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Smart Sensor System Continuously Monitors Machinery

A new method of continuously monitoring the status of machinery is a mobile tablet-based system that supplies information on the operational state of industrial machinery and plant equipment, and informs operators if a part needs to be replaced or if a repair can be postponed. The system uses sensors that continuously acquire data on parameters such as vibrational frequency or temperature.

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New Sensor Platform Gives Cities Quick Access to Data

As urban populations increase, so too does the complexity involved in maintaining basic services like clean water and emergency services. But one of the biggest barriers to making cities “smarter” is quick and easy access to data. Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory have developed the Waggle platform that outfits researchers with a next-generation data collection experience. Featuring the same type of circuit board and real-time processing speeds as a smartphone, users can add their own mix of sensors, specific to what they’re researching, and install programs onto a single, low-power “system on a chip” computer board, complete with a Linux-based operating system to control them.

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Human Brain Inspires Wearable Microsensors

Wei Tang, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at New Mexico State University, is taking a cue from nature to devise the next generation of integrated, low-power, wearable micro-devices. The human brain inspired his approach in the novel design of a system of state-of-the-art miniaturized sensors that can detect, transmit, and reliably process valuable data.

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Will hydrogen fuel cell vehicles ever achieve widespread use?

This week's Question: Today's INSIDER story highlighted a discovery in alternative energy production that may provide a breakthrough for hydrogen-fueled vehicles. According to researcher Joe Rollin, the technology "has the potential to enable the widespread use of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles around the world and displace fossil fuels.” What do you think? Will hydrogen fuel cell vehicles ever achieve widespread use?

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Reducing Power-On/Off Glitches in Precision DACs: Part 2

Part 1 of this article introduced a phenomenon called power-on/off glitch. The example discussed the impact of this phenomenon on a motor control system. We limited our analysis to a DAC where the output buffer is powered on in normal mode: zero-scale or mid-scale. In Part 2, we analyze when the DAC output is powered on in high-impedance mode. We present a mathematical model for the power-on glitch, followed by board-level solutions to minimize it.

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Fuel Breakthrough Supports Hydrogen-Powered Vehicles

Virginia Tech researchers have created hydrogen fuel using abundantly available corn stover – the stalks, cobs, and husks.The development could support the arrival of inexpensive hydrogen-powered vehicles. Unlike other hydrogen fuel production methods that rely on highly processed sugars, the Virginia Tech team used dirty biomass — the husks and stalks of corn plants — to create their fuel. The use of corn stover reduces initial costs and enables the use of a fuel source readily available near the processing plants. The team used a genetic algorithm, along with a series of complex mathematical expressions, to analyze each step of the enzymatic process that breaks down corn stover into hydrogen and carbon dioxide. The system uses both sugars glucose and xylose at the same time, which increases the rate at which the hydrogen is released. Hydrogen is separated from aqueous reactants and enzymes. The enzymatic reactions within the Virginia Tech system generate high-purity hydrogen, perfect for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. The initial model increased reaction rates by threefold, decreasing the required facility size to about the size of a gas station. The modest reaction conditions also indicate the feasibility of low-capital requirements for building distributed hydrogen generating and fueling stations based on the technology.SourceAlso: Learn about Hydrogen Measurement in a Cryogen Flow Stream.

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Robotic Vehicle Explores Depths of Antarctica

A robotic vehicle developed by Georgia Institute of Technology scientists and engineers recently dove to depths never before visited under Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf.The team deployed (and retrieved) the vehicle through a 12-inch diameter hole. The "IceFin" searched through 20 meters of ice and another 500 meters of water to the sea floor.Icefin was deployed as a part of the Sub Ice Marine and Planetary–analog Ecosystem (SIMPLE) program, funded by NASA and supported by NSF. The robotic vehicle carried a scientific payload capable of measuring ocean conditions under the ice. Icefin’s readings, and video of the life that thrives in the harsh conditions, will help researchers understand how Antarctica’s ice shelves are changing under warming conditions. Scientists will also be able to examine how organisms thrive in cold and light-free environments. The technologies developed for Icefin will also assist in the search for life on other planets, namely Europa, a moon of Jupiter. Antarctica’s icy oceans are remarkably similar to Europa’s ice-capped oceans.SourceAlso: Learn how a NASA robot will explore volcanoes.

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