June 3, 2011

Agilent Technologies Releases First Ever LXI Instrument Control App on Apple's App Stores

It is not surprising that the influence of smart devices is getting more prominent in the area of test and measurement.  This is evident from the increasing number of Apple iOS applications that are coming from test and measurement companies. The applications in the App Store range from calculators and manuals to oscilloscopes.  Now, Agilent Technologies has released the first ever LXI instrument control application for the Apple iOS platform – 34972A DAQ.


The 34972A DAQ app is written by Neil Forcier, an Application Engineer at Agilent Technologies and fellow blogger. This app gives you the convenience of remotely controlling and monitoring Agilent’s 34972A DAQ with a 34901A 20-channel multiplexer module and/or with a 34902A 16-channel multiplexer module. It works with iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch via cellular network or Wi-Fi, while the 34972A must be connected to an Ethernet network. The following primary features come with the app:
  1. Setting up and monitoring measurements on a 34901A or 34902A module.
  2. Creating and running scans using a single module or multiple modules.
  3. Control scans started with the app or externally by another means such as the 34972A's front panel or Web interface. External scans can involve modules other than the 34901A and 34902A.
  4. Retrieve measurement data from memory. The measurement data could have been created by the app or by an external source using any module.


Based on his experience in developing this app, Neil has also written an article that talks about network hurdles and coding complexities that he faced in communicating with LXI interface via smart devices. This is how his article starts:

“You are on your way to catch a flight to India where you will help an important customer integrate your company’s solar-powered base station into a rural area near Bangalore. As you board the plane, you want to check the status of ongoing environmental tests being performed in your lab on an updated base station designed for hot and humid rural climates. You whip out your iPhone, connect to your Agilent 34972A LXI DAQ unit, and read the results from the most recent temperature scans. Everything checks out, so you raise the temperature of the chamber via the digital control module on the DAQ unit. You power down your smart device for take-off and settle in for a long flight.

Is it a reality or a pipedream?”