Thursday, August 13, 2009

Quanser at NI-Week 2009

Anyone who has been to NIWeek before knows what a great conference it is to attend. Lots of new and cool products, great people from academia as well as industry, plus an energetic atmosphere, make this conference a great experience for all attendees.

As a National Instruments partner, Quanser was of course there to show its latest developments in partnership with NI and their software and hardware. We had brought quite a few devices for teaching and research and the demos were getting a lot of attention, especially our Quanser NI Engineering Trainers (QNETs), modular Rotary Experiments and Active Suspension. A lot of people were amazed that the experiments come with a full comprehensive curriculum with a wide range of pre-lab and in-lab exercises that could accompany the hardware throughout an entire semester course. The professors we talked to, agreed that receiving such curriculum with the hardware saves them a lot of time and hassle that they have to put in before the start of each semester to design and write-up a related curriculum.

People had a lot of fun with our two inverted pendulums (SRV-02 ROTPEN and QNET ROT-PEN) as everyone tried to to find out how much disturbance they could handle before falling down! Even if they did fall down, they would swing back up automatically thanks to the energy-based swing up controller that was designed and implemented in LabVIEW. Seems that our YouTube Channel is doing a great job for us - most people who saw the Active Suspension demo went "...ooh yea, this is the one I was on YouTube!"

Another Quanser Active Suspension system was shown in one of NI booths, controlled with LabVIEW and the CompactRIO. It wasn't a surprise to see Quanser experiments in other booths as well. For example in the LabVIEW Zone, two Quanser Linear Inverted Pendulum systems were demonstrated, controlled in real-time with LabVIEW and simulated in a virtual graphical environment at the same time.

The exhibition hall was not the only place that had action going on. Technical sessions in a variety of topics such as Military and Aerospace, Robotics and Vision were happening all day long in addition to a keynote speech given every morning in one of which NI announced the release of LabVIEW 2009 that is loaded with new features and built-in functionalities. We at Quanser are excited to try some of these new features in our developments of LabVIEW-based controllers that come with our hardware and curriculum. A few of these features include the automatic multi-threading of for loops, enhanced icon editor and the LabVIEW Mathscript RT Module. We are also marking our calendars from now for next year's NIWeek and so should you. Remember to visit NI's website for a collection of NIWeek09 videos, product releases and more.

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