LabVIEW or Simulink?


Thread Starter

Scott S.

We are currently looking for software to address multiple issues:

Developing control algorithms for legged robots with multiple non-traditional actuators and sensors. Some robots may eventually involve
multi-DOF manipulation.

Downloading the created control software onto standard OTS microprocessors (HC11, etc) for self-contained robots.

Controlling instrumentation of robots and other lab projects.

Analyzing data (granted Excel will generally work for this, but if it's built in, great).

I've been looking at the literature for both LabVIEW and MATLAB/Simulink. My take on it (correct me if I'm wrong here) is that LabVIEW is
essentially an instrumentation and process control package, and Simulink is a simulation package, but both have sort of grown towards each
other and have a lot of overlap.

What are people's opinions on one package vs. the other? What are the strengths and weaknesses of each?
Hi Scott,
I am slightly familiar with Labview and pretty well with Matlab/Simulink. My impression -what regards to your question - is that Labview was developed as a data instrumentation and control software and later was complete with more
sophisticated mathematics, etc. while Matlab is essentially a math package with Simulink being its add-on for dynamic systems simulation but recently they added some capability of control to the package (though I never used Matlab/Simulink for control). Anyway, if you have drivers for your I/O cards you can control the objects/process you have from within Matlab. Another Matlab's feature that may be useful for your application is that you can convert your Matlab code into C and then compile it with future use in the self-contained robot.
It's just my personal perception of the two packages. I would be glad if this helps.
Igor Boiko

Skye Controls

I have never used MATLAB/Simulink, but anything has got to be beter than LabVIEW it is slow, hard to use for anything basic, like a simple if then with global variables, and such, and they claim it is a real programming language,
but try and create an ocx container device with it you can't, etc. I have programed in the window environment for 10+ years, and would use VB C/C++ or Visual C++, there are so many active-x, oxc's and other tools today, you can pretty much pick and choose....
MatLAB and Simulink are easy, effective ways to observe and manipulate mathematical data, but I have never utilized them to control anything. I do
utilize LabVIEW a lot in order to control instruments and collect data. I have not encountered many problems with signal generation or data collection. You do have to make sure that you get a good DAQ board though. I recommend the
E-Series boards.

I have also used a combination of Visual Basic and UI Components (User Interface Components offered by National Instruments for Visual Basic) for both Digital and Analog control. The UI Components provide DIO, AO, AI, etc., capability and Visual Basic is pretty user friendly.

You could also use PIC Basic and C++ - if you are really good a programming!

It really depends on how extensive the controls are going to be as well as your knowledge of programming.