National Instruments introduces Wireless Sensor Network Platform
New low-power wireless measurement nodes and NI LabView deliver high-quality measurement data, the flexibility to manage power consumption, and the ability to customize wireless hardware for remote monitoring applications.
National Instruments announced its NI wireless sensor network (WSN) platform at its NIWeek user conference in Austin, TX, this week. This complete remote monitoring system consists of NI LabView graphical programming software and new low-power wireless measurement nodes.
NI LabView 2009, announced yesterday, has additional provisions to ease wireless programming. The company made the announcement as part of its NIWeek conference week of activities and learning. The NIWeek demonstration showed wireless temperature measurement and how setup and visualization happens almost immediately using LabView for setup.
The adoption of wireless technology for remote monitoring applications is growing, yet engineers and scientists struggle to find an integrated solution that can provide the required measurement quality, power management and reliable hardware for long-term, remote deployments, National Instruments says. The NI WSN platform takes advantage of more than 30 years of NI data acquisition system leadership to deliver an easy-to-use solution that provides high-quality measurement data, the flexibility to manage power consumption and the ability to customize wireless hardware for added functionality. A key differentiator of the platform is LabView software, which integrates seamlessly with the new battery-powered, industrial-rated NI WSN measurement nodes that can be deployed in rugged conditions for long periods of time.
Widespread wireless adoption
Engineers and scientists worldwide 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 the flexibility of 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, the company says. LabView also offers native Web connectivity for remote interaction with wireless systems.
"The NI WSN platform provides the ease-of-use necessary 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."
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 ideal for long-term deployments. The NI WSN-3202 four-channel,
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.Additionally, LabView delivers seamless integration with wired measurement devices and a wide range of third-party wireless sensor network platforms.
While the measurement nodes are optimized for low-power, multiyear deployment with limited computing resources, LabView provides the ability to customize the embedded software on each node using the LabView Wireless Sensor Network Module Pioneer. Programming customized logic on traditional wireless sensor network platforms often requires expertise in embedded operating systems and low-level, event-based programming. Using the intuitive graphical programming of LabView, engineers and scientists easily can program the nodes to extend battery life, perform custom analysis and reduce response time with embedded decision making.
Engineers can visit www.ni.com/wsn to evaluate the technology and purchase a starter kit for the NI wireless sensor network platform. To view product availability by country, visit www.ni.com/wirelesscertifications .
- Edited by Mark T. Hoske, www.mbtmag.com