Grand Challenges for Engineering

The 14 Grand Challenges for Engineering, set forth by the National Academy of Engineering, will push current and future generations of engineers to develop newer, smarter, life-changing applications to help address today’s most pressing challenges. National Instruments empowers its customers to create devices that will improve the world and meet the following grand engineering challenges.

Engineer the Tools of Scientific Discovery

In the century ahead, engineers will continue to partner with scientists in the great quest for acquiring new knowledge about the physical and biological worlds. Engineers and scientists are already working together to study the matter and scientific forces of the universe at CERN by using NI tools to build a motion control system for the world’s most powerful particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider.

Make Solar Energy Economical

Solar energy provides less than one percent of the world's total energy, but it has the potential to generate much more. Engineers and scientists at National Cheng Kung University used NI tools to develop a real-time solar cell measurement and control system to ensure maximum power output is achieved in a variety of environmental conditions.

Provide Energy From Fusion

Human-engineered fusion has been demonstrated on a small scale. The challenge is to scale up the process to commercial proportions in an efficient, economical, and environmentally friendly way. NI customers at the Institute of Plasma Physics are using LabVIEW and NI PXI modules to develop a measurement system for magnetic confinement and control of nuclear fusion.

Develop Carbon Sequestration Methods

Engineers are working to develop new applications to help capture and store excess carbon dioxide to prevent global warming. NI customers such as EUtech Scientific Engineering strive to meet this challenge using flexible NI hardware and software to help optimize coal combustion efficiency and reduce greenhouse gases.

Manage the Nitrogen Cycle

Engineers can help restore balance to the nitrogen cycle with better fertilization technologies and by capturing and recycling waste. For example, NI technology empowers researchers in the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of California Los Angeles to develop wireless systems to monitor the earth’s conditions in a variety of environments.

Provide Access to Clean Water

The world's water supply is facing new threats; affordable, advanced technologies could make a difference for millions of people around the world. Engineers and scientists at WaterTectonics use NI tools to create an environmentally friendly contaminant and filtration water treatment system and reduce their development time by half.

Restore and Improve Urban Infrastructure

Good design and advanced materials can improve transportation, energy, water, and waste systems as well as create more sustainable urban environments. NI customers at JUST ONE Technology use NI modular instruments and graphical system design to perform real-time monitoring of the structural integrity and response to environmental factors of the Donghai Bridge in China.

Advance Health Informatics

Stronger health information systems improve everyday medical visits and are essential to counter pandemics and biological or chemical attacks. Engineers at InnerVision use NI technology to enhance life sciences research through medical imaging by developing a magnetic resonance control system and multichannel imaging spectrometer.

Engineer Better Medicines

Engineers are developing new systems to use genetic information, sense small changes in the body, assess new drugs, and deliver vaccines. For example, engineers and scientists at Biorep Technologies are working to advance research for chronic diseases including type 1 diabetes using NI technology to build an automated system to stimulate different cell types.

Reverse-Engineer the Brain

The intersection of engineering and neuroscience promises great advances in health care, manufacturing, and communication. Engineers and scientists at Active Diagnostics use NI tools to quickly prototype training devices that simulate electrical signals from the human nervous system to train neurophysiologists for events that may happen during surgery.

Prevent Nuclear Terror

The need for technologies that can prevent and respond to nuclear attack or accidents is growing. Using NI technology, companies such as VI Control Systems are building better control systems for nuclear test and research reactors to help make nuclear technology safer for energy production.

Secure Cyberspace

In addition to the threat of identity theft, critical systems in banking, national security, and physical infrastructure are at risk every day. With NI technology, customers can build applications to analyze and help secure the radio spectrum by providing the technology to assist in developing spectral monitoring and signal intelligence systems.

Enhance Virtual Reality

True virtual reality creates the illusion of actually being in a different space. It can be used for training, treatment, and communication. NI engineers are building these kinds of life-changing devices, including a device that can detect eye movements to control a gaming system.

Advance Personalized Learning

Instruction can be individualized based on learning styles, speeds, and interests to make learning more reliable. Through the NI LabVIEW Student Community, students can discuss concepts, share technical how-to resources, download and exchange code, and share feedback and engineering expertise to enhance their engineering education.