Test & Measurement

Test it Like da Vinci

Timeless wisdom and new technologies are revolutionizing the world of testing, and bringing us from vision to finished product faster. Do you see product testing and checking as a necessary evil? Then take some time to change your mind. In the long process from vision to reality of a product, intelligent and efficient testing is indispensable. The latest metrological instruments help to begin developing a product when it only exists in our minds.

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The Touch Screen Revolution

Touch screens are slowly but surely creeping into every aspect of our day-to-day lives. It’s not unlikely that you wake up to a cellphone alarm, adjust the room temperature on a thermostat, change the radio station in the car, and even start the washing machine using only a touch screen. A decade ago, we wouldn’t have used a touch screen for any of these tasks, but today it’s commonplace. To understand the impact of touch screens on test and measurement, you must first know the difference between resistive and capacitive touch screens, and the impact smartphones have had on touch screen implementations.

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The Changing Face of Test

Many aspects of the test and measurement business are different from the way they were relatively few years ago. Perhaps the most obvious example is the people who are using test and measurement instrumentation. A recent industry study shows that 20 percent of electrical engineers now in the global workforce started their careers within the last decade.

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Energy Harvesting Could Help Power Spacecraft of the Future

A consortium is working on a project to maximize energy harvesting on a spacecraft of the future. The initiative seeks to find energy-saving and -maximizing solutions to enable eco-friendly aircraft to stay in space for long periods of time without the need to return to Earth to re-fuel, or to avoid carrying vast amounts of heavy fuel on long-stay journeys.

Posted in: News, Aerospace, Aviation, Communications, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Energy Harvesting, Green Design & Manufacturing, Test & Measurement

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NASA Robot Explores Volcanoes

Carolyn Parcheta, a NASA postdoctoral fellow based at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and JPL robotics researcher Aaron Parness are developing robots that can explore volcanic fissures."We don't know exactly how volcanoes erupt. We have models but they are all very, very simplified. This project aims to help make those models more realistic," Parcheta said.Parcheta, Parness, and JPL co-advisor Karl Mitchell first explored this idea last year using a two-wheeled robot they call VolcanoBot 1, with a length of 12 inches (30 centimeters) and 6.7-inch (17-centimeter) wheels.VolcanoBot 2, smaller and lighter than its predecessor, will explore Hawaii's Kilauea volcano in March 2015. Parcheta's research endeavors were recently honored in National Geographic’s Expedition Granted campaign. SourceAlso: Learn about Autonomous Response for Targeting and Monitoring of Volcanic Activity.

Posted in: News, Machinery & Automation, Robotics, Measuring Instruments, Monitoring, Test & Measurement

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Forensic Tracers Identify Contamination in Water

Duke University scientists have developed new forensic tracers to identify coal ash contamination in water and distinguish it from contamination coming from other sources. The tools can be used by regulatory agencies to monitor the environmental effects of coal ash, and determine whether it has or hasn’t impacted the environment. Previous methods to identify coal ash contaminants in the environment were based solely on the contaminants’ chemical variations. The newly developed tracers provide additional forensic fingerprints that give regulators a more accurate and systematic tool. The tracers, which have been tested both in the laboratory and the field, are based on the distinctive isotopic and geochemical signatures of two elements, boron and strontium, found in coal ash effluent. The U.S. EPA has submitted a proposal to the Office of Management and Budget to restrict coal ash disposal into the environment and, for the first time, establish federal regulations to govern how the ash is stored and disposed. Source:

Posted in: News, Environmental Monitoring, Green Design & Manufacturing, Monitoring, Test & Measurement

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Technology Diagnoses Brain Damage from Concussions, Strokes, and Dementia

New optical diagnostic technology developed at Tufts University School of Engineering promises new ways to identify and monitor brain damage resulting from traumatic injury, stroke, or vascular dementia in real time and without invasive procedures.

Posted in: News, Electronic Components, Electronics & Computers, Diagnostics, Medical, Fiber Optics, Optics, Photonics, Semiconductors & ICs, Measuring Instruments, Test & Measurement

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