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White Papers: Using FPGAs to Improve Embedded Designs

Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) are semiconductor devices that are programmed after manufacturing to accomplish application specific functionality. FPGAs experienced rapid technology advancement in the 1990s, and today are found in a vast variety of products ranging from simple consumer items to highly complex military systems.

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White Paper: Computer System Design for Critical Applications

"Industrial computer" is a widely used term that unfortunately can be quite ambiguous, often applied to computers that have little real advantage over commercial PCs but may outwardly appear "rugged". However, there are many applications that need a computer system that is truly built to a higher standard for reasons that include:

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Windows CE Development for RISC Computers Made Easy

Windows CE (a.k.a. Windows Embedded Compact), originally released in 1996, can be an attractive alternative to the full Windows operating system offering system designers the ability to control power, size, and cost in a new product. For example, the runtime license cost of the CE operating system alone can save as much as $150 over the license cost for standard Windows.

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Determining an Effective Analog Sampling Rate

Q: How often should my equipment make measurements? A: This question often arises when people draft plans to automatically measure a physical quantity such as temperature, pressure, acidity, liquid level, and so on. You can approach this problem in several ways, from an educated guess to a mathematical analysis of your system. The examples that follow use temperature measurements because people measure temperature more than any other physical characteristic.

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Analog Signal Conditioning for Accurate Measurements

By Jon Titus Q: Should I put some sort of circuit between my sensor and an analog-to-digital converter? A:Yes. You probably need some signal conditioning. The explanation below goes on for a bit, but stay with it and you'll understand what you need and why you need it. Before you make any connections, get the electrical specifications for the analog-to-digital converter (ADC) and for the sensor or sensors in your system. Let's assume the data-acquisition module uses a Maxim Integrated Products MAX197 12-bit ADC. This device can accept eight differential (2-wire) inputs or 16 single-ended (1-wire) inputs. Maxim's specifications show an input impedance of 21 kohms for single-ended inputs and 16 kohms for differential inputs.

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Differential Nonlinearity in Analog Measurements

By: Jon Titus, Sealevel Systems, Inc. Q: In a previous answer you noted, "... most applications require linearity but not absolute precision..." What does that mean?

Posted in: Briefs, White Papers

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Piezo Motors Power MRI Robot

Surgeons treating brain cancer face a conundrum: They can capture ultra-high-resolution images of the tumor using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or they can use ultra-precise surgical tools to remove the tumor, but they can’t do both at the same time. At least they couldn’t prior to the creation of the innovative MRI robot from the Worchester Polytechnic Institute team.

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