Figure 1. NI SOM minimizes design time and risk.
1. A complete Integrated Middleware Solution Minimizes Design Time and Risk
Rather than a board support package (BSP) with limited deployment-ready software, the NI SOM integrates a complete, validated BSP that includes device drivers with the NI Linux Real-Time OS. The integrated software components provide out-of-the-box support for peripherals such as Ethernet or USB, interfaces to components like memory, and the communication interface between the processor and FPGA. Providing the validated hardware design and integrated software eliminates high-risk, low-reward tasks commonly managed by design teams. This minimizes development time and risk so teams can focus more on key features—such as integrating specific I/O or developing custom algorithms—and the high-level application.
2. FPGA Technology Programmed in LabVIEW for Ultrafast and High Precision Designs
With reconfigurable FPGA technology, you can perform high-speed signal processing, high-speed or deterministic control, inline signal processing, and custom timing and triggering. For control systems, you can also run advanced control algorithms directly in the FPGA fabric to minimize latency and maximize loop rates. The LabVIEW FPGA Module, which extends the LabVIEW graphical development platform, provides an alternative to HDL through a graphical programming approach that simplifies the task of interfacing to I/O and communicating data. This greatly improves embedded system design productivity and reduces the time to market.
3. Real-Time Performance and an Open OS Integrated with NI Linux Real-Time
NI Linux Real-Time combines the performance of an RTOS with the approachability and openness of Linux. Take advantage of the large community around Linux to augment your real-time application while maintaining deterministic operation. NI Linux Real-Time also gives you greater flexibility in programming the processor by providing a path for C/C++ and LabVIEW Real-Time applications to communicate with the programmable FPGA. With a variety of software architectures to choose from, you can reuse existing C/C++ or .m source code from past projects while taking advantage of LabVIEW features to save development time.
4. CompactRIO for Faster Prototyping
CompactRIO and the NI SOM are both based on the LabVIEW reconfigurable I/O (RIO) architecture, which includes three components that you can program with a single software toolchain: (1) an embedded controller for communication and processing; (2) an FPGA for advanced control, digital communication protocols, timing, signal processing, and filtering; and (3) I/O for connectivity to any sensor or device. CompactRIO provides the components of this architecture in a mechanical package and offers over 100 NI C Series I/O modules, so you can prototype your applications faster without having to develop custom hardware. After prototyping, reuse the same code to deploy with the NI SOM.
5. Designed, Tested, and Validated for Reliable Deployments
Requirements for reliability come in many shapes and sizes and are unique for each application. Reliability can mean anything from the uptime of a long-term deployment to the ability to operate in a specific environment. NI has a long history of intensely focusing on V&V to provide quality products, which has given an embedded controller like CompactRIO the ability to be deployed in critical applications such as medical devices, harsh environments such as oil and gas fields, and long-term deployments such as smart grid applications. The NI SOM continues this trend with validation work such as simulation and testing for electrical, shock and vibration testing for mechanical, and stress testing for software.
6. Integrated Heat Spreader for Simplified Thermal Solution
The NI SOM is shipped with an integrated heat spreader that simplifies the design, tooling, and manufacturing of a user-defined thermal solution. The NI SOM features components of various heights, and the heat spreader provides a thermal connect to each and every component, leaving a flat surface for mounting to a wide variety of thermal solutions, such as a heat sink or a thermally conductive enclosure.
7. Reference Designs and Component Integration with the Development Kit
Included in the NI SOM Development Kit is a reference carrier board that exposes all of the available peripherals (Gigabit Ethernet x2, USB host, USB device, SD, RS232 x2, RS485, CAN, DIO x48, and PMOD x4) and provides the design files to integrate them into your own custom carrier board design. The reference carrier board also provides a digital prototyping area to communicate with specific chip sets as well as four PMOD connectors to help accelerate your I/O selection and integration into LabVIEW. Many chip vendors offer PMOD modules that range from simple analog I/O to stereo power amplifiers.
8. Time Savings and Development Impact of the NI SOM
Smart Manufacturing Tools
“We have evaluated several SOMs and embedded SBCs, and there is no comparison to the software integration offered by NI. We estimate our development costs with the NI SOM are a tenth the cost of alternative approaches because of the productivity gains of NI’s approach to system design, in particular to NI Linux Real-Time and LabVIEW FPGA.”
—Sebastien Boria, R&D mechatronics technology leader at Airbus
Liver Dialysis Medical Device
“We developed a first functional prototype for our liver dialysis machine in just seven months using the CompactRIO platform. Using the NI SOM, we estimate that we will save 12 months of development effort for the final product because our application software is already validated.”
—Dr. Bernard Kreymann, CEO and founder of Hepa Wash GmbH
Precision Laser System for Cataract Surgery
“The NI SOM will greatly improve the profitability of our project. It will save us six months of development effort over alternatives, and I can’t even build one of these for the price I was quoted.”
—Mike Wiltberger, Founder of Optimedica
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