What is VI ?
Virtual Instrumentation represents a real revolution in the field of
The concept, introduced about twenty years ago by National
Instruments with the introduction of
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
Virtual instrumentation have been widely used in many research projects
of our group.
However particular attenion has been payed to the development of
in this area.
Short tutorial about
VI and LabVIEW
: a nice site to find sensors, acquisition systems etc.
Thesis area available on these
is a list of all the titles available at the Microelectronics Group