Optical Fiber Sensors for Infrastructure Monitoring

Virtually every type of public infrastructure — including bridges, pipelines, tunnels, foundations, roadways, dams, etc. — is subject to factors that can degrade it or lead to malfunctions. These structural problems can be the result of deterioration, improper construction methods, seismic activity, or nearby construction work. Although electrical strain gauges have long been used for monitoring structural changes, they sometimes lack the durability and integrity necessary to provide accurate, actionable information over extended periods.

Posted in: Articles, Optics, Test & Measurement, Fiber optics, Sensors and actuators, Fiber optics, Sensors and actuators, Inspections, Roads and highways
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ECG Small Signal General and Analysis

Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) is the most common way to identify various ailments, especially when the ailment is related to the heart. To perform an ECG, the medical personnel places the leads on the patient’s skin. The leads measure the heart’s electrical activity of one heartbeat cycle and record it as a continuous line tracing on paper to produce a graph. The ECG signal may indicate:

Posted in: Articles, Diagnostics, Medical, Monitoring, Test & Measurement, Oscilloscopes, Oscilloscopes, Cardiovascular system, Medical equipment and supplies
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Automating Roadbed Testing Before Paving

The normal road construction process involves subgrade (the existing soil) preparation followed by placement of an aggregate layer, and then the pavement surface layer (asphalt or concrete). In practice, most highways are designed using a set of assumptions that is sufficiently conservative to ensure that the roadway will meet its minimum specifications over its design life. The cost of the pavement layer can be optimized by testing the firmness of the prepared roadbed before paving. The testing process validates the basic design assumptions, and enables the amount of pavement to be tailored or optimized for each segment of the road. Ingios Geotechnics (Northfield, MN) was formed to develop and manufacture equipment to automate the process.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Automotive, Test & Measurement, Product development, Automation, Test procedures, Roads and highways, Construction vehicles and equipment
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A 40-Year Legacy and Excitement for the Future

As I approach retirement after 40 years as CEO of National Instruments (NI), I am reminded of the great progress and innovations the test and measurement industry has witnessed over that time. We have gone from an industry driven by vacuum tube technology in the era of General Radio, to a time where the transistor ruled with Hewlett-Packard, to today where software truly is the instrument — a transition that NI helped shepherd.

Posted in: Articles, Software, Test & Measurement, Measurements, People and personalities, Technical reference, Technical review
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Force Sensors in Robotic Design

From the operating room to the manufacturing floor, the robotic industry continues to grow and mature. As demand for robotic devices increases, so do the technology requirements.

Posted in: White Papers, White Papers, Automation, Robotics, Data Acquisition, Sensors, Test & Measurement
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Neutralizing Nature: Controlling the Environment in Aerospace

If your goal is to send a billion-dollar satellite into space or to maintain precision defense systems aboard aircraft tasked with defending the nation, environmental variations aren't so much the spice of life as an endless minefield of potential hazards that could destroy your mission. In the unforgiving aerospace sector, the idea is not to celebrate nature but to neutralize it, creating artificial environments that remain precisely clean and stable, wherever the equipment or payload you're assembling, transporting and sending aloft happens to be.

Posted in: White Papers, Aeronautics, Defense, Test & Measurement
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Smart Buoy Measures Water Pollutants

Extensive water monitoring is indispensable for drinking water supply and water protection. Researchers have developed a smart monitoring system that combines various technologies in a depth-profile-measuring multi-sensor buoy for monitoring water bodies and algae growth. Conventional monitoring strategies are frequently based on a multitude of independently acting sensor systems. This aggravates and slows down integrated data evaluation.

Posted in: News, Measuring Instruments, Test & Measurement
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Ultrasensitive Sensors Keep Driverless Cars Safer

News of the first serious accident involving an automated electric vehicle made headlines recently. Researchers are counting on light detection and ranging (LiDAR) technology, in combination with other components, to fulfill the requirements for independent steering, braking, and acceleration.

Posted in: News, Sensors, Test & Measurement
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Military Sensor Inspires Instrument to Search for Life on Mars

A sensing technique used by the U.S. military currently to remotely monitor the air to detect potentially life-threatening chemicals, toxins, and pathogens has inspired a new instrument that could “sniff” for life on Mars and other targets in the solar system.

Posted in: News, Data Acquisition, Detectors, Sensors, Measuring Instruments, Test & Measurement
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Products of Tomorrow: November 2016

The technologies NASA develops don’t just blast off into space. They also improve our lives here on Earth. Life-saving search-and-rescue tools, implantable medical devices, advances in commercial aircraft safety, increased accuracy in weather forecasting, and the miniature cameras in our cellphones are just some of the examples of NASA-developed technology used in products today.

Posted in: Products, Solar Power, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Sensors, Test & Measurement
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