Articles

Hermetic Feedthroughs Critical for Flywheel Energy Storage

Next-generation flywheels are made possible by advances in material science in rotor technology, as well as the application of magnetic bearings running in a vacuum environment. While the movement of the rotating flywheel into a vacuum eliminates parasitic drags, such as windage friction losses, mechanical bearings are not suited to operate in a vacuum or for the high speed requirements of the new designs.

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Motion Control Advancements Ease Medical Procedures

Whether performing an intricate surgery, positioning a patient, or taking a tissue sample, today’s biomedical devices are taking advantage of advanced motion control devices to ensure accurate control and movement in biomedical applications. Robots are making it possible to perform surgical procedures not only with higher precision than before, but in less time and with less pain and suffering for the patient. Moreover, improvements in the design and packaging of motors and other control components are making it possible to shrink biomedical devices and make it easier to perform procedures in tight, confined spaces.

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Treating Retinal Disease with FPGA Controlled Lasers

More than 50 percent of Americans diagnosed with diabetes are at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, a retinal disease that can lead to blindness. The condition is a result of diabetes affecting the circulatory system of the retina and causing abnormal new blood vessel growth. It has become the leading cause of new blindness among U.S. adults.

Posted in: Articles, Features, ptb catchall, Photonics

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Software Development for Low Power Designs

The increasing emphasis on green technologies has focused more attention on low power design. Microcontroller vendors are responding by increasing their offerings of ultra low power devices that consume as little as 350 uA/MHz and have sub-uA sleep modes.

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Designing Flexible Printed Circuit Boards

General purpose flexible circuit boards are those with electronic components that can be bent to fit in tight spaces. Most are just one or two layers thick and are meant for “flex to install” applications, as they will tolerate limited flex cycles. Circuit boards like this are often found in a variety of medical and consumer products.

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Patient Monitoring Using Capacitive Sensors

Capacitive sensors can be used to measure many different physical parameters that are important when monitoring the health of patients. In particular, the technical advances made by sensor manufacturers in using micro electro mechanical systems (MEMS), fabricated using silicon microchip manufacturing techniques, have opened up new possibilities for integration which improve the ease and adaptability of their use.

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Bringing Open Source Advantages to Engineering

By Peter Schroer President and Founder Aras Corporation Andover, MA As a career engineer, the need to coordinate large-scale design activity and all of the associated information has presented an ongoing challenge. In my opinion, one of the most exciting developments over the past decade has been the mainstream adoption of open source techniques. In the R&D and engineering world, the open source trend is transforming how we work and is enabling new forms of collaboration. In the beginning, open source meant Linux. Not anymore. These days, open source has been widely embraced, creating high-quality software solutions for most purposes. “Enterprise open source” typically means that a solution is sufficiently robust to compete directly with conventional proprietary offerings on functionality and capabilities, and that there is a company standing behind the solution to provide enterprise-class support and value-added services. For example, several years ago, Aras released our flagship engineering data management PLM software as enterprise open source, making the solution freely available for collaborative development. This meant that document management, online change control workflows, FMEAs, program management, and other important engineering processes all became accessible for continuous enhancement. Now, organizations all over the world are using the system and contributing innovative improvements. Last year, a Lockheed Martin contribution embedded the corporate security protocols into the software while others added Earned Value Management and Resource Management. The open source format has led to internationalization with translations into a wide range of languages including German, Japanese, and Hebrew. Additional addons now include integrations to all of the major CAD and EDA systems like CATIA, NX, Pro/E, SolidWorks, AutoCAD, OrCad, PADS, and others. The 21st Century’s Internet enablement has changed what is possible, and now the global recession is driving these new approaches, like open source, throughout industry and government alike. The advantages of the open approach in engineering span both the technical and business spheres. From a technical perspective, collaborative development introduces new innovations with greater quality at a faster pace than previously possible. From a business standpoint, enterprise open source removes the license fees, thereby eliminating the capital expense and significantly reducing the total cost. The flexibility and control inherent in the open model represent a fundamental shift away from the restrictions imposed by the conventional software mentality, which forces complexity, cost, and risk onto the customer. With enterprise open source, packaged software solutions with commercial-off-theshelf or COTS features are freely available for use “as is” or for modification, integration, and extension at the user’s discretion. In fact, the ability to leverage and incorporate systems in place already makes secure access to existing data a compelling proposition. In other words, an organization can modernize without the rip-and-replace proposition. As engineers around the world solve the technical challenges of the new millennium, the techniques and tools that make this possible will be different. Together, our embrace of open approaches will be one of the factors that determines our success, and our collective innovation will be the engine that drives our future progress. For more information on Aras Corp.’s open source PLM software, contact Peter Schroer at pschroer@aras.com, or click here.

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