Articles

Software Programs Derive Measurements from Photographs

NASA software designed for accident investigation finds new uses. Following the Space Shuttle Columbia accident in 2003, the Columbia Accident Investigation Board spent nearly seven months examining the cause of the accident. To this end, investigators performed an extensive review down five analytic paths: aerodynamic, thermodynamic, sensor data timeline, debris reconstruction, and imaging.

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Looking Under the Hood of a Military Power Supply

There are power supplies in virtually every military electronic system. These ubiquitous devices come in all sizes and power ratings. And just like their commercial counterparts, they are available in the AC/DC, DC/DC and DC/AC configurations that provide the appropriate electrical energy to operate the electronics.

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Hybrid Stepper Advancements Improve Medical Pump Performance

Designers of medical pumps often have to deal with the challenge of implementing precise, yet low-cost motion control. For most medical pumps, there are three basic technology alternatives for implementing such electronic motion control: permanent magnet brush DC motors, brushless DC motors, or step motors. Step motors (sometimes called stepping motors, stepper motors, or simply steppers) are a solid choice for position or speed control. Steppers are inherently digital — a pulse applied to the drive electronics results in a shaft movement of one step. They are commonly used “open loop,” meaning without feedback, due to their ability to achieve the desired number of steps every time (if sized properly). The number of incoming pulses and the rate at which they are fed can be used to implement very precise, yet very simple motion (position, speed, and acceleration) control. As long as the speeds required are not too high (less than 3000 RPM, typically), steppers often offer a far simpler, lower-cost, and maintenance- free alternative.

Posted in: Features, Motion Control, Articles

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INDUSTRY UPDATE: Design and PLM Software

In our annual roundtable with executives at leading CAD and PLM software companies, topics included model-based design, the shift in how designers are using mobile devices, and uncertainty about cloud computing. Embracing Mobility When asked about how their customers are embracing the idea of using CAD online, in the cloud, or on mobile devices, most of our executives indicated that while customers are expressing interest in accessing models and files via these means, there is some hesitation.

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Technology Highlights from 2013 International CES

The 2013 International CES came to Las Vegas once again, and January’s consumer technology trade show had plenty of innovative gadgets, from 27-inch ‘table PCs’ to ‘smart forks’ that slow down speedy eaters. Here are just a few devices that caught our attention at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. Tobii Technology Tobii REX www.tobii.com Users of the Tobii Technology REX, a USB-connected peripheral, may want to be careful about rolling their eyes. REX, a device that can be placed on the base of a computer screen, relies on eye positioning for navigation, page management, and access to other screen content. The mouse can still be used while the eye-tracker handles movements.

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Retrofits Convert Gas Vehicles into Hybrids

NASA supercapacitor technology helps turn rear-wheel-drive vehicles into gas/electric hybrids. One initiative at Glenn Research Center, the Hybrid Power Management (HPM) program, focused on joining new and mature technologies for optimal power systems applications in space and on Earth, with the goal not only to develop ultra-efficient space power systems, but also to advance HPM to address global energy issues.

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Trends In Fused Components For Fiber Lasers

High-power fiber lasers have been increasingly used for material processing, metal cutting, and welding applications due to high wall-plug efficiency, compactness, and superb long term reliability[ 1, 2]. Fused fiber components enable reliable, efficient, high-power fiber laser systems operating in continuous wave (high power) or pulsed regimes such as ultrafast (high peak power).

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