Changing How We Fly Aviation Technology Today and Tomorrow

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported that last year, U.S. and foreign air carriers transported an estimated 161.8 million passengers between the United States and the rest of the world. The FAA estimates there will be one billion passengers in 2024. So how does the aviation industry handle the prospect of a billion passengers with rising fuel prices, crowded airspace, out-dated systems, and increasing environmental concerns? The answer is new technology that is both in use today, and on the horizon for air travel tomorrow.

Posted in: Articles, Aviation, Environmental technologies, Research and development, Composite materials, Aircraft

Bacteria Provide Cleanup of Oil Spills and Wastewater

NASA partnership leads to innovation on the microbial scale.

Given the size of our planet and its wealth of resources, it is easy to forget that those resources are finite. As Earth’s human population continues to grow, the questions of how to effectively limit and recycle waste, avoid environmental contamination, and make the most of water and fuel reserves become all the more pressing.

Posted in: Articles, Green Design & Manufacturing, Water pollution, Water treatment, Bacteria, Waste materials

Camera Trends 2012: Speed, Resolution, and Software

Cameras are still an important technology feature in manufacturing and inspection applications, but they are also increasingly valuable in non-traditional sectors. As part of June’s OEM Camera Directory & Guide, we look at three factors driving imaging tools: speed, resolution, and software.

Posted in: Articles, Imaging, Computer software and hardware, Imaging and visualization, Optics, Reliability

Battery Options for Uninterruptible Power Supplies

The lead-acid battery was invented by the French physicist Gaston Planté in 1859, and is one of the oldest rechargeable battery technologies. For over 150 years, it has been the mainstay when a high-energy-capacity battery was required, and represents 70% of the secondary (rechargeable) batteries used worldwide. Even today, with the advent of higher-power-density and low-weight batteries, the lead-acid battery in all of its forms is the most commonly used battery type.

Posted in: Articles, Batteries, Battery cell chemistry, Lead-acid batteries

Fiber Optic Oxygen Sensors — How Do They Work?

Fiber optic oxygen sensors use the fluorescence of a chemical complex in a sol-gel to measure the partial pressure of oxygen. The pulsed blue LED sends light, at ~475 nm, to an optical fiber. The optical fiber carries the light to the probe. The distal end of the probe tip consists of a thin layer of a hydrophobic sol-gel material.

Posted in: Articles, Features, ptb catchall, Photonics, Fiber optics, Sensors and actuators, Chemicals, Oxygen

LED Backlighting From the Sidelines to Center Stage in Under 30 Years

By Steve Sievers, Lumex, Palatine, IL

Though often drowned out by the excitement generated by general illumination LEDs, LED backlighting technology has evolved dramatically over the past 30 years. Continued advances in design and performance have allowed each new generation of LED backlighting technology to significantly grow the number of relevant applications. This trend continues in 2012, with the introduction of cutting-edge flexible backlight technology which allows LED backlights to be cut in custom shapes and used on curved surfaces, opening the door to a number of new applications.

Posted in: Articles, Lighting, Powering & Controlling LEDs

Using IC Sockets in an LED Test System

By Ila Pal, Ironwood Electronics, Eagan, MN

For more than half a century, the semiconductor industry has been governed by a commonly known principle described as Moore’s Law. This “law” predicts that through technological advancement a doubling of the number of transistors per integrated circuit will occur within a given geometric area on regular 18 month intervals. The realization of this doubling effect over time has resulted in an ever-widening range of semiconductor (IC) devices exhibiting increases in functionality and processing speed, combined with an increased demand for power and effective thermal management. This doubling effect has also driven a matching rapid evolution in IC package types (microprocessors, LEDs, memory packages, etc.) and I/O interface configurations.

Posted in: Articles, Lighting, Manufacturing & Prototyping

LED Light Engine Standardization

By Ben Swedberg, Ideal Industries, Sycamore, IL

After Nick Holonyak invented the practical visible LED in 1962, the first commercial products were limited in brightness and only to applications such as red indicator lights and seven segment displays. In the 1970’s, yellow and green LEDs joined the family and were designed into products such as calculators, but still were not able to produce ambient light.

Posted in: Articles, Industrial Lighting, Lighting

3D Printing Gets Real

3Dprinting grabs a lot of attention — as much for its futuristic potential as for what it can do today. Send a 3D printer to the Moon, some imagine, and print out a city. Is your coffee maker dying? Just print yourself a new one.

Posted in: Articles, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Rapid prototyping, Additive manufacturing

Implementing PCI Express on PC/104-Size Modules

As PC/104 celebrates its 20th anniversary as an open standard this year, it continues to grow in terms of new design-ins, applications, and integration of the latest technology. In today’s fast paced, throw-away world, this is a remarkable achievement. PC/104 users typically demand a long product life cycle of seven years or more, so for two decades, these small, stackable, embedded computer systems have found applications in military, medical, industrial, transportation, communications, pipelines, mining, utilities and a host of other industries. However, as technology changes and becomes more powerful and complex, challenges arise in implementation. This has never been truer than for the different implementation strategies for PCI Express on PC/104 size modules.

Posted in: Articles, Articles

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