By Anthony J. Lockwood
Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:
I’ve been asked to say a few words about National Instruments and its approach to prototyping embedded designs. So, when I was asked what it was that they’d like me to check out, they sent the link over there. The link will take you to a microsite called “Prototyping Faster with Graphical System Design.” Talk about fascinating stuff. NI never does things like the other guys.
NI’s LabVIEW graphical system design tools are used everywhere for embedded designs. One of the greatest attributes of LabVIEW is that you can get a functional prototype working quickly without pulling together a huge design team. That attribute is tremendously important when you’re part of an SMB or even a mega-company and you’re trying to prototype some medical, robotics, or industrial machine control application on a nickel and a prayer.
That is what makes this not your usual Check It Out. This is a link to something like the embedded designer dude’s or dudette’s resource center and hang out. There are things to read and videos. You’ll even find a new online community just getting going where embedded system designers are interacting with some NI engineers about things they are doing.
One bit of reading that I have to mention: There’s a great white paper called “Eight Rules for Prototyping” that’s worth the price of admission alone whether you do embedded designs or not. Rule number 6 you may want to make a poster out of for your CFO: “Avoid Focusing on Cost Too Early.”
As for videos, there’s a three-part webcast series entitled “Build a Better Prototype” that I’m betting is just the start of things since two are (registration-free) on-demand and one was yesterday. There’s also an intro to prototyping video that I watched and learned from. As an aside, NI is known in the biz for doing the very best demos. Why? Because they let their engineers have fun with the stuff. I’ve seen a Nash dancing to “Tequila” and Nerf machine guns as demo props, for example. Nothing really like that in the video I watched, but it is clear, concise, and informative. I’m no expert on embedded design, but I think even a pro would pick up something from it.
And that’s the deal at the other end of today’s Check It Out link. Well, yes, OK. You’re offered the opportunity here and there to hit a link and buy kits and NI products. NI is a business after all. So what of it? The Prototyping Faster with Graphical System Design microsite seems a terrific resource where you can pick up tips, tricks, and all sorts of knowledge that you need to demonstrate your idea and how it works to you boss, the client, and investors. Which, I guess means that you’re in business too. Check it out for yourself from the link over there.
Thanks, pal. — Lockwood
Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering