National Instruments Introduces Development Tools for Smart Sensors

9/25/2002 - National Instruments announced the TEDS library for LabVIEW and the NI Plug & Play Sensors Development Kit, two new development tools that engineers can use to quickly and easily integrate IEEE P1451.4 smart TEDS analog sensors into their computer-based data acquisition systems.

IEEE P1451.4 smart TEDS sensors contain an embedded memory chip with standardized transducer electronic data sheets (TEDS) that store sensor information and parameters for self-identification and self-description. The sensors include serial digital links for accessing this information for plug and play operation as well as analog signals for backwards compatibility with traditional measurement systems.

"Traditionally, when engineers setup and configured a data acquisition system, they had to manually enter important sensor parameters such as range, sensitivity, and other factors for the software to properly use and scale sensor data," said David Potter, NI DAQ Platform Manager and Vice-Chair of the IEEE P1451.4 committee. "A system created with the TEDS library for LabVIEW and the NI Plug & Play Sensors Development Kit that uses IEEE P1451.4 sensors automates this configuration step, saving engineers time while increasing the reliability of their system."

The TEDS library for LabVIEW, an online database of LabVIEW virtual instruments (VIs) available for download on, makes it easy for engineers to integrate analog smart sensors into their LabVIEW applications. The VIs implement basic TEDS management functions for reading and decoding TEDS sensors and editing and recompiling TEDS data according to IEEE P1451.4 specifications. Systems developers then can use the decoded TEDS information to automate the setup and configuration of all sensors in their system. Engineers also can use the software to patch into sensor manufacturing or calibration systems to automate the programming of the embedded computer chips.

The NI Plug & Play Sensor Development Kit, based on the company's SCC signal conditioning and E Series DAQ platform, is a complete data acquisition system for evaluating, using, and developing technology based on the IEEE P1451.4 specifications. With the development kit, engineers use the TEDS library for LabVIEW combined with data acquisition and signal conditioning hardware to create measurement systems that communicate with both the analog and digital portions of smart TEDS sensors, read and manage TEDS data, and create and reprogram sensors. The kit works with a broad range of sensors, including accelerometers, temperature sensors, load cells, pressure sensors, displacement sensors, and others.

About National Instruments
National Instruments leverages commercial technologies, such as industry-standard computers and the Internet, to deliver customer-defined measurement and automation solutions. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, NI has more than 2,900 employees and direct operations in 37 countries. NI increases the productivity of engineers and scientists worldwide by delivering easy-to-integrate software and modular hardware. In 2001, the company sold products to more than 24,000 different companies in more than 60 countries around the world. For the past three consecutive years, FORTUNE magazine has named NI one of the 100 best companies to work for in America.

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