NI-DAQ Setup



NI-DAQ Setup is under development. It will be available soon. Thank you for your patience!

For Motive 1.10 and above, National Instruments data acquisition devices can be integrated with the motion capture system. Through NI-DAQ, various analogue signals (e.g. force and EMG signals) can be converted into digital signals at user-defined sampling frequency, and they can be precisely synchronized with the tracking data in Motive. This page provides instructions on connecting NI-DAQ devices and acquiring analogue signals with OptiTrack motion capture systems. Please refer to the list of recommended NI-DAQ devices included at the end of the page regarding supported models. For instructions on configuring the NI-DAQ devices, please refer to the respective product User Guide.

Getting Started With NI Products:

As of Motive 1.10, the NI-DAQ functionalities is not supported with the use of the API.

Hardware Setup

Connecting your NI-DAQ device to your PC

Motive supports PCI and USB devices from National Instruments. A list of supported devices can be found in the supported devices section at the bottom of the page. For device specific connection to your PC, refer to respective NI User's Guide.

Connecting your NI-DAQ device to an OptiTrack Motion Capture system

The following diagrams show general wiring setups for connecting and synchronizing NI-DAQ devices (Bare wire and BNC) with an OptiTrack Motion Capture system using Motive.

  • Bare Wire Cabling
    Diagram for Flex Camera System with integrated force plates.
  • BNC Cabling
    Diagram for Flex Camera System with integrated force plates.

Connecting External Signals through NIDAQ

Software Setup

1. First, install the NI-DAQ device drivers; refer to respective NIDAQ User Guide. National Instruments Hardware Setup Guide:

1. Install the OptiTrack Peripherals Module which will install the necessary Motive device plugins.

2. Ensure the NI-DAQ device is powered on and detected in MS Windows.

3. Launch Motive. All attached NI-DAQ devices should be displayed in the Camera Panel -> Device Group

[ TODO: Insert Screenshot: Devices panel (old Cameras panel) ]

4. Verify device operation

a. Camera Panel : Select a NI-DAQ channel with an active signal b. Camera Panel : Toggle the NI-DAQ device to begin sampling c. Camera Panel : Select the active channel d. timeline Panel : Show the 'Scope' View

You should see the live sampled signal in the 'Scope' View

[ TODO: Insert Screenshot ]

Property Reference

TEMP SCREENSHOT. NIDAQ device properties in the Devices Pane

NI-DAQ Device properties

Record Trigger: True to indicates record start frame flag will come from hardware data packet. False indicates Motive will control first recorded frame

Acquisition Rate: NI-DAQ sample acquisition rate. Must be a whole multiple/divisor of the camera framerate. Disabled if using an external clock.

Use External Clock: Sets whether an external clock signal is integrated.

  • True: NI-DAQ board is connected to an external clock on one of it's digial I/O terminals, and will use this signal to control sampling. Acquisition rate is disabled since the rate is now controlled by the external clock.
  • False: NI-DAQ board will collect samples in 'Free Run' at the Acquisition Rate specified.

External Clock Channel: Name of the NI-DAQ digital I/O terminal that is connected to the external clock (TTL) signal.

NI-DAQ Device Channel Properties

Refer to your NI-DAQ boards User's Guide for detailed information about supported signal types and voltage ranges.

Min Voltage: Configure the terminal's minimum voltage range (default is -10 volts)

Max Voltage: Configure the terminal's maximum voltage range (default is +10 volts)

Terminal Type: Channel physical signal type

  • Terminal: RSE Referenced single ended. Measurement with respect to ground (e.g. AI_GND) (Default)
  • Terminal: NRSE NonReferenced single ended. Measurement with respect to single analog input (e.g. AISENSE)
  • Terminal: Diff Differential. Measurement between two inputs (e.g. AI0+, AI0-)
  • Terminal: PseudoDiff Differential. Measurement between two inputs and impeded common ground.

Collecting Data

1. Motive : Device Panel Configure NI-DAQ collection channels properties (terminal type, voltage range)

2. Motive : Device Panel Enable channels to collect

3. Motive : Device Panel Configure NI-DAQ device properties (Acquisition rate, external clock)

4. Motive : Device Panel Enable NI-DAQ device

5. Motive : Timeline Tools : Scope Verify Channel/terminal signals appear correct in Live Scope.

6. Motive : Timeline Tools Start Recording

Synchronization Configuration: eSync

NEEDS TO BE REPLACED: It would be nice to have a screenshot of the Devices pane and the synchronization pane, showing exemplary sync configuration.

