Features

Bringing Modularity to MicroTCA

MicroTCA is a new specification that offers very high performance packed in a small form factor. The new specification is expected to be used in a wide variety of applications, including mil/aero, telecom edge, medical, enterprise and data, and scientific applications. However, there are so many possible configurations, it can be overwhelming. How can one develop various systems and offerings without starting from scratch — and the time to market, high costs, and implementation issues this brings? One solution is using modularity in MicroTCA designs. Prototyping and development of a new system enclosure design can be a time-consuming and costly process. Building upon a proven modular platform allows a wide range of design options with significantly reduced effort.

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Distributed Control Standard Connects Industry Regardless of Bus

In the early days of modern automation, the use of microprocessor technology addressed the need for fast and efficient configuration of control logics through graphical methods that mimic the hardwired relay logics. Over the past 30 years, the automation community has put the emphasis on simplifying and standardizing the method of programming this new breed of controllers. From these efforts came the adoption of the IEC 61131-3 standard that specifies the programming languages for automation.

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Digital Camera Technology for Today’s Industrial Imaging Applications

Machine vision requirements for better performance and higher resolution continue driving developers to incorporate digital cameras into their solutions. This trend will likely accelerate as the price and performance of digital cameras improves. This article will provide you with information on digital camera technology and key factors to consider when choosing a digital camera and associated frame grabber — assuming that all upfront analysis has been performed and that a digital imaging solution is required.

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Open-Standard Software Helps Operate James Webb Space Telescope

Rational Rose Real-time visual modeling development software IBM Armonk, NY 914-766-1362 www.ibm.com/software/rational Set to launch by 2013, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will succeed the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) to study galaxy, star, and planet formation in the universe. Nearly 20 years ago, when the components and instruments on the HST were developed, software was built by multiple organizations using proprietary software for systems development. This approach meant that maintenance, changes, and repairs made to components and instruments required multiple tools. Because separate space agencies from several countries around the world are developing the software that will operate the JWST’s Guidance, Navigation, and Control (GNC) systems, Command and Data Handling (CNDH), and the Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM) that houses the JWST’s four primary instruments, it was imperative for NASA to weave a common thread throughout the project that would circumvent expensive and time-consuming software issues.

Posted in: Application Briefs

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Computing Platform Improves Stellar Imaging Applications

Star-P interactive parallel computing platform Interactive Supercomputing (ISC) Waltham, MA 781-419-5050 www.interactivesupercomputing.com NASA’s Optical Systems Characterization and Analysis Research (OSCAR) is modeling software used to design and analyze large space-based imaging systems. Because systems of this type require large, high-fidelity optical modeling, NASA runs OSCAR on Beowulf parallel computing clusters to handle the large datasets and meet the memory requirements. To facilitate parallel computing, OSCAR is written entirely in C, with message passing interface (MPI) handling the computations across many processor nodes. OSCAR was instrumental in solving the optical flaws of the Hubble Space Telescope.

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NASA Technology Sees the Light

Developed in the 1980s, the SunTiger sunlight-filtering lens sprung from research by NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) scientists James B. Stephens and Dr. Charles G. Miller. The two were studying the harmful properties of light in space, as well as the artificial radiation produced during laser and welding work, to create an enhanced means of eye protection for industrial welding. The two found previously discovered research showing evidence that the eyes of hawks, eagles, and other birds of prey contain unique oil droplets that actually protect them from intensely radiated light rays while allowing vision-enhancing light rays to pass through. These oil droplets absorb short-wavelength light rays, which, in turn, reduce glare and provide heightened color contrast and definition. They devised a way to incorporate these benefits into a filtering system, using lightfiltering dyes and tiny particles of zinc oxide.

Posted in: UpFront

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Foundry® 5.0 Test and Measurement Software

Eagle Eyes’ original product, the Aviator style,is the number-one choice of pilots and policeofficers.Data Translation, Marlboro, MA, has released Measure Foundry® 5.0 test and measurement software that offers open support of all system standards, including VISA, SCPI, GPIB, USB, PCI, LXI, PXI/VXI, and RS-232. The application builder software enables users to graphically combine various test and measurement instruments without writing code to create process control and data analysis applications. The software uses drag-and-drop components such as oscilloscopes and chart recorders that are placed on a form and then configured with their property pages. Features include a VISA script component to send SCPI commands to any instrument on a system, a process component that allows creation of automated test sequences, and built-in text-based language that allows programming ability for all math and other requirements. The software also includes one-click distribution to create Windows executables without programming, and real-time scope, chart recorder, and spectrum analyzer components. For Free Info Visit http://info.hotims.com/10968-120

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