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Learn about the LabVIEW programming environment, create your first virtual instrument (VI), learn about LabVIEW's dataflow programming paradigm,become acquainted with some of LabVIEW's data types, and review some useful debugging techniques.


Welcome to the exciting world of LabVIEW for audio and signal processing applications! This module contains five screencast videos, meaning that the videos were captured directly from my computer screen. As I operate the LabVIEW software, I explain each step and discuss what is going on. After you watch each of the videos, you will possess a good idea of some fundamental LabVIEW concepts, including:

  • Front panel and block diagram programming paradigm
  • Dataflow paradigm
  • Data types
  • Broken wires
  • Debugging techniques

A bit of history

In 1986 National Instruments Corporation released the first version of LabVIEW ( Lab oratory V irtual I nstrument E ngineering W orkbench), which was designed to help engineers use a computer (the Apple Macintosh) to control and gather data from electronic instrumentation (voltmeters, oscilloscopes, and the like) all interconnected by the standard General Purpose Instrumentation Bus, or GP-IB. From its inception, LabVIEW programming was graphical in nature. Instead of writing a text file and compiling it to an executable, you connect various elements such as controls , indicators , nodes and subVIs together with wires , and in this way create a block diagram . The controls and indicators reside on the front panel , which looks just a traditional electronic instrument, i.e., it can have knobs, sliders, buttons, and display panels. The complete application is called a virtual instrument , or VI for short.

LabVIEW has since evolved into a complete programming environment; anything that you can imagine can probably be implemented in LabVIEW. Recent versions of LabVIEW have added a full suite of tools for doing signal processing, and since soundcard operations are provided, it becomes natural to develop audio signal processing applications in LabVIEW.

LabVIEW’s interactive front panel offers a unique opportunity to explore signal processing concepts in real time. As you work your way through other modules in this series, you will learn how to implement your own applications whose user interface consists of knobs, sliders and switches that can adjust processing parameters while you listen to the results.

Your first virtual instrument (vi)

Watch the following screencast video to learn how to connect front panel controls and indicators together. You will also learn how to use the While Loop structure to make your VI operate continuously until you press a “STOP” button on the front panel.

[video] Creating your first "VI" (Virtual Instrument)

The dataflow concept

The notion of LabVIEW’s dataflow programming paradigm must be grasped immediately in order for you to make forward progress learning about LabVIEW to create your own applications. Dataflow programming means that valid data must be present at all of the input terminals on a node (or subVI) before that node (or subVI) will produce valid data on its output terminals. Moreover, the node (or subVI) does not continually process its inputs data unless it is embedded in some sort of looping structure.

Click on the following animation of the dataflow concept to watch a screencast video that explains and further explores the dataflow programming concept.

[video] Understanding the LabVIEW "dataflow" paradigm

Data types

LabVIEW supports a broad range of data types , including numeric , Boolean , and string . The following screencast video will acquaint you with the floating point and integer styles of numeric data type, as well as the Boolean data type. The screencast explains the significance of the coercion indicator -- the red dot that flags a mismatch on data types applied to the input of a node or subVI -- as well as data type conversion nodes that you can use to intentionally convert a value from one data type to another.

[video] Datatypes: Numeric and Boolean

Broken wires

Broken wires indicate an error that must be corrected before your VI will run. Broken wires result from a number of causes, and it is important to understand why the wire is broken and how to correct the situation. The following screencast describes broken wires in detail.

[video] Understanding and correcting broken wires

Debugging techniques

As you begin learning LabVIEW so that you can develop your own VIs, you will find the debugging techniques described by the next screencast video helpful. Topics include adding additional indicators, using the Highlight Execution feature, using the Retain Wire Values feature, single-stepping , viewing wire values using probes , and creating breakpoints to pause execution when new data is available on a wire.

[video] Basic debugging techniques

For further study

If you are new to LabVIEW, I recommend the excellent text by Robert H. Bishop, Learning with LabVIEW 8 (Pearson Prentice Hall, 2007, ISBN 0-13-239025-6) . With this text you can learn basic LabVIEW programming techniques and get a better idea of everything that LabVIEW has to offer.

Once you have developed some skill with LabVIEW, consider Peter A. Blume’s text, The LabVIEW Style Book (Prentice Hall 2007, ISBN 0-13-145835-3) . This text covers a wide variety of techniques that will help you to develop robust and well-designed LabVIEW applications.

Don’t forget to check out the on-line documentation that is part of your LabVIEW product installation.

Visit the National Instruments website, including their Academic page and the NI Developer Zone .

Questions & Answers

Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Musical signal processing with labview -- programming techniques for audio signal processing. OpenStax CNX. Jul 18, 2007 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10440/1.1
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