Quickly Visualize Test Outcomes

Publish Date: Jan 23, 2018 | 2 Ratings | 1.00 out of 5 | Print

Overview

Traditional instruments and most software applications typically have fixed user interfaces (UIs). The data they present and the controls available for users were defined to cover all the capabilities of the particular hardware or software. This generic instrument approach places a burden on users, making it difficult to extract the relevant project-specific information from the general. To customize their UI, engineers often turn to general-purpose programming languages and development environments, spending significant time building the UI to communicate their test data.

The LabVIEW NXG environment has integrated access to using instrument-specific soft front panels to get immediate access to your data. When you need to integrate the test outcomes from all your instruments into one view, the LabVIEW NXG VI includes a panel where you, as the developer, can choose to display data or expose controls to your users. You can rapidly create a VI with the appropriate waveform and measurement controls for your specific need.

Evaluate LabVIEW NXG to Validate or Verify Electronic Designs


Evaluate LabVIEW NXG to Develop Production Test Systems


Table of Contents

  1. Instantly Gain Access to Instrument Data
  2. Reduce Time to Create a Professional Engineering UI
  3. Drag and Drop Creation of Browser-Based UIs
  4. Include Standard, Intuitive User Interface Elements
  5. Leverage Your LabVIEW Proficiency to Build TestStand UIs for Deployed Test Stations
  6. Image Processing and Machine Vision Displays
  7. Additional Resources

1. Instantly Gain Access to Instrument Data

Any time you acquire, generate, or analyze data across your instruments, you ideally want to see the signals in a way that makes sense for that particular type of data and based on particular project needs.

For initial measurements and configuration settings, you have direct access to NI hardware signals through soft front panels. In addition, because LabVIEW NXG is an open platform, there are thousands of free LabVIEW NXG drivers for third-party instruments with accompanying ready-to-run shipping examples to quickly integrate and view your results. To help you visualize and gain further insight into your measurements, LabVIEW NXG can display any acquired or processed data you have with interactive data viewing and analysis panels―no programming required.

 

Figure 1: Gain immediate access to NI modular instrument signals and configurations using included soft front panels. 


When you need additional visualization to make a decision, LabVIEW can display any engineering signal you have on your diagram. You can right-click on the wire to probe the real-time value or select Create» Indicator to add the appropriate display immediately to your front panel.

Figure 2: Gain real-time visibility into your signals by probing as your develop your LabVIEW NXG applications.



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2. Reduce Time to Create a Professional Engineering UI

LabVIEW NXG includes drag-and-drop vector-based UI objects and design tools to help you quickly build professional UIs for sharing your measurement system with test operators, technicians, and engineers.

NI develops LabVIEW NXG with technical use cases in mind, unlike most programming languages and environments, so engineering and scientific displays are included by default. You can display your digital test vector with a digital waveform graph, and compare time and frequency domain information side by side.

Figure 3: Combine all the most important information from a test system into an application-specific GUI using LabVIEW for engineers or test system operators.


With LabVIEW NXG, you have full control over what you make visible to your user on the front panel and which parts of your application you keep to the block diagram source code. To best communicate your results, you can customize UI objects such as units, scale, range, and zoom directly on your front panel with built-in visual style themes and colors. Create high-quality, interactive UIs with tools that help you quickly place and manipulate objects on the front panel.

 

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3. Drag and Drop Creation of Browser-Based UIs

In traditional engineering and scientific applications— such as lab-based measurements, validation testing, and automated testing—your hardware devices are typically either physically co-located or on a local network. Primary development is done on one or more local machines by a small number of engineers. To put the right data in front of the right stakeholders, you can augment your application using LabVIEW NXG to create web-based interfaces.

Figure 4: Remotely access tests by developing web interfaces in LabVIEW NXG.


You can use the LabVIEW NXG Web Module to quickly create browser-based UIs for distributed engineering and scientific systems. Create web-based UIs with drag-and-drop engineering widgets, intuitive communication mechanisms, and secure hosting.  

