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National Instruments has announced the NI wireless sensor network (WSN) platform, a remote monitoring system that consists of Labview software and low-power wireless measurement nodes.

The NI WSN platform is claimed to provide high-quality measurement data, the flexibility to manage power consumption and the ability to customise wireless hardware for added functionality.

The platform features Labview software, which integrates with the battery-powered, industrial-rated NI WSN measurement nodes that can be deployed in rugged conditions for long periods of time.

Engineers and scientists are adopting wireless technology to meet distributed and portable measurement applications challenges, such as structural health and environmental monitoring, where wiring is difficult or cost-prohibitive.

With Labview, the NI WSN platform simplifies and accelerates the development of these applications by delivering a drag-and-drop programming environment for configuring wireless systems, extracting measurements, performing analysis and presenting data.

Labview also offers native web connectivity for remote interaction with wireless systems.

’The NI WSN platform provides the means to quickly configure and deploy wireless sensors in a wide range of applications,’ said Dr William Kaiser, director of the Actuated, Sensing, Coordinated and Embedded Networked Technologies lab at UCLA.

’The Center for Embedded Network Systems at UCLA is actively deploying NI WSN sensors in a parking garage at the Ronald Reagan Medical Center to help patients and family quickly identify open parking locations, and to research options for proactive communication to commuters on parking availability across campus.

’The use of NI technology will allow us to improve the commuter experience, reduce additional traffic and emissions as commuters search for parking,’ he added.

National Instruments is releasing its first two WSN nodes and plans to expand the measurement capabilities of the NI WSN platform.

The wireless measurement nodes are powered by four AA batteries for up to three years, making them suitable for long-term deployments.

The NI WSN-3202 four-channel, +/-10V analogue input node and NI WSN-3212 four-channel, 24-bit thermocouple node have four digital I/O channels that can be configured for input, sinking output or sourcing output.

The platform also includes the NI WSN-9791 Ethernet gateway, which is used to connect the measurement nodes to Labview.

The wireless devices include NI-WSN software, which connects the NI wireless devices to Labview software running on Microsoft Windows or a Labview real-time host controller.

NI WSN software is based on IEEE 802.15.4 technology and gathers measurement data from the distributed measurement nodes.

The software also delivers capabilities for mesh routing and managing power usage across the network, making it possible to increase measurement distance while maintaining network reliability.

Labview is also said to deliver seamless integration with wired measurement devices and a wide range of third-party wireless sensor network platforms.

While the measurement nodes are optimised for low-power, multi-year deployment with limited computing resources, Labview provides the ability to customise the embedded software on each node using the Labview Wireless Sensor Network Module Pioneer.

Programming customised logic on traditional wireless sensor network platforms often requires expertise in embedded operating systems and low-level, event-based programming.

Using the graphical programming of Labview, engineers and scientists can program the nodes to extend battery life, perform custom analysis and reduce response time with embedded decision making.

Readers can visit the company’s website to evaluate the technology and purchase a starter kit for the NI wireless sensor network platform.

National Instruments

National Instruments transforms the way engineers and scientists around the world design, prototype and deploy systems for test, control and embedded design applications. Using NI LabVIEW graphical programming software and modular hardware, customers at more than 30,000 companies annually simplify development, increase productivity and dramatically reduce time to market. From testing next-generation gaming systems to creating breakthrough medical devices to controlling autonomous vehicles, NI customers continuously develop innovative technologies that impact millions of people’s lives.

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