Articles

Stackable Computer Architecture Moves to 3rd Generation

Change is a concept that is well known in the computer industry. Designers and manufacturers alike have embraced this trend in an ongoing race to increase computing power while reducing size, weight, and power and cost (SWaPaC). With the latest round of ultra-low power processors from Intel, VIA, AMD and DMP, stackable computer systems need to adapt as well, especially with respect to I/O, while striking a balance between new and legacy technology.

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Small Form Factor Computing in OpenVPX

The new OpenVPX™ (VITA 65) standard helps military system designers build compatible embedded systems by defining “profiles” to which vendors can adhere when designing boards, and system integrators can use to locate available COTS solutions. The market is seeing a proliferation of 6U VPX boards, which have numerous interconnect pins and are able to support many more simultaneous external connections with a single profile. In comparison, 3U VPX boards have fewer interconnect pins available, resulting in a far wider fragmentation of profile support, since vendors can support fewer external connections with a single 3U card profile. That makes it all the more important for designers of small form factor VPX systems to understand how to effectively use OpenVPX profiles.

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Using FPGAs to Improve x86 Processor I/O Flexibility

By offering the ability to update application functionality, provide a reconfigurable solution and enable easy design customization, Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) technology has long been known as a cost-effective design resource. Similarly, x86 processor architectures share many of the same extended ecosystem, installed base, and multi-functionality benefits as FPGAs.

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From Aircraft Wings to Wind Turbine Blades: NASA Software Comes Back to Earth with Green Energy Applications

You might think a wind turbine would have more in common with a plane’s propeller than an aircraft wing, but wind blades actually behave a lot more like wings than props. This fact has enabled a valuable spinoff from aerospace to wind energy involving the first software that NASA ever allowed to be commercialized as part of the Agency’s ongoing effort to transfer technology to U.S. business and industry.

Posted in: Features, Articles, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Wind Power

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Imagery in Motion: Advances in Ultra-High-Speed Cameras

Ultra-high-speed framing cameras have long been the workhorse for acquiring elusive data in scientific fields where very fast phenomena are studied, such as high-voltage discharge, crack propagation, detonics, and impact studies. Today these cameras are also increasingly used in the fields of biomedicine, nanotechnology, and space research, where the ability to “freeze” the motion using very short exposure times (typically rates of 500,000 frames per second or more) gives access to valuable new information.

Posted in: Imaging, Articles

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3D Displays Emerge and Immerse

The first 3D immersive environments, consisting of rudimentary software, projection, and display technologies, appeared two or more decades ago, but the past five years have seen a dramatic increase in the power and versatility of these projection and display environments.

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Global Car Platforms: Automotive Design With the World in Mind

Hours before most commuters start their engines and head to work, James Hughes is already calling the other side of the world from his office in Dearborn, MI. Because of a six-hour time difference between most of his engineering sites abroad, including the Ford Merkenich small car center in Cologne, Germany, many of his meetings begin prior to 6 am ET.

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