Features

Using FPGAs for Automated Design Validation

In the design process, after the first prototype returns from fabrication, engineers often use traditional test equipment to make low-level measurements such as digital rise times, voltage thresholds, and leakage currents, and analog harmonic and spurious distortion, noise, and more. Once these parameters are verified to be within specification, higher-level attributes such as protocol compliance on digital devices and modulation parameters on communications devices are then checked. This gives the engineer a good understanding of how the device behaves, and whether or not that behavior allows the device to properly interact with the world around it. However, how can you guarantee that the device will continue to operate over time, with the myriad of permutations of device state, data content, and in the presence of non-ideal, real-world conditions? Who has the time to run all those tests?

Posted in: Semiconductors & ICs, Test & Measurement, Articles, Articles

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Back to Edison, Back to Innovation

This regular column features guest editorials by industry leaders in all areas of technology on the importance of innovation. Our guest columnists provide their insight into how innovation plays a pivotal role in everything from basic product design to the future of engineering education.Somewhere during the last 100 years or so, we have lost something critical — something that funded and inspired the inventions that propelled us into modernism and delivered luxuries we now take for granted. Somehow we lost the urge to innovate. I am not sure if it was an individual dimming of passion or the lack of an environment to foster innovation, but I am sure it vanished.

Posted in: Articles

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Industry Update: Analysis & Simulation Software

In our annual poll of executives at leading analysis and simulation software companies, we asked about the economic situation’s effect on the market, the pros and cons of virtual prototyping, and how software vendors are helping customers do more with less. Here’s what they had to say about market trends for 2011, and maintaining competitive advantages in a challenging business market.

Posted in: Articles

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2010 Create the Future Design Contest

The 2010 Create the Future Design Contest, sponsored by COMSOL, Inc., PTC, and Tech Briefs Media Group (publishers of NASA Tech Briefs), recognized innovation in product design in six categories: Consumer Products, Machinery & Equipment, Medical, Safety & Security, Sustainable Technologies, and Transportation. On the following pages, you’ll meet the Grand Prize Winner, as well as the winners and Honorable Mentions in all six categories. Congratulations to this year’s winners, and thanks to the nearly 1,000 entrants who submitted their creative design ideas. To view the contest entries online, visit www.createthefuture2010.com.

Posted in: Articles

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2010 Create the Future Design Contest Grand Prize Winner

Rowheel Wheelchair Propulsion System Salim NasserMerritt Island, FL There are approximately 1.8 million manual wheelchair users in the United States, and that number is expected to grow at a rate of 10% annually. Seventy-five percent of wheelchair users rely on manual wheelchairs. Prolonged manual wheelchair use is directly linked to repetitive stress injuries and pain in the upper extremities. The effects of muscle overuse become evident in the forms of muscle pain, torn rotator cuffs, joint degeneration, and carpal tunnel syndrome. There is a need to minimize these types of injuries while retaining the benefits of the exercise that these devices provide. Studies have found that continued prevalence and pain intensity over time resulted in a change in lifestyle in which the user ceased to routinely perform these activities.

Posted in: Articles

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2010 Create the Future Design Contest Consumer Products Category Winner

(Winner of an HP Workstation) BreezeRite Air Filtration Module Rob LuchsingerPipe Creek, TX BreezeRite, an indoor air modular filtration system, attaches to new or existing ceiling fans, preventing dust buildup on the top and forward edge of fan blades and removing airborne particulates, smoke, and odor. Rather than having to vacuum, dust, or wash down each blade, consumers can pull out, rinse off, or replace the filter housing. The technology extends the life of existing central HVAC units, resulting in less wear, filter changes, and professional cleaning of the A coils.

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2010 Create the Future Design Contest Machinery and Equipment Category Winner

(Winner of an HP Workstation) High-Flow Lift Pump Eric FoyCentral Point, OR Apump is often needed, particularly in the act of firefighting, to raise water to fill a header tank or mobile water tender. The High-Flow Lift Pump, which can pull water quickly from a creek or river, contains an axial flow impeller pump section made of a resistant, custom-molded,    thermoplastic engineering resin located at the inlet end of a transfer hose. The pump also has a power head at the flex-fitting found near the designated tank or truck, and a flexible drive shaft running inside the transfer hose. Sections of transfer hose may be daisy-chained, with the internal drive shafts automatically coupling together as the hose is assembled.

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