Articles

Articles : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Meet the Judges, "Create the Future" 2007 Design Contest
Articles : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Contest Sponsors, "Create the Future" 2007 Design Contest
Articles : Motion Control
Linear Motors and Actuators Meets Automation Needs

Linear motors and actuators are now cost-competitive with ball screws and belt drives and offer distinctly superior agility and bandwidth for advanced positioning applications. New micromotors and actuators are helping to automate tasks not previously feasible. Direct linear drives are...

Articles : Motion Control
Motion Control Components Lend Hand to Biomedical Applications

The worlds of biomedical and motion control are joining at the hip, with motors, controllers, actuators, and other motion control components becoming key elements in advanced biomedical applications ranging from fluid dispensers to imaging tables to surgical simulation systems.

Articles : Photonics/Optics
Thermographic Imaging Selecting an IR Camera with the Right Detector

The thermographic imaging characteristics of an IR camera are largely determined by its detector assembly. Infrared radiation (IR) is focused onto the camera’s detector assembly, which is a focal plane array (FPA) that converts IR into a visual image depicting temperature...

Articles : Automotive
From NASA to NASCAR: Space-Age Technology Finds Its Way into Auto Racing

Although it may not be obvious to the untrained eye, a number of technical innovations developed for aerospace and defense applications have found their way into the sport of auto racing. Take thermal barriers and driver “cool suits,” for example. Heat coming from the...

Articles : Electronics & Computers
Static vs. Dynamic Detection of Bugs in Safety-Critical Code

In the never-ending quest to produce high-quality software, traditional dynamic testing plays a fundamental role. The weakness of dynamic testing is that it is only as good as the test cases. To be effective, a great deal of effort must go into writing or generating good test cases,...

Articles : Imaging
Machine Vision and Smart Cameras: Powerful Tools for Machine Builders

Machine builders in this day and age are part of a fast-growing and rapidly changing industry sector. With vast improvements in commercial off-the-shelf products for measurement and control, as well as falling prices, machine builders can now take advantage of an assortment of...

Articles : Imaging
Enhancing Image Clarity in the SWIR

A chromatic or color-corrected lenses for use in the visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum have been addressed in literature, textbooks, and industry journals as early as the 18th Century. Many of these accounts by scientists and optical designers detail a method of selecting two dissimilar materials...

Articles : Electronics & Computers
Taking the Sting Out of Multiprocessor DSP Application Development

Systems engineers face a number of challenges when configuring and programming a complex, heterogeneous multiprocessor system of the type often used in digital signal processing applications. These include:

Articles : Electronics & Computers
Using CompactPCI to Build Rugged Embedded Systems

The task-specific nature of an embedded system application typically defines a narrow scope of performance requirements. But the range of options for achieving those requirements are broad — from multicore processors and rugged single board computers (SBCs) to I/O devices and the bus...

Articles : Medical
NASA-Inspired Shape-Sensing Fibers Enable Minimally Invasive Surgery

Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS) is a new class of surgical procedures in which the operation is performed with surgical instruments inserted through small incisions in the body. In contrast to open surgery, in which the organ or tissue is exposed through large incisions in the...

Articles : Electronics & Computers
How a Supercomputing Innovation Accelerated a Business
Larry Lukis
Founder and CTO
Proto Labs, Inc.
Maple Plain, MN

Proto Labs is a quick-response custom manufacturer that provides design engineers with prototypes of plastic parts faster than anyone in the world. Our Protomold division produces prototypes (and short...

Articles : Motion Control
Protecting AC Motors From Destructive Shaft Currents

The use of variable-frequency drives (VFDs) to control AC motors has increased dramatically in recent years. In addition to low operating cost and high performance, they save energy. Today, the challenge facing system designers and engineers is to minimize damage to AC motors from shaft...

Articles : Motion Control
Getting on the Right Motion Bus

As modern machines have become more advanced, the complexity involved in motion control has escalated. Today, servos have replaced cams and gears on machines and multiple axis of synchronized motion control have become commonplace. Distributed motion control requires busses able to handle rigid jitter and timing...

Articles : Motion Control
Integrated Motor Control Meets Aviation Needs

The trend in aircraft design is toward more efficient brushless DC motors. A integrated motor drive module for brushless DC motors from International Rectifier (El Segundo, CA) reduces the effort of programming the motor control and simplifies certification. Because the device is configured for...

