Special Coverage


Synthetic Bursae for Robots

Functions would be similar to those of natural bursae. Synthetic bursae are under development for incorporation into robot joints that are actuated by motor-driven cables in a manner similar to that of arthropod joints actuated by muscle-driven tendons. Like natural bursae, the synthetic bursae would serve as cushions and friction reducers.

Posted in: Mechanical Components, Briefs


Software for Secondary-School Learning About Robotics

The ROVer Ranch is an interactive computer program designed to help secondary-school students learn about space-program robotics and related basic scientific concepts by involving the students in simplified design and programming tasks that exercise skills in mathematics and science.

Posted in: Mechanical Components, Briefs


Surface Bacterial-Spore Assay Using Tb3+/DPA Luminescence

A total spore count could be obtained in minutes. Equipment and a method for rapidly assaying solid surfaces for contamination by bacterial spores are undergoing development. The method would yield a total (nonviable plus viable) spore count of a surface within minutes and a viable-spore count in about one hour. In this method, spores would be collected from a surface by use of a transparent polymeric tape coated on one side with a polymeric adhesive that would be permeated with one or more reagent(s) for detection of spores by use of visible luminescence. The sticky side of the tape would be pressed against a surface to be assayed, then the tape with captured spores would be placed in a reader that illuminates the sample with ultraviolet light and counts the green luminescence spots under a microscope to quantify the number of bacterial spores per unit area. The visible luminescence spots seen through the microscope would be counted to determine the concentration of spores on the surface.

Posted in: Bio-Medical, Medical, Briefs, TSP


Product of the Month: Infrared Emitters & Sensors

O P T E K Technology (Carrollton, TX) offers the OP280 series of infrared emitters, and the OP580 series of matching silicon photo sensors. The OP280 emitter series consists of three standard devices: the OP180 940-nm infrared emitter, the OP280 880-nm infrared emitter, and the OP280K 890-nm infrared emitter; and the OP280PS 850-nm point source infrared emitter and the OP280V 850-nm vertical cavity surface emitting laser (VCSEL) device. The OP580 series of sensors consists of the OP580 phototransistor, the OP580PR silicon photodarlington, and the OP580RB silicon phototransistor with an integrated base-emitter resistor. The emitters and sensors are housed in standard PLCC-2 surface mount packaging, and are suitable for applications in industrial automation control, optical encoder equipment, and bar code readers.

Posted in: Products


Digital Servos, Software Chart New Directions in Optical Scanning

Optical scanners, or servo-controlled, limited-rotation motors with laser-beam steering mirrors, were first introduced 40 years ago by General Scanning. Since then, they have become the enabling technology behind many innovative products across many different industries, including medical imaging, industrial machining, product identification, biomedical research, automotive manufacturing, and many more.

Posted in: Features, ptb catchall, Photonics, Articles


Design Software Bridges Optical/Mechanical Gap for Life Sciences

The inherently interdisciplinary nature of developing instrumentation for life sciences requires a high level of collaboration between scientists and engineers across the fields of analytical or clinical chemistry, optics, mechanics, material science, and microbiology. Moreover, product development teams are competing for first-tomarket benefits that are driven by intellectual property lifetimes and insuring an installed base quickly to realize recurring consumable sales. Concurrently, product designers need to comply with current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP). System-level modeling enables adherence to the methodical design process without the cost and time associated with iterative hardware prototyping and laboratory and clinical testing.

Posted in: ptb catchall, Applications, Photonics, Application Briefs


Instrumented Spindle Improves Manufacturing of Optical Materials

Sensors and data acquisition system provide real-time visibility of grinding system operation. Lion Precision and Professional Instruments, St. Paul, Minnesota High-performance materials such as ceramics, optics, and alloy steels are manufactured using abrasive grinding technology. Until now, the grinding wheel and process conditions have been difficult to measure in production.

Posted in: Tech Briefs, ptb catchall, Photonics, Briefs


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