National Instruments has announced the LabVIEW FPGA Pioneer System, an integrated development system that extends the company’s graphical development environment to field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs).
Until now, the extensive knowledge required to program FPGA chips with VHDL or other complex design tools has inhibited the widespread adoption of FPGA technology by measurement and control engineers. These engineers now can use the familiar dataflow model and inherent parallelism of National Instruments LabVIEW to develop and download custom applications to reconfigurable hardware. This simplifies hardware configuration and reduces overall development time.
The LabVIEW FPGA Pioneer System itself is a complete PXI system that includes a new LabVIEW FPGA Module and the first National Instruments reconfigurable I/O product, the PXI-7831R. Engineers can use the FPGA software module to configure the functionality of the PXI-7831R board for performing tasks such as the implementation of custom digital protocols and onboard decision making. Engineers can control each board’s analog and digital lines independently or synchronise them with other lines. They also can configure the digital I/O lines as custom counter/timers, pulse width modulated (PWM) channels, or flexible encoder inputs.
Using the system, engineers can build custom discrete and analog control applications for manufacturing and scientific research such as dynamometer or motor speed control, simulation applications for development of electronic control units (ECUs) common to vehicles and household appliances, as well as other applications that require tight timing and control.