Learn more about creating web interfaces.


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4. Include Standard, Intuitive User Interface Elements

Common OS Controls and Indicators

LabVIEW NXG contains all the standard OS-defined controls such as number and string displays, buttons, slides, progress bars, and tabs. You can apply skins and themes to individual or sets of controls to customize their appearance.

Figure 5: LabVIEW NXG Standard Controls and Indicators


 

Engineering-Specific Controls and Indicators

In addition to the standard controls you would find in most full-featured programming environments, LabVIEW NXG contains many more controls and indicators that are more common in scientific and engineering applications. Using the included controls, you can create VIs with front panels that resemble familiar physical instruments and are consequently easier for operators to understand and use.

Figure 6: Engineering Controls and Indicators

 

Analog and Digital Waveform Graphs

After you acquire or generate data, or if data is readily available in a file or database, you can display it in a graphical form using a graph or chart.

LabVIEW NXG includes many analog and digital waveform graphs that you can drag and drop to immediately view engineering data. In addition, you can customize the graphs and charts to meet the needs of your specific application. For example, you can add cursors and annotations both interactively and programmatically to highlight important data points.

Figure 7: Basic Types of Graphs and Charts to Visualize Data

 

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5. Leverage Your LabVIEW Proficiency to Build TestStand UIs for Deployed Test Stations

TestStand is test management software that accomplishes functions common across test systems, including test code execution, report generation and database integration, limit checking, and user management. With this software, you can call existing LabVIEW NXG code as part of a test sequence with the option to display a front panel UI for visibility into unique test performance. When building UIs for your TestStand systems, you can take advantage of existing LabVIEW NXG proficiency by developing in the LabVIEW NXG environment using TestStand Active X-based UI controls. TestStand is shipped with many sample UIs written in LabVIEW NXG to help you create professional UIs.



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6. Image Processing and Machine Vision Displays

Vision Builder for Automated Inspection(AI) is a stand-alone configurable software environment that you can use to easily build, benchmark, and deploy applications for pattern matching, character recognition, presence detection, part classification, and more. Vision Builder AI offers an interactive menu-driven development environment replaces the complexities of programming, making the development and maintenance process simple without sacrificing performance or range of functionality.

For more advanced imaging applications, the Vision Development Module is the ideal software package. With its comprehensive function library, you can access hundreds of image processing algorithms and machine vision functions to enhance images, check for presence, locate features, identify objects, measure parts, and more. The Vision Development Module offers the most flexibility and low-level function control for developing vision application solutions.

One of the challenges of developing software for machine vision applications is that vision algorithm development is, by its very nature, an iterative process requires multiple iterations of testing, adjusting function parameters and retesting until the software satisfies the application requirements. This can be especially troublesome when using FPGAs for image processing as the traditional approach to FPGA development can slow down innovation due to the compilation times required between each design change of the algorithm. To address this challenge, the Vision Development Module also includes a tool called the Vision Assistant.

The NI Vision Assistant is an algorithm engineering tool that simplifies vision system design by helping designers develop algorithms for deployment on either the CPU or FPGA. The Vision Assistant provides a configuration based approach to building vision algorithms, like Vision Builder AI. Load or acquire sample images and see the results of each processing step as it is configured so that you rapidly prototype your machine vision algorithm. It also provides the necessary benchmarking tools to gauge the performance of the algorithm. Finally, the Vision Assistant can also be used to test the algorithm before compiling and running it on the target hardware while easily accessing throughput and resource utilization information. Once you are satisfied with their algorithm, the Vision Assistant can be used to generate LabVIEW or C code ready for deployment on the hardware controller of their choice. Here users can easily modify the generated code to integrate it with other parts of your system.

Figure 8: NI vision software offers hundreds of world-class image processing algorithms and image acquisition functions that you can use across the entire NI vision hardware portfolio to solve any vision inspection application.

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7. Additional Resources

 

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