National Instruments is introducing the NI wireless sensor network (WSN) platform, a complete remote monitoring offering consisting of NI LabVIEW graphical programming software and new reliable, low-power wireless measurement nodes. The adoption of wireless technology for remote monitoring applications is growing, yet engineers and scientists struggle to find a platform that can provide the required measurement quality, power management and reliable hardware for long-term, remote deployments. The NI WSN platform takes advantage of more than 30 years of NI data acquisition (DAQ) system knowledge to deliver an easy-to-use system that provides high-quality measurement data, the flexibility to manage power consumption and the ability to customise wireless hardware for added functionality. A key differentiator of the platform is the LabVIEW software, which integrates seamlessly with the new battery-powered, industrial-rated NI WSN measurement nodes that can be deployed in harsh conditions for extended periods.
Engineers and scientists worldwide are adopting wireless technologies to meet distributed and portable measurement applications challenges, such as structural health and environmental monitoring, where wiring is difficult or cost-prohibitive. With the flexibility of LabVIEW, the NI WSN platform simplifies and accelerates the development of these applications by delivering a drag-and-drop programming environment for configuring wireless systems, extracting measurements, performing analyses and presenting data. LabVIEW also offers native Web connectivity for remote interaction with wireless systems.
Dr William Kaiser, Director of the Actuated, Sensing, Coordinated and Embedded Networked Technologies lab at UCLA, comments: "The NI WSN platform provides the ease of use necessary to quickly configure and deploy wireless sensors in a wide range of applications. The Center for Embedded Network Systems at UCLA is actively deploying NI WSN sensors in a parking garage at the Ronald Reagan Medical Center to help patients and family quickly identify open parking locations and to research options for proactive communication to commuters on parking availability across campus. The use of NI technology will allow us to improve the commuter experience, reduce additional traffic and emissions as commuters search for parking."
National Instruments is releasing its first two WSN nodes and plans to expand the measurement capabilities of the NI WSN platform. The wireless measurement nodes are powered by four AA batteries for up to three years, making them suitable for long-term deployments. The NI WSN-3202 four-channel, +/-10V analogue input node and NI WSN-3212 four-channel, 24-bit thermocouple node have four digital I/O channels that can be configured for input, sinking output or sourcing output. The platform also includes the NI WSN-9791 Ethernet gateway, which is used to connect the measurement nodes to LabVIEW.
The wireless devices include NI-WSN software, which connects the NI wireless devices to LabVIEW software running on Microsoft Windows or a LabVIEW Real-Time host controller. NI-WSN software is based on IEEE 802.15.4 technology and gathers measurement data from the distributed measurement nodes. The software also delivers capabilities for mesh routing and managing power usage across the network, making it possible to increase measurement distance while maintaining network reliability. Additionally, LabVIEW delivers seamless integration with wired measurement devices and a wide range of third-party wireless sensor network platforms.
While the measurement nodes are optimised for low-power, multi-year deployment with limited computing resources, LabVIEW provides the ability to customise the embedded software on each node using the LabVIEW Wireless Sensor Network Module Pioneer. Programming customised logic on traditional wireless sensor network platforms often requires expertise in embedded operating systems and low-level, event-based programming. However, using the intuitive graphical programming of LabVIEW, engineers and scientists can easily program the nodes to extend battery life, perform custom analysis and reduce response time with embedded decision making.
Go to www.ni.com/wsn to evaluate the technology and purchase a starter kit (priced £1499) for the NI wireless sensor network platform. To view product availability by country, go to www.ni.com/wirelesscertifications or use the form on this page to request a callback or more information.