How to become an automation way, anyway...

As many of the readers of this blog know, National Instruments has made a big investment in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education. They've backed that investment by providing Labview as the engine for the Lego Mindstorms robotic game. Now, NI has announced that Labview directly supports Profibus. From the release: National Instruments announced the release of new PCI and PXI PROFIBUS interfaces that can be used as master or slave devices on an industrial PROFIBUS network system. With the new interfaces, PROFIBUS engineers now can integrate NI LabVIEW software into benchtop, real-time and device test PROFIBUS networks. Engineers can use the interface to control PROFIBUS slave devices such as motor drives, sensors, distributed I/O and programmable logic controllers (PLCs). As a slave used with LabVIEW Real-Time on a PC or PXI system, the interface integrates NI high-performance data acquisition, motion, vision and modular instruments into existing PROFIBUS-enabled machines and processes. For more information, visit So, here's one way to create a bunch of automation professionals. Take a 13 year old kid-- give them a Mindstorms set. Teach them to program it, so they know Labview. Then show them that they have access to an entire world of sensors via Profibus...and step back. By the time this kid has finished high school, her car will have Profibus interfaces all over it, and she'll be ready to zip right past college and enter the world of automation as a pro. Interesting thought, isn't it? Got kids?

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