Special Coverage


From VME to VPX

The New Electronic Packaging Challenge Sequestration, defense reform and cost constraints are driving a new paradigm in the defense industry, where leveraging existing technologies is no longer optional, but required. This is especially true as we migrate from VME to VPX-based embedded computing.  

Posted in: Articles


Robotic Exoskeleton Vastly Improves Quality of Life

Worldwide an estimated 185 million people use a wheelchair daily. A company based in Auckland, New Zealand, has developed an innovative robotic technology that helps people with mobility impairment get back on their feet— the Rex Bionics robotic exoskeleton. Its integrated maxon motors help to ensure smooth limb movement.

Posted in: Rehabilitation & Physical Therapy, Implants & Prosthetics, Biosensors, Mechanical Components, Power Supplies, Electronics, Power Management, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Motion Control, Motors & Drives, Power Transmission, Positioning Equipment, Medical, Orthopedics, Articles, Features, MDB


Feedback Sensors Keep Servomotors on Target

Fundamentally, a servo system can perform no more accurately than the accuracy of the feedback device controlling it. In addition, errors in speed or position can be introduced into the system by the less-than-perfect mechanisms that transfer the motor power to the load. Environmental factors like electrical noise or temperature may also introduce positioning errors. Sometimes the errors are acceptable. More frequently, however, they are not. When it comes to high-performance servo applications, feedback devices fall into several different categories. Each offers unique advantages and disadvantages, both electrical and mechanical, that make one better suited for a particular application than another.

Posted in: Features, Motion Control, Articles


Handling Delicate Materials

Special care needs to be taken when handling delicate materials used in medical applications. Small diameters provide increased flexibility needed for long-flex-life applications such as cardiac catheter wires. Many other applications also use these fine materials as winding and braiding materials, including the medical device industry, microelectronics, and composites.

Posted in: Features, Applications, Motion Control, Articles


The Benefits of Modern CMOS Sensors in Industrial Line Scan Cameras

As sensor technology has improv ed in leaps and bounds, the old rule of thumb familiar to many line scan camera users has lost much of its punch. The idea that CCD equals high image quality while CMOS equals speed is only true under very limited circumstances. While charge-coupled device (CCD) and complementary metal-oxidesemiconductor (CMOS) sensors perform similar functions — collecting light (photons) and converting those into charges (electrons) — there are a few fundamental differences between their methods. The biggest difference is in the sensor architecture. While CCD sensors generally employ a majority of the pixel surface for capturing light, CMOS sensors use a portion of that surface for conversion electronics.

Posted in: Features, Articles


Anti-Icing Formulas Prevent Train Delays

A formula designed for military aircraft keeps trains on the rails. In the winter of 2009, Washington, DC workers faced the prospect of a difficult commute due to record-setting snowfall. But thousands of the city’s Metrorail riders found the public transportation system fully functional, thanks in part to a NASA technology invented years before.

Posted in: Features, Articles


Curiosity: One Year Later

On August 5, 2012, the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover, Curiosity, landed in Gale Crater in a perfectly executed procedure originally referred to as “7 Minutes of Terror.” A year into its two-year exploration of the Red Planet, Curiosity has already achieved the major goal of its mission. Last year, NASA Tech Briefs spoke with members of the MSL team just two weeks before the historic landing about what NASA hoped to find, the technologies used onboard Curiosity, and how the mission was expected to progress. Here, we revisit MSL team members and program executives to get updates on the current state of the mission.

Posted in: Features, Articles, Homepage