Application Briefs

Lead Screws Used in Diamond Analyzer

Traditionally, once they are shaped, but before they are mounted, diamonds are rated by the “4 Cs” — clarity, color, carat, and cut. Modern gemology, however, grades finished diamonds by a more accurate standard: light performance. The quality of how a diamond innately captures and “plays” with light separates a superior gemstone from a flawed one. Supporting 10 million people and recording a profit of $1,010 billion in 2006, but facing a global supply crunch and competition from gem-quality synthetic diamonds, the diamond industry must get superior stones on the market quickly and reliably. For quality assurance, many firms have turned to the BrillianceScope™ Analyzer from GemEx (Mequon, WI) to measure the light performance of finished diamonds in a comparative test against some of the industry’s highest-rated stones. GemEx utilized the RGS™ Rapid Guide Screws from Kerk Motion Products (Hollis, NH) to maintain the precision of the BrillianceScope’s testing mechanism.

Posted in: Applications, Motion Control, Application Briefs

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Scales Work as Part of Thermonuclear Ignition Target Assembly

Scheduled for completion in 2009, the National Ignition Facility Project (NIF), part of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL, Livermore, CA), is a component of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) Stockpile Stewardship Program, whose mission is to maintain the safety, reliability, and effectiveness of the nation’s nuclear stockpile without underground nuclear testing, banned since 1992. To continue research into thermonuclear ignition, NIF began the Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) Program for high-energy density physics. To this end, NIF constructed a complex system of lasers ending in a chamber ten meters in diameter to house tiny fuel capsules called “targets” that are subjected to a high-energy pulse, setting off a small thermonuclear burst. The target assembly machine, part of NIF’s thermonuclear testing system, is custom built by ABTech (Swanzey, NH), using the LIP 481R linear scales from HEIDENHAIN Corp. (Schaumburg, IL).

Posted in: Applications, Motion Control, Application Briefs

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Automakers Use Thermal Vision Systems for Flawless Coatings

Automotive production plants continually face two common problems in the application of coatings: imperfect coverage and contaminants. Thermal vision systems provide a solution.

Posted in: Imaging, Application Briefs

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Infrared Night Vision Expands What Drivers Can “See”

The U.S. military has employed infrared vision technology for years. But it has only been the past several years that thermal imaging, or infrared, technology has been made commonly available by automakers. With the introduction of Night Vision on the 2000 Cadillac DeVille, General Motors (GM) became the first automaker to bring the safety benefits of extended night vision to drivers. Today, Night Vision is available on Cadillac’s current models.

Posted in: Imaging, Application Briefs

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Clustered Storage System Enables Image Geoprocessing of Earth’s Surface

Isilon IQ Clustered Storage System Isilon Systems Seattle, WA 206-315-7500 www.isilon.com NASA World Wind is an open-source, virtual globe software enabling users to zoom from satellite altitude into any place on Earth, providing an eye-level view of the Earth’s surface. World Wind works with i-cubed, a geoprocessing service organization in Colorado that performs the geoprocessing required to convert raw satellite data into high-resolution imagery of the Earth’s terrain. The data is then returned to World Wind for integration into Microsoft.NET-based application, staging, and online delivery.

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Multi-Bit-Rate Switcher Is Part of High-Definition Upgrade at NASA

HANABI HVS-3800HS Multi-Bit Rate Switcher FOR-A Waltham, MA 714-867-3311 www.for-a.com NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) in Greenbelt, MD, manages the Hubble Space Telescope that has, since its launch in 1990, recorded more than 700,000 images in its quest to explore the solar system. Recently, NASA announced plans for a fifth servicing mission to the Hubble in which the FOR-A HANABI switcher was used in a live press conference to produce and record the news in high-definition (HD). The images were then converted for distribution to the public via NASA-TV. “Given that the Hubble is so important, we wanted to be able to announce this in HD for historical purposes,” said Patrick Kennedy, GSFC’s TV production manager.

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Multicores Affect Algorithm Choices

Design engineers soon will need to bridge the growing gap between hardware reality and software capabilities in the highperformance computing (HPC) realm as the use of multicore microprocessors grows. If your software development or sourcing plans haven’t anticipated these development situations, your applications may have a shorter life than you had planned. The 2006 version of technical computing “reality” is an inexpensive dual-core processor from AMD or Intel on a desktop system, or a dual- or quad-core RISC processor from Sun or IBM running on a server. In 2007, we should expect to see inexpensive quad-core processors from AMD and Intel, and processors with up to eight or more cores in 2008. These small symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) systems will be a far cry from the proprietary $500,000+ SMP systems of a few years ago. This technology transition has big implications for the “democratization” of computing power. On the horizon are four- to eightcore systems that cost only a few thousand dollars and sit on the desk of every design engineer.

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