NI's Instrument Driver Network Gains 361 Instrument Drivers

1/8/2004 - National Instruments announced that it added 361 instrument drivers to the Instrument Driver Network in 2003. The industryís largest source for instrument drivers now includes an additional 160 LabVIEW plug and play source code drivers, more than 50 new RF instrument drivers and four times the number of analytical instrument drivers it had in 2002. These additions ease connectivity to and expand functionality of a wider range of instruments and industries than ever before.

The new LabVIEW plug and play source code drivers increase flexibility, ease maintenance and simplify debugging. Because engineers and scientists can view and modify the source code of these instrument drivers, they can easily integrate additional functionality and optimize code for their particular application.

"We find it extremely beneficial to our productivity and application flexibility to obtain open, native LabVIEW plug and play instrument drivers. The time saved really adds up," said James A. Hart, hardware engineer at Northrop Grumman Space Technology. "I much prefer to use open, native LabVIEW instrument drivers so that I can customize them to our requirements. Iíve also found that itís a much better way to understand the instrument operation. All around, these drivers are superior learning tools."

With more than 25 new drivers for analytical instruments, including the Mettler Toledo AT and MT balance families, engineers and scientists can easily use LabVIEW to expand the data analysis and storage functions of these instruments. In addition, they now can connect to more than 50 new RF instruments, including Agilent Performance Spectrum and Network Analyzers, natively through LabVIEW.

"The NI Instrument Driver Network continues to be the industryís most comprehensive instrument driver repository, incorporating the latest technologies, such as Microsoft .NET, USB and Ethernet, and supporting an ever-expanding variety of leading instruments," said Ray Almgren, NI vice president of product strategy. "In 2003, we added some significant drivers to the network, bringing the benefits of native LabVIEW connectivity to a broader range of instruments -- from gas chromatographs to RF signal generators."

Instrument drivers in the Instrument Driver Network provide a high-level, easy-to-use programming model that offers access to the complex measurement capabilities of instruments through an intuitive application programming interface (API). Based on Virtual Instrumentation Software Architecture (VISA), these drivers provide a common foundation for interoperability of high-level multivendor system software components and abstract low-level programming to shield engineers and scientists from shifts in technology.

The Instrument Driver Network now features more than 2,500 instrument drivers from more than 150 vendors. Engineers and scientists can visit the network at to learn about, download, develop, request and submit instrument drivers for controlling instruments with LabVIEW, LabWindows/CVI and Measurement Studio for Microsoft Visual Studio .NET.

About National Instruments
National Instruments ( is a technology pioneer and leader in virtual instrumentation -- a revolutionary concept that has changed the way engineers and scientists approach measurement and automation. Leveraging the PC and its related technologies, virtual instrumentation increases productivity and lowers costs for customers worldwide through easy-to-integrate software, such as the NI LabVIEW graphical development environment, and modular hardware, such as PXI modules for data acquisition, instrument control and machine vision. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, NI has more than 3,000 employees and direct operations in 40 countries. In 2002, the company sold products to more than 25,000 different companies in more than 80 countries around the world. For the past four consecutive years, FORTUNE magazine has named NI one of the 100 best companies to work for in America.

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