November 2009

News : Green Design & Manufacturing
Hydrogen-Powered Fuel Cell UAV Sets Record

The Naval Research Laboratory's Ion Tiger - a hydrogen-powered fuel cell unmanned air vehicle (UAV) - flew for 26 hours and 1 minute carrying a 5-pound payload, setting an unofficial flight endurance record for a fuel-cell powered flight. The test flight took place November 16-17.

Question of the Week
Should business methods be eligible for patents?

This week's question concerns patent law. Traditionally, the courts have limited patent eligibility to inventions that involve machinery or physical transformations. Increasingly, innovations in the areas of software, medical diagnostics, and finance have raised questions concerning the...

News : Electronics & Computers
Electrochemical Energy Storage Technologies and the Automotive Industry

A lecture from Berkeley Lab's Environmental Energy Technologies Division covers some promising materials research efforts that are expected to lead to improved battery technology. Mark Verbrugge, the director of the Chemical Sciences and Materials Systems Lab at General...

News : Energy
New Pathway to Forming Hydrogen Storage Compounds

Scientists at the Carnegie Institution for Science have found that high pressure can be used to make a unique hydrogen-storage material. The researchers found that the normally unreactive, noble gas xenon combines with molecular hydrogen under pressure to form a previously unknown solid with...

News : Electronics & Computers
Smartphone Application Sheds Light on Power Consumption

PowerTutor, a new application developed by researchers at the University of Michigan for the Android smartphone, shows users how much power their applications are consuming. PowerTutor shows in real time how four different phone components use power: the screen, the network interface, the...

News : Energy
Using Aerospace Approach, Engineers Design Wave Energy System

Aerospace engineers from the U.S. Air Force Academy are applying the principles that keep airplanes aloft to create a new wave energy system that is durable, efficient, and can be placed anywhere in the ocean - regardless of depth. While still in early design stages, computer and...

News : Energy
NASA's Algae Bioreactor Licensed to Algae Systems, LLC

Earlier this year, NASA introduced an algae photo-bioreactor that grows algae in municipal wastewater to produce biofuel and a variety of other products. The NASA bioreactor is an Offshore Membrane Enclosure for Growing Algae (OMEGA), which won't compete with agriculture for land,...

Briefs : Information Technology
Progressive Classification Using Support Vector Machines

Progressive Classification Using Support Vector MachinesAn algorithm for progressive classification of data, analogous to progressive rendering of images, makes it possible to compromise between speed and accuracy. This algorithm uses support vector machines (SVMs) to classify data. An SVM...

News : Energy
Hitting the Theoretical Roof of Converting Waste Heat to Electricity

The need to get rid of excess heat creates a major source of inefficiency in everything from computer processor chips to car engines. According to Peter Hagelstein, an associate professor of Electrical Engineering at MIT, existing solid-state devices to convert heat into...

News : Green Design & Manufacturing
Microscopic Bubbles Clean Oil from Polluted Water

Small amounts of oil leave a fluorescent sheen on polluted water. Oil sheen is hard to remove, even when the water is aerated with ozone or filtered through sand. A University of Utah engineer has developed an inexpensive method to remove oil sheen by repeatedly pressurizing and depressurizing...

Question of the Week
Are space elevators a viable concept?

This week’s question concerns space elevators. Last week, during NASA’s Space Elevator Games in the Mojave Desert, a robot powered by a ground-based laser beam scampered up a 2,953 foot cable suspended from a helicopter hovering almost a mile overhead. The trip took just over four minutes. The...

News : Energy
Algae as a High-Temperature Hydrogen Source

A team of researchers from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and Oak Ridge National Laboratory have found that the inner machinery of photosynthesis can be isolated from certain algae and, when coupled with a platinum catalyst, is able to produce a steady supply of hydrogen when exposed to light.

