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Self-Powered Sensors Communicate Building Defects

Michigan State University researchers have developed a technology that allows sensing, communication, and diagnostic computing — all within the building material of a structure. Using energy harvested from the structure itself, the "substrate computing" system features sensors that continuously monitor and report on the building's integrity.“Adoption of such monitoring has previously been limited because of the frequency of battery replacement for battery-powered sensors,” said Subir Biswas, professor of electrical and computer engineering, “as well as the need for a separate communication subsystem usually involving radio frequency sensor networks.”In the future, the technology will be routinely used in building materials so that structures, such as bridges, will be able to detect and diagnose potential problems, without the need for an external energy source and a separate wireless sensor network. The researchers' goal is to integrate all of the functions within a 3 x 3-millimeter electronic chip, which can be embedded within the material of a structure. Source Also: Read other Sensors tech briefs.

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Talking Drone Converses With Air Traffic Controllers

Researchers have developed and demonstrated an autonomous capability that would allow a drone to verbally interact with air traffic controllers. The development is a critical step towards the full integration of unmanned aircraft systems – or drones – into civil airspace. Drones need to be able to fly safely alongside other airspace users without causing disruption to air traffic management. The majority of air traffic control services are provided to aircraft by voice radio – aircraft controllers speaking directly to pilots. Using the new system, an air traffic controller can talk to, and receive responses from, a drone just like they would with any other aircraft. The project brings the safe and seamless operation of UAVs within civil airspace one step closer. The new system enables a drone to respond to information requests and act on clearances issued by an air traffic controller. Source:

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Quantum Radar Detects “Invisible” Objects

A prototype quantum radar has the potential to detect objects that are invisible to conventional systems. The new breed of radar is a hybrid system that uses quantum correlation between microwave and optical beams to detect objects of low reflectivity, such as cancer cells or aircraft, with a stealth capability. Because the quantum radar operates at much lower energies than conventional systems, it has the long-term potential for a range of applications in biomedicine including non-invasive NMR scans. A conventional radar antenna emits a microwave to scan a region of space. Any target object would reflect the signal to the source, but objects of low reflectivity immersed in regions with high background noise are difficult to spot using classical radar systems. In contrast, quantum radars operate more effectively and exploit quantum entanglement to enhance their sensitivity to detect small signal reflections from very noisy regions. The radar could be operated at short distances to detect the presence of defects in biological samples or human tissues in a completely non-invasive fashion, thanks to the use of a low number of quantum-correlated photons. Source:

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Sound Waves Detect Aircraft Structural Defects

A system for using sound waves to spot potentially dangerous cracks in pipes, aircraft engines, and nuclear power plants has been developed by a University of Strathclyde researcher. A study found that transmitting different types of sound waves can help to detect structural defects more easily. This is achieved by varying the duration and frequency of the waves, and using the results to recreate an image of the component's interior. The system is a model for a form of non-destructive testing that uses high-frequency mechanical waves to inspect structure parts and ensure they operate reliably, without compromising their integrity. It could potentially have applications in medical imaging and seismology. Source:

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3D Printing: Changing the Economics of Manufacturing Custom Components

With traditional manufacturing technologies, the design and production of custom parts and products can be expensive and time-consuming. That’s because the economics of mass production require a large volume of finished goods over which to amortize the significant costs of prototypes, tooling, setup, assembly, materials, and finishing. Custom products, however, are manufactured in small lots, and for them, a different approach is required. One advanced technology that manufacturers are embracing for its ability to produce custom products quickly and profitably is additive manufacturing, or 3D printing. In this paper, Stratasys presents some of the ways in which 3D printing is enabling manufacturers to create custom products better, faster, and less expensively.

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All About Aspheric Lenses

The most notable benefit of aspheric lenses is their ability to correct for spherical aberration. Spherical aberration results from using a spherical surface to focus or collimate light. In other words, all spherical surfaces suffer from spherical aberration independent of alignment or manufacturing errors; therefore, a non-spherical, or aspheric surface, is needed to correct for it. Aspheric lenses allow optical designers to correct aberrations using fewer elements than conventional spherical optics because the former gives them more aberration correction than multiple surfaces of the latter. This white paper will discuss the anatomy and benefits of an aspheric lens, the different types of aspheres and how they are made, as well as Edmund Optics custom manufacturing capabilities.

Posted in: White Papers, Photonics

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BioCompatic: LEMO - Northwire's Robust USP Class VI Silicone Alternative

Combining decades of field-proven life science experience, LEMO and Northwire’s collaborative white paper highlights the professional expertise and continual innovation necessary to design and manufacture end-to-end (E2E) connector and cable assembly solutions that meet the rapidly evolving demands of the medical market.

Posted in: White Papers, White Papers, Coatings & Adhesives

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