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December 2008 - February 2009
Curtin University of Technology, School of Education
Project Description

ICON Technologies developed a hardware/software system to meet functional specifications set by Curtin’s School of Education for a research tool to investigate perceptual exploration of complex graphic displays.

The system consists of a frame containing an embedded 2D array of transducers (LEDs or similar), and a software application that can generate specific patterns of transducer activity synchronized with particular video frames within a Flash animation. The activity patterns are time-dependent variations in output intensity, propagated across one or more of the 20 transducers in the 2D array.

The LabVIEW software application reads frame numbers from an executing Flash animation, and generates the transducer excitation patterns at specific user-definable frames, or in response to a variety of other external cues or triggers. Each transducer is excited by a PWM voltage level output from a National Instruments’ Compact FieldPoint I/O Interface.

A specific requirement of the system was to enable operators with little or no programming background to create relatively sophisticated transducer excitation patterns that could include:

  • Regular or irregular time variations to a precision of 0.1 s
  • Linear or non-linear ramping of excitation voltage from 0-100% of output intensity
  • The ability to save sequences for re-use, or to embed them as sub-sequences into other patterns
  • Independent, parallel execution of multiple sequences
  • Synchronization of sequences to arbitrary frames of an arbitrary Flash animation

To meet this requirement cost-effectively, ICON Technologies adapted the powerful sequence engine within National Instruments’ Teststand test executive to the task of generating and executing sequences from a library of pre-built steps. This approach would work well with any task that demands the creation and execution of custom I/O sequences.

Integration Products

NI Compact FieldPoint, LabVIEW, NI TestStand