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NI LabVIEW gains Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone Black support

Apr 11, 2016 — by Eric Brown — 5,023 views

National Instruments LINX v3.0 adds Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone support, enabling its LabVIEW IDE. NI’s Digilent is selling LINX 3.0 kits for the SBCs.

National Instruments (NI) sells the science and engineering focused LabVIEW graphical integrated development environment (IDE) as part of its NI Linux Real Time and Windows software stack available on its data acquisition controllers and test equipment. NI’s LabVIEW MakerHub community also offers an open source LINX API library and toolkit to enable lower-end embedded devices to access LabVIEW code via a set of virtual interfaces (VIs).

Digilent’s Raspberry Pi 2 (left) and BeagleBone Black Physical Computing Kits
(click images to enlarge)

LINX already supports NI’s MyRIO educational engineering kit, which runs NI Linux on a Zynq SoC, as well as Arduino boards and the similarly microcontroller-based, Arduino-compatible chipKIT SBCs from NI’s Digilent subsidiary. With LINX 3.0, the software has been expanded to support the Raspberry Pi and the BeagleBone Black, enabling the boards to run LabVIEW code.

Raspberry Pi 2 kit contents
(click image to enlarge)

As part of the 3.0 launch of LINX (not to be confused with Enea’s Linx IPC technology), Digilent has launched a pair of $89 Physical Computing Kits for the BeagleBone Black and quad-core Raspberry Pi 2 Model B. The kits include the SBCs along with a micro-USB cable and an 8GB microSD card with adapter that provides LINX 3.0 as part of a LabVIEW Home Bundle.

Setup process for LINX 3.0 on the BeagleBone Black
(click image to enlarge)

The GUI-based LabVIEW IDE for scientists and engineers offers a rich set of community-sourced libraries and applications to augment control and monitoring systems. LabVIEW lets users connect devices and applications and call upon built-in algorithms for data manipulation, controls, and mathematical analysis. LabVIEW-ready NI products include its Xilinx Zynq based CompactRIO controller and sbRIO-9651 COM, as well as its Intel Atom-based CompactDAQ cDAQ-9137.

LINX extends LabVIEW control over specific interfaces on supported boards via a long list of VIs. Supported interfaces include I2C, PWM, SPI, UART, and analog and digital peripherals. LINX also speaks directly to specific sensors, lights, servos, Pmods, signal generators, LEDs, and more.

LINX 3.0 offers common LabVIEW VI files that can work fairly interchangeably among supported boards, supporting multi-product applications. For example, the LabVIEW MakerHub announcements suggest the potential for mixing and matching local and remote I/O using different boards. “Imagine having a BeagleBone Black running a VI that controls a dozen chipKIT WF32’s spread around your house all connected with WiFi,” says LabVIEW MakerHub.

LabVIEW MakerHub tutorial on LINX 3.0 using RPi and BB Black

Further information

LINX 3.0 is available for free download on LabVIEW MakerHub. The Digilent Physical Computing Kits for the Raspberry Pi 2 and BeagleBone Black are now available for $89 each. More information may be found at Digilent’s RPI 2 and BB Black kit product pages, respectively.

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3 responses to “NI LabVIEW gains Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone Black support”

  1. Sherd White says:

    Wow NI has a thing going here. You can use your $35 dollar RasPi with LabView, you only have to purchase our obnoxiously priced $90 dollar connector kit to do so. I think this setup is missing the point of having cheap compute modules with IO.

    • HackerBoards says:

      As far as we can tell, LINX is open source software, and available for free download. It appears that you don’t need to purchase a connector kit if you make the interface yourself.

      As stated on this “LINX by Digilent/LabVIEW MakerHub” page, from which you can download LINX 3.0 (following free registration):

      “LINX is an open source project by Digilent and is designed to make it easy to develop embedded applications using LabVIEW. LINX includes VIs for over 30 of the most common embedded sensors as well as hardware agnostic APIs for accessing peripherals like digital I/O, analog I/O, PWM, I2C, SPI, and UART. Whether you’re remotely controlling a chipKIT or Arduino over USB/Serial, Ethernet or Wi-Fi, or deploying VIs to run on BeagleBone Black or Raspberry Pi 2/3, LINX and LabVIEW make it easy visualize the data you’re working with, debug your code, and create advanced embedded applications faster than ever before.”

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