FPGA modules allow user-configurable I/O

National Instruments extends PXI software-defined instrumentation with four new NI FlexRIO FPGA Adapter Modules Engineers Can Design User-Configurable FPGA-Based I/O With New PXI Modules and NI LabVIEW FPGA Software


NI FlexRIO adapter modulesNational Instruments four new adapter modules for its NI FlexRIO product family, provide FPGA-based reconfigurable I/O (RIO) for PXI systems, using the LabVIEW FPGA Module software. The user-configurable NI FlexRIO product family takes advantage of industry-leading PXI hardware and software integration to give engineers a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solution that is designed to more easily implement field-programmable gate array (FPGA) technology for advanced automated test and measurement systems.

NI FlexRIO solutions combine two distinct hardware components, a programmable PXI or PXI Express-based FPGA module and an I/O adapter module. The four new NI FlexRIO adapter modules are ideal for real-time measurements, nondestructive test (NDT) and ultrasound applications, communications systems and scientific research.

“Using NI FlexRIO, we designed an advanced ultrasound instrument in less than three months,” said Dave Lines, chief engineer at Diagnostic Sonar, a leading developer of ultrasonic systems for industrial and medical applications. “Because of the tight integration of NI FlexRIO hardware and LabVIEW FPGA software, our entire development process, including architecture specification, FPGA coding and real-time 3D display creation, was significantly shortened, and we were able to create an instrument that was much more customizable and scalable compared to existing systems.”

The new NI FlexRIO adapter modules reflect the continued investment of National Instruments in FPGA-based RIO and expand the company’s selection of PXI modular instrumentation with user-configurable FPGAs. Designed for test and measurement applications that require real-time performance and hardware signal processing, the new modules include the following unique capabilities:

-- NI 5761: four-channel, 14-bit, 250 MS/s broadband high-performance digitizer adapter module designed to meet a wide range of signal processing application needs including communications system design, intermediate frequency (IF) acquisition, multiple input, multiple output (MIMO), radar and scientific research

-- NI 5751: 16-channel, 50 MS/s, 14-bit digitizer adapter module for test and measurement in areas such as experimental physics, NDT and medical imaging

-- NI 5752: 32-channel, 50 MS/s, 12-bit digitizer adapter module optimized for NDT and ultrasound applications; includes AC-coupled differential inputs with integrated VGAs and time-varying gain curves, as well as 16 digital outputs for pulser stimulus

-- NI 6583: 32 single-ended and 16 LVDS/mLVDS channels, digital adapter module with data rates up to 300 Mbit/s for test and communication requiring mixed digital logic Engineers can control and reconfigure the FPGA on the NI FlexRIO host module using the LabVIEW FPGA software. LabVIEW FPGA is distinctly suited for user-configurable FPGA programming because it clearly represents parallelism and dataflow programming, making it easier and more productive for engineers to target FPGAs without VHDL or Verilog knowledge. The latest version of LabVIEW FPGA incorporates enhancements that specifically address the increasing demands of advanced test systems. It includes improved integration with existing and off-the-shelf IP including direct compatibility with Xilinx IP blocks such as filters, fast Fourier transforms (FFTs), memories and first-in-first-out memory buffers (FIFOs). Better simulation capabilities make LabVIEW FPGA debugging and verification faster and more accurate with an IP behavioral simulation engine and tool integration with Mentor Graphics ModelSim. LabVIEW FPGA also draws on the support of LabVIEW FPGA IPNet, an online resource that helps engineers browse, download and share the latest IP for FPGA designs. In addition to seamless integration with LabVIEW, the new adapter modules join a broad portfolio of more than 400 NI PXI software-defined hardware products for automated test. Engineers can combine all NI FlexRIO products with the more than 1,500 PXI instruments from NI and more than 50 other vendors to address the requirements of practically any test application. ni.com/flexrio.

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