Articles

Connectivity in Aircraft Interior Electronic Systems

The use of high-density, lightweight fiber optics is increasing in networks and electronic systems for equipping aircraft interiors. The civil aviation market comprises commercial passenger planes, cargo planes, private planes, private jets, and helicopters. Design engineers strive to reduce aircraft weight and costs, while enhancing safety, functionality, and the passenger experience in the cost-competitive travel industry. Relative to the overall aircraft, cabin electronic and electrical systems represent the largest segment, and include passenger seats, electric door systems, lighting, lavatory, kitchen equipment, flight attendant panels, and other cabin equipment.

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Considerations for Choosing Temperature Measurement Devices

Temperature is the physical variable most often measured in industrial processes. Selecting the sensor and measurement device to match a specific process is extremely important, and knowing the various options is the first step to optimizing temperature measurement. There are a variety of reasons we need to know the temperature of an object or a process — to prevent product damage, ensure sterilization, determine biological health, ensure mixture blending, control chemical reactions, or ensure drying, curing, and outgassing, to name just a few. Temperature measurement can also be a regulatory requirement; for example, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires temperature monitoring of food and drug products.

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Using Hardware Handshaking to Reduce ATE Test Times

Developing an automatic test equipment (ATE) system takes time, and there can be different approaches to achieve the same goal. Without the right approach, the system can become less efficient, contributing to more time spent or more resources used to complete the task. With advances in technology, ATE systems are becoming more widely used across a range of industries including manufacturing, avionics, aerospace, military, and defense. ATE systems are efficient and can be incredibly useful, allowing quick and accurate testing that communicates across a set of devices. However, it can become a complicated task to properly set up an ATE system to achieve the user’s desired outcomes.

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Every Measurement Starts with a Trigger

As today’s products in consumer electronics, automotive, and aerospace applications get more complex with every generation, the requirements on test instruments increase even more because test capabilities need to advance, while test times and time-to-market are expected to decrease. One important requirement for instruments like oscilloscopes is the ability to detect and trigger on an event of interest within a stream of unsuspicious signals fast and reliably. The quicker a specific event can be detected, the faster a problem in an electronic design can be debugged, reducing development and manufacturing test times.

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What Engineers and Customers Need from a Motion Control System

In the automation industry, engineers strive every day to advance their process and products. Engineers have to select components, learn and use many tools to construct their automation systems, and support the systems in production. More importantly, to be successful and competitive, they are faced with many challenges to achieve higher throughput and ease of use within budget and time limitations.

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NASA and Industry Create Mid-Infrared Detector

NASA Goddard scientist Xiaoli Sun and his industry partner, DRS Technologies (Dallas, TX), have created the world’s first photon-counting detector sensitive to the mid-infrared wavelength bands — a spectral sweet spot for a number of remote-sensing applications, including the detection of greenhouse gases on Earth, Mars, and other planetary bodies as well as ice and frost on comets, asteroids, and the Moon.

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A Tale of Tails

Tests were conducted recently by Boeing and NASA to answer the question: What if reducing the size of an aircraft’s tail could lead to more efficient air travel? The tests, focused on a technology called active flow control, are part of the Boeing ecoDemonstrator program. Active flow control is a technology that could result in a tail that is 17% smaller. This would reduce drag by about 0.5%, and would also reduce the tail’s weight, both of which cut an airplane’s fuel use and carbon emissions.

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