On November 25, 2009, NI CompactRIO and DIAdem software made cameo appearances on one of the most popular scientific television shows of all time, MythBusters. When the Sweet Apps crew found out about the product sighting, we had to check it out for ourselves.

In episode 133, Adam and Jamie addressed a myth that during a rooftop chase, jumping into a dumpster will ensure survival and allow successful escape. To test a best-case scenario, they dropped Buster (their faithful, trusty crash test dummy) into a dumpster filled with pieces of foam rubber. A CompactRIO lodged inside Buster’s chest cavity performed extreme, high-speed data logging as the dummy was dropped from a height of 20 feet, recording data from accelerometers throughout the fall. (I’ll note that CompactRIO has survived more extreme situations than that: check it out.)

Once they pulled Buster out of the dumpster, DIAdem went to work, crunching the logged data and providing visual representation of the recorded signals from the accelerometers. It was determined that Buster’s deceleration into the foam-filled dumpster peaked at 9.9 G’s, proving it safe for Adam to try it out firsthand. Despite the result, the MythBusters crew suggested it would be unlikely to find such an ideal dumpster in real life, thus declaring the myth PLAUSIBLE.

Back at SweetApps headquarters, we’re as proud as stagemoms to see NI products make it onto the big screen. We’ve gone so far as to provide time stamps of when you can see the CompactRIO and DIAdem screenshots throughout the episode:

28:05 –  CompactRIO, up-close and personal, inside Buster’s red jacket (looks like they used a 9014 controller with some 9234 high-accuracy DAQ modules)

28:54 –  DIAdem displays the logged data throughout Buster’s fall

30:09 –  NI Systems Engineer David Harding helps the MythBuster’s crew retrieve their data

CompactRIO and DIAdem get plenty more screen time throughout the episode (watch here). These are simply the frames we had made into 2×3” photos to pass out and keep in our wallets.

Previously, NI products have been sighted on Late Night with Conan O’Brien as well as Spike TV’s Deadliest Warrior. Now we can add MythBusters to the list. I wonder what TV show we’ll see CompactRIO on next?


As a company full of male engineers, it’s no surprise that a fellow employee happened to be watching Spike TV last week and noted an interesting show. It’s a conversation topic that is shared amongst practically any social gathering of engineers:

Who would win in a fight to the death?
(Insert your historical warrior figure here) vs. (insert other warrior here)


A 2 hour- 45 minute conversation ensues, chock full of citations, estimations, equations and perhaps even re-enactments to judge which historial warrior is the deadliest. Oh yes, it gets extremley geeky.

Spike TV has created a show to tackle such a question: Deadliest Warrior. I happened to catch last week’s episode: Ninja vs. Spartan. It’s a lot like Myth Busters; lots of lab experiments to measure and analyze the fatality of the warrior weapons and the ruggedness of their armor. Piercing, stabbing, clubbing and impailing is tracked with accelerometers, high-speed cameras, gyroscopes, and strain gauges. Of course, it can get a little messy; most of the experimental runs are conducted on jello-like human test dummies and real pig cadavers. Mmm, delicious.

There’s a lot of data analysis that goes into determining who would win. What better tools to quickly and easily acquire and analyze massive amounts of sensor data? LabVIEW and DIAdem, of course. Watch the show and you’ll see our software on their laptop screens. Everytime you see the data being displayed, you are looking at NI software.

See for yourself (and see if you would agree with the outcome; I didn’t want to spoil it for you)