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.

Posted in: Articles, Computer-Aided Design (CAD), CAD, CAM, and CAE, Cloud computing, Internet, Market research

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 REXwww.tobii.com Tobii REX

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.

Posted in: Articles, Electronics, Consumer Product Manufacturing, Electronic equipment, Product development, Technical review

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.

Posted in: Articles, Energy, Hybrid power

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).

Posted in: Articles, Features, Photonics, Fiber optics, Lasers

Photonics Design Automation

Taking a Building Block Approach to Optical Chip Design

Fuelled by an increasing demand for bandwidth combined with a continued drive towards cost and size reduction, larger scale photonics integrated circuits are now clearly breaking through. For example, fiber optics networks are rapidly embracing 40Gbps and 100Gbps data rates, where the transmitters and receivers often include photonic integrated circuits. And the cost and size reduction in 10Gbps transceivers has driven several companies to successfully leverage photonic chips. The growing FTTH (fiber to the home) market is driving demand for integrated photonic splitters as well as monolithically integrated BiDi transceivers. And there are exciting applications in fiber sensing and bioscience that are now benefiting from optical chips as well.

Posted in: Articles, Applications, Photonics, Fiber optics, Integrated circuits, Automation

Software is the Driving Innovation for Consumer Electronics

You may not realize it, but many of the bells and whistles in the products that you engage with on a daily basis are actually powered by software.

Posted in: Articles, Software, Computer software and hardware, Electronic equipment, Product development

Alloy-Enhanced Fans Maintain Fresh Air in Tunnels

A lightweight alloy finds uses in cars, ships, planes, and road/rail tunnels.

The Partnership for Next Gen eration Vehicles (PNGV) is not a NASA initiative to develop powerful new rockets and spacecraft, even though it may sound like one. PNGV was a partnership established by the Clinton Administration between the federal government and the U.S. Council for Automotive Research to develop technologies that improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions from cars and trucks.

Posted in: Articles, Materials, Metals, Emissions control, Fuel economy, Alloys, Fans

Creating White Light Using LEDs

When it comes to creating white light using LEDs, there are many different methods, all of which have their advantages and disadvantages. First, the most common and traditional is chip-level conversion, where the converting material is integrated directly onto a blue LED die or fills up the LED package volumetrically. A second method converts the blue light of a diode far away from the chip, which utilizes a mixing chamber and remote optic integrating a converting phosphor, fluorescent dye, quantum dots, or other converting material. Yet another method is color mixing using LEDs of different colors such as red, green, and blue, where each LED’s intensity is varied additively to create the desired color temperature. Each method presents different challenges and brings to the designer different advantages from a system performance perspective with regards to system efficacy, CRI, optical efficiency, energy efficiency, heat sinking and other design considerations. It is important for designers to understand the nuances of each method when deciding on which method to use, whether one is selecting the light engine to be used in design of a new fixture, or selecting the type of fixture to be used in a given application.

Posted in: Articles, Lighting

The Rebirth of the Incandescent Light Bulb

The incandescent light bulb, first commercialized by Thomas Edison in 1879, was a remarkable invention for its day. Edison found that when an electric current was passed through a carbon filament, the filament would glow, or incandesce. The incandescent light bulb was improved over the next three quarters of a century by using different filament materials and adding inert gas inside the outer jacket. It was mass-produced by the hundreds of millions in a seemingly endless array of shapes, sizes, and wattages, but the basic technology of the incandescent light bulb was largely unchanged.

Posted in: Articles, Lighting

NASA Awards 2012 Software of the Year

NASA’s first mobile application and software that models the behavior of earthquake faults to improve earthquake forecasting and our understanding of earthquake processes are co-winners of NASA’s 2012 Software of the Year Award. The award recognizes innovative software technologies that significantly improve the agency’s exploration of space and maximize scientific discovery on Earth. A NASA software advisory panel reviews Software of the Year entries and recommends winners to NASA’s Inventions and Contributions Board for confirmation.

Posted in: Articles, Software, Computer software and hardware, Wireless communication systems

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