Austin, Tex.—After an eight-year hiatus, I returned to NI Week, that high-flying, fast-rolling, guitar-playing event held in the Texas capital during the heat of summer. Things have certainly changed since the first NI Week in 1995 (I was there). PXI had not yet been invented, nor did we have flying drones. Robots were for industrial use only. In 2015, some 3200 engineers, technicians, and scientists were treated to technology that was barely a dream in 1995.
National Instruments and its many partner companies demonstrated an array of automated test systems, but the real fun came from drones, automated football inflators (enough to make Tom Brady cry), bikes with more sensors than my 1999 Toyota, and a host of other cool gadgets. It all started with the opening keynote on Tuesday, August 4 as a drone flew around the hall.
Indiana-based Ball Systems had some fun with an NI USB data-acquisition system and LabVIEW. Engineers developed an automated inflater-deflater that can be used with a football (soccer) ball, basketball, volleyball, or in this case, an NFL football. Click on the smiling Tom Brady and see the ball's pressure go to 10.5 lbs. Click on crying Tom and see it inflate to 12.5 lbs.
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