Articles

Battery Power Source Options for Mission-Critical Applications

Selecting power source technology for mission critical devices is crucial to ensure success. Whether it is a monitor at the bottom of the ocean, a drill system at 30,000 feet into the Earth’s crust, or hand warmers on an astronaut in Earth orbit, the cost of failure in these situations far outweighs the cost of a battery. Equipment used in these and other mission- critical situations must perform under environmental conditions that would destroy most commercially available components and energy sources. Every element must be capable of operating in environments where extremes in temperature, pressure, shock, vibration, and corrosive exposure are the norm. Selecting batteries for these vital activities must include consideration for the high level of reliability and performance required to ensure these significant and often costly programs stay on target.

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SMP vs. AMP: How Homogenous Is Your Embedded System?

Multiprocessing system architectures come in all shapes and sizes, so it is dangerous to make any generalizations. But perhaps there’s agreement that most systems can be classified as either symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) or asymmetric multiprocessing (AMP).

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Secure Partitioning Safeguards Real-time Performance

High performance multi-core processors are providing opportunities to consolidate multiple applications into a single system. However, embedded applications often have real-time requirements that cannot be put in jeopardy by other software clamoring for the same system resources such as CPU cycles and memory.

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Visualization Tools Aid Multi-core Development

Multi-core processing is a “disruptive technology”, transforming the way embedded systems are architected, developed, and debugged. With greatly improved performance and lower power, multi-core processors have caught the attention of designers who don’t think twice about putting two, four, or even eight processor cores into a system. But many software developers are playing catch up, working hard to quickly parallelize code. They are finding traditional debug methods aren’t sufficient to profile the complex interactions between concurrently running tasks. “In a system with interacting applications running simultaneously on multiple processor cores, breakpoints have reduced applicability as a tool for understanding system behavior,” says Rob McCammon, Director of Advanced Technology Planning at Wind River Systems.

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Electric Motors vs. Fluid Power: Robotic System Designers Have a Choice

Robotic system designers should choose the right power source for the job. Often, electric motors are chosen without thinking about the benefits of hydraulics or pneumatics. For applications where precise control of large forces and smooth motion are required, or applications that require “forgiveness” in the motion, fluid power can deliver significant benefits compared to electromechanical motion.

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Creating Geospatial Content with Photogrammetry Software

Over the last decade, the unprecedented population growth rates throughout much of the world and the subsequent need for information to support and manage that growth has put more pressure than ever before on geographical information system (GIS) and production mapping professionals. Businesses and planners need more up-to-date information than ever before, so much so that photogrammetry production “factories” can work 24/7 and still find it a challenge to keep up with the increasing volume of work.

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Vision-Guided Robotics: Robots That See and Reason

Robots are used in a wide variety of industries for a broad range of applications, from automotive, foundry, and general industry to material handling, packaging, and palletizing. With rising costs, increased competition, and skilled worker shortage, companies are searching for ways to achieve new levels of manufacturing efficiency and profitability, including utilizing robots for tasks not possible before.

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