Articles

Embedded Vision System Increases Inspection Capabilities

Food manufacturers are held to strict agency regulations regarding product quality and consistency. Repeatable visual inspections are critical to ensure consumers receive a consistent and safe product. As regulations have increased, machine vision technology has become more intelligent to follow suit — a trend that some machine builders are using to their advantage.

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Vote for NASA Tech Briefs’ 16th Annual Readers’ Choice Awards

As the year comes to a close, we’re asking NASA Tech Briefs readers to cast their votes in the annual Readers’ Choice Product of the Year Awards.Each month, the editors of NASA Tech Briefs choose a Product of the Month — a new product with exceptional technical merit and practical value for our 190,000 design engineering readers.This month, we’re inviting you to vote for the one product among those 12 Products of the Month that you feel was the most significant new product introduced to the engineering community in 2010. The product receiving the most votes will be named NASA Tech Briefs’Winners will be announced in NASA Tech Briefs and on the Web site at www.techbriefs.com.Find out more about the 12 nominated products and cast your vote by visiting: www.techbriefs.com/poy Only one vote per person will be counted. Your completed ballot must be submitted by January 21, 2011.

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Electromobility Drives Green Vehicles

Environmental friendliness, economy, and individuality are the fundamental ideas associated with the topic of eMobility (electromobility). The increasing scarcity of resources and constantly rising prices are being felt by everyone, as will be the follow-up costs if we don’t succeed in reducing environmental pollution such as greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, the demand for individual mobility is growing, e.g. in big cities and the urban centers that surround them, in which around 40% of the world's population will live by 2015.

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Using Parallel Processing on GPUs to Accelerate Finite-Difference Time-Domain Algorithms for Electromagnetic and Seismic Applications

Many scientific, technical and engineering applications in finance, medical imaging, modeling, simulation, and image processing can benefit greatly from the floating point acceleration offered by modern general purpose graphics processing units (GPGPU). Today’s graphics processors have evolved into sophisticated, massively-parallel, highly-programmable compute engines ideally suited for algorithms with a high degree of data parallelism. Combined with modern parallel programming languages and application interfaces such as industry standard OpenCL™, GPGPU offers a new paradigm for high-performance computing (HPC).

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Using Multiprocessing in Industrial Automation Systems

Automated industrial control systems are an integral part of today’s manufacturing facilities. As these systems’ capabilities advance, the engineer shifts from someone who oversees processes to one who manages the data produced and functions performed by these systems to ensure product quality. Manufacturing systems need to be reliable, since downtime is an expensive alternative. Automation has reduced the number of people staffed at each facility so, if a system goes down, it’s probably not feasible for people to actually step in and move production along. If a system stops, so does production.

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Using FPGAs for Automated Design Validation

In the design process, after the first prototype returns from fabrication, engineers often use traditional test equipment to make low-level measurements such as digital rise times, voltage thresholds, and leakage currents, and analog harmonic and spurious distortion, noise, and more. Once these parameters are verified to be within specification, higher-level attributes such as protocol compliance on digital devices and modulation parameters on communications devices are then checked. This gives the engineer a good understanding of how the device behaves, and whether or not that behavior allows the device to properly interact with the world around it. However, how can you guarantee that the device will continue to operate over time, with the myriad of permutations of device state, data content, and in the presence of non-ideal, real-world conditions? Who has the time to run all those tests?

Posted in: Semiconductors & ICs, Test & Measurement, Articles, Articles

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Back to Edison, Back to Innovation

This regular column features guest editorials by industry leaders in all areas of technology on the importance of innovation. Our guest columnists provide their insight into how innovation plays a pivotal role in everything from basic product design to the future of engineering education.Somewhere during the last 100 years or so, we have lost something critical — something that funded and inspired the inventions that propelled us into modernism and delivered luxuries we now take for granted. Somehow we lost the urge to innovate. I am not sure if it was an individual dimming of passion or the lack of an environment to foster innovation, but I am sure it vanished.

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