Articles : Photonics/Optics
Fiber Optic Communications Systems

Communications and, more recently telecommunications, are needs deeply engrained in human history. These needs have significantly evolved over time enabling today’s content-rich (text, music, images and video, etc), real-time and multi-location exchanges through electrical, optical or, more broadly,...

Articles : Software
CAD Tools: Usability versus Capabilities

CAD software has come a long way in terms of ease of use, interoperability, speed, and capabilities. But there is still a long way to go. We spoke to executives at leading CAD software companies to find out what’s most important to their users, and what the next revolution in CAD software will be.

Articles : Electronics & Computers
Z-RAM

In the electronics industry today there are two commonly used high-speed memory types: static RAM (SRAM) and dynamic RAM (DRAM). Traditionally, SRAM embedded memory has been the designer's choice for fast memory, but since a typical SRAM bitcell is comprised of six transistors, that benefit comes at the expense of cost and silicon area....

Articles : Electronics & Computers
Designing Configurable Air Transport Racks

High-powered embedded computing equipment utilizing the Air Transport Rack (ATR) form factor is playing an ever-larger role in extreme, mission-critical applications in air, land, and sea environments. This compact, rugged, and light form factor has been around for nearly 70 years. Its small size meets...

Articles : Electronics & Computers
Designing COTS Computers for Harsh Environments

The need for commercial off the shelf (COTS) single board computer (SBC) products continues to grow as higher processing, smaller footprints and lower power requirements become more critical. For design engineers in medical, military, industrial, aeronautics and other fields, the desire for reduced...

Articles : Photonics/Optics
Combining Multimode Emissions from Broad Area Laser Diodes into Single-Mode Spots without Feedback

Broad-area laser diodes are the most efficient coherent light sources and are widely used today. The extraordinary efficiency, modulation easiness, availability to virtually any wavelength and compactness are the principle drives stimulating the...

Articles : Research Lab
2007: The Year in Technology

In 2007, we focused on the global climate, and as gas prices soared, more novel technologies emerged in the development of alternative fuel and power sources. Once again, electronics and computers became smaller, faster, and cheaper, thanks to advances in nano-engineering and alternative battery technologies....

Articles : Software
Open Innovation Model Helps P&G “Connect and Develop”
By Ed Getty
Research Fellow
Procter & Gamble
Cincinnati, OH

For almost 165 of Procter & Gamble’s 170-year history, nearly all growth came from innovating within the walls of our own R&D organization. In 2000, our newly appointed CEO, A.G. Lafley,...

Articles : Electronics & Computers
Taking PC/104 CPU Boards to the Next Performance Level

Since their introduction in 1991, PC/104 standard based systems have been widely adopted in various applications. Unmanned aircraft control, onboard vehicle control and navigation systems, personal communicators, add-on cards for customer specific boards, all utilize PC/104 technology. Many...

Articles : Motion Control
Motion Control Market Marches Toward Higher Integration and Performance

Evolutionary rather than revolutionary changes characterize the motion control market. Motors and motor controllers continue to gravitate toward higher performance and functionality as market demands become more stringent. At the same time, higher levels of intelligence —...

Articles : Imaging
Ultra-High-Speed Thermography Reveals Hidden Features of Hot, Fast-Moving Objects

Most of us have seen still images or slow-motion video of fast-moving objects, such as a missile in flight or a humming bird flapping its wings. Both scenarios are possible with high-speed visible image cameras using ultra-short exposure times and triggered strobe...

Articles : Imaging
Compact Vision for Development and Control of Unmanned Underwater Vehicles

The Mobile & Marine Robotics Research Centre (MMRRC) at the University of Limerick in Ireland created a generic solution for underwater development. During research cruises in February and June of 2005 with the RV Celtic Explorer, MMRRC researchers identified weak points...

Articles : Software
Industry Update: Analysis & Simulation Software

Multiphysics, simulation lifecycle management, unified simulation, and other terms are becoming the new trends in analysis and simulation software. There are new capabilities, new options for analysis and simulation management, and even room for growth in the market. We polled executives from...

Articles : Photonics/Optics
Image Sensors Decades Old But Not Yet Mature

There’s no rule that says when a technology becomes mature, but one might think that image sensors would be by now, 40 years after their conception. Nothing could be further from the truth. After decades of use in fax machines, scanners, and camcorders, image sensors are now in the largest growth...