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Microelectronics Research Group
Virtual Instrumentation

What is VI ?
Virtual Instrumentation represents a real revolution in the field of electronic instrumentation.
The concept, introduced about  twenty years ago by National Instruments with the introduction of LabVIEW,
is based on the idea to allow the instrumentation user to build an instrument for his needs rather than
trying to adapt his needs to existing instruments.
Similarly to what happens in the case of a house building, three main things are needed: a good project, bricks and cement.
Good projcet means clear definition of the problem, accurate specifications, good ideas to obtain the desired result with the minimum effort, suitable choice of the need bricks. The bricks of a virtual instruments are represented by a set of hardware resources as acquisition boards, arbitrary waveform generators, digital I/O boards etc. All these elements can be fitted into a PC or similar device. These elements are not specifically designed to solve a particular measurement need but to realize a  simple operation on signals as analog to digital conversion, digital to analog conversion, digital lines management etc.  Finally, cement is represented by a software written by the user to put all the necessary bricks together to realize the desired measurement and analysis functions. To this purpose a VI development platform (as is LabVIEW)  has to provide suitable libraries of functions to manage the hardware.
Here is a short, graphical presentation of the above described concepts (in italian) : VIdesign.pdf

Applications
Virtual instrumentation have been widely used in many research projects of our group.
However particular attenion has been payed to the development of innovative applications
in this area.
Some examples:

Title
Downloads & Pictures Links

Production line monitoring



Fluxmeter characterization bench

PDF document

Portable audio spectrum analizer

Tesi_Fabio_cibin.pdf

Environment  acoustic pollution  monitoring network
Project developed by students:
De Grandis Denis (project manager), Tortoriello Andrea,
Bassani Marco, Cimatti Giampaolo, Toselli  Stefano,
Leone Antonio, Zoffoli Paolo

Pres_progetto.pdf
Hardware_campana.pdf
Server_campana.pdf
DBase.pdf


Resources

National Instruments Homepage

Short tutorial about VI and LabVIEW

www.globalspec.com : a nice site to find sensors, acquisition systems etc.

Thesis

Thesis area available on these topics. Here is a list of all the titles available at the Microelectronics Group


 
  Prof. Massimo Lanzoni- Dipertimento di Elettronica, Informatica e Sistemistica - Università di Bologna
Viale Risorgimento 2 - 40136- Bologna
- tel 0512093078 - fax 0512093785
http://www-micrel.deis.unibo.it/~massimo/