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Electronics and communications undergraduates to benefit from laboratory upgrade

27 April 2009

National Instruments UK & Ireland has continued its relationship with Cardiff University, with the School of Engineering refitting its Electronics laboratory with NI measurement and instrument control platforms.

Electronics and communications undergraduates to benefit from laboratory upgrade
Electronics and communications undergraduates to benefit from laboratory upgrade

The recent laboratory upgrade enhances the learning experience for undergraduates and postgraduates studying for degrees in Electrical and Electronic, Electronics and Communications, and Computer Systems Engineering at Cardiff University. A partnership between industry and the university, the lab now offers students a full range of measurement platforms, with NI USB M Series data acquisition devices available at all 25 test stations, as well as GPIB/USB/LAN instrument control of Agilent Technologies and Rohde & Schwarz instruments, alongside NI PXI, the open, PC-based platform for test, measurement and control, with modular instruments, including FPGA-based reconfigurable I/O.

Throughout all years of study, students use National Instruments LabVIEW, the award winning graphical system design platform, to control and take measurements from various industry standard instrument platforms. Using NI LabVIEW, students are able to rapidly acquire real world measurements, carry out detailed mathematical analysis and signal processing, such as FFTs and digital filter design, and easily present and share the results. This practical, hands-on experience allows them to quickly get to grips with circuit design principles, as well as the measurement techniques and instrument control platforms being used in today’s analogue and digital electronics industry.

Joe Woodford, NI area sales manager for the region, said: “We are delighted to have been invited to participate in this lab refit along with other industry leading instrument vendors. One of our core strategic goals is to improve engineering education and we believe it is vital for universities to offer their students the opportunity to work with industry standard products and platforms”.

Steve Watts, lecturer in electrical and electronic engineering, and who manages the laboratory, said: “Hands-on experience with these measurement and instrument control platforms can only improve the way our students learn by reinforcing theoretical concepts, as well as developing the practical skills with industry standard instrumentation that are in much demand from electronic engineering graduates”.
Francis Griffiths, vice president of sales for Europe, (who graduated with a degree in Electronic Engineering from Cardiff University in 1986) officially opened the lab at a recent ceremony attended by representatives from both NI and the University, including Professor Hywel R. Thomas, Director of the School of Engineering.

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