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Five-in-one instrument works with iPads or PCs

16 June, 2014

National Instruments has announced an all-in-one instrument that combines a mixed-signal oscilloscope, function generator, digital multimeter, programmable DC power supply and digital I/O. Users interact with the VirtualBench device via software applications running on a PC or iPad.

NI says that the space-saving instrument provides the most commonly-needed functions affordably and will open up new possibilities for how engineers use benchtop instruments. For some users, a VirtualBench (costing $1,999 / €1,690) and a laptop or iPad could replace four or five conventional instruments.

By using consumer computing platforms, the instrument takes advantage of the latest technologies such as multitouch displays, multicore processors, wireless connections and intuitive interfaces.

“We are building on what NI does best, which is our software-based approach to test and measurement,” says Chad Chesney, NI’s director of data acquisition marketing. “VirtualBench’s software user experience is more intuitive, creating efficiencies that go above and beyond simply having these five devices in a single device.”

NI says that the use of consistent, user-friendly interfaces will simplify instrument configuration. The Virtual Bench will also provide a consolidated view of multiple instruments, and will allow the data to be viewed on large displays.

NI's space-saving VirtualBench instrument combines the functions of five different devices

The system, which integrates with NI’s LabView system design software, allows data and screenshots to be saved rapidly.

The VirtualBench iPad app will be available in Apple’s App Store within a few months.

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