NI extends 'smart sensing' capability to all analog sensors

Austin, TX—National Instruments (NI) launched Aug. 5 an online database for Virtual transducer electronic data sheets (TEDS), which are IEEE P1451.4-compliant electronic data sheets that instantly give plug-and-play capabilities and auto-configuration functions to legacy sensors.


Austin, TX— National Instruments (NI) launched Aug. 5 an online database for Virtual transducer electronic data sheets (TEDS), which are IEEE P1451.4-compliant electronic data sheets that instantly give plug-and-play capabilities and auto-configuration functions to legacy sensors. The result of a collaborative effort between NI and leading sensor vendors, Virtual TEDS deliver the benefits of IEEE P1451.4 'smart' analog sensors, such as easy configuration and improved accuracy, to measurement and automation systems using traditional sensors.

'Virtual TEDS deliver to our large installed analog sensors user base an easy way to bring TEDS information into existing applications,' says John Kubler, Kistler Instruments' corporate development VP. 'By incorporating the benefits of IEEE P1451.4 'smart' sensors into their applications, these customers can dramatically simplify the configuration and maintenance of complex, high-channel-count systems, while protecting their investments.'

IEEE P1451.4 smart TEDS sensors include an embedded, low-cost memory chip containing standardized TEDS, which store important sensor information and parameters for self-identification and self-description. Available for download at , Virtual TEDS give users the same information for existing, traditional sensors, which eliminates the need to manually input this data when configuring a measurement system using legacy sensors. This not only reduces system configuration time, but also increases the general integrity and reliability of systems by reducing human error.

'A year ago, we introduced our vision for 'smart' sensors' said Dr. James Truchard, NI's president and CEO. 'Now, that vision is a reality. By teaming up with leading sensor vendors to deliver Virtual TEDS, we are making next-generation measurement technologies available to today's measurement and automation systems.'

Users simply enter the manufacturer model or serial number to access the extensive database of leading sensor vendors' electronic information via, and they are instantly provided with that sensor's specific scaling and calibration information packaged in the IEEE P1451.4 binary format. Users can access information from global sensor vendors including:

  • LEM;

  • PCB Piezotronics;

  • Weed Instrument;

  • Honeywell Sensotec;

  • Kistler Instruments;

  • Endevco;

  • Macro Sensors;

  • Lion Precision;

  • Transducer Techniques;

  • G.R.A.S.;

  • Wilcoxon;

  • Watlow;

  • RDP; and

  • Bruel & Kjaer.

Once users download the electronic data sheets, they can use the Virtual TEDS Editor, a stand-alone Microsoft Windows application written in NI's LabView 7 Express, to translate the file into script that the user can read and modify. With the Virtual TEDS Editor, users can view and edit sensor properties stored in the Virtual TEDS file, making large systems with hundreds of sensors easier to use and maintain.

To easily integrate both smart TEDS and Virtual TEDS sensor information into their LabView applications, users can access the TEDS library for LabView, an online database of LabView virtual instruments (VIs) available for download at . The VIs in the TEDS library for LabView implement basic TEDS management functions for reading and decoding TEDS sensors and editing and recompiling TEDS data according to IEEE P1451.4 specifications. System developers can use the decoded TEDS information to automate the setup and configuration of all sensors in their system.

In addition, users can take advantage of the NI Plug & Play Sensor Advisor to find the right plug and play sensor for their application. At , they can search, view and compare properties of leading plug and play sensors by entering sensor information, sensor types or application specifications.

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jim Montague, news editor

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