National Instruments (Nasdaq:NATI) and Analog Devices (NYSE:ADI) announced the release of the NI LabVIEW Embedded Module for ADI Blackfin Processors 2.0, an extension of the LabVIEW graphical development environment that directly targets ADI Blackfin(R) processors. Since its introduction, the LabVIEW Embedded Module for Blackfin Processors has been adopted by engineers for the rapid development of sophisticated embedded systems ranging from cutting-edge medical devices to subsea monitoring systems. The latest version of the module delivers more than 30 percent increased efficiency in code generation and expanded Blackfin processor support including the $5 (USD) ADSP-BF531, which provides a price/performance advantage ideal for cost-sensitive applications such as portable test equipment, embedded modems, biometrics and consumer audio.
The combination of the LabVIEW graphical development platform and the high-performance, low-power Blackfin processors delivers an out-of-the-box solution that companies are using to optimize costs and shorten time to market for embedded systems. NAXYS selected the LabVIEW Embedded Module for Blackfin Processors to deploy a high-reliability, real-time monitoring system 850 m below the ocean surface. The project called for the development of a subsea pipeline monitoring system in the Ormen Lange gas field off the coast of Norway to analyze vibrations that can potentially cause gas leaks or pipeline ruptures.
Using LabVIEW and the Blackfin-based ZMobile platform from Schmid Engineering, NAXYS created a network of underwater sensors that takes advantage of ultrasonic technology to synchronize multiple modules in real time while also being able to sleep for hours at a time. In addition, the system provides high-speed data collection, fast interrupt response and a multithreaded deterministic application.
“The Ormen Lange pipeline monitoring system needed a solution that could operate in harsh conditions for long periods of time, which placed the highest demands on software and hardware reliability, in-program error handling and efficient energy management,” said Harald Månum, senior engineer at NAXYS. “The combination of LabVIEW and ADI Blackfin processors delivered the stability, versatility, performance and battery life we needed to meet both the time-to-market and quality requirements.”
Boston Engineering chose the LabVIEW Embedded Module for Blackfin Processors in conjunction with FlexStack, a Blackfin-based off-the-shelf deployable hardware platform, for the development of an automated intravenous drip infusion pump that required slow flow rates, fail-safe operation and a simple user interface. Engineers used LabVIEW to design the algorithms on a PC, develop a hardware-in-the-loop test system and deploy the final solution to a Blackfin processor.
“The use of LabVIEW in all aspects of the design process was critical to our success in getting the IV drip infusion pump completed faster and cheaper than our competitors,” said Erik Goethert, a design engineer at Boston Engineering. “We were able to take the majority of our embedded code from the design phase all the way to the chip, significantly reducing our engineering costs and, therefore, the final cost of the solution.”
The LabVIEW Embedded Module for Blackfin Processors 2.0 introduces new features to further simplify and enhance embedded system development. The latest version of the module targets four additional Blackfin processors including the ADSP-BF531 processor, which is the lowest-cost processor in the Blackfin family. The module also delivers increased efficiency for embedded system development including an average 36 percent increase in generated code performance, improved debugging capabilities and integration with LabVIEW 8.20. In addition, the module adds new drivers for Two-Wire Interface (TWI) and a CMOS image sensor.
As with the previous version, the LabVIEW Embedded Module for Blackfin Processors 2.0 includes more than 140 Blackfin-specific, hand-optimized math, analysis and signal processing functions; integrated I/O such as audio and video DACs, ADCs and CODECs; and on-chip debugging. The module also includes the fully featured and accessible ADI VisualDSP++(R) C development and debugging environment for low-level access and real-time, interactive debugging and deployment directly to Blackfin.
Readers also can purchase an evaluation kit, which includes an evaluation hardware board, cables and software, for $399 (USD).
About LabVIEW for Graphical System Design
The NI embedded design and prototyping platform combines the LabVIEW graphical development environment with off-the-shelf, FPGA-based measurement and control hardware for design, simulation, rapid prototyping, implementation, validation and verification of embedded systems. With the intuitive LabVIEW graphical programming environment, engineers and scientists can rapidly develop and iterate on designs, reducing the time from concept to prototype. Using LabVIEW with tightly integrated FPGA-based NI PXI or CompactRIO hardware further reduces time to market by eliminating the need for costly integration steps such as board bring-up. After prototyping and validating the design, domain experts can deploy these custom designs to an extensive range of off-the-shelf NI hardware or deploy to custom hardware using components such as DSPs or custom ASICs.
About National Instruments
National Instruments is transforming the way engineers and scientists design, prototype and deploy systems for measurement, automation and embedded applications. NI empowers customers with off-the-shelf software such as NI LabVIEW and modular cost-effective hardware, and sells to a broad base of more than 25,000 different companies worldwide, with no one customer representing more than 3 percent of revenue and no one industry representing more than 10 percent of revenue. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, NI has more than 4,000 employees and direct operations in nearly 40 countries. For the past eight years, FORTUNE magazine has named NI one of the 100 best companies to work for in America.
About Analog Devices
Innovation, performance, and excellence are the cultural pillars on which Analog Devices has built one of the longest standing, highest growth companies within the technology sector. Acknowledged industry-wide as the world leader in data conversion and signal conditioning technology, Analog Devices serves over 60,000 customers, representing virtually all types of electronic equipment. Celebrating 40 years as a leading global manufacturer of high-performance integrated circuits used in analog and digital signal processing applications, Analog Devices is headquartered in Norwood, Massachusetts, with design and manufacturing facilities throughout the world. Analog Devices’ common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker “ADI” and is included in the S&P 500 Index.
Priced from $8,995; €9,249; ¥1,253,000
CompactRIO, LabVIEW, National Instruments, N, and ni.com are trademarks of National Instruments. Blackfin and VisualDSP++ are registered trademarks of Analog Devices, Inc.