News : Transportation
Japan Wins Australia's Global Green Challenge

The "Tokai Challenger" solar car from Japan's Tokai University won the 3,000 kilometer Global Green Challenge race down the center of Australia. The Tokai Challenger maintained an average speed of over 100 kilometers per hour, or about 62 miles per hour, besting the winner of the previous four races...

News : Green Design & Manufacturing
EPA's National TV Recycling Challenge

Electronic Manufacturers Recycling Management Company (MRM) is the winner of EPA's National TV Recycling Challenge. MRM developed a TV collection network that uses a variety of collection approaches, including establishing collection points with charities and self-storage units, to recycle approximately 3...

News : Energy
Three-Dimensional, Hidden Solar Cell

Using zinc oxide nanostructures grown on optical fibers and coated with dye-sensitized solar cell materials, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a new type of three-dimensional photovoltaic system. The approach could allow PV systems to be hidden from view and located away from...

News : Electronics & Computers
Transparent Insulating Film Could Enable Energy-Efficient Displays

Johns Hopkins materials scientists have found a new use for a chemical compound traditionally viewed as an electrical conductor (a substance that allows electricity to flow through it). By orienting the compound differently, the researchers have turned it into a thin film...

Question of the Week
Is technology making people too self-absorbed?

This week’s question concerns the impact technology is having on society. Technology has made it possible for people to share every aspect of their lives - both the good and the bad – with the entire world. The insatiable desire of some people to reach out and touch each other has made Web sites...

News : Energy
Research: Reducing Energy Consumption in Street Lighting

Experts from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Lighting Research Center (LRC) estimate that about half of the approximately 13 million streetlights in the U.S. have the opportunity to reduce energy consumption by 50 percent - translating to an annual savings of 1 billion kWh, and a...

News : Electronics & Computers
Thin-film Thermal Charger

Nextreme Thermal Solutions (Durham, NC) and Infinite Power Solutions, Inc. (Denver, CO) offer a thermal charger that can continuously recharge the IPS THINERGYTM Micro-Energy Cell (MEC) using an eTEG thermoelectric power generator from Nextreme. Storing energy harvested from waste heat using thermoelectrics...

News : Energy
Engineers Envision Cheaper Algae Oil Production

Compared to soybeans that produce 50 gallons of oil an acre a year, some algae can average 6,000 gallons - but it's not cheap to produce. Two Kansas State University engineers are assessing systematic production methods that could lower the costs of algae oil production. They plan to grow algae in...

Videos : Green Design & Manufacturing
Robotic Fish Can Swim, Maneuver, and Monitor Water Quality

Michigan State University researchers are developing robots that use advanced materials to swim like fish and gather precise data on aquatic conditions. The robotic fish will carry sensors recording things like temperature, dissolved oxygen, pollutants, and harmful algae.

Question of the Week
Will Microsoft’s Windows 7 succeed?

This week’s question concerns Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system. Microsoft released the new operating system last week to generally more favorable reviews than its bug-laden, slow-selling Vista predecessor. While Microsoft claims Windows 7 resolves many of Vista’s flaws, skeptics contend the...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Cryogenic Chamber for Servo-Hydraulic Materials Testing

A compact cryogenic test chamber can be cooled to approximately 5 to 6 Kelvin for materials testing. The system includes a temperature controller and multiple sensors to measure specimen temperature at different locations. The testing chamber provides a fast and easy method to perform...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Multimodal Friction Ignition Tester

The multimodal friction ignition tester (MFIT) is a testbed for experiments on the thermal and mechanical effects of friction on material specimens in pressurized, oxygen-rich atmospheres. In simplest terms, a test involves recording sensory data while rubbing two specimens against each other at a controlled...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Rover Attitude and Pointing System Simulation Testbed

The MER (Mars Exploration Rover) Attitude and Pointing System Simulation Testbed Environment (RAPSSTER) provides a simulation platform used for the development and test of GNC (guidance, navigation, and control) flight algorithm designs for the Mars rovers, which was specifically tailored to...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Desktop Application Program To Simulate Cargo-Air-Drop Tests

The DSS Application is a computer program comprising a Windows version of the UNIX-based Decelerator System Simulation (DSS) coupled with an Excel front end. The DSS is an executable code that simulates the dynamics of air-dropped cargo from first motion in an aircraft through landing....

