Last week Rikard Wellander and I met a group of enthusiastic students at the Faculty of Engineering (LTH) of Lund University. They are taking a course in computerised measurement systems, and we were there for two reasons. First to teach them the next steps in improving their LabVIEW applications. The second was to give an insight in a “real” project and by that give them an idea on what it can be like working with the things they learn at university.
Rikard took the first part focusing on LabVIEW. The level of the students LabVIEW programming skills were perfect for introducing them to some design patterns. The State Machine template in LabVIEW give you a good starting point for small applications and Rikard gave a walk through on its different parts. He also showed how the error handling in the state machine template can be improved. There were also time for a quick introduction to the Producer Consumer design pattern, whereas some other patterns were just mentioned.
I was happy to be able to show one of our projects with our Danish customer Danfysik. They are building an Ion Accelerator and we are doing the control system. I shared a system overview both in aspect of all hardware components as well as the software. The software is an object oriented design using the framework LabQt, and I showed a class diagram for the major parts of the software. Some LabVIEW concepts were shown, such as how parallel loops can be used ranging from the producer consumer design pattern to several loops with their different responsibilities. We looked at the user interface and how event structures can be used both to catch action from the front panel as well as receive events from other parts of the software. Beside the software point of view I also talked about some of the application specific challenges and some problems we have had along the way.
For the third year in a row we launched the Student LabVIEW Coding Challenge at this course. It is open to all students at all Swedish universities with nice prizes to be won.
As always I enjoy meeting young students with a lot of questions about everything from technology to how it is working with test and measurement solutions. I really hope that these students continue on this path and that I will come across them again in the future.
By Karin Hellqvist