Special Coverage


Tesla Motors Utilizes Altair HyperStudy to Explore and Optimize Pedestrian Impact Performance

The design group at Tesla Motors has faced the challenge of meeting legal pedestrian impact requirements and the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) without affecting the vehicle styling. Over the past few years the allowable injury threshold has steadily been lowered, forcing vehicle manufacturers to come up with innovative solutions.

Posted in: On-Demand Webinars


Unmanned Aircraft Tested as Tool for Measuring Polar Ice Sheets

Scientists studying the behavior of the world's ice sheets — and the future implications of ice sheet behavior for global sealevel rise — may soon have a new airborne tool that will allow radar measurements that previously would have been prohibitively expensive or difficult to carry out with manned aircraft.

Posted in: Environmental Monitoring, Green Design & Manufacturing, Test & Measurement, Measuring Instruments, Monitoring, Aerospace, Aviation, RF & Microwave Electronics, News


3D-Printing Aerial Robot Mimics Tiny Bird

Scientists from Imperial College London have developed a 3D-printing Micro Aerial Vehicle (MAV) that mimics the way that swiftlets build their nests.The MAV is a quad-copter, with four blades that enable it to fly and hover. The vehicle, made from off-the-shelf components, carries in its underbelly two chemicals that create polyurethane foam when mixed, and a printing module to deliver the foam. The foam can then be used to build simple structures or repair components.The texture of the polymer exuded from the 3D printer can also be used to create ’grippers,‘ which stick onto and transport objects to different locations. The MAV could therefore pick up and remove bombs, or dispose of hazardous materials without exposing humans to danger. The next step for the team is to enable the vehicle to fly autonomously in any environment. The scientists plan to incorporate high-speed cameras and sensors on board the MAV, which will act like a satellite navigation system for tracking and controlling of the flight trajectory.SourceAlso: Learn more about NASA's Robonaut 2.

Posted in: Imaging, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Rapid Prototyping & Tooling, Materials, Plastics, Sensors, Aerospace, Aviation, Machinery & Automation, Robotics, Defense, News


OCULLAR Provides Around-the-Clock Ocean Measurements

A team led at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., has developed an instrument capable of observing ocean color during normal sunlight conditions and under moonlight — a first-ever capability that will allow scientists to monitor the health and chemistry of the planet’s oceans literally around the clock.The prototype Ocean Color Underwater Low Light Advanced Radiometer (OCULLAR) has shown in field testing that it can measure ocean color under low-light conditions across multiple wavelength bands, from the ultraviolet to the near-infrared. In contrast, current remote-sensing instruments can obtain measurements — based on electromagnetic energy emitted by the sun, transmitted through the atmosphere, reflected off Earth’s surface, or upwelled from water masses — only during daylight hours, said Principal Investigator Stan Hooker.Of particular interest to scientists studying ocean color is phytoplankton, the microscopic ocean plants that form the base of the oceanic food web. The tiny plants use sunlight and carbon dioxide to produce organic carbon. This process, called photosynthesis, is possible because plants contain chlorophyll, green-colored compounds that trap the energy from sunlight. Because different types of phytoplankton contain different kinds of chlorophyll, measuring the color of a particular area allows scientists to estimate the amount and general type of phytoplankton there. Since phytoplankton also depend on specific conditions for growth, they frequently become the first to be affected by pollution or some other change in their environment.Until now, however, obtaining these measurements was limited to daylight hours and only during the spring, summer and fall months in the polar regions — a problem Hooker sought to correct with OCULLAR. The successful OCULLAR demonstration leads the way to anticipated commercialization and creates a new capability for oceanographers, climate scientists, and others interested in quantifying, understanding, and monitoring the biological productivity of oceans, coastal areas, and inland waters.SourceAlso: Learn about a Data Assimilation System for Coastal Ocean Prediction.

Posted in: Photonics, Environmental Monitoring, Green Design & Manufacturing, Test & Measurement, Measuring Instruments, Monitoring, News


Design of Graded Index Fiber Lenses for OCT Applications

            A fiber-optic probe, for optical coherence tomography (OCT) applications, typically includes a short section of graded index (GRIN) fiber fused onto a single-mode (SM) fiber. The GRIN fiber acts as a lens to focus the output of the SM fiber and to collect the reflected light from the sample. In this paper we use a beam propagation method (BPM) to analyze the output beam characteristics such as beam radius and working distance, and then compare these with measured results. With this tool we can design a GRIN fiber lens to achieve a long working distance without degrading the system performance.

Posted in: Tech Talks


Will Self-Driven Cars Improve Road Safety?

Using autonomous technology, Google has also been testing its self-driven robotic cars near the company's Silicon Valley headquarters. The vehicles are equipped with navigation software, like Google Maps, and other sensors to avoid obstacles and unexpected events. The cars' technology also features a laser radar system and a laser-based range finder that enables detailed 3D maps of surroundings.

Posted in: Question of the Week


Thinking Outside of the Box: Optimizing System Design With Embedded Expertise

Increasing technical requirements and tighter budgets provide challenges to integrators designing optimal system solutions for SWaP-constrained spaces. Dialoguing with highly knowledgeable COTS vendors early in the design process provides integrators with alternative systems engineering perspectives that result not only in better SWaP-optimized solutions, but reduced cost and schedule times. As a leading COTS vendor, Curtiss-Wright is exposed to a myriad of design problems every day, and has unmatched expertise in properly addressing constraints and providing innovative approaches to any design issue. Allowing our COTS hardware experts to mitigate SWaP-constraints early on in the embedded system design process results in highly-optimized re-architected solutions, and eliminates cost, weight, and schedule penalties.

Posted in: Electronics & Computers, White Papers