DIFI.NET presents National Instruments portfolio

National Instruments product for STEM education

National Instruments (NI) offers the engineering approach, platform and software LabVIEW, through which engineers and scientists around the world design, prototype, run testing, data collection and management systems. It perfectly fits STEM curriculum.

Many people do not think that in the graphical programming environment of robots LEGO MINDSTORMS – this is a simplified LabVIEW. LabVIEW is short for Laboratory Virtual Instrument Engineering Workbench. It was originally released in 1986 for the Apple Macintosh for data acquisition and instrument control. Now there are not only several versions for different operating systems MacOS, MS Windows, Linux, but also two types of classic LabVIEW and LabVIEW NXG. It should be noted that in the development of the first Estonian satellite ESTCube-1, which successfully entered orbit in 2013, NI technologies were also used.

Striving for flexibility NI proposed the concept of modularity of measuring equipment. When various expansion cards can be inserted into the system unit changing the functionality of the main device and getting the synchronization of modules on a single bus. In 1997, NI was one of the founders of the PXI standard, meaning PCI eXtensions for Instrumentation. PXI solution is somewhat similar to a personal computer, where its main parts are a controller and a chassis with a bus connecting all modules, as well as expansion cards. A similar concept is incorporated into the CompactRIO platform, which is often used for data collection. Even for very fast speeds, such as signal processing At the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

For project education in higher education institutions NI offers:

NI MyRio
Analog Discovery


USRP (Eng. Universal software Radio Peripheral) – software reconfigurable radio input / output device. These are devices of reception and transmission of radio waves in which you can change the type of modulation, do tuning of operating frequencies, and quickly make changes to the system as new requirements and standards of communication by updating the software.

National Instruments

NI ELVIS (Eng. NI Engineering Laboratory Virtual Instrumentation Suite) is a combination between the platform, which can be expanded by add-on modules and SOFTWARE allowing to design printed circuit boards , as well as to make measurements from the connected platform. ELVIS combines such devices as:

  • function generator
  • arbitrary waveform generator
  • Bode analyzer and impedance analyzer
  • oscilloscope
  • digital multimeter (DMM)
  • dynamic signal analyzer (DSA)
  • digital reader and programmer

Due to the modules, the ELVIS platform can be used for laboratory workshops on analog and digital electronics, power electronics, mechatronics, linear and nonlinear control systems, communication systems.


For controlling robots we often use myRio controller. More than 10,000 educational institutions around the world use MyRIO for training and preparation for robotic competitions, such as (WRO, FIRST), as well as in the subsection “Mobile robotics” WorldSkills. The controller is popular because it has a sufficient number of digital and analog inputs / outputs, built-in accelerometer, FPGA Xilinx and dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor, support Wi-Fi, USB port. It can be programmed with the help of LabVIEW or C. It is also the “brain” of TETRIX PRIME plus MyRIO.


Analog Discovery 2 turns any PC into an electrical workstation. This USB-powered device allows students to create and test analog and digital circuits. In addition to the dual-channel oscilloscope with a speed of 100 MS / s. Analog Discovery 2 provides dual-channel signal generator, 16-channel logic analyzer, 16-channel digital pattern generator, spectrum analyzer, network analyzer, voltmeter and adjustable DC power supplies ± 5 volts.

SmartCart Giant case 3D model

DIY parts with 3D printer for PASCO smart cart

Futurologists say that very soon to repair the car, for example, spare parts will not be sent from the factory, and they will be printed on the requested model on a 3D printer in the workshop for drawings received from the database of the plant that developed and tested the part. In many schools now it is possible to use a 3D printer.

As if anticipating the promises of futurists PASCO SCIENTIFIC offers to expand the functionality of manufactured products using 3D printing. For example, for a smart cart, it is possible to print some additional parts. Use 3D printing for the sake of clarity of the learning process. DIY means do-it-yourself. Use DIY parts for PASCO SCIENTIFIC Smart cart enlargement.

