With the release of LabVIEW at the Eyeo Festival in Minneapolis, we wanted to take this time to celebrate the makers in our industry who continually inspire us with their creations. These creations can range in the amounts of effort required, but using the proper tools can expedite the process without sacrificing your desired result. This is one of the many reasons why we often choose LabVIEW to aid our design process when developing a new project. LabVIEW is extremely useful for visual creators, presenting a set of icons and wires that allow the project mastermind to connect hardware in a single environment. The beauty of this software is that creative minds can view their projects as virtual instruments (VIs), which enables a huge variety of possibilities! As a maker, we understand that it can be difficult deciding what to make with the expansive amount of ideas in this world (or in your very own head, for that matter). Thus we took the time to scour the Internet for our favorite creative projects and came up with a list of our Top 5 LabVIEW Inspired Projects for Makers.
This project was featured a few years back at the ECEDHA conference and required the use of 900 individually addressable LEDs. Not only could the project be programmed for a functioning game of Snake, after the fun and games were over it was re-purposed as a visual Seahawks logo display. Using LabVIEW for this game made it easy to keep track of player scores, which were displayed on a computer using the VISA read function. The players could then compete for the top three scores and therefore lay claim to the ultimate bragging rights that accompanied a win. Learn how to make your own here and challenge your friends to a game night this summer.
If you have ever felt wary of people sneaking up behind you while wearing noise-cancelling headphones, this project is the perfect solution. This alert system notifies you with a gentle tap against your arm or shoulder when someone walks closer than 2 feet behind you. It uses LabVIEW to interface with the microcontroller and VIs to establish device communication. Find the Instructable here and never worry about wearing headphones again!
The alarming number of daily activities that require attention often lead us to procrastinate and focus on alternative, less stressful activities. This project helps promote a more focused attention span using LabVIEW and an LED strip. The LED strip is setup to communicate with the pressure sensitive pen, that the maker constructs, prompting the user to focus on their writing activity. LabVIEW helps interface with the WF32 in this project, connecting the circuit and improving timing on the microcontroller. It also presented an additional ability to track and monitor metrics of the user with graphical output that could be analyzed at the end of each study session. Since microcontrollers can experience problems with delay timing, the use of LabVIEW for this project, with its convenient timer feature, presents a method for overcoming these potential issues. To find out more about improving your study habits, check out the project here.
Racing robots has never looked as fun as this project, which uses LabVIEW and a Leap Motion Controller to measure and communicate the peaks and valleys of hand movement. In this project the maker can challenge a partner to race robots (decorated with terrifying Lego characters in this Instructable) by moving one’s hand quickly above the Leap Motion Controller loaded with a LabVIEW MakerHub library. The LabVIEW library programs the WF32 for WiFi communication, enabling each car to drive as quickly as one can wave their hand above the motion controller.
Protect your electronics with this thermistor project that regulates the temperature within your entertainment center using two fans and a servo. This system is adaptable with manual and automatic settings to control fan function and preserve electricity. The LabVIEW code provided in the Instructable establishes communication between the WF32 and the temperature sensors that direct the two attached fans, keeping your electronics cool throughout the summer months.
Hopefully these projects give you a sense of what can be accomplished with LabVIEW and some new project ideas for your future endeavors. If you are a maker, let us know what projects you look forward to making this summer. Also, don’t forget to stop by and say hello at the Eyeo Festival if you happen to be in attendance!