Sound-Off: How to Set Pass/Fail Thresholds for Self-Driving Vehicles

As Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) technology evolves, how do you test autonomous cars that ‘learn from their mistakes?’

Posted in: News, Automotive, Instrumentation, Measuring Instruments, Test & Measurement

Coming to a Lab Bench Near You: Femtosecond X-Ray Spectroscopy

Upon light activation (in purple, bottom row’s ball-and-stick diagram), the cyclic structure of the 1,3-cyclohexadiene molecule rapidly unravels into a near-linear shape in just 200 femtoseconds. Using ultrafast X-ray spectroscopy, researchers have captured in real time the accompanying transformation of the molecule’s outer electron “clouds” (in yellow and teal, top row’s sphere diagram) as the structure unfurls. (Credit: Kristina Chang/Berkeley Lab)

The ephemeral electron movements in a transient state of a reaction important in biochemical and optoelectronic processes have been captured and, for the first time, directly characterized using ultrafast X-ray spectroscopy at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). Like many rearrangements of molecular structures, the ring-opening reactions in this study occur on timescales of hundreds of femtoseconds (1 femtosecond equals a millionth of a billionth of a second). The researchers were able to collect snapshots of the electronic structure during the reaction by using femtosecond pulses of X-ray light on a tabletop apparatus.

Posted in: News, Lasers & Laser Systems, Optics, Photonics, Measuring Instruments, Test & Measurement

Infrared 3D Scanner Measures Like Human Vision

With the new infrared 3D scanner, people can be measured without disturbing projections. (© Photo Fraunhofer IOF)

A 3D scanner, with a resolution of one million pixels and real-time data processing, operates using measuring technology that works in a similar way to human vision. To detect an object, periodic patterns are projected onto the surface using a specially developed near-infrared projector. A sequence of different patterns is projected in rapid succession in order to record as many measurement points as possible by the two cameras.

Posted in: News, Measuring Instruments, Test & Measurement

Low-Cost Device uses Light to Detect Oil Spills

Researchers have developed a simple device that can detect an oil spill in water and then pinpoint the type of oil present on the surface. The device is designed to float on the water, where it could remotely monitor a small area susceptible to pollution or track the evolution of contamination at a particular location.

Posted in: News, Test & Measurement

Data Logger Aids in Development of New Vehicles

A new data logger developed by Fraunhofer researchers simultaneously collects data from vehicles with combustion engines, electric drives, external sensors, and location data, and permits the development of new hybrid and electric vehicles. Once installed in a car, it records all the relevant operational data from the trips the car makes over a period of several weeks or months, enabling evaluation of how a car is used, including characteristics such as route profiles or driving style – when does the driver drive more cautiously, when more aggressively?

Posted in: News, Monitoring, Test & Measurement

High-Altitude Radiation Tests Will Protect Airline Travelers

The RaD-X payload ascended into the stratosphere to measure cosmic radiation coming from the Sun and interstellar space. (NASA)

Imagine you’re sitting on an airplane cruising at 36,000 feet. Just above you, high-energy particles, called cosmic rays, are zooming in from outer space. While we are largely protected from this radiation on the ground, up in the thin atmosphere of the stratosphere, these particles can affect humans and electronics alike.

Posted in: News, Measuring Instruments, Test & Measurement

Hydraulic Carts Streamline Structural Tests for Aircraft

The Flight Loads Laboratory (FLL) at Armstrong Flight Research Center tests the strength and endurance of aircraft structures using hydraulic actuators to apply forces that simulate the stresses of takeoff, flight, and landing. The contract to build the FLL’s next-generation hydraulic controller system went to Moog Inc., an East Aurora, NY-based company that specializes in motion control systems. The company designed a multi-function mobile cart that not only houses the hydraulics for up to eight actuators, but also includes most of the necessary electronics, which were previously housed in the control room.

Posted in: News, Aerospace, Test & Measurement

Smart Buoy Measures Water Pollutants

The current way of using the multi-algae sensor; in the future, it will be operated automatically from buoys, together with other sensors. (Photo: bbe Moldaenke)

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

Ultrasensitive Sensors Keep Driverless Cars Safer

Sensor chips are implemented in CMOS technology. (© Photo Fraunhofer IMS)

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

Military Sensor Inspires Instrument to Search for Life on Mars

This artist’s rendition shows how BILI could operate on Mars. (NASA)

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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