NI Introduces SignalExpress Interactive Measurement Software

8/20/2004 - National Instruments announced NI SignalExpress, an interactive software environment for acquiring, comparing, automating, testing and storing measurement signals. With SignalExpress, engineers now can use virtual instrumentation on the benchtop to save valuable time by automating measurements for design, debugging, characterization and validation labs.

“For three decades, vendors have struggled to create easy-to-use measurement software that matches the interactivity of traditional instruments,” said Dr. James Truchard, NI cofounder, president and CEO. “With SignalExpress, we bring true productivity to the benchtop by empowering designers to quickly measure and compare signals with imported design data. More importantly, SignalExpress is based on an extension of NI LabVIEW Express technology, creating a new, interactive virtual instrumentation experience for benchtop measurements.”

In the past, electronic design and test engineers spent hours acquiring and analyzing electronic measurements manually with traditional benchtop instruments. The advancing complexity of today’s electronic devices requires more tests to verify and validate a design without additional time in the product development cycle for engineers. National Instruments delivers a simple and interactive solution through SignalExpress. With this new software environment, engineers can easily combine design simulation data with measurements through an easy-to-use, drag-and-drop environment that does not require programming.

“Simulation tools such as National Semiconductor’s WEBENCH online design environment give engineers a preliminary look at how a circuit works. With SignalExpress an engineer can quickly do a reality check on designs using real-time measurement data,” said Bob Pease, staff scientist at National Semiconductor. “I wouldn't build a production board based on SPICE alone, but I will trust real-world bench measurements taken with NI hardware.”

The new software integrates with PC-based NI data acquisition hardware and modular instruments to quickly and interactively perform tasks common in the design phase of the product development cycle such as device characterization, automated sweep measurements, limit testing and measurement logging. NI SignalExpress integrates with electronic design automation (EDA) tools to instantly acquire and compare real and simulated measurements in the time and frequency domains. In one click, engineers also can save their SignalExpress measurements into Excel, ASCII and NI LabVIEW measurement files.

SignalExpress continues to build on Express technology by integrating with the LabVIEW graphical programming environment. To reuse in highly automated test applications, engineers can instantly convert their SignalExpress projects to LabVIEW block diagrams for applications such as automated system validation and manufacturing test. Also, engineers can use LabVIEW to add functionality to SignalExpress by creating user-defined steps to perform tasks such as controlling GPIB instruments or calling a specialized analysis function.

SignalExpress is available for Windows 2000/NT/XP. Engineers can combine the interactive measurement software with NI M Series and NI E Series multifunction DAQ devices, NI signal generators and NI high-speed digitizers.

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 through easy-to-integrate software and modular hardware. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, NI has more than 3,100 employees and direct operations in 40 countries.

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