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Thread: "Reading" from proprietary software

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    "Reading" from proprietary software

    I am working in a project that seeks to control two step motors with a proprietary acoustics measuring software. This measuring software creates a measuring routine, that is, the information that controls the movement of the two step motors. It moves them and measures, it moves them and measures, etc, everything in real time.

    The problem is that this software works with it's own step motors and I would like to use "generic" ones (controlled by microprocessor), so it would save a lot of money. The thing here is, of course, I can't access these routine when it's created in real time. My idea is to "pipe" somehow the output from the measuring software to the microcontroller (as well processing it when the datatype differs).

    My question is, is there any way "to read" what a proprietary software is doing? Is there a way to "pipe" this stream with the input of a microcontroller?

    Any help will be appreciated!

  2. #2
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    Re: "Reading" from proprietary software

    Where is the current software located? On a PC? Microcontroller?

    How is the data being transmitted to the motors? RS232?
    I'm confused

  3. #3
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    Re: "Reading" from proprietary software

    Sorry for the lack of details! The software is running on a PC under Windows and at the moment I still don't know exactly how the data is transmitted to the motors.

    I just wanted to know if I can "read" what the measuring software is doing (even if the motors aren't connected, it does something), like reading what the process is doing. I've seen that it could be done under Windows with _popen(), what do you think?

    Thanks!

  4. #4
    Lindley is offline Elite Member Power Poster
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    Re: "Reading" from proprietary software

    I don't know if it's possible or not, but I'd find that a very daunting task....don't think there's any simple way to do it unless the proprietary software has documented interfaces that you can intercept.

  5. #5
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    Re: "Reading" from proprietary software

    Well, people have used fuzzy logic in the past. I remember once a PHD student created a fuzzy logic controller, that read the encoder counts from our board. I couldn't believe the company let him do it, but the company had some agreement with the university, so the engineer on the job actually worked with him on it.
    ahoodin
    To keep the plot moving, that's why.

  6. #6
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    Re: "Reading" from proprietary software

    Thanks a lot for the replies!

    I have never done anything similar and I'm trying to figure out if it's possible or not. It looks like it's gonna be quite challenging! At the moment I'm trying to read the output of the process of the measuring software while in execution: I create a child process with an output pipe, and I'm trying to capture what comes out. I am still working on it, probably it won't bring anything, but at least it is a starting point.

    @ahoodin: I am curious about what you've said about using fuzzy logic, do you have more info about it?

    I have another question, do you know if it is legal to do this? I mean, regarding copyright.

    Thanks again!

  7. #7
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    Re: "Reading" from proprietary software

    Quote Originally Posted by farebizarre View Post
    I have another question, do you know if it is legal to do this? I mean, regarding copyright.
    I think you're on shaky ground both legally and technically. Your solution will be very brittle, susceptible to the slightest change in the proprietary software.

    Why not contact the company and work out some deal. Maybe they can provide some hooks or even a programmer's interface.

  8. #8
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    Re: "Reading" from proprietary software

    Quote Originally Posted by farebizarre View Post
    @ahoodin: I am curious about what you've said about using fuzzy logic, do you have more info about it?
    http://www.mathworks.com/products/fuzzylogic/index.html
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/logic-fuzzy/
    http://videolectures.net/acai05_berthold_fl/

    Ok there you go.
    ahoodin
    To keep the plot moving, that's why.

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