and enthusiasm for the industry, applications, and graphical system design techniques you use.

 

4.    Remember Information About A New Contact By Writing It On Their Business Card

This is a way to remember who you talked to, and what you talked about. Write down notes that will jog your memory about your conversation with them. Examples include how they got into their business, fun facts, or what sessions they plan on attending and why. The next time you see each other, they’ll be impressed by how much you remember.

5.    Find Your Personal Way To Work NIWeek

Most importantly, be you. If you have funny LabVIEW jokes, or a few great engineering puns, throw them out there. Taking risks is how you meet people, and makes for some great stories. Stay true to yourself and you can establish honest connections with new people.

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>> If you’re more of a visual person, check out the NIWeek Pinterest board instead.

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Y'all grab your suitcases, because NIWeek is right around the corner and NI is here to help you pack.

Every year people forget many of the essientials, leaving them stranded in Austin without a phone charger or worse. So before you hop in your plane, train, or automobile, watch this video to make sure you have everything you need.

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I have been programming in LabVIEW since version 2.0 and have either attended or participated in this event for the past 12 years. Micron Optics Inc. is proud to be a part of this community and is an active participant in this event. In addition to exhibiting the latest in advanced optical sensing technology, on Wednesday morning we are presenting in the session titled “Solving Sensor Challenges in Harsh and Demanding Environments” that demonstrates real world applications where fiber optic sensors have been utilized. If you are new to fiber optics, there is a “Hands On Fiber Optic Sensing” session on Tuesday and a “Fiber Optic Sensing Basics” session on Thursday.  If you are have a challenging application where conventional sensors are not an option and want to learn more about optical sensing this will be an excellent forum to engage NI and Micron Optic’s experts to help you with your challenging needs.