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Small-Bolt Torque-Tension Tester

Current torque-tension measurement techniques involve using load washers as the force measuring transducer. The disadvantage of load washers is that they are too large to be used with fasteners smaller than about size #8. The device described here measures the torque-tension relationship for fasteners as small as...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Apparatus Measures Thermal Conductance Through a Thin Sample From Cryogenic to Room Temperature

An apparatus allows the measurement of the thermal conductance across a thin sample clamped between metal plates, including thermal boundary resistances. It allows in-situ variation of the clamping force from zero to 30 lb (133.4 N), and variation of...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Simple Optoelectronic Feedback in Microwave Oscillators

A proposed method of stabilizing microwave and millimeter-wave oscillators calls for the use of feedback in optoelectronic delay lines characterized by high values of the resonance quality factor (Q). The method would extend the applicability of optoelectronic feedback beyond the previously...

Products
Multifunction, High-Throughput, Simultaneous USB Data Acquisition Module

Data Translation, Marlboro, MA, has introduced the DT9816-S multifunction, high-throughput, simultaneous USB data acquisition module that allows users to sample six analog input channels independently at up to 800 kHz per channel.

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Integrated Spacesuit Audio System Enhances Speech Quality and Reduces Noise

A new approach has been proposed for increasing astronaut comfort and speech capture. Currently, the special design of a spacesuit forms an extreme acoustic environment making it difficult to capture clear speech without compromising comfort. The current system, called...

Application Briefs : Software
Composites Software Helps in Design and Fabrication of Crew Module
FiberSIM® composites engineering software
Vistagy
Waltham, MA
781-250-6800
www.vistagy.com

When NASA originally considered employing composites in manned spacecraft, it had to consider concerns that composites might have an unacceptable leak rate...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Small X-Band Oscillator Antennas

A small, segmented microstrip patch antenna integrated with an X-band feedback oscillator on a high- permittivity substrate has been built and tested (see Figure 1). The oscillator antenna is powered by commercial solar photovoltaic cells mounted nearby or on the same substrate. This oscillator antenna is a...

Application Briefs : Imaging
Vision System Provides Real-Time Guidance for Unmanned Docking Operations
TriDAR vision system
Neptec Design Group
Ottawa, ON, Canada
613-599-7602
www.neptec.com

NASA is conducting a Detailed Test Objective (DTO) with Neptec’s TriDAR vision system for use in unmanned docking operations. The vision system...

Techs for License
Low-Cost Liquid Metal Cooling for High-Thermal-Density Electronics

Liquid metal has been used as a coolant for system-level thermal management for decades in nuclear reactors. The reason is its efficiency — liquid metal can have an effective thermal conductivity 10 to 100 times the thermal conductivity of copper. However, cost and long-term...

Techs for License
Needle-Free Injection System Using Pyrotechnical Propulsion

PYROFAST is a needle-free injection system with pyrotechnical gas propulsion that provides accurate and comfortable drug delivery through the skin for intra-dermal, subcutaneous, and intra-muscular injections of liquid and solid (lyophilized) drugs. The needle-free injection occurs...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Hardware Implementation of a Bilateral Subtraction Filter

A bilateral subtraction filter has been implemented as a hardware module in the form of a field-programmable gate array (FPGA). In general, a bilateral subtraction filter is a key subsystem of a high-quality stereoscopic machine vision system that utilizes images that are large and/or...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Lattice-Matched Semiconductor Layers on Single Crystalline Sapphire Substrate