3D cover for smartcart

In the PASCO WEB DIY section https://www.pasco.com/diy/ you will find 3D models drawing files in the format Solid works (.SLDPRT).

Popular for download statistics is the case for a smart cart. He dresses over a Smart Cart and visually increases it several times. In this case, it can also be demonstrated on a metal rail. This means the built-in encoder works as does the 3-axis accelerometer and gyro.

For the convenience of printing on small printers, the case is divided into parts, which after print are glued together.

Free STEM lessons and labs for PASCO users

One of the teacher’s problem is time-consuming for the study materials preparation. PASCO SCIENTIFIC digital labs users got free STEM lessons and labs. You don’t need to spend a lot of time to create a lesson plan and study materials.

Pasco Scientific take care of teachers worries. You can download hundreds of experiments and lab activities. Search by subject and grade level or by specific PASCO products. Download editable student labs, teacher notes with setup instructions, SPARKvue or Capstone software configuration files and more.

Check it for free here Pasco Digital-library . Click on the link to open digital-library in a new tab. Watch the introduction video about PASCO SCIENTIFIC Digital libruary.

How to make a lesson plan with new study equipment? The easiest way checks digital library. It could be already prepared by somebody else. Use it as a template. Translate it if it necessary.

You can find answers about new STEM lessons and labs usage in product Manuals & Resources for Free.

Let me remind you two important things:

  1. Always check does lab work fit into the time of a lesson.
  2. The studying is the continous improvement. Correct a lesson plan based on pupils reaction.

Concentration determination by colour

The Wireless Colorimeter and Turbidity Sensor – PS-3215 allows students to set up in seconds and collect measurements with ease.

How can you use light and color to determine the concentration of a solution by Beer’s Law? Explore and quantify the relationship between concentration and absorbance of light with the Wireless Colorimeter and SPARKvue software. Apply the relationship to determine the concentration of an unknown solution.

Read more about Wireless Colorimeter And Turbidity Sensor in STE.education product catalogue.

For purchase questions, e-mail ask@ste(.)education. (You must remove the brackets from the email address before sending).

STEM in Chemistry

Tie-dying is always a great year-end experiment and as chemists. A real bonding experience is fun to guess which student will end up with the most dye on their arms. Students also have an opportunity to incorporate chemistry in a meaningful way while creating a nice keepsake.

First, you’ll want to purchase reactive dyes since they are very brilliant and colourfast. They actually bond with the fabric, making the colour on the shirt last longer and the chemistry more interesting. Despite student protest that this is “just supposed to be fun”, tie-dying is an opportunity to review concepts of concentration, absorbance and transmittance. With a PASCO Wireless Spectrometer (PS-2600), you can explore the absorbance of the different coloured dyes before you start the process of colouring your shirts.

To really engage students in the technique of dying and in engineering process skills, the experiment can be opened up to student inquiry. Some things they could investigate as they try to create more vibrant colors include:

  • Comparison of reactive dyes, union dyes and acid dyes
  • Preparation and use of natural dyes
  • Comparison of synthetic and natural fabrics
  • Dying conditions like temperature, time and pH

To explore natural dyes create a yellow dye using turmeric, a red dye using beets, a purple dye using blackberries and a blue dye using red cabbage. It is possible to change the red cabbage blue by adjusting the pH of the solution. The results on the fabric are mixed, but because of the real-world application of science and engineering practices, the student learning is very real.  And if nothing else, everyone gets to take home a really cool shirt.

More labs with spectrometer

With the Wireless Spectrometer you can also perform these labs:

  • Emission spectra of light
  • Absorbance and transmittance spectra
  • Beer’s Law: concentration and absorbance
  • Kinetics
  • Fluorescence

Pasco Wireless Spectrometer

Watch the video below about Quick Start with PASCO Wireless Spectrometer (PS-2600).

Read more about PASCO Wireless Spectrometer in STE.education Product Catalogue.

For purchase questions, e-mail ask@ste(.)education. (You must remove the brackets from the email address before sending).

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