Top 10 Reasons to Use NI LabVIEW for Designing Embedded Systems

Publish Date: Oct 22, 2012 | 7 Ratings | 4.14 out of 5 |  PDF
    Prototype Faster with a Graphical Design Environment
  With NI LabVIEW software for embedded system design, you develop your control or measurement application using drag-and-drop graphical icons instead of writing sequential lines of text. You can complete programs that take months to develop in traditional languages – including embedded C or hardware description language (HDL)  code – in weeks using LabVIEW because the intuitive flowchart representation of your code is easy to develop, maintain, and understand. LabVIEW also provides additional models of computation including simulation feedback, textual math, ANSI C, HDL code integration, and statecharts. By combining the flexible programming options with the inherently parallel graphical programming, you can prototype your applications faster than with traditional tools.
    Easily Reuse Embedded Code and Existing IP
  Do not start from scratch when designing your embedded system. LabVIEW is an open environment that provides easy integration with embedded ANSI C and HDL code as well as other intellectual property (IP) that you may have in your organization or can obtain from a colleague or other vendor. LabVIEW provides a framework that combines all of the functionality you need to accomplish your system design goals. So, whether you are familiar with ANSI C, HDL, textual math, or statecharts, the development environment is the same.
    Discover Ultimate Flexibility with a Real-Time and FPGA-Based Architecture
  LabVIEW can target several embedded system platforms including NI Single-Board RIO and CompactRIO, which contain all of the basic building blocks of an embedded system. The controller features a 32-bit processor running a real-time operating system. The backplane includes a field-programmable gate array (FPGA) that can implement high-speed processing. The FPGA also configures, as well as provides interfaces to, I/O modules that include options for analog input and output, digital input and output, and counter/timer functionality. Every module features direct connectivity to sensors and actuators as well as built-in signal conditioning and isolation. This flexible platform provides all of the power you need for your embedded system without the complexity of custom hardware design – custom-designed power with commercial off-the-shelf hardware integration and out-of-the-box ease of use.
    Iterate Quickly with Built-In Debugging, Simulation, and User Interface Capabilities
  With LabVIEW, you can quickly iterate on your designs with easy-to-create user interfaces, built-in debugging capabilities, and simulation features. You can monitor the internal state of your embedded code using indicators on your front panel as well as built-in environment tools such as probes, execution highlighting, breakpoints, and single stepping. Enhanced behavioral simulation provides more efficient development, so you can run the code on the development computer and verify functionality before compilation. Additionally, you can use LabVIEW programs that assert test vectors or interactive values to the input I/O nodes in the FPGA. Capture the outputs for verification and visualization of FPGA behavior, run the host at the same time as the FPGA on the development computer, and achieve simulated register and DMA transfers between the simulated FPGA and host code. With these new features, you can create a test bench for your FPGA code and simulate the entire system without always compiling to check logic.
    Integrate Hundreds of Advanced Analysis and Other IP
  LabVIEW includes thousands of advanced analysis functions created specifically for engineers and scientists, all with detailed help files and documentation. With these powerful algorithms, you can perform advanced signal processing, frequency analysis, probability and statistics, curve fitting, interpolation, digital signal processing, and more. IP functions are available not only on the real-time processor but also on the FPGA. This includes fast Fourier transform (FFT) functionality you can use to execute FFT, inverse FFT, multiple bin sizes, and multiple throughput settings in addition to rational resampling, divide, square root, adaptive filters, and fixed-point support. You also can extend LabVIEW with application-specific processing for sound and vibration, machine vision, RF/communications, transient/short-time duration signal analysis, and more.
    Implement FPGA Control Logic without Learning HDL
  With the LabVIEW FPGA Module, you gain access to CompactRIO and NI Single-Board RIO FPGAs, which are high-performance, reconfigurable chips that you can program. Traditionally, FPGA designers were forced to learn and use complex design languages such as VHDL to program FPGAs. Now, any engineer or scientist can use LabVIEW graphical programming to customize FPGAs. Using the FPGA hardware embedded in CompactRIO and NI Single-Board RIO, you can implement custom timing, triggering, synchronization, control, and signal processing for your analog and digital I/O.
    Get Started Immediately with Open-and-Run Examples
  The NI Embedded Software Evaluation Kit provides step-by-step tutorials for building real-time and FPGA-based applications; ready-to-run examples for common embedded tasks; an extended evaluation version of LabVIEW, LabVIEW Real-Time, and LabVIEW FPGA hardware; and a custom daughterboard for easy interfacing to encoder, LEDs, and other interfaces.
    Easily Deploy to Volume-Optimized Platforms while Maintaining Your Software Investment
  Designs based on LabVIEW are portable, from robust prototyping platforms like a PC or PXI system to more rugged and cost-optimized hardware targets such as CompactRIO and NI Single-Board RIO. With the common hardware architecture found in all reconfigurable I/O (RIO) targets, you can access powerful prototyping platforms during the design and simulation phases before porting the same code to your final, cost-optimized deployment target.
    Do More with a Flexible, Scalable Software Platform
  When you use LabVIEW, you learn more than just how to design an embedded system. You gain proficiency in a framework that offers easy migration paths to innovative technologies for data logging, wireless measurements, automated test, and more. You can use the same graphical language you worked with in your embedded application to control traditional instruments, build an entire automated test system, or acquire data virtually anywhere. Learning LabVIEW graphical programming instantly enhances your technical resume and increases your industry value.
    Collaborate and Develop with a Worldwide Community of Engineers
  Because millions of users have successfully adopted LabVIEW for a wide range of applications, you lower your investment risk by tapping into an extensive technical support network. In addition to gaining access to world-class phone support and discussion forums, you can find a wealth of example programs, white papers, and KnowledgeBase articles online. You can take advantage of an extensive network of LabVIEW user groups, product partners, and select integrators around the world.

Additional Resources

 LabVIEW for Embedded Systems

 What Is LabVIEW?

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