SiGe is an important semiconductor alloy for high-speed field effect transistors (FETs), high-temperature thermoelectric devices, photovoltaic solar cells, and photon detectors. The growth of SiGe layer is difficult because SiGe alloys have different lattice constants...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Discrete Fourier Transform Analysis in a Complex Vector Space

Alternative computational strategies for the Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT) have been developed using analysis of geometric manifolds. This approach provides a general framework for performing DFT calculations, and suggests a more efficient implementation of the DFT for applications...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Self-Assembling, Flexible, Pre-Ceramic Composite Preforms

In this innovation, light weight, high temperature, compact aerospace structures with increased design options are made possible by using self-assembling, flexible, pre-ceramic composite materials. These materials are comprised of either ceramic or carbon fiber performs, which are...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Miniature Scroll Pumps Fabricated by LIGA

Miniature scroll pumps have been proposed as roughing pumps (low-vacuum pumps) for miniature scientific instruments (e.g., portable mass spectrometers and gas analyzers) that depend on vacuum. The larger scroll pumps used as roughing pumps in some older vacuum systems are fabricated by conventional...

NASA Tech Needs
Chemical Approach to Spraying All Sides of a Complex Shape

A company seeks technology to spray waterborne substances — both suspensions and solutions — on all sides of an object, even the under sides, regardless of the attitude of the object or the direction from which the spray impinges. Nearuniform coating on all surfaces of the object is...

NASA Tech Needs
Triclosan Replacement

A company seeks a replacement for triclosan, a popular anti-microbial agent used in household products. The replacement requires thermal stability to withstand manufacturing temperatures (such as polymer melt temperatures during molding), UV stability, and compatibility with anionic detergents. It should also be...

Briefs : Software
Flightspeed Integral Image Analysis Toolkit

The Flightspeed Integral Image Analysis Toolkit (FIIAT) is a C library that provides image analysis functions in a single, portable package. It provides basic low-level filtering, texture analysis, and subwindow descriptor for applications dealing with image interpretation and object recognition....

Briefs : Materials
Detecting Airborne Mercury by Use of Polymer/Carbon Films

Films made of certain polymer/carbon composites have been found to be potentially useful as sensing films for detecting airborne elemental mercury at concentrations on the order of tens of parts per billion or more. That is to say, when the polymer/carbon composite films are exposed to...

Briefs : Software
Work Coordination Engine

The Work Coordination Engine (WCE) is a Java application integrated into the Service Management Database(SMDB), which coordinates the dispatching and monitoring of a work order system. WCE de-queues work orders from SMDB and orchestrates the dispatching of work to a registered set of software worker applications...

Briefs : Software
Multi-Mission Automated Task Invocation Subsystem

Multi-Mission Automated Task Invocation Subsystem (MATIS) is software that establishes a distributed dataprocessing framework for automated generation of instrument data products from a spacecraft mission. Each mission may set up a set of MATIS servers for processing its data products. MATIS...

Briefs : Software
Autonomously Calibrating a Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer

A computer program autonomously manages the calibration of a quadrupole ion mass spectrometer intended for use in monitoring concentrations and changes in concentrations of organic chemicals in the cabin air of the International Space Station. The instrument parameters calibrated include...

Briefs : Software
Determining Spacecraft Reaction Wheel Friction Parameters

Software was developed to characterize the drag in each of the Cassini spacecraft’s Reaction Wheel Assemblies (RWAs) to determine the RWA friction parameters. This tool measures the drag torque of RWAs for not only the high spin rates (>250 RPM), but also the low spin rates...

Briefs : Materials
Composite Silica Aerogels Opacified With Titania

A further improvement has been made to reduce the high-temperature thermal conductivities of the aerogel-matrix composite materials described in “Improved Silica Aerogel Composite Materials” (NPO-44287), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 32, No. 9 (September 2008), page 50. Because the contribution of...

