National Instruments on TV!

During the summer of 2012, I was an intern at National Instruments in Austin, Texas. Within the first 2 weeks of my internship, SpaceX became the first private spacecraft to visit the International Space Station. This was an exciting time for engineers and non-engineers alike. Especially at NI, the excitement was paramount. SpaceX had used LabVIEW to send a rocket to space, and the proof was widely available. We watched YouTube videos during intern training sessions that featured dozens of SpaceX engineers and scientists sitting in front of LabVIEW front panels monitoring the operation. The impact on me, as a young and impressionable engineer, was large. Though I had not yet worked with NI hardware and LabVIEW extensively at the time, I realized the power it had. It gave me an appreciation for what I was working with.

Fast forward about four years and I’m working for an NI Gold Alliance Partner and I can share my appreciation and excitement of NI hardware on TV with my colleagues. Recently a colleague of mine shared an episode of MythBusters she saw on explosive cancellation. The question they were trying to answer was: “Is it possible to survive two explosions by standing directly between them?” As you can imagine, the answer was a resounding NO, but the method they used to answer the questions was interesting. Featured on the episode was an NI cDAQ chassis with several modules used to measure pressure. My favorite part about it was the detail they went into describing the hardware, from the data acquisition equipment, to the PCB transducers. As I watched this episode two thoughts came to mind. Firstly, how cool it is that NI hardware helps close the gap between engineers and non-engineers. And secondly, since this is the last season of MythBusters, and NI equipment is often used on the show – maybe Signal.X should open up a side business busting myths and filming a TV show?

Realizing how widely used NI hardware is, and realizing that we have the expertise to make this happen, is an empowering feeling.