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About RIO Technology

What Is RIO Technology?

NI reconfigurable I/O (RIO) technology gives you the ability to define your own custom measurement hardware circuitry using reconfigurable FPGA chips and LabVIEW graphical development tools. The RIO core includes an FPGA chip and surrounding circuitry that enable LabVIEW to perform hardware synthesis.

Rapidly Design Custom Hardware

NI RIO technology helps you design data acquisition, communication, and control hardware with the same ease of use and flexibility of NI LabVIEW graphical programming. Using RIO technology, you can rapidly create custom hardware circuitry with high-performance I/O and unprecedented flexibility in system timing control.

RIO technology, found throughout the NI platform, includes NI PCI and PXI R Series DAQ devices, the compact vision system, and CompactRIO. Use the R Series DAQ devices for custom data acquisition or real-time I/O applications. Develop custom FPGA logic on the compact vision system to add triggering, pulse-width modulation signals, or custom communications protocols to your machine vision application. For maximum flexibility in embedded measurement and control applications, use the CompactRIO family, which provides the benefit of modular FPGA-timed I/O with built-in signal conditioning and direct signal connectivity.

Figure 1. NI Family of LabVIEW FPGA Targets

Take Advantage of Customizable Circuitry for I/O Communication and Control (IOCC)

RIO technology is ideal for building optimized and flexible electric circuitry for IOCC applications without actually building custom circuitry. Using LabVIEW dataflow programming, you can synthesize on-board logic of the FPGA to implement many of the communication protocols you need (Figure 2). Additionally, you can use the built-in LabVIEW functions for signal processing and discrete linear and nonlinear control to build digital control systems for rates up to 20 MHz and analog control systems for rates up to 150 kHz.

Figure 2. 16-Bit Serial Peripheral Interface Output Implemented in LabVIEW FPGA

Use Off-the-Shelf Measurement Hardware for a Wide Variety of Signals

Using off-the-shelf RIO hardware and the LabVIEW FPGA Module, you can define your own hardware without in-depth knowledge of hardware design tools or hardware description languages. Whether you need analog, digital, or counter I/O or more complex I/O for communication protocols or control signals, you can develop LabVIEW code to connect directly to your signal using RIO technology. When the signal requirements change, you can modify, recompile, and download the LabVIEW code to the FPGA to change the I/O number, mix, or type. This flexibility can save you valuable time and money because you can reuse the same hardware and software, which means no extra cost.