Briefs : Materials
Multiplexed Colorimetric Solid-Phase Extraction

Multiplexed colorimetric solid-phase extraction (MC-SPE) is an extension of colorimetric solid-phase extraction (CSPE) — an analytical platform that combines colorimetric reagents, solid phase extraction, and diffuse reflectance spectroscopy to quantify trace analytes in water. In C-SPE, analytes...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Rollerjaw Rock Crusher

The rollerjaw rock crusher melds the concepts of jaw crushing and roll crushing long employed in the mining and rock-crushing industries. Rollerjaw rock crushers have been proposed for inclusion in geological exploration missions on Mars, where they would be used to pulverize rock samples into powders in the tens of...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Pressure-Energized Seal Rings To Better Withstand Flows

Pressure-energized seal rings intended to withstand flows better than do conventional pressure-energized seal rings have been conceived. The concept applies, more specifically, to seal rings used on some valve stems, pistons, and the like. A conventional pressure-energized seal ring...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
NiF₂/NaF:CaF₂/Ca Solid-State High-Temperature Battery Cells

Experiments and theoretical study have demonstrated the promise of all-solid-state, high-temperature electrochemical battery cells based on NiF2 as the active cathode material, CaF2 doped with NaF as the electrolyte material, and Ca as the active anode...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Alternative Determination of Density of the Titan Atmosphere

An alternative has been developed to direct measurement for determining the density of the atmosphere of the Saturn moon Titan as a function of altitude. The basic idea is to deduce the density versus altitude from telemetric data indicative of the effects of aerodynamic torques on the...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Microwave Temperature Profiler Mounted in a Standard Airborne Research Canister

Many atmospheric research aircraft use a standard canister design to mount instruments, as this significantly facilitates their electrical and mechanical integration and thereby reduces cost. Based on more than 30 years of airborne science experience with the...

Briefs : Information Technology
Automated CFD for Generation of Airfoil Performance Tables

A method of automated computational fluid dynamics (CFD) has been invented for the generation of performance tables for an object subject to fluid flow. The method is applicable to the generation of tables that summarize the effects of two-dimensional flows about airfoils and that are in...

Briefs : Information Technology
A Data Matrix Method for Improving the Quantification of Element Percentages of SEM/EDX Analysis

A simple 2D M×N matrix involving sample preparation enables the microanalyst to peer below the noise floor of element percentages reported by the SEM/EDX (scanning electron microscopy/energy dispersive x-ray) analysis, thus yielding more meaningful...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Deployable Shroud for the International X-Ray Observatory

A document describes the design of a lightweight (between 100 to 200 kg), light-tight shroud of about 3.9 meters in diameter that could be stowed into a very small volume, and be deployed to 12 meters. The shroud will consist of two concentric multi-layer blankets (MLIs) that are...

Briefs : Information Technology
Improved Model of a Mercury Ring Damper

A short document discusses the general problem of mathematical modeling of the three-dimensional rotational dynamics of rigid bodies and of the use of Euler parameters to eliminate the singularities occasioned by the use of Euler angles in such modeling. The document goes on to characterize a Hamiltonian...

Briefs : Medical
Optoelectronic pH Meter: Further Details

A collection of documents provides further detailed information about an optoelectronic instrument that measures the pH of an aqueous cell-culture medium to within ±0.1 unit in the range from 6.5 to 7.5. The instrument at an earlier stage of development was reported in “Optoelectronic Instrument...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
X-38 Advanced Sublimator

A document discusses a heat rejection device for transferring heat from a space vehicle by venting water into space through the use of a novel, two-stage water distribution system. The system consists of two different, porous media that stop water-borne contaminants from clogging the system and causing operational...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Solar Simulator Represents the Mars Surface Solar Environment

A report discusses the development of a Mars surface, laboratory-based solar simulator to create solar cells that can function better on Mars. The Mars Optimized Solar cell Technology (MOST) required defining the surface incident spectrum, developing an appropriate laboratory solar...

