Thursday, July 30, 2009

NI Flexrio Now Includes Multiple Adapter Modules

National Instruments (NI) has announced the expansion of its Flexrio product line with multiple adapter modules. These provide engineers with application-specific input/output (I/O) for radio-frequency (RF), digital, time-domain and vision inspection systems. The NI Flexrio family is a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solution that provides engineers with the flexibility of NI Labview field-programmable gate array (FPGA) technology combined with high-speed, instrument-class, reconfigurable and user-defined I/O on the PXI platform. All NI Flexrio solutions require two distinct hardware pieces: an I/O-specific adapter module and a PXI-based NI Flexrio FPGA module, which features a Xilinx Virtex-5 FPGA.

With a variety of NI Flexrio adapter modules, engineers can directly interface FPGAs to new types of I/O for measurements across automated test applications that require real-time performance. The software-defined, reconfigurable I/O capabilities of NI Flexrio make it possible for engineers to employ techniques such as in-line signal processing, hardware-in-the-loop control and protocol-aware test for designing and testing many complex electronic devices. The company has already released two NI Flexrio adapter modules: the NI 6581 100MHz digital I/O (DIO) adapter module and the NI 6585 200MHz low-voltage differential signalling (LVDS) DIO module.

In addition to these products, NI will soon release several specialised adapter modules, including: a dual-channel, 100MS/s, 14-bit-input/16-bit-output baseband transceiver for radio prototyping and stimulus-response applications; a 3GS/s, 8-bit digitiser for time-domain measurements and ultra-wideband spectral analysis; a four-channel, 250MS/s, 14-bit digitiser for signal intelligence and other applications requiring high speed and resolution; and a full-configuration Camera Link interface for high-speed image processing and low-latency control. As part of the open nature of the NI Flexrio platform, the company has also been collaborating with several NI alliance partner companies on third-party adapter modules, including the already-released Nexfrontier NF1208 100MHz vector rate pin electronics digital I/O adapter module and the Averna IEEE 1394b adapter module.

Other companies, including SET, Prevas AB, Cosylab and Adsys Controls, are finalising additional NI Flexrio adapter module designs for future release. For applications requiring highly customised I/O, engineers with PCB design and HDL experience can create their own adapter modules using the NI Flexrio adapter module development kit (MDK). The MDK features full documentation on electrical, firmware, software and mechanical design details, including computer-aided-design (CAD) files and example HDL, as well as various metal adapter module enclosures.

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