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USB-3101 analog data output device

NMeasurement Computing, Norton, MA, has released the USB-3101 analog data output device that is fully compatible with USB 1.1 and 2.0 ports. The full-speed device is supported under Microsoft(r) Windows(r) operating systems and provides four channels of analog voltage output, eight digital I/O connectors, and one 32-bit event counter. Analog output ranges are ±10V and 0-10V. It is powered by the 5V USB supply from a computer, with no external power required. All I/O connections are made to the screw terminals located along each side of the device. Software support includes InstaCal installation, calibration, and test software; universal programming libraries for LabVIEW and other programming languages; SoftWIRE graphical programming system; DASYLab for data acquisition and control; and MATLAB's Data Acquisition Toolbox for control and communication.

Posted in: Products

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CCDs Find Applications in Diverse Space MissionsCCDs Find Applications in Diverse Space Missions

ESA’s Mars Express obtained this view of an unnamed 35-kilometerwide impact crater located on the far northern area of Mars. (European Space Agency)Charge coupled device (CCD) image sensors e2v Technologies Elmsford, NY 914-593-6841 www.e2v.com

Posted in: Application Briefs

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Aging Computer System to be Replaced by Supercomputer

Linux Supersystem supercomputers Linux Networx Bluffdale, UT 877-505-5694 www.linuxnetworx.com

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AC Drives Provide Precise Control Critical to Next-Generation Test Stands

Direct Torque Control (DTC) is widely used as a method for controlling AC motors in many demanding applications. It is a unique method for controlling AC motors. In pulse-width modulation (PWM) drives, the output frequency and voltage are the primary control reference signals for the power switches, rather than the desired torque in/of the motor shaft. For those who are not familiar with inverter technology, the DTC principle can be illustrated most accurately via this mechanical analogy: the continuous calculation of the best angle at which to rotate a shaft, with a given arm length and the forces available. These electrical “force vectors” are generated with the help of semiconductor switches called Integrated Gate Bipolar Transistors (IGBT).

Posted in: Features, Articles

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Software Used to Control Master-Slave Haptics Experiment

Haptics, also known as “force feedback teleoperation,” attempts to provide environmental interactions through a robotic system. Users mimic these interactions with robotic arms. By varying the amount of force the haptic devices exhibit, a user can achieve the sensation of interacting with the system. As it allows a user to interface with a remote or virtual environment, the goal of haptics is to augment a user’s sensory feedback while performing a given task. In order to construct safer haptic systems, researchers at the Intelligent Machine Dynamics Laboratory (IMDL) at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, GA) have built a series of master-slave devices, and utilize National Instruments’ (Austin, TX) LabVIEW 8.0 software and its various toolkits to control all feedback calculations, communication, control, and simulation, with the objective to investigate control difficulties that occur using a passive master with an energetically active slave.

Posted in: Applications, Application Briefs

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Motor Used to Stabilize Remote-Controlled Camera Crane

It is a staple of the summer box office blockbuster: the car chase. Car chases have not only become a vital component of an action movie, they have also had to evolve, with audiences demanding even more thrills. To put the audience directly into the flow of traffic, studio executives turn to companies like Adventure Equipment, whose Ultimate Arm, a gyrostablized, camera-mounted, remote-controlled crane system attached to an SUV, gets in where the action is. Maxon Motors’ (Fall River MA) RE40 motor is used to maneuver the camera, capturing all the adrenaline-pumping moments.

Posted in: Applications, Application Briefs

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Plasma Cutter Utilizes Motor for Gantry Control

To cut through metal and other materials, a plasma cutter sends an arc of electricity through a high-speed jet of an inert gas. When electricity and gas meet, plasma is formed, hot enough to melt through sheet metal, and still moving fast enough to blast molten metal away from the cut. When engineers at Dynatorch (Padukah, KY) began to design a line of plasma and oxy-acetylene cutting machines, they utilized the SM2315D SmartMotor from Animatics (Santa Clara, CA) to operate the gantry, where the torch is mounted. To avoid the warping, kinking, or scorching that can occur when metal is improperly heated, the gantry and torch must maintain a fixed distance from whatever is being cut.

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