Briefs : Medical
Graphite Non-Wovens as Functional Layers in Diagnostic Test Kits

The separation of serum or plasma from whole blood is of overriding importance in clinical chemistry. In particular, many diagnostic detection reactions of blood components proceed without impairment only after the red blood corpuscles have been separated off. This particularly...

Briefs : Software
Quantifying Therapeutic and Diagnostic Efficacy in 2D Microvascular Images

VESGEN is a newly automated, userinteractive program that maps and quantifies the effects of vascular therapeutics and regulators on microvascular form and function. VESGEN analyzes two-dimensional, black and white vascular images by measuring important vessel morphology...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Solar Rejection Filter for Large Telescopes

To reject solar radiation photons at the front aperture for large telescopes, a mosaic of large transmission mode filters is placed in front of the telescope or at the aperture of the dome. Filtering options for effective rejection of sunlight include a smaller filter down-path near the focus of the...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Free-Space Optical Interconnect Employing VCSEL Diodes

Sensor signal processing is widely used on aircraft and spacecraft. The scheme employs multiple input/output nodes for data acquisition and CPU (central processing unit) nodes for data processing. To connect 110 nodes and CPU nodes, scalable interconnections such as backplanes are desired...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Critical Coupling Between Optical Fibers and WGM Resonators

Two recipes for ensuring critical coupling between a single-mode optical fiber and a whispering-gallery-mode (WGM) optical resonator have been devised. The recipes provide for phase matching and aperture matching, both of which are necessary for efficient coupling. There is also a...

Who's Who
Jeff Ding, Aerospace Welding Engineer at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center

Jeff Ding introduced friction stir welding (FSW) to NASA in 1995. He currently holds 6 U.S. patents for FSW, including one for an automatic retractable pin tool that solves the troublesome “keyhole” problem. He is also credited with inventing two new solid state...

Briefs : Energy
Lattice-Matched Semiconductor Layers on Single Crystalline Sapphire Substrate
SiGe is an important semiconductor alloy for high-speed field effect transistors (FETs), high-temperature thermoelectric devices, photovoltaic solar cells, and photon detectors. The growth of SiGe layer is difficult because SiGe alloys have different lattice constants...
Articles : Software
Industry Update: Analysis & Simulation Software

Changing Roles in a Challenging Environment

In our annual poll of executives at leading analysis and simulation software companies, we posed questions dealing with virtual prototyping, the changing role of the analyst, and how the economic environment is affecting software users and...

NASA Tech Needs
Intelligent Integrated System Health Management

Stennis Space Center is NASA’s primary center for rocket engine testing. The facilities include large test stands built for the Apollo Program that are being used to test Space Shuttle Main Engines, smaller test stands for smaller rockets and components, and a new test stand, the A3 Test Stand...

Products : Electronics & Computers
Core 2 Duo® Rugged System

General Micro Systems (Rancho Cucamonga, CA) has introduced the “Raider” S705 Core 2 Duo®-based system. Raider is based on the GMS P70x module, a Core 2 Duo processor providing up to 2.16 GHz of power and 4 MB of L2 Cache, and up to 2 GB of 667 MHz DDR-2SDRAM. The S705 is available in a variety of configurations...

Products : Electronics & Computers
Color Touchscreen PLC

Unitronics (Quincy, MA) has added the V570-57-T20B to the company’s Vision570™ series of 5.7” Color Touchscreen PLCs. The model is lower in cost and has a white LED instead of fluorescent display backlight. The display of the V570-57-T20B is also TFT QVGA. Onboard I/Os can be added to this model by snapping a module...

Products : Electronics & Computers
Environmentally Sealed LCD Monitor

Stealth.com Inc. (Ontario, Canada) has released the Stealth TT-840, a rugged, environmentally sealed LCD monitor for harsh environments. The TT-840 is an 8.4 inch sunlight-readable LCD encapsulated in a rugged aluminum enclosure that has been sealed to IP68/NEMA 6P specifications. The high-performance LCD is...

