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2016 NI Engineering Impact Awards: Community’s Choice Award voting is now open!



The NI Engineering Impact Awards is our annual technical application contest, showcasing the most extraordinary and innovative projects NI customers have created. A technical panel of judges has narrowed down the nearly 100 submissions to 14 finalists across the seven application categories. Now it’s your turn to vote!


At the NI Engineering Impact Awards ceremony, held during NIWeek, we will honor the NI Community’s Choice Award winner: the submission selected by you, the NI community of engineers and scientists.


How to Vote

Brief descriptions of each finalist are included below. Click the titles for full papers. Once you’ve picked your favorite, you can cast your vote here. Easy as that!


Voting closes Monday, August 1, 2016 at 5 p.m. CT.


Spread the Word

Tell your friends, family, co-workers, and anyone else in your online network to vote. Let’s make sure the Community’s Choice Award goes to the coolest, most deserving application.



Advanced Research


Taiwan Experiment on Neutrino
Feng-Kai Lin and Henry Tsz-King Wong–Institute of Physics, Academia Sinica


Challenge: Developing a complete, complex algorithm under the nanosecond scale to precisely measure relevant physical quantities when they hit a detector, which is easily affected by ambient gamma rays and high-energy cosmic rays rather than neutrinos.


Solution: Using the PXI Express platform and FPGA modules to deploy algorithms like random trigger and reset inhibit, creating a high-speed operation that enables us to take 50 analog signals parallel and finish complicated operations within 20 nanoseconds and with a dead time of less than 0.5 percent.


Regenerating and Restoring Organ Function Damaged by Disease or Trauma
Jeffery Bouchard–Biostage


Challenge: Creating a clinical-grade controller solution that meets changing needs in the development of bioengineered organ implants for life-threatening conditions.


Solution: Using LabVIEW software, CompactRIO hardware, and NI Requirements Gateway software to develop controller solutions that deliver the complex and precise functionality required in the regeneration of organs, the traceability required by the medical regulatory bodies, and the flexibility to support a continuous development process from proof of concept to clinical trial.


Aerospace and Defense


NASA Data Acquisition System Software for Rocket Propulsion Testing
Phillip W. Hebert, Sr. and Alex C. Elliot–NASA Stennis Space Center


Challenge: Developing a non-proprietary data acquisition system (DAS) software to support government and commercial rocket engine testing on multiple test facilities.


Solution: NASA Data Acquisition System (NDAS) is a LabVIEW-based software application, which can be adapted to any propulsion test stand or facility DAS despite hardware differences.


Creating an Airport Runway Foreign Object Debris Detection System Based on Millimeter-Wave Radar

Dr. Shunichi Futatsumori–Electronic Navigation Research Institute (ENRI)


Challenge: Analyzing and displaying the GB/s class radar data from high-resolution 96 GHz millimeter-wave radar front ends to detect small debris on airport runways.


Solution: Using the NI PXI platform and FlexRIO to achieve the real-time radar signal processing based on the FPGA hardware clock with a high-data throughput rate, and using LabVIEW code for the radar signal processing to reduce the development time by 90 percent that of the conventional programming method.



Electronics and Semiconductor


New NI PXI-Based Power Supply Sequencing Tester: Making a Big Difference
Junifer B. Frenila, Bien Verlito A. Javier, Meriam C. Yuson, and Jessy P. Cantor–Analog Devices Inc. Philippines


Challenge: Establishing power supply sequencing (PSS) tester capability at Analog Devices Inc. Philippines to eliminate the cycle time on shipping devices to offshore sites for testing.


Solution: Building a PSS tester based on PXI modules and LabVIEW system design software to accommodate testing with a cheaper and more flexible solution.


Design Optimization of Envelope Tracking Power Amplifiers for 5G LTE Using NI PXI, VST, LabVIEW, and...
Jonmei Johana Yan, Paul Theilmann, and Donald F. Kimball–MaXentric Technologies, LLC


Challenge: Developing a flexible envelope tracking power amplifier (ETPA) test bench capable of real-time efficiency and linearity measurements to optimize design and accommodate different 5G signals.


Solution: Using NI LabVIEW software to design and optimize the ETPA with the NI Vector Signal Transceiver (VST) for RF signal generation, using NI arbitrary waveform generator (AWG) technology for envelope signal generation, and using NI AWR Microwave Office for onboard retuning and final optimization.




Hybrid Battery Cycle Life Testing
Abedalsalam Bani-Ahmed, Ahmad Hamidi, and Adel Nasiri–Center for Sustainable Electrical Energy Systems, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee


Challenge: Developing an automation system to evaluate the performance and cycle life of a hybrid lithium-ion/lead-acid battery.


Solution: Combining CompactRIO FPGAs and processor to create a rugged, reliable automation system that charges/discharges a lithium-ion/lead-acid hybrid battery to evaluate performance and cycle life. The controller monitors voltages, currents, and temperatures of the system and commands the source, load, relay to maintain a continuous charging/discharging cycles in an unsupervised continuous manner. The controller also runs protection algorithm and streams data to the HMI client for logging.


