Special Coverage

Soft Robot “Walks” on Any Terrain
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Using Microwaves to Produce High-Quality Graphene
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

Electro-Hydraulic Motion Controller for Earthquake Simulation

How do you test the behavior of different soil structures in an earthquake? Obviously, large earthquakes don’t happen often, and they certainly don’t happen on cue. The solution, of course, is to model earthquakes in a laboratory environment. And that’s exactly what is being done by the Center for Geotechnical Modeling at the University of California, Davis. Since it’s not economical to simulate the forces of an earthquake on fullsize soil structures such as one would find beneath a real bridge or large building, physical models of much smaller size are used. In Figure 1, for example, is a model of the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit transbay tube that was recently tested in Davis1.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Motion Control, Computer simulation, Weather and climate, Electrohydraulics
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Uncooled Thermal Camera

FLIR Systems, Portland, OR, has introduced the Tau 640 high-resolution, uncooled, longwave camera core with 17-micron pixel size and Digital Detail Enhancement image processing algorithms. The camera features multiple resolution options and configurations, as well as several lens options. Camera Controller software provides user control over most camera functions.

Posted in: Products, Imaging
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Color Sensors

The Series 4055 color sensors from Contrinex, Old Saybrook, CT, are used for color control and color sorting processes. The sensors feature three teachable color channels with independent 200 mA outputs, which allow for three color tones to be programmed. The teach process offers a choice of five different tolerance levels. Color detection within the operating range of 30 to 40 mm is independent of the target distance. The sensors feature switching frequency to 4 kHz, adjustable pulse delay and stretching, NPN and PNP versions, and 10-bit precision of R, G, and B signals.

Posted in: Products, Imaging
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Machine Vision Software

3D-LocateTM machine vision software from Cognex Corp., Natick, MA, provides real-time 3D position information for machine vision systems. The software uses multiple sets of features found by a geometric pattern matching tool, PatMax®, to determine an object’s 3D orientation.

Posted in: Products, Imaging
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Bandpass Filters

Deposition Sciences, Santa Rosa, CA, offers long-wavelength infrared (LWIR) bandpass filters with operation at temperatures between ambient and 10 K. A variety of substrates is available, including germanium, silicon, zinc sulfide, zinc selenide, quartz, sapphire, and polymers. Sizes from a few millimeters to more than 2” in diameter can be supplied.

Posted in: Products, Imaging
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Microscope Viewing System

Carl Zeiss, Thornwood, NY, has released a system for Axio Scope and Axio Imager light microscopes that enables up to 21 individuals to view the same microscope image field at the same time. The image generated under the microscope is seen by all observers with an identical image orientation in a 23-mm field of view, which provides users with an overview of the large specimen section. Each configuration can be implemented with standard stages, and each observer’s workstation can be configured in either a straight line or in as many right angles as needed. Each tube is supported by its own column in its center of gravity.

Posted in: Products, Imaging
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Water Membrane Evaporator

A water membrane evaporator (WME) has been conceived and tested at Johnson Space Center as an alternative to the contamination-sensitive and corrosion-prone evaporators currently used for dissipating heat from space vehicles.
Posted in: Briefs, GDM, Briefs, Green Design & Manufacturing, Water, Heat exchangers, Heat transfer, Thermal management, Heat exchangers, Heat transfer, Thermal management, Spacecraft
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Integrated Solar Concentrator and Shielded Radiator

A shielded radiator integrated within a solar concentrator was developed by Lockheed Martin Space Systems for applications that require protection from high ambient temperatures with little convective heat transfer. The innovation uses a reflective surface to deflect ambient thermal radiation, shielding the radiator.
Posted in: Briefs, GDM, Briefs, Energy, Renewable Energy, Solar Power, Sun and solar, Heat transfer, Heat transfer, Insulation, Radiators
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Funding Opportunity for R&D in Solid-State Lighting

DOE recently announced two solid-state lighting (SSL) funding opportunities. DOE will select projects to receive up to $25 million to advance research, development, and market adoption of SSL technology. Up to $15 million is available for core technology research, and up to $10 million for product development.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Government, Lighting
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Does synthetic biology cross an ethical line?

This week's question concerns synthetic biology research. A study published online by the journal "Science" details how scientists at the J. Craig Venter Institute recently developed the first viable cell controlled by a synthetic genome. According to the researchers, the cell is called synthetic because it is totally derived from a synthetic chromosome, made with chemicals, a chemical synthesizer, and information in a computer. They hope to use this method to probe the basic machinery of life and to engineer bacteria specially designed to solve environmental or energy problems.

What do you think? Does synthetic biology cross an ethical line?

Posted in: Question of the Week
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