The latest upgrade to LabView from National Instruments, Austin, incorporates support for real-time control and redesigned modules for running on different platforms such as PDAs and FPGAs.

Dubbed LabView 7.1, the release contains five new VIs, or virtual instruments, the building blocks of LabView functions. They handle NI hardware that includes digitizers, signal generators, and high-speed digital I/O. The VIs simplify the task of setting up a measurement procedure, compressing long strings of block functions into one single function block, saving programming time.

Support for real-time applications, such as with NI's DAQmx, is said to increase single-loop PID performance by 30%. Also new with this release is the ability to run LabView Real-Time on certified desktop PCs. This lets users create real-time systems by integrating the installed base of PCI I/O hardware onto desktop PCs. Plus, the PDA module boasts faster multichannel acquisition and analog and digital triggering as well as communication with Bluetooth-enabled devices.

The release also introduces advanced execution timing and graphical debugging for low-level control of real-time system execution. An enhanced "while" loop lets users specify precise timing of code segments, coordinate multiple time-critical activities, and define prioritybased loops for creating multirate applications. An Execution Trace toolkit lets user identify sources of jitter such as memory allocation and race conditions.

The FPGA module features single-cycle "while" loops that execute multiple functions within a single 25-nsec tick of the 40-MHz global clock. This lets engineers use LabView to develop FPGA code that purportedly executes as efficiently as hand-coded VHDL. Users can also reuse preexisting VHDL code in LabView FPGA applications using a new HDL interface node. —

—Miles Budimir

The PDA Module of the new LabView 7.1 lets engineers create customized applications on a PDA. For example, this handheld digital multimeter application runs on a PDA and can measure up to 120 V.
The PDA Module of the new LabView 7.1 lets engineers create customized applications on a PDA. For example, this handheld digital multimeter application runs on a PDA and can measure up to 120 V.
LabView 7.1 targets the whole range of design and development from prototyping and design to manufacturing test.
LabView 7.1 targets the whole range of design and development from prototyping and design to manufacturing test.