Products : Electronics & Computers
Freescale Processor-Based SOM

The TX37 Freescale i.MX37 processor-based System on Module (SOM) from Strategic Test (Woburn, MA) measures just 67.6mm x 26mm x 4.2 mm. It contains a 532 MHz i.MX37 processor coupled with 128 MB mobile DDRSDRAM, 128 MB NAND flash memory, and a 200-pin SODIMM connector. The TX37 is pin-compatible with the existing...

Products : Electronics & Computers
LCD Touch Panel Computer

Advantech (Cincinnati, OH) introduces the TPC-1780H, a 17" SXGA TFT LCD fanless touch panel PC with an Intel® Core™ 2 Duo CPU. The TPC-1780H provides one extension slot, such as RS-422/485, PCI-104, and CAN-bus, to provide data bus extension. There are multiple standard communication ports (three serial ports,...

Products : Electronics & Computers
FPGA Design Solution

Xilinx (San Jose, CA) introduces the ISE® Design Suite 11.1, an FPGA design solution with fully interoperable domain-specific design flows and tool configurations for logic, digital signal processing (DSP), embedded processing, and system-level design. ISE Design Suite 11.1 has four domain-specific design configurations:...

Products : Electronics & Computers
Power Supply Reference Design

Fairchild Semiconductor (San Jose, CA) has introduced the RD212, a 200W DC/DC power supply reference design that offers high efficiency (up to 94 percent), and low noise characteristics due to its zero voltage switching (ZVS) technique. It provides a 24V output at 8A and protection functions such as over-voltage...

Articles : Electronics & Computers
Using Event Systems and DMA to Cut Power Consumption

The trick to exploiting the ultra lowpower characteristics of microcontrollers with 100 nA sleep mode power consumption is to keep them in sleep mode as much as possible. The problem is that the growing number of on-chip peripherals and the increasingly dataand interrupt-intensive nature of...

Articles : Electronics & Computers
Using Dynamic Parameters to Measure Digitizer Performance

Much confusion exists about characterizing the performance of a highspeed digitizer device. Nominal vertical resolution is routinely presented as an indicator of a digitizer’s performance, but the relevance of this parameter is dubious since a digitizer’s true performance is...

Articles : Electronics & Computers
Designing Versatile COTS Data Acquisition Systems

Designing a versatile data acquisition (DAQ) system begins by comparing features of the signal of interest to the capabilities of current state-of-the-art A/D converters. Specifically, signal bandwidth and maximum signal frequency are compared to the A/D maximum sampling rate and bandwidth. The...

Briefs : Information Technology
Progressive Classification Using Support Vector Machines

An algorithm for progressive classification of data, analogous to progressive rendering of images, makes it possible to compromise between speed and accuracy. This algorithm uses support vector machines (SVMs) to classify data. An SVM is a machine learning algorithm that builds a...

Briefs : Information Technology
Active Learning With Irrelevant Examples

An improved active learning method has been devised for training data classifiers. One example of a data classifier is the algorithm used by the United States Postal Service since the 1960s to recognize scans of handwritten digits for processing zip codes. Active learning algorithms enable rapid training...

Features : Photonics/Optics
Moving Machine Vision to 64-Bits

A nearly geometric growth in the data requirements for many machine vision applications is pushing 32-bit processing to its limits. The challenge is not in processing power, however, but in addressing memory buffers as systems fill them with ever-increasing volumes of data. Moving vision systems to 64-bit...

Application Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Designing 3D Capabilities Into Handheld Displays

For 3D viewing to be convenient on small, portable devices, it must be autostereoscopic, thus eliminating the requirement for 3D “glasses.” The display devices must also provide 2D and 3D capability simultaneously, without sacrificing resolution or color vibrancy.

