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Data Acquisition Card

Innovative Integration (Simi Valley, CA) introduced Atropos, an XMC I/O module with low-noise clock generation and distribution for data acquisition and communications timing applications. The module has four output clocks and four output triggers, as well as a clock/reference input and a trigger input. Multiple cards can be cascaded to synthesize dozens of phase-synchronous, ultra-low-jitter clocks and triggers within radar, beam steering, and MIMO applications. In the sample clock generation mode, the card can generate clocks from 74.06 to 3080 MHz. All clock outputs may be referenced to an on-card 280-ppb temperature-compensated oscillator, or an external clock input. In distribution mode, a supplied clock and trigger are buffered and distributed 1:4. The PLL circuit is fully programmable. Example code supports control of all card features. Software tools for host development include C++ libraries, and drivers for Windows and Linux.

Posted in: Products, Data Acquisition

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Detection Scanner

The R2000 Detection laser scanner from Pepperl+Fuchs (Twinsburg, OH) features a 360-degree gapless measurement angle with angular resolution within 0.071 degrees, scan frequency to 30 Hz, and object detection to 1 mm. An eye-safe visible red laser enables alignment and detection of very small objects or reflectors. The scanner can detect objects up to 10 m away and reflectors up to 30 m away, with measurement repeatability within 12 mm of true distance value. The scanner is suited for detecting protrusions or obstacles over a large area, collision avoidance on overhead monorails, detecting small overhangs such as damaged pallets, monitoring entryways and exits, controlling the height of pallets on palletizers, and verifying empty, full, or overfilled cartons on conveyors. The IP65 rated scanner has an anticipated operating life of 20 years in operating temperatures from -10 to 50 °C, and offers four digital I/O channels that can each be configured as an input or as an output (NPN or PNP).

Posted in: Products, Detectors, Measuring Instruments

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Energy Harvesting Could Help Power Spacecraft of the Future

A consortium is working on a project to maximize energy harvesting on a spacecraft of the future. The initiative seeks to find energy-saving and -maximizing solutions to enable eco-friendly aircraft to stay in space for long periods of time without the need to return to Earth to re-fuel, or to avoid carrying vast amounts of heavy fuel on long-stay journeys.

Posted in: News, Aviation, Energy Efficiency, Energy Harvesting

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NASA Robot Explores Volcanoes

Carolyn Parcheta, a NASA postdoctoral fellow based at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and JPL robotics researcher Aaron Parness are developing robots that can explore volcanic fissures."We don't know exactly how volcanoes erupt. We have models but they are all very, very simplified. This project aims to help make those models more realistic," Parcheta said.Parcheta, Parness, and JPL co-advisor Karl Mitchell first explored this idea last year using a two-wheeled robot they call VolcanoBot 1, with a length of 12 inches (30 centimeters) and 6.7-inch (17-centimeter) wheels.VolcanoBot 2, smaller and lighter than its predecessor, will explore Hawaii's Kilauea volcano in March 2015. Parcheta's research endeavors were recently honored in National Geographic’s Expedition Granted campaign. SourceAlso: Learn about Autonomous Response for Targeting and Monitoring of Volcanic Activity.

Posted in: News, Machinery & Automation, Robotics, Measuring Instruments, Monitoring

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Forensic Tracers Identify Contamination in Water

Duke University scientists have developed new forensic tracers to identify coal ash contamination in water and distinguish it from contamination coming from other sources. The tools can be used by regulatory agencies to monitor the environmental effects of coal ash, and determine whether it has or hasn’t impacted the environment. Previous methods to identify coal ash contaminants in the environment were based solely on the contaminants’ chemical variations. The newly developed tracers provide additional forensic fingerprints that give regulators a more accurate and systematic tool. The tracers, which have been tested both in the laboratory and the field, are based on the distinctive isotopic and geochemical signatures of two elements, boron and strontium, found in coal ash effluent. The U.S. EPA has submitted a proposal to the Office of Management and Budget to restrict coal ash disposal into the environment and, for the first time, establish federal regulations to govern how the ash is stored and disposed. Source:

Posted in: News, Environmental Monitoring, Monitoring

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Technology Diagnoses Brain Damage from Concussions, Strokes, and Dementia

New optical diagnostic technology developed at Tufts University School of Engineering promises new ways to identify and monitor brain damage resulting from traumatic injury, stroke, or vascular dementia in real time and without invasive procedures.

Posted in: News, Electronic Components, Diagnostics, Fiber Optics, Optics, Photonics, Measuring Instruments

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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.

Posted in: White Papers

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