Features

Multi-Touch Development Platform

Microchip Technology Inc. (Chandler, AZ) announced the expansion of its Human Interface Input Sensing Solutions portfolio with the introduction of the 3DTouchPad, a PC peripheral and world’s first Development Platform for 2D multi-touch and 3D gestures. The 3DTouchPad provides 3D gesture recognition utilizing Microchip’s GestIC(R) technology that offers a detection range of up to 10cm for 3D gestures, along with Microchip’s projected-capacitive 2D multi-touch solution supporting up to 10 touch points and multi-finger surface gestures. The 2D multi-touch is enhanced by Microchip’s new capacitive touch-screen line driver, MTCH652. The new 3DTouchPad includes driverless, out-of-the-box features for Windows(R) 7/8.X and OS X(R), and a free downloadable GUI and SDK/API package tailored for developers. http://www.microchip.com/get/RL1J

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Absolute Pressure Sensor

Mouser Electronics, Inc. (Mandfield, TX) is now stocking the 2SMPB-01-01 Absolute Pressure Sensor from Omron Electronics. Based on Omron’s MEMs technology, this highly accurate, small size absolute pressure sensor can measure altitude, atmospheric pressure or water depth, and can detect height differences of as little as 50 centimeters. The sensor provides pressure accuracy relative to a perfect vacuum to ±0.06 Pa, and absolute pressure accuracy in the range –400 to +400 Pa. The Omron Electronics 2SMPB-01-01 can operate in three different power modes: standard, high-accuracy and low-power mode. The 2SMPB-01-01 has a power consumption of 9 µA typical, and is fully temperature compensated with an absolute temperature accuracy of ±2 °C. http://www.mouser.com/new/omronelectronics/Omron-2SMPB-Sensor/

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Infrared Cameras Enhance Productivity and Safety at GM

Nearly all electro-mechanical equipment becomes anomalously warm before it fails, making infrared (IR) cameras extremely effective diagnostic tools in the manufacturing environment. Inspections using infrared cameras can find many problems before failure occurs. In many cases, the time to failure can be projected, enabling the most convenient scheduling of proactive or preemptive repairs. This practice, called “predictive maintenance” (PdM), enhances both productivity and safety.

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NASA Launch Pads Protected Against Lightning-Induced Power Surges

Circuit protection components Littelfuse Chicago, IL 773-628-1000 www.littelfuse.com Circuit protection is an essential part of any electrical or electronic product or system design. As the complexity of the product or system grows, circuit protection design becomes increasingly crucial. As circuitry is increasingly miniaturized, it’s more important than ever to protect it from damaging power surges. For engineers whose work is critical to the safety of a NASA mission, protecting the lives of crewmembers depends to no small extent on protecting delicate digital circuitry from hazards like electrostatic discharges and lightning-induced surges.

Posted in: Application Briefs

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Micro-Accelerometers Monitor Equipment Health

MEMS-based accelerometers used on the International Space Station to control the microgravity environment are also used to monitor industrial machinery. Objects that orbit the Earth, such as the International Space Station (ISS), provide a unique environment called zero-g, or more correctly, microgravity. All objects in orbit are pulled by Earth’s gravity, but they achieve the lack of gravity when they move at just the right speed (in the case of the ISS, around 17,500 miles per hour) so that the curve of their fall matches the curve of the Earth. The result is a perpetual freefall, creating weightlessness.

Posted in: Articles, Spinoff

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Product of the Month: October 2014

National Instruments, Austin, TX, has introduced the NI VirtualBench that combines five instruments in one device: a mixed-signal oscilloscope, a digital multimeter, a function generator, a programmable DC power supply, and digital I/O. The software-based device integrates with PCs and iPads, and offers WiFi and USB connectivity. It measures 10 × 7.5 × 2.9" and is portable with an optional carrying case. User interfaces for each instrument are consolidated into one for viewing and interacting with all instruments at once. A mouse and scroll wheel can be used on a PC, or pinch and zoom on an iPad with finger touch. Users can instantly document results by clicking or tapping a button to save screenshots and data to an iPad or PC. When plugged into a USB port, VirtualBench software automatically loads on PCs with Windows AutoPlay. The device integrates with NI LabVIEW software for building custom applications to programmatically control VirtualBench.

Posted in: Electronics & Computers, Products

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NASA’s Space Station Fix-It for Satellites

NASA’s fix-it investigation on the International Space Station (ISS), the Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM), has moved one step closer to its 2.0 update with the delivery of new RRM hardware. The RRM module, affixed to an exterior ISS platform since 2011, now awaits the robotic transfer of two new task boards and a borescope inspection tool that will equip RRM for a new round of satellite-servicing demonstrations.

Posted in: UpFront

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