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Solar Rejection Filter for Large Telescopes

To reject solar radiation photons at the front aperture for large telescopes, a mosaic of large transmission mode filters is placed in front of the telescope or at the aperture of the dome. Filtering options for effective rejection of sunlight include a smaller filter down-path near the focus of the...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Free-Space Optical Interconnect Employing VCSEL Diodes

Sensor signal processing is widely used on aircraft and spacecraft. The scheme employs multiple input/output nodes for data acquisition and CPU (central processing unit) nodes for data processing. To connect 110 nodes and CPU nodes, scalable interconnections such as backplanes are desired...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Critical Coupling Between Optical Fibers and WGM Resonators

Two recipes for ensuring critical coupling between a single-mode optical fiber and a whispering-gallery-mode (WGM) optical resonator have been devised. The recipes provide for phase matching and aperture matching, both of which are necessary for efficient coupling. There is also a...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Product of the Month: Lenses for Hostile Environments

Marshall’s Industrial and Security Division (El Segundo, CA) has developed a new series of pinhole lenses designed to protect employees when monitoring high temperature and/or hostile environments. The V-ZPL-HITEMP-A and V-ZPL-HITEMP-B zoom pinhole lenses permit reliable monitoring in...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Shadowgraph Camera

The Specialised Imaging Shadowgraph (SIS) camera from Specialised Imaging (Tring, UK) enables high resolution digital imaging of ultra-fast events in ambient and low-light environments. Integrating this camera with an ultra-fast, high-intensity spark source results in a sophisticated digital shadowgraph camera that offers...

Products : Photonics/Optics
High-Power Titanium Sapphire Coatings

Laser Components (Hudson, NH) offers solid state laser coatings with high damage thresholds, including coatings for Q-switched lasers at 1064 nm, 532 nm, 355 nm, or 266 nm. Coatings for short pulse lasers at 800 nm also exhibit excellent damage thresholds. The damage threshold measurement values were...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Highly Aspheric Mirrors and Lenses

Optical Surfaces Ltd (Surrey, UK) can generate highly aspheric parabolic mirrors with off-axis angles approaching 30 degrees and focal lengths as short as 100mm. They can also fabricate high-performance aspheric lenses with tight tolerances. Excellent performance is achieved with low surface scatter (20-10...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Machine Vision Camera System

Toshiba Teli America (Irvine, CA) has introduced the CS8581QF, a remote-head FireWire camera system for high-speed industrial imaging. The CS8581QF offers 133 fps at full 640 × 480 resolution (8bit monochrome), and partial scan modes over 430 fps. Based on a 1/3-inch progressive scan CCD, the CS8581QF features...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Sub-Miniature Resonant Optical Scanner

The SC-3 Sub-Miniature Resonant Optical Scanner from Electro-Optical Products (Fresh Meadows, NY) is an electromagnetically driven moving mirror device that deflects a light beam with a continuous sinusoidal motion. The scanning frequency range is from 100 Hz to 1000 Hz, fixed at any one value within the...

Products : Photonics/Optics
USB-Equipped Cameras

The CMOS camera models ProgRes® CT1, CT3 and CT5 from Jenoptik (Jena, Germany) are now equipped with USB interface. With an extended resolution up to 5 Megapixel and a live frame rate up to 20 fps the new USB Camera of the CMOS Line delivers faster high resolution with excellent image results. New in the ProgRes® CCD...

Products : Photonics/Optics
RTA Polygonal Scanners

Lincoln Laser (Phoenix, AZ) has announced a new family of RTA Polygonal Scanners. You may select a precision ball bearing motor for operation from 500 to 12,000 RPM or a self-generating air bearing motor for operation from 10,000 to 55,000 RPM. Polygonal mirrors are stocked in standard sizes from 18 to 90 facets. This...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Digital Welding Camera System

Invisual E. Inc. (Toronto, Canada) has introduced the ICAM digital weld viewing and monitoring system as a tool for improving welding automation. The ICAM system extends the operatorís view of the weld zone by providing real time display and capture of the weld arc. The camera is a standalone smart camera with...