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Virtual instrumentation tool adds uClinux on DSPs, MCUs

Sep 24, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 3 views

National Instruments has updated two add-ons to its graphical toolsuite aimed at helping non-computer programmers such as engineers and scientists create design, control, and test applications. The two LabView 8.5 add-on updates bring support for uClinux on ADI's Blackfin DSPs (digital signal processors), and on Freescale's ColdFire MCUs (microcontroller units).

LabView was originally launched for Apple's Macintosh in 1986, a heady time during which many if not most of the dominant paradigms in desktop computing software user interfaces were being established. After all, the first computer with a mouse — the Apple Macintosh — had shipped just two years before.

LabView was among the first development tools to use a graphical development model. Its interface lets users graphically model their application by assembling function block diagrams. Behind the scenes, the diagrams are converted to NI's own proprietary “G” language, and subsequently compiled.

LabView's graphical user interface
(Click to enlarge)

G is said to be highly portable among OSes and processor architectures. In addition to its new support for uClinux on Blackfin and ColdFire, it supports OSes that include Linux, Mac OS, and Windows, and processor architectures that include ARM7, TI c6000, XScale, and PowerPC. With an optional FPGA software add-on, it also supports the use of FPGAs (field-programmable gate arrays), on which users can implement hardware logic devices such as custom peripherals.

LabView 8.5's new support for uClinux on Analog Devices Inc. (ADI's) Blackfin DSPs requires an add-on called “Embedded Module for ADI Blackfin Processors 2.5.” The add-on appears to work in tandem with ADI's own VisualDSP++ 5.0 product, and the combination is said to enable engineers to create sophisticated systems such as medical devices and sub-sea monitoring systems.

ColdFire support, meanwhile, requires the optional LabVIEW Microprocessor 2.5 SDK. The newest release of this add-on also brings background TCP/IP debugging, said to enable developers to debug applications without compromising real-time performance.


LabView 8.5 is available now, priced at $2,400 for the complete system on Windows hosts. The new “Embedded Module for ADI Blackfin Processors 2.5” adds $7,200, while the “LabView Microprocessor SDK 2.5” adds $10,000.

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