In order to precisely synchronize the motion capture system with NIDAQ devices, the eSync must be used. The internal clock signal from the eSync will be used as the sync reference for NIDAQ devices. When synchronizing using the eSync as the master clock, the acquisition rate of the NI-DAQ devices must match the eSync's Internal Clock rate, and should be set to a whole multiple or divisor or the Camera frame rate.

1. Hardware: Connect one of the eSync Output(N) ports to the NI-DAQ digital input terminal.

2. Motive: Open the Synchronization Pane and the Devices Pane.

3. Motive: Synchronization Pane: Select Custom Synchronization from the dropdown menu.

4. Motive: Synchronization Pane: Configure the Sync Source to Internal Clock.

5. Motive: Synchronization Pane Set the Output(N) Type to Gated Internal Clock, for the output port connected to the NI-DAQ. Now the internal clock signal is configure to be sent out from the output port to the NI-DAQ.

6. Motive: Devices Pane: Set NI-DAQ device property 'Use External Clock' to True. The NI-DAQ framerate in the Device Panel should now display the eSync Internal Clock rate.

7. Motive: Devices Pane: Set NI-DAQ device property 'External Clock Channel' to name of NI-DAQ digital input terminal connected in Step 1.

8. Motive: Timeline Pane: Record.

External Sample Clock

OptiTrack mocap systems use the eSync to provide highly accurate synchronizations. The eSync can be configured to output internal clock signals, which can be used as the master reference clock so other devices can synchronize to. In order to ensure best possible synchronization, it is highly recommended to use use a NI-DAQ device with support for "external sample clock".

External Sample Clock Supported NIDAQ Models:

  • X Series: (e.g. PCIe 6320, USB 63XX Series)
  • Bus-Powered M Series: ( e.g. USB 6210)
  • M Series: (e.g. USB 6221, PCI 6220)
  • Non-USB B Series: (e.g. PCI-6010)

External Sample Clock NOT Supported NIDAQ Models:

  • Low cost USB Series (e.g. USB-6002)

National Instruments Supported Devices

NaturalPoint Recommended Devices

  • USB-63XX X-Series

Verified Devices

  • USB-6341, USB-6351, USB-6361

UnVerified Devices

Device Type Model Number
USB Basic Series

(Low Cost)

NI 6000, NI 6001, NI 6002, NI 6003, NI 6008, NI 6009
E Series NI 6023E, NI 6024E*, NI 6025E, NI 6030E, NI 6031E, NI 6032E/33E/34E/35E, NI 6036E*, NI 6040E, NI 6052E, NI 6062E*, NI 6070E, NI 6071E, NI PCI-MIO-16E-1, NI PCI-MIO-16E-4, NI PCI-MIO-16XE-10, NI PCI-MIO-16XE-50
M Series NI 6210/11/12/15/16/18, NI 6220, NI 6221, NI 6224, NI 6225, NI 6229, NI 6230/32/33/36/38/39, NI 6250, NI 6251, NI 6254, NI 6255, NI 6259, NI 6280, NI 6281, NI 6284, NI 6289
X Series NI 6320, NI 6321, NI 6323, NI 6341, NI 6343, NI 6345, NI 6351, NI 6353, NI 6355, NI 6356, NI 6358, NI 6361, NI 6363, NI 6365NI 6366, NI 6368, NI 6375
S Series

(Simultaneous Sampling)

NI 6110, NI 6111, NI 6115, NI 6120, NI 6122, NI 6123, NI 6124, NI 6132, NI 6133, NI 6143, NI 6154
SC Express

(Signal Conditioning)

NI 4300, NI 4302, NI 4303, NI 4304, NI 4305, NI 4322, NI 4330, NI 4331, NI 4339, NI 4353, NI 4357
DSA Series

(Sound and Vibration)

NI 4431, NI 4432, NI 4461, NI 4462, NI 4463, NI 4464, NI 4472/B, NI 4474, NI 4492, NI 4495, NI 4496, NI 4497, NI 4498, NI 4499, NI 4610

(Platform to be used with I/O Modules)

C Series

Network DAQ


(I/O Modules to be paired with Chassis)

NI 92xx, NI 94xx



Not Applicable

  • AO Series
  • Digital I/O Sereies
  • TIO Series
  • SC Series
  • Switches