CompactRIO programmable automation controller (PAC) is a low-cost reconfigurable control and acquisition system designed for applications that require high performance and reliability. The system combines an open embedded architecture with small size, extreme ruggedness, and hot-swappable industrial I/O modules. NI CompactRIO is powered by reconfigurable I/O (RIO) FPGA technology.
We can do some program in Labview to control hardwares, then it can be downloaded into a chip for a specific application. This concept is used in RIO in Virtual Instrumentation. For example, we want to design the control of arms in a Robot, the instructions for movement can be programmed in Labview, then the executable can be downloaded in a chip by configuring the RIO system, then the CRIO can be used as a single unit in the robot which is very robust and rugged in construction.
Then the robot unit can be independantly used for operation. This is really amazing to see the result.