New Embedded Systems Laboratory for engineering students

12 September 2007

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National Instruments and the University of California, Berkeley, College of Engineering are working together to offer electrical engineering and computer sciences (EECS) students a new graphical system design environment in which to design, prototype and deploy their projects. The NI Embedded Systems Laboratory uses NI technologies to provide embedded system design experiential research opportunities for upper division undergraduate and graduate students.

All students in the UC Berkeley EECS department will work in the lab using NI products. In addition to combining undergraduate and graduate courses, this lab brings together members of the UC Berkeley community, including student and postdoctoral researchers and faculty staff from a variety of departments.

Ferenc Kovac, EECS Lab Manager at UC Berkeley, states: "The vision for the creation of the NI Embedded Systems Laboratory was developed by professor and department chair Dr Edward Lee, whose research interests focus on the design, modelling and simulation of embedded, real-time computational systems. Also, the lab would not be possible without the direct involvement of NI in our instructional and research program. With the NI Embedded Systems Laboratory, we are taking engineering education to the next level by giving students the tools to learn the graphical system design approach in a project-based environment."

The new lab offers a rich and open environment in which students can explore all aspects of embedded systems design, from core concepts - such as models of computation, concurrency and tool-supported design methodologies - to sensors and actuators, data acquisition, interfacing and real-world applications including mechatronics, robotics and controls systems.

Creating a paradigm shift

Ray Almgren, Vice President of Academic Marketing at NI, comments: "By using commercial-grade products to apply practical knowledge and classroom theories with real-world applications, NI and UC Berkeley are working to address the complexities of teaching and engineering education. Only by industry and academia working together can we create a paradigm shift in the way engineers are taught and prepared for tomorrow's environment."

Students will focus on RF, embedded systems design, test and mechatronics topics while receiving real-world experience in the design, prototyping and deployment stages of embedded systems. The lab includes 12 workstations, and four of those offer NI PXI chassis with modular instrumentation including arbitrary waveform generators, digitisers, multimeters, power supplies and USB data acquisition hardware.

Other NI products incorporated in the lab include: NI CompactRIO programmable automation controllers; the LabVIEW graphical development environment; and LabVIEW Real-Time, which combines the LabVIEW graphical environment with embedded technologies to achieve deterministic performance. Students will use these products to gain experience in a variety of focus areas such as wireless, motor control and vision-controlled applications.

Readers interested in the NI Embedded Systems Laboratory at UC Berkeley can visit More information on National Instruments in academia is available at or use the form on this page.

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