Montage

Since the early 2010's, Solidus Integration has been developing and refining a platform for building standalone instruments ("kiosk-style" instruments) that use custom and off-the-shelf hardware and run custom software under Windows Embedded Standard 7 (WES7) and Windows 10 IoT Enterprise LTSC operating systems (OS's). While all application and utility software for this platform was developed using LabVIEW, other software development environments can be used as well. Key technical advantages of such systems are listed below:

  • Improved stability due to elimination of unnecessary Windows components
  • Improved drive reliability and fault-tolerance due to implementation of the unified write filter (UWF)
  • Protection of the instrument from the user through use of the custom OS shell and keyboard filter
  • Protection of the instument from Microsoft through disabling forced system updates

There are also multiple logistical advantages in using this platform. Some of them are:

  • Wide availability of data acquisition and computer hardware drivers and API's (compared e.g. to Linux)
  • Long-term support (to 2029 for Windows 10 version 2019 LTSC, build 1809)
  • Volume licensing and ease of cloning/replication
  • Affordable Windows licensing for systems built around low-end CPU's
  • Look and feel of a standalone instrument

Some specific features supported by the Solidus Integration platform and its LabVIEW libraries:

  • Custom OS shell used for starting and updating application software
  • Application software updates are installed from the user account (as opposed to the administrator account)
  • Protection of the OS through use of a custom file manager and file dialogs
  • Protection of the application software through use of password- and MD5 signatures of updates, etc.
  • Connectivity to the corporate intranet and the Internet through Ethernet and WiFi configurable from the user account
  • Email, text messaging and remote support (requires connection to the Internet)
  • Support of separate licensing of different application software modules
  • Monitoring of system resources (RAM, HDD space, UWF overlay, etc.) from within the application software
  • A backdoor to the administrator account

Solidus Integration also provides software development and support for instruments utilizing this concept. As of 2019, several companies manufacture and sell about twenty types of instruments built on this platform. We'll be happy to provide more detail on its capabilities and discuss software development and customization for this platform.