9 May 2008
KineticSystems has launched SoftView, a tool that integrates KineticSystems’ entire line of PXI/CompactPCI instruments into a single software package.
At the touch of a button, the user can invoke operations on the instrument such as calibration, reset, data acquisition start and stop. The touch of another button brings up a dialogue for configuring all of the instrument’s properties such as overall sample rate, individual channel enable, filter range, and input level properties.
Once the instrument is configured, the Start button in SoftView activates data acquisition: the instrument is placed in run mode, and the input signals from enabled channels are displayed in a real-time graph window or a numeric table. Autonomous events (interrupts) are displayed as well. With just a few simple mouse clicks, the user can explore the instrument’s functionalities and properties, adjust filter, input range, debounce, and other settings, as well as start acquisition and test the results immediately.
Digital and analogue output channels are driven by a simple expression syntax that combines discrete and continuous generation functions with arithmetic operators and conditional logic to create waveforms of arbitrary complexity. This expression syntax can also be applied to input channels, allowing real-time scaling, offsets, change of units, polynomial curve fitting, even synthesising results from more than one channel. Output channels can be expressed in terms of analogue or digital input values, or triggered in response to autonomous events.
SoftView can manage multiple instruments simultaneously, providing the ability to test a complex system of cooperating instruments. Data from digital and A/D input instruments is collected, manipulated and displayed, and can also be used to drive digital and analogue outputs on other instruments.
SoftView is built on two underlying software libraries: the SoftView library manages the instruments in the system, while the Stream library manages input and output data from the instruments. In addition to controlling and querying instruments, the SoftView library provides the ability to query for the operations an instrument supports, including all of the instrument’s properties, options, and help texts.
The Stream library contains the expression syntax engine, as well as all of the logic to convert raw data to final engineering units and record the data to a file — it even provides the real-time graph images displayed by SoftView. Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are available for both of these libraries that greatly simplify the task of putting together a custom application featuring the capabilities of the basic SoftView package. Additionally, 3rd party instruments—including VXI, LXI and USB instruments — can be fully integrated under the SoftView library to create multi-vendor, multi-platform based applications.