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Raw data is not always the best way to communicate useful information. Data transformations like removing signal noise, compensation for environmental effects like temperature and humidity, and calibration for equipment error are needed to help turn raw data into useful data… (more)

I recently attended NI Week –held annually during the first week in August in Austin, Texas, the USA headquarters of National Instruments. Attended by some 4000 engineers and scientists, the buzz is about engineering and technology. He says we need to make engineering cool! Besides all the great developments and innovation that engineers are delivering today, there is a fundamental disconnect: “where will the engineers of the future come from?.” Students don’t think that engineering is cool, to use one of their expressions!… (more)


The benefits of Moore’s law have resulted in increased performance and reduced cost for electronic products for more than half a century. The development pace and proliferation of mobile devices have leveraged Moore’s law, growing at a projected 24,9% CAGR for 2011 – 2017 (, 3 May 2012). This trend is fueling significant silicon process developments for consumer electronics as well as pushing signal processing for features necessary to meet demand… (more)

Software-defined RF test system architectures have become increasingly popular over the past several decades. Almost every commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) automated RF test system today uses application software to communicate through a bus interface to the instrument… (more)

With the introduction of the its vector signal transceiver (VST), National Instruments has redefined instrumentation by bringing the flexibility of user-programmable field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) to RF instrumentation… (more)

Jeff Kodosky is described as the “father of LabVIEW”, the graphical programming language that spurred the development and widespread adoption of graphical system design, making instrument automation widely available. Since the initial release of LabView, he has earned 68 patents associated with the technology… (more)

Embedded designers have used field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) alongside both microprocessors (MPUs) and microcontrollers (MCUs) for years.  FPGAs have commonly been used to extend the capabilities of MPU I/O and to interface to a variety of subsystems and communication ports. As the capabilities of FPGAs have increased they have been used in concert with both MCU and MPU to improve the overall flexibility and performance of embedded systems beyond what can be achieved with a MCU or MPU alone… (more)

Software has been a critical component of automated test systems since it was first used to control stand- alone instruments more than 40 years ago. Since then the role of software in automated test has grown significantly. In fact, software development costs are often more than capital costs in most test systems today. Today’s industry-leading companies emphasise designing a robust system software stack to ensure maximum longevity and reuse of their software investments… (more)

Engineers have one very keen sense in life and that is to ferret out usefulness from perceived buzz. Subsequently, we somehow exist on the cutting edge and in the Stone Age at the same time… (more)

Electrical sensors have for decades been the standard mechanism for measuring physical and mechanical phenomena… (more)

During the last 20 years, the internet has enabled us to easily share data and connect with others using text, image, music and video. It seems that each year, as bandwidth and computing power increase and network communications become ever more ubiquitous, sharing ideas becomes easier, faster and cheaper… (more)

With a number of vendors producing programmable automation controllers that combine the functionality of a PC and reliability of a PLC, PACs are increasingly being incorporated into control systems… (more)

Hotter than the sun and yet one of the coldest places on earth, the largest machine in the world is 27 km long, lives 100 m underground and spans two countries. The machine, called the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), will cost a staggering $3,5-billion. The European Organisation for Nuclear Research, more commonly known as CERN, has designed it to reveal the secrets of the universe… (more)

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