Using LabVIEW and NI Single-Board RIO to Create a Universal Controller for Cardiovascular Products

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"With a 73 percent reduction in size and a 40 percent reduction in cost, LabVIEW and NI Single-Board RIO proved to be excellent choices for the heart of our fully integrated universal controller system."

- James C. Conti, PhD, Dynatek dalta Scientific Instruments

The Challenge:
Developing a single universal controller for all of Dynatek’s cardiovascular testing instruments.

The Solution:
Designing a universal controller using NI Single-Board RIO hardware and NI LabVIEW software.

James C. Conti, PhD - Dynatek dalta Scientific Instruments
Mark A. Lewellen, BSEE - Dynatek dalta Scientific Instruments
Elaine R. Strope, PhD - Dynatek dalta Scientific Instruments

Dynatek dalta manufactures instruments to test implantable cardiovascular products including bare stents, drug-eluting stents (DES), heart valves, artificial hearts, vascular grafts, and a variety of resorbable devices. Each instrument previously had its own unique controller, which resulted in a variety of hardware and software platforms.

We had two goals for the project: designing and building a production-level hardware platform capable of controlling and performing data acquisition to monitor and record test results for any of the Dynatek cardiovascular testing machines.

Dynatek dalta designed, developed, and produced a complete universal control system so users of any of our eight cardiovascular testing machines can establish test protocol, set up test parameters, and move directly into closed-loop testing while logging all data for the full duration of any test. This universal controller system replaces multiple unique controllers based on different hardware platforms.

Creating a Universal Controller

Using LabVIEW software and NI Single-Board RIO hardware with field-programmable gate array (FPGA) technology to provide embedded acquisition and control functions, our engineers designed a state-of-the-art control system capable of providing complete control and data acquisition of any of our cardiovascular testing machines.

We selected LabVIEW and NI Single-Board RIO because our software and hardware had to be configurable with enough input channels to support as many as 60 analog and digital sensor inputs. Sensors and their data formats vary, from single-ended and differential analog pressure transducers to particle counters, digital signals, thermocouples, accelerometers, and resistance temperature device (RTD) probes with signal levels ranging from the millivolt level through 10 peak-to-peak voltage (Vp-p). On the output side, we require both analog and digital channels to control different types of motor controllers, pumps, heaters, and other digital and analog devices.

LabVIEW installed on the host computer provides a custom user interface tailored to the specifics of each different cardiovascular testing machine, as well as a communications portal for interaction with  NI Single-Board RIO, the heart of the universal controller.

NI Single-Board RIO performs data acquisition, temperature control, pressure control, and closed-loop control of the linear electromagnetic motor (deflection, pulse rate, and waveform) using laser feedback. More specifically, the real-time functionality of NI Single-Board RIO performs process control, data logging, alarm management control, and serial communication with the laser and communicates with the host computer and particle counters via Ethernet.

NI Single-Board RIO and LabVIEW Provide Results

With a 73 percent reduction in size and a 40 percent reduction in cost, LabVIEW and NI Single-Board RIO proved to be excellent choices for the heart of our fully integrated universal controller system. This decision resulted in a true universal controller capable of operating all of our current cardiovascular testing machines, which also offer enhanced capability, reliability, and the flexibility needed to retrofit existing products and support future products.

Author information:

James C. Conti, PhD
Mark A. Lewellen, BSEE
Elaine R. Strope, PhD
Dynatek dalta Scientific Instruments
105 E. 4th Street
Galena, MO 65656
Tel: 417-357-6155

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