Engineering 101

Makers Change the World and Tools Change the Maker: NI Expands Reach in Maker Space

In the United States alone, 40 million adults identify themselves as makers, of which 97 percent attended college and 31 percent are employed in science and engineering fields (according to The Maker Movement and the Business of Making white paper by Make). The maker community has been thriving for years, but with growing access to professional-grade tools, the maker movement is now bringing engineering into the mainstream.

To help foster collaboration and creative networking among this powerful community, NI is launching LabVIEW MakerHub, an online community for makers using LabVIEW. LabVIEW MakerHub is designed to help makers collaborate, share projects, participate in challenges, and find inspiration from the amazing things people build using LabVIEW. LabVIEW MakerHub hosts open-source LabVIEW add-ons for Kinect One, the Nest thermostat, Arduino, chipKIT, and other maker-friendly hardware and software.

For nearly 40 years, NI has provided engineers and scientists with tools that accelerate productivity, innovation, and discovery. Now, NI is making these same professional-grade tools available to makers by introducing the LabVIEW Home Bundle.

The LabVIEW Home Bundle is a specially licensed, noncommercial version of the award-winning LabVIEW system design software targeted for at-home and maker use. This bundle, available for $49 USD, includes the following:

  • LabVIEW Full Development System
  • LabVIEW Control Design and Simulation Module
  • LabVIEW MathScript RT Module

LabVIEW MakerHub provides LabVIEW training designed specifically for makers, such as the new video tutorial series on the SparkFun Inventor’s Kit for LabVIEW and the Digilent Physical Computing Kit for LabVIEW.

And to help makers get started, NI is partnering with Digilent and SparkFun (coming soon) to bundle LabVIEW Home in a kit with sensors and actuators, better enabling maker applications to interact with the real world.

Although do-it-yourself hardware like Arduino, BeagleBone, and Raspberry Pi promise low-cost hardware with impressive potential, they lack a cohesive experience. Writing software for a board-level computer is still a major hurdle for many users, and they are left using disparate tools that were not necessarily designed to work together.

LabVIEW has proven the value of unparalleled hardware/software integration in the professional market for years, and now NI is making that experience available to makers. With growing access to professional tools, the maker community is set to usher in the next industrial revolution.

Article from Ray Hsu, Section Manager, Academic Programs, National Instruments

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