Integrated control system allows easier, quicker student designs
National Instruments (Nasdaq: NATI) expanded its commitment to engineering education with the release of NI myRIO, the latest NI educational product offering, announced Aug. 8 at NIWeek Worldwide Graphical System Design Conference.
Based on the same powerful technology as the NI CompactRIO platform, NI myRIO is smaller and more student-friendly than its industrial counterpart. NI myRIO includes the latest all programmable system on a chip (SoC) technology, Xilinx Zynq, which combines a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor and an FPGA with 28,000 programmable logic cells. Using the NI LabVIEW graphical programming environment, students can program the FPGA and evolve systems in real time, giving them the flexibility to prototype and quickly iterate on their designs.
Nick Morozovsky, graduate student researcher from the University of California at San Diego, said, “The compact size of the NI myRIO, combined with the power and flexibility of the onboard FPGA, makes it the ideal controller for embedded robotics applications.”
Controller, wireless communications, I/O module, sensor
The NI myRIO also includes 10 analog inputs, six analog outputs, audio I/O channels and up to 40 lines of digital I/O. It includes onboard WiFi, a three-axis accelerometer and several programmable LEDs in a durable, enclosed form factor.
“If I had made a list of everything I wanted in a portable I/O device, it would have looked almost exactly like the spec sheet of NI myRIO,” University of Florida engineering instructor Dan Dickrell III said. “This little unit is an amazing piece of engineering.”
The addition of NI myRIO to the LabVIEW reconfigurable I/O (RIO) architecture further enhances NI’s ability to provide tools at all skill levels, from students learning core engineering concepts, all the way to engineers designing the most powerful systems in the world. Ensuring classroom and laboratory adaptability, NI myRIO comes with free downloadable courseware, is compatible with NI miniSystems and connects with many third-party sensors and actuators. A large hardware ecosystem is available, and the device is programmable in multiple environments, including LabVIEW and C/C++, empowering educators to incorporate it into their existing controls, robotics, mechatronics, and embedded systems courses.
“We’re passionate about students having access to the same technology that they will use after graduation,” Dave Wilson, NI academic marketing director, said. “We want to ensure that both students and their future employers will be innovation ready from the moment they begin collaborating.”
Previously, National Instruments introduced the NI myDAQ, which offers affordable, student-friendly data acquisition for student courses focusing on measurements and circuits. Controller and additional functions and devices in the NI myRIO are particularly suitable for courses with controls, robotics, data logging, and embedded application projects, the company noted. At NIWeek, students and professors who had worked with the pre-release version of myRIO offered praise.
NI myRIO will begin shipping in early September. Various kits and systems options are available.
– Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, CFE Media, Control Engineering, Plant Engineering, and Consulting-Specifying Engineer, firstname.lastname@example.org.