National Instruments are mostly on my radar for a design environment that they have called LabVIEW. As it says on their website:
If you can turn it on, drive it or fly it, chances are NI and LabVIEW made it happen.
The product has been around for over 20 years and provides a graphical interface for hooking up everything in the lab and driving the measurement process.
Most systems in test, measurement and control ship in relatively low volumes, sometimes astoundingly so. When I was doing my PhD I visited HP (presumably now that group will be Agilent if it still exists) and one thing they built was huge analyzers for satellite downlinks. I forget how many they expected to sell but I was surprised how low a number it was (and how much one cost). But back then how many people needed to analyze satellite signals. I bet they sell a lot more with DirectTV, Sky, GPS and more. Low volumes and a reasonable power budget (these are typically not tiny hand-held devices) make it a perfect application for programmable fabrics made by Xilinx, what you probably casually call an FPGA but by the time there are multi-core processors and whole peripheral fabrics, the name is starting to get obsolete. But I suspect Xilinx is fighting a losing battle in trying to get away from it. Like the Association of Computing Machinery just embrace the weirdness of calling your iPhone and its software a machine. It worked for IBM.
Xilinx also has a broad portfolio of different device families at different performance points (and price points). Here is a summary showing the huge range of applications. My favorite, the Phasor Measurement Unit. "Scottie, get that Zynq SoC fired up quickly, the shields are failing."
|ARTSENS||Use Ultrasound to determ ine hardening of arteries for potential|
flag of heart disease.
|Zynq 7020 SOM|
|Airbus tools||Three smart tool families that perform different manufacturing|
processes: drilling, measuring, and quality data logging and
tightening – Zynq sbRIO is foundation of these families.
|Zynq – sbRIO SOM|
|Samsung||Samsung's 3D beamforming algorithms and multi-user interface|
brought all four emulated handsets online and immediately
bumped the 5G data thouroughput above 25Mbps per user
as compared to 2Mbps per user without 3D beamforming .
|Nokia Networks||Prototype mmWave system that transmits 10Gps @ 73 GHz over 200m.||Kintex-7 410T FPGA|
|FireFly ProSlab 155||A mobile, Diesel-powered turf cutter/slab harvester called the FireFly ProSlab 155 that harvests, stacks, and palletizes turf slabs 20% faster than competing machines while consuming only half the fuel.||Zynq SoC|
|Model cRIO-9039||The NI CompactRIO controller pairs a 1.91GHz, quad-core Intel Atom CPU with a Xilinx Kintex-7 325T FPGA—the highest-performance CompactRIO ever released.||Kintex-7 325T FPGA|
|(Used in condition monitoring test beds, shown at NI Week 2015)||Zync SoC|
|eCall||The in-vehicle eCall device automatically dials 112 in the event ofa serious road accident, and wirelessly sends airbag deployment, impact sensor information, and GPS coordinates to local emergency agencies.||Virtex-6 FPGA|
|Fujitsu||Remote radio head testing.||Virtex-6 FPGA,|
|Hyundai Exoskeleton||Exoskeleton that senses a users physical intent to move; actuators and sensors help people that cannot walk the ability to do so.||Spartan-6 LX150 FPGA,|
Kintex-7 160T FPGA
|IMSat/DSL||IMSaT’s Cavitation Research Group working in conjunction with Diagnostic Sonar Ltd. (DSL) wants to create a new therapy that uses focused cavitation to disrupt cancer tissues, making them far more susceptible to cancer-killing drugs.||Xilinx Virtex-5 SX95T|
|Passive, Wi-Fi radar||uses the ambient Wi-Fi RF already injected into the air from existing Wi-Fi access points. Therefore, the use of this equipment is essentially undetectable, which has extremely interesting implications for military and security surveillance applications, as illustrated by this image:||Spartan 6|
There is more detail on most of these applications on Steve Leibson's Xcell Daily Blog here.