Special Coverage


Contour Crafting: Revolutionary Robotic Construction Technology

The nature of construction has remained intensely manual throughout recorded history. Contour Crafting is a mega-scale 3D fabrication process aiming at automated on-site construction of whole structures as well as subcomponents.

Posted in: On-Demand Webinars


Lubrication Considerations for Bearings

Bearings must be properly lubricated for optimized performance and long service lives, so choosing the correct lubrication is an integral consideration for engineers. AST Bearings’ tribological team has created this comprehensive whitepaper to best explain these lubrication considerations in rolling element bearings. The paper examines types of bearing lubricants (oil, grease and solid film), bearing lubrication methods, bearing lubrication shelf life, and a detailed table showing common bearing lubricants and properties.

Posted in: White Papers


Will virtual traffic lights improve traffic?

This week's Question: Carnegie Mellon University researchers have claimed that they can reduce commute times by placing virtual traffic lights on drivers' windshield. Through connected vehicle technology, the Carnegie Mellon system replaces conventional traffic lights with stop and go signals appearing directly in view. The virtual traffic lights are generated on demand when needed, such as when two cars are approaching an intersection. Although the technology attempts to optimize traffic patterns, some analysts say that older cars, as well as traffic lights and infrastructure, would need to be upgraded before the technology would be viable. What do you think? Will virtual traffic lights improve traffic?

Posted in: Question of the Week


The Human Eye Can See ‘Invisible’ Infrared Light

Any science textbook will tell you that human beings can’t see infrared light. Like X-rays and radio waves, infrared light waves are outside the visual spectrum. But an international team of researchers co-led by scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has found that under certain conditions, the retina can, in fact, sense infrared light after all. Using cells from the retinas of mice and people, and powerful lasers that emit pulses of infrared light, the researchers found that when laser light pulses rapidly, light-sensing cells in the retina sometimes get a double hit of infrared energy. When that happens, the eye is able to detect light that falls outside the visible spectrum.

Posted in: News, Question of the Week


Scientists Slow the Speed of Light Travelling Through Air

Scientists have long known that the speed of light can be slowed slightly as it travels through materials such as water or glass. However, it has generally been thought impossible for particles of light, known as photons, to be slowed as they travel through free space, unimpeded by interactions with any materials. Researchers from the University of Glasgow and Heriot- Watt University, however, recently described how they have managed to slow photons in free space for the first time. They have demonstrated that applying a mask to an optical beam to give photons a spatial structure can reduce their speed.

Posted in: News


Single-Chip Optical Encoders

iC-Haus (Bodenheim, Germany) has developed sensor chips for optical position encoders using photodiodes designed especially for blue light. The new iC-PT H-Series chips combine optimized scanning and signal interpolation in a flat 5 x 5 mm² optoQFN package with a plane window. Due to the optimized Phased- Array structure of the opto-chips, a minimal scanning area of only 1.9 mm x 3.1 mm is sufficient to generate 10,000 pulses per revolution using a code disc of only 26 mm diameter, for example. The blue light LEDs increase contrast with lower noise. The shorter wavelength and penetration of blue- light photons improve the resolution, signal amplitude, harmonic distortion, and jitter performance of incremental and absolute encoders. www.ichaus.com/encoder-blue

Posted in: Products


High Output LED Downlights

Hubbell Lighting (Greenville, SC) now offers Prescolite’s MegaLum high output LED downlight in lumen packages ranging up to more than 16,000 lumens. Available in either a downlight (MD8LED) or cylinder (MC10LED) option, the MegaLum is capable of delivering over 16,000 lumens and up to 100 LPW and offers a variety of dimming options including DMX. With a rated minimum of 50,000 hours life, the MegaLum ensures lasting maintenance-free operation. Available in five color temperatures (2700K, 3000K, 3500K, 4000K, and 5000K), the MegaLum uses up to 480 individual LEDs specifically mixed to provide a minimum of 80+ CRI with 3 SCDM color consistency. www.prescolite.com

Posted in: Products