National Instruments (Nasdaq:NATI) announced a new suite of software and hardware intellectual property (IP) to make using field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) in measurement, control and signal processing applications easier. Collaborating with its worldwide network of customers, integrators and National Instruments Alliance Partners, NI is now making available the FPGA IPNet to provide an open forum for sharing LabVIEW FPGA IP and new hardware I/O modules for analog and digital I/O, communication buses/protocols and motion control. The newly available resources make it easier for engineers and scientists without hardware design experience to integrate FPGA technology into their test and control applications.
Engineers continue to use FPGAs instead of custom hardware because of FPGA reconfigurability, short development time, low cost and high performance; however, programming and integrating FPGAs into control, acquisition and test systems remains difficult. The IPNet offers engineers instant access to more than 100 FPGA IP functions for math and signal processing, data acquisition, signal generation, control, digital communication protocols and sensor simulation. By taking advantage of existing IP, engineers can reduce FPGA development time by using ready-to-run IP for tasks including digital filtering, proportional integral derivative (PID) control and serial peripheral interface (SPI) communication. Furthermore, as NI and the LabVIEW FPGA community create more IP, the IPNet will extend and become an increasingly effective venue for sharing and acquiring new code.
“FPGAs are a key hardware technology for empowering engineers and scientists to easily solve demanding test and control application challenges, but FPGAs are also difficult to program and integrate into existing hardware for engineers who are not design experts,” said Dr. James Truchard, NI president, CEO and co-founder. “We are excited to make IP widely available so domain experts now can save time and still take advantage of the benefits of FPGA technology without incurring new costs or requiring additional training.”
NI is working with NI Alliance Partners to create a family of C Series I/O modules to directly connect the FPGA within NI CompactRIO hardware to real-world sensors, actuators and communication protocols. NI recently hosted the first CompactRIO Plugfest event where CompactRIO module developers tested their modules for compatibility within the CompactRIO platform. There were more than 10 companies represented at the CompactRIO Plugfest, and there are now more than 25 third-party modules for CompactRIO and more than 60 C Series modules total for analog and digital I/O, communication buses and protocols, motion control and more. Some new third-party modules include:
- S.E.A. Wireless LAN and Ethernet Switch Module
- S.E.A. Wireless ZigBee Networking Module
- Comsoft PROFIBUS Master/Slave Module
- S.E.A. LIN Module
- Mindready MIL-STD-1553 Module
- SET ARINC-429 Transmit Module
- SET ARINC-429 Receiver Module
- DSM Linear Piezo Amplifier Module
About NI LabVIEW FPGA and CompactRIO
The National Instruments LabVIEW FPGA Module uses LabVIEW embedded technology to extend LabVIEW graphical development to target FPGAs on NI reconfigurable I/O (RIO) hardware. Engineers and scientists can use LabVIEW FPGA with NI FPGA-based hardware for unique timing and triggering routines, ultrahigh-speed control, interfacing to digital protocols, digital signal processing (DSP) and many other applications requiring high-speed hardware reliability and tight determinism.
CompactRIO is a high-performance embedded control and acquisition platform powered by graphical system design for advanced applications where small size, low cost and reliability are crucial. CompactRIO is powered by NI LabVIEW FPGA and LabVIEW Real-Time technologies that give engineers the ability to design, develop and deploy custom embedded systems for a variety of industries such as automotive, mil/aero, industrial and machine control and embedded systems prototyping.
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 4,500 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.
CompactRIO, LabVIEW, National Instruments, National Instruments Alliance Partner, NI and ni.com are trademarks of National Instruments. A National Instruments Alliance Partner is a business entity independent from NI and has no agency, partnership or joint-venture relationship with NI.