Special Coverage

Transducer-Actuator Systems for On-Machine Measurements and Automatic Part Alignment
Wide-Area Surveillance Using HD LWIR Uncooled Sensors
Heavy Lift Wing in Ground (WIG) Cargo Flying Boat
Technique Provides Security for Multi-Robot Systems
Bringing New Vision to Laser Material Processing Systems
NASA Tests Lasers’ Ability to Transmit Data from Space
Converting from Hydraulic Cylinders to Electric Actuators
Automating Optimization and Design Tasks Across Disciplines
Vibration Tables Shake Up Aerospace and Car Testing
Supercomputer Cooling System Uses Refrigerant to Replace Water

Space-Inspired Trailers Encourage Exploration on Earth

Space Station living quarters inspire custom RVs.

Garrett Finney moved the office coffeemaker into the full-size, cardboard mockup of the new trailer he was designing. The need for caffeine — and the threat of hot coffee accidentally dumped on a coworker — provided motivation and means for assessing the feasibility of a confined living space. Finney has what he calls a “nonstandard expertise in people in small spaces.” He developed it while part of a NASA team designing living quarters for the International Space Station (ISS).

Posted in: Articles, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Design processes, Human factors, Recreational vehicles and equipment
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Energy Harvesting Wireless Lighting Control Systems

Energy can be found everywhere — in the movement of doors and windows or machine components, the vibration of motors, changing temperature or variances in luminance level. These energy sources, which usually remain unused, can be tapped by means of energy harvesting to power electronic devices and transmit wireless signals. This principle is the basis of energy harvesting wireless technology. In the course of ten years, the technology has opened up three different sources of energy to power wireless modules: motion, light and temperature differences.

Posted in: Articles, Lighting
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Ensuring Fixture Compatibility for LEDs

Lighting, as an industry, has seen very few significant innovations in the basic technology of light production in the past century. As a result of this static situation, lighting companies have largely been concerned with novel ways to bend metal and shape glass. Current mature technologies such as incandescent and fluorescent have given rise to a lighting infrastructure that is inefficient, overbuilt, and mostly focused on mitigating the overproduction of light from highly inefficient sources.

Posted in: Articles, Lighting
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Driving The Future of LCD Backlighting

One of the most pervasive challenges in the world today is increasing energy efficiency. The consumer electronics industry is evolving towards higher efficiency due to newer and stricter energy standards as well as consumer awareness. The demand for higher efficiency drives innovative companies to develop technology with smarter power management. One of the fastest growing areas is in display backlighting. Whether it is in mobile phones, MP3 players, portable gaming consoles or GPS systems, the light source behind LCD screens helps bring the colors to life. Powering these screens, like so many engineering challenges, comes in various solutions depending on the specific application. In the portable display backlighting market, a newer and smarter solution will revolutionize the way LCD screens are lit.

Posted in: Articles, Lighting
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Scientists Mimic Fireflies to Make Brighter LEDs

The nighttime twinkling of fireflies has inspired scientists to modify a light-emitting diode (LED) so it is more than one-and-a-half times as efficient as the original. Researchers from Belgium, France, and Canada studied the internal structure of firefly lanterns, the organs on the bioluminescent insects’ abdomens that flash to attract mates. The scientists identified an unexpected pattern of jagged scales that enhanced the lanterns’ glow, and applied that knowledge to LED design to create an LED overlayer that mimicked the natural structure. The overlayer, which increased LED light extraction by up to 55 percent, could be easily tailored to existing diode designs to help humans light up the night while using less energy.

Posted in: Articles, News, Lighting
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Scientists Fit Light-Emitting Bioprobe in a Single Cell

If engineers at Stanford have their way, biological research may soon be transformed by a new class of light-emitting probes small enough to be injected into individual cells without harm to the host. Welcome to biophotonics, a discipline at the confluence of engineering, biology and medicine in which light-based devices – lasers and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) – are opening up new avenues in the study and influence of living cells. This is the first study to demonstrate that tiny, sophisticated devices known as light resonators can be inserted inside cells without damaging the cell. Even with a resonator embedded inside, a cell is able to function, migrate and reproduce as normal.

Posted in: Articles, News, Lighting
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Students Drive Effort To Introduce “Smart Lighting” on Rensselaer Campus

An effort by students, faculty, and staff at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to install ultra-efficient LED light bulbs in one campus facility will save the university approximately $21,000 per year. Along with creating opportunities for reduced energy consumption and further cost savings in the future, the project is an important first step toward transforming the entire campus into a real-world laboratory for the emerging field of “Smart Lighting.”

Posted in: Application Briefs, Articles, Lighting
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LEDs Allow Home Lighting System Control Using Smartphone or Tablet

Philips recently unveiled what it claims is the world’s smartest web-enabled LED home lighting system. Philips hue allows you to create and control the light in your home using your smartphone or tablet. A starter pack includes three bulbs that screw into your existing lamps, and a bridge that can be plugged into your home Wi-Fi router. Then you simply download the hue app to operate the system.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Articles, Lighting
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Small Form Factor Computers Go Ultra-low Power

Agrowing number of mobile, space constrained or harsh environment applications are being designed for the military, industrial automation/HMI, digital signage and medical markets that are driving the need for ever-lower power consumption. These embedded systems have been underserved by existing SFF platforms that have not been able to offer ultra-low power operation, many times below 3 Watts, in a slim profile design. OEM developers have also been challenged to find computing platforms that deliver a flexible and scalable solution in terms of performance and rugged reliability with state-of-the-art interface and graphics support that mimics the same functionality as today’s smart consumer devices.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers
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Carbon Nanotube Technology Promises a Revolution in Electrical Cabling

While carbon nanotube technology (CNT) has generated widespread interest for applications ranging from semiconductors to medical, one area that is a focus of research at TE Connectivity is high-performance electrical cables. TE has been actively researching CNT for wire and cable, including cooperative efforts with universities and industry leaders, and has prototype samples for evaluation. While there is still much progress to be made before CNT cables become main stream, we believe the technology is sufficiently advanced to meet specific niche applications such as satellites.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers
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