Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Compatibility boost at anniversary of National Instruments


Congratulations to National Instruments, celebrating 30 years in the business, 20 years of the LabView graphical programming tool and 18 years in the UK, and finally growing up by adding some key compatibility with tools that sort of compete, such as MATLAB.
To celebrate with a bit of fun, it has also teamed up with LEGO so that LabView can be used with the classical plastic blocks, creating virtual instruments to control the robots built in MINDSTORMS NXT.
The availability of the LabView toolkit for Lego Mindstorms NXT is critical for encouraging the development of additional tools for the system,
said Soren Lund, director of Lego MINDSTORMS. This allows third party developers to create software for the LEGO systems. Hi Technic Products for example has developed a digital compass sensor for the system using LabView.
Away from plastic blocks, the anniversary version of LabView, 8.20, adds the capability with other system development tools – most importantly with the MATLAB tools but also with Maplesoft Maple, Mathsoft Mathcad and Scilab. That can only help increase its appeal, and allow legacy designs to be used in LabView – surely a good thing.
And on the hardware side, the company has acknowledged that the high speed PXI Express is overpriced and putting off users. So it has launched a PXI Express chassis to build a custom measurement system with five slots and an integrated controller to link back to the PC, all for E950 (GBP655). This PXI-1033 is half the price of the previous entry point, and should encourage more users to take advantage of the high speed capabilities of 110Mbit/s to the host (although it has launched PXI Express cards that run up to 1Gbyte/s).

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