Use LabVIEW to Gain Insights From Measurement Data
Updated Mar 5, 2019
Thousands of engineers and scientists rely on LabVIEW for a variety of applications such as verification, validation, and production test. Regardless of the application, all users must manipulate data and measurements to gain insights into their application and make decisions.
LabVIEW plays a key role in virtual instrumentation, which combines productive software, modular measurement hardware, and commercial technologies such as a PC or PXI controllers. Engineers and scientists acquire real-world measurement data and then analyze the data to convey useful information. Most software packages are either general-purpose programming languages, which don’t contain any engineering specific functions, or are dedicated turnkey solutions that perform a single task (that is, acquisition). Few address all the requirements of an engineering and scientific measurement system, which fundamentally should include analysis. LabVIEW provides a completely integrated solution, so you can simultaneously acquire and analyze data in a single environment.
Figure 1: LabVIEW enables you to acquire, analyze, and view data in a single environment.
Evaluate LabVIEW to Validate or Verify Electronic Designs
Inline analysis refers to the process of analyzing data while it’s being acquired. This is generally the case when dealing with applications where decisions need to be made during run time and the results have direct consequences on the process, typically through the changing of parameters or executing of actions.
LabVIEW offers analysis and mathematical routines that natively work with data acquisition functions and display capabilities, so they can be easily built into any application. In addition, LabVIEW offers analysis routines for point-by-point execution; these routines are designed specifically to meet the needs of inline analysis in applications.
LabVIEW helps you build intelligence into your applications using inline analysis and presents results while the application is running. Functions are also available to perform offline analysis where data must be collected and analyzed as one data set. After you run the application several times, you can extract information to compare results, make decisions, and make changes to your process to achieve the wanted results.
LabVIEW offers more than 1,000 built-in functions designed specifically for engineering and scientific analysis, with which you can address a wide range of applications. For example, advanced analysis functions can measure signal characteristics such as total harmonic distortion, impulse response, frequency response, and cross-power spectrum. You can also incorporate mathematics or numerical analysis into your applications for purposes such as solving differential equations, optimization, root finding, and other mathematical problems. Built-in functions make it easy to work quickly on the problem instead of the tools. You can also modify, customize, and extend these functions to suit your needs. These functions are categorized in the following groups: measurement, signal processing, mathematics, and control and simulation.
LabVIEW VIs include both configuration-based Express VIs and low-level VIs. Configuration-based Express VIs provide the simplest way to add inline measurement analysis and signal processing to a LabVIEW application. Examples of commonly used Express VIs for analysis include the Filter Express VI, Amplitude and Level Measurements Express VI, and Statistics Express VI. To access the configuration of any Express VI, simply double-click the VI. Express VIs provide a configuration approach to LabVIEW development, and they encompass the capabilities of many lower-level VIs. LabVIEW also contains numerous low-level analysis functions that perform specific analysis tasks that you can customize.
Figure 2: An example VI using Express VIs to simulate and record data.
In addition to the built-in analysis libraries, you can use add-on toolsets and modules to reduce development time for specialized application needs. By incorporating toolset components into custom applications, you reduce the need for particular expertise commonly associated with the development of more vertical applications such as advanced digital signal processing, sound and vibration measurements, order analysis, image processing, and real-time OS and FPGA development. Visit the NI Tools Network to view all LabVIEW add-ons.
LabVIEW can integrate multiple languages, like .m, C, Python, and .NET, into your application so that you can reuse your existing analysis scripts and developed algorithms. Learn more about all the options you have to reuse existing code in LabVIEW.
Figure 3: Integrate .m files with the LabVIEW MathScript Node.