NI creates a new instrument class at NI Week 2012

National Instruments promised a big announcement at the opening Keynote address at NI Week, and they did not disappoint. The company didn’t just announce a new product, they announced a completely new product category–the Vector Signal Transceiver. While the hardware is very impressive–four instruments in a 3-slot PXI form factor–it’s the software that truly makes this a new instrument class.

I traveled to Austin, deep in the heart of Texas, to see the introduction personally.  Let’s start with the hardware. Included in a VST are four instruments: a VSG (Vector Signal Generator), a VSA (Vector Signal Analyzer), a Digital I/O port, and a flexible programmable FPGA. The product sports a 6 GHz frequency range with 80 MHz instantaneous bandwidth.

But the real surprise is the software. NI calls this a “software-designed instrument.” That is, the firmware is completely user programmable. The magic behind this is LabVIEW FPGA. Users can use LabVIEW to develop customer-specific and lightning fast instrument firmware that runs at hardware speed on the internal FPGA.

Read my blogpost here to get the complete article and commentary on the VST.

By Larry DJ

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