Dynamic 3D Display of Rock Fracturing During Geosequestration of Greenhouse Gas 
Prof. Brian Evans–Curtin University, Department of Petroleum Engineering, Mark Trotman–ICON Technologies Pty Ltd, Andrew Jupe–Altcom Pty Ltd


Challenge: Developing a high-channel-count Microseismic Data Acquisition System (MDAS) that uses tightly synchronised patterns of ultrasonic excitation and transmission to characterise the dynamics of rock fracturing phenomena in a 3D sample space.


Solution: Using the timing and synchronising strengths of PXI Express to drive an array of 60 ultrasonic transducers in a rapid cycle of synchronised excitation and signal acquisition that generates a 3D ultrasonic map able to capture the dynamics of fracture events.


Industrial Machinery and Control


Developing Three World-Class Robotic Test Systems for 3D Dynamic Test
Dr. Boyin Ding and Prof. Benjamin Cazzolato–University of Adelaide; A/Prof. John Costi, A/Prof. Karl Sammut, and Dr. Stuart Wildy–Flinders University


Challenge: Developing an advanced 3D dynamic load test facility for mechanical and civil engineering research applications.


Solution: Applying NI host-target (real-time and FPGA) architecture to achieve robust and high-precision motion/load control of the robotic test system, versatile functionality of the test system for a wide range of research applications, deterministic critical safety control that ensures operation safety, a user-friendly interface for manipulation and monitoring, and high-speed DAQ for post-processing.


Automation of a Robotized Production Cell Through CompactRIO
Seifallah Lejri and Walid Lachiheb–Sagemcom Technology NRJ


Challenge: Developing a new test bench design to test power meters with the flexibility to interoperate with automation devices and robotics arms through industrial protocols and adaptability to various product lines.


Solution: Combining the benefits of the CompactRIO computation power and its easy interoperability through LabVIEW programming to create a rugged real-time testing solution, and operating with robots and performing synchronized testing and monitoring safety with respect to robotic machine safety regulations.


Transportation and Heavy Equipment


Bombardier - Train Zero Model Based Design Facility
Colin Freeman–Frazer-Nash Consultancy


Challenge: Creating a test facility that implements Model Based Design techniques to optimise everything from requirements capture and validation, through design and on to validation and verification testing at a sub-system and system level for rolling stock.


Solution: Creating the test facility Train Zero, which uses VeriStand and PXI for both integration testing of the train systems and validation of the models, allowing any changes made to models to easily be revalidated in the same environment they would be running in later.


BMS HIL Test System Helps Jaguar Land Rover Shorten Time-to-Market for Hybrid and Electric Vehicles
Peter Blume and Steven Hoenig–Bloomy; Dr. Miguel A. Gama and Sue Slater–Jaguar Land Rover; Duncan Holden–Vayon Energy Storage


Challenge: Creating a system to rapidly design and validate battery management system (BMS) firmware algorithms on prototype hardware, and safely test the unit with various battery chemistries, fault scenarios, and drive profiles.


Solution: Developing a hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) test platform based on NI PXI, EtherCAT hardware, LabVIEW software, VeriStand software, DIAdem software, and Bloomy’s Battery Simulator 1200 instruments to simulate a 24-cell advanced-chemistry, hybrid- and electric-vehicle battery, with each Bloomy instrument powered by Single-Board RIO and the LabVIEW FPGA Module.


Wireless and Mobile Communications


ESM Processor for 3D Passive Localization
Avinash Reddy Ch and Prashanth P–Digilogic Systems Pvt. Ltd.


Challenge: Finding the 3D locations of airborne targets with the help of signals received by sensors placed at different positions based on time difference of arrival (TDOA). Localization is more complex because the sensors are passive, meaning they do not transmit signals, and the signals coming from the target can be in any frequency band. This means the sensors have to be able to identify which signals are coming from the correct target.


Solution: Developing a system that processes the received data using complex localization algorithms to find the location of airborne targets in three dimensions. The realization of this system would not have been possible without the powerful combination of LabVIEW FPGA, FlexRIO, and NI’s PXI Express platform, which offered high-speed synchronous data streaming and easily programmable FPGAs for real-time processing.


Setting a World Record in 5G Wireless Spectrum Efficiency With Massive MIMO
Paul Harris–University of Bristol; Steffen Malkowsky–Lund University


Challenge: Validating massive multiple input, multiple output (MIMO) as a technology that can bring huge capacity and energy efficiency gains to future 5G networks, which must accommodate increased data rates and the rapid proliferation of smart connected devices, without consuming any more of the radio spectrum.


Solution: Using the NI platform to develop a 128-antenna, real-time massive MIMO testbed. Using this cutting edge system, we were able to use just 20 MHz of spectrum (within the 3.5 GHz band) to simultaneously serve 12 client devices over-the-air, with an aggregate data rate of 1.59 GB/s, and sets a new world record for 5G wireless spectrum efficiency.