A workshop on "EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING OF ENGINEERING CONCEPTS THROUGH LABVIEW" was conducted by the Department of ECE on 20th of August 2016 for the second and third year students of PSG Institute of Technology and Applied Research. Mr. M Satish, Senior Marketing Manager, National Instruments was the resource person for the day. He started out as an Application Engineer at NI 12 years back and has now grown to become a Marketing Manager.
The workshop was broken down into four sessions. In the first session, Mr Satish highlighted the various products of National Instruments and how at NI, they are working towards equipping the engineers and scientists with systems that accelerates productivity, innovation and discovery. The major hardware products of NI include PXI, DAQ, and myRIO and the major software being LabVIEW. He mentioned how the various companies like Subaru, Qualcomm, Firefly and Nokia, who use NI products, have been benefitted. He also stated an incident wherein a doctor was provided with NI products that would enable him to detect skin topography with the help of optical coherence topography. He also highlighted that the NI provides a platform for all the companies to prototype and verify the functionality of the products even before deploying them at the fields.
In the second session, the basic components of LabVIEW were introduced. Mr. Satish gave a couple of exercises including generation of basic signals like sine and cosine with various frequencies. Proceeding with these, Lissajous pattern was generated for signals of varying phase shifts and frequencies. Then he went on to demonstrate the sound produced by various frequency signals. These exercises were very useful as they helped the students understand the various basic concepts of LabVIEW like tunnel mode, dataflow execution, clusters, express VIs and structures.
The third session started with a video which demonstrated the various projects that were brought in as a part of the NI Yantra. It is a national level product building competition wherein the engineering students send in their projects for the first level of selection. The selected participants are then provided with a mentor from NI to guide them. The winning project is then sent to compete in the international level. The resource person introduced the concept of Multipath fading to the students and explained how the companies can use in favor to design low power communication systems. He also emphasized the need for low power and energy efficient systems in order to lower the adverse effects of technology on human community.
The students in the workshop were then introduced myRIO. myRIO is an embedded hardware device that allows the students to design complex engineering systems more quickly and affordably. Using myRIO, the human speech was interfaced using a microphone and the spectral waveform was studied. The students enjoyed varying the frequencies of their speech signals and gained a visual insight into the importance of the sampling in the signal processing domain. They were able to analyze and appreciate the concept of aliasing, undersampling and oversampling.
This was followed by a small presentation on the future of engineering and technology that the National Instruments has plans to achieve. He also remarked that a device that is used to remove the cataract without any complex surgeries and with high precision has hit the markets. Various other applications like Prometheon, Artesen and an Airbus manufacturing unit, operating fully with robots was an eye opener to the endless possibilities to what an engineer can achieve.
The session finally ended with a note from Mr. Satish, who insisted that we never unlearn the things we did as a child. As a child, we dived head first into any task without giving a second thought to the end result or what the consequence could be. He stands as an inspiring role model for all the budding engineers starting from the in depth working knowledge of the concepts that he demonstrated to the absolute dynamism that he exhibited throughout the sessions.