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

Specifying Gaskets for Outdoor LED Lighting Fixtures

LED lighting technology has the potential to lower energy consumption and reduce maintenance costs on outdoor installations such as area lighting and parking lights, street lights and other “difficult to reach” outdoor locations. When operating in controlled temperatures and weatherproof environments, solid state LED lights are designed to operate for 5 to 10 years. Outdoor LED housings and lighting enclosures are constructed from powder coated aluminum to resist the effects of direct sun and weather for many years. However, if the full payback on the investment in outdoor LED lighting is to be realized, the gaskets required to protect the solid state electronics must function for the 5 to 10 year life of the product.

Posted in: Articles, Lighting, Powering & Controlling LEDs, Exterior lighting, Light emitting diodes (LEDs), Light emitting diodes (LEDs), Aluminum, Coatings Colorants and Finishes, Coatings, colorants, and finishes, Seals and gaskets, Reliability, Reliability
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Researchers Study How to Avoid Charge Traps in Plastic Electronics

Plastic electronics hold the promise of cheap, mass-produced devices. But plastic semiconductors have an important flaw – the electronic current is influenced by “charge traps” in the material. These traps, which have a negative impact on plastic light-emitting diodes and solar cells, are poorly understood.

Posted in: Articles, Lighting
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New ‘Spintronic’ LED Technology Promises Brighter TV and Computer Displays

Physicists at the University of Utah have invented a new “spintronic” organic light-emitting diode (OLED) that promises to be brighter, cheaper and more environmentally friendly than the kinds of LEDs now used in television and computer displays, lighting, traffic lights and numerous electronic devices.

Posted in: Articles, Lighting
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Organometallic Materials with Unique Optical Properties

Scientists at North Dakota State University have recently developed a family of novel organometallic materials that have unique optical properties that make it ideal for use in optical switches, organic light emitting devices (OLED), and optical sensors.

 

Posted in: Articles, Lighting
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Optimizing Finite Element Material Models in a Crash Test Dummy

Finite element representations of crash test dummies are widely used in the simulation of vehicle safety systems. The biofidelity of such models is strongly dependent on the accurate representation of the nonlinear behavior of the constituent rubber, plastic, and foam materials. Advanced material models are often needed to capture the dynamic response of the various parts of the dummy. The process of calibrating a finite element material model is resource-intensive, as it involves optimizing model parameters to achieve good correlation with test data under different loading conditions and rates.

Posted in: Articles, Test & Measurement, Calibration, Finite element analysis, Optimization, Anthropometric test devices
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The Evolution of AdvancedTCA How Far Has It Come?

AdvancedTCA (ATCA) continues to evolve to meet not just the market demands for the telecom central office, but networking, data center, medical, and military communications applications. The two main goals that ATCA suppliers have been trying to solve often conflict with each other: offering more performance in less space, while meeting the specific market and compliance requirements for each industry.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers
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Designing CompactPCI Systems with Serial Interfaces

With more than a year under its belt since it was officially ratified by PICMG in March of 2011, CompactPCI Serial (PICMG CPCI-S.0) has proven to be a good example of how an industry standard can be upgraded to meet the needs of evolving computing parameters while protecting the historical investments tied to the original architecture. The fact that it has found a new home in a wider variety of application environments is just one more benefit that this new computing standard offers.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers
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New Standards Allow More CPU Options in Embedded Computing

Embedded system designers often find themselves trapped by CPU design choices they made years earlier, since switching costs can be astronomical. Hardware development often involves processor-specific interface chips and board design. Software switching costs can be even more onerous, since CPU architectures drive the purchase of development tools and the requirement for customized software. However, a couple of industry trends have opened up the CPU platform, and system designers are gaining the ability to mix and match CPU suppliers or even change CPU instruction sets to optimize products across a wider range of applications.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Embedded software, Architecture, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Embedded software, Standardization
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Reducing Machine Controller Design and Deployment

Machine design and deployment requires integration of various technologies such as controls, mechanics, vision, lasers, data acquisition, and software, to mention only a few. These mechatronic solutions usually target a specific purpose such as part manufacturing, marking, packaging, etc. Often the controller is a key focus in the design because it must connect and coordinate all of the processes on the machine. Using separate programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and motion controllers necessitates integration, which is costly and time-consuming. Using a single controller for the machine eliminates the need for integration and shortens design and deployment time and cost.

Posted in: Articles, Motion Control, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Automation
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The Engineering of IndyCar Racing

IndyCar racing features some of the most technologically sophisticated automobiles in the world today. Weighing just 1,565 pounds and powered by single- or twin-turbocharged 2.2L V6 engines that produce anywhere from 550 to 700 HP, the sleek, aerodynamic vehicles are capable of speeds in excess of 220 mph.

Not surprisingly, all of the space-age technology used in modern IndyCars tends to attract high-tech companies to the sport. Two such companies – Mouser Electronics and Littelfuse – have joined forces this year with the KV Racing Technology team. The team’s chief technology director, Eric Cowdin, spoke with Tech Briefs Media Group editor Bruce A. Bennett to answer some typical questions an engineer might ask.

NASA Tech Briefs: How big a role does electronics play in an IndyCar?

Eric Cowdin: Electronics are actually the backbone of running an IndyCar — everything from the engine management to the data acquisition system. It’s really the basis of controlling everything that’s going on in the IndyCar, as well as feeding us information back to make it perform better. Because of all the electronics on the car, there’s a very important circuit protection system on our car: the PDU, or power distribution unit. That PDU has eight outputs and each one has a pre-set current on it. Each one of those outputs is designed specifically to the electronic system that it’s providing control to, or current to, and that PDU protects every one of those delicate circuits. The other thing that allows us to do is monitor that output, via telemetry or recorded data, which gives us a chance to help the driver avoid a serious problem.

Posted in: Articles, Automotive, Systems engineering, Racing engines, Racing vehicles
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