LabVIEW gets an upgrade

National Instruments has released a new version of its popular LabVIEW graphical development environment software.

The new version, LabVIEW 7.1, comes with five new Express Virtual Instruments (VIs) for the company’s digitizers, signal generators and high-speed digital I/O.

Redesigned NI-DAQmx measurement services software in LabVIEW 7.1 increase the performance of single-loop PID applications by 30% and simplify hardware-timed loop implementations.

In addition, a new LabVIEW 7.1 PDA Module delivers faster multichannel acquisition and analog and digital triggering. Engineers can use this module to create customised handheld DMM applications and communicate with Bluetooth-enabled devices.

LabVIEW 7.1 also now has advanced execution timing and graphical debugging for low-level control and visibility of real-time system execution. With a new timed loop feature, an enhanced while loop in LabVIEW, engineers can specify precise timing of code segments, coordinate multiple time-critical activities and define priority-based loops for creating multirate applications.

To further optimize performance of their applications, engineers can use the new LabVIEW Execution Trace Toolkit with the LabVIEW Real-Time Module to quickly identify sources of jitter, such as memory allocation and race conditions.

In addition to speeding development of real-time applications on existing platforms, this release extends LabVIEW Real-Time to run on certified desktop PCs. Engineers now can create real-time systems by integrating the large installed base of PCI I/O hardware with desktop PCs.

The new LabVIEW 7.1 FPGA Module, which also releases with LabVIEW 7.1, improves efficiency and functionality of embedded FPGA applications. The latest version features single-cycle while loops that execute multiple functions within a single 25 nsec “tick” of a 40 MHz global clock.

With this new feature, engineers can use LabVIEW to develop FPGA code that executes as efficiently as hand-coded VHDL. They also can reuse their existing VHDL code in LabVIEW FPGA applications with a new HDL interface node. In addition, engineers now have three new FPGA targets, including the NI Compact Vision System for creating high-performance custom machine vision applications.

The software is available for Windows, Macintosh, Sun Solaris and Linux operating systems.