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Army Looks Toward Fully Autonomous Tactical Vehicle

The U.S. Army is working toward developing a fully autonomous tactical vehicle, a robotics expert said. "When you start looking at the mid-term, five to 10 years, we start talking about tapping into external systems," said Mark Mazzara, robotics interoperability lead for the Army's Program Executive Office - Combat Support and Combat Service Support at Detroit Arsenal, Michigan.

Posted in: News, Defense
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Laser-Based Aircraft Countermeasures Protect Against MANPADS

The Army expects to reach a Milestone B decision with its laser-based common infrared countermeasures, or CIRCM, defense system program later this year. The CIRCM system, under development now by both BAE and Northrup Grumman, provides a lightweight, laser-based countermeasure against man-portable air defense systems, which are missile-launched from the ground at their targets, including Army and Navy aircraft.

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Deploying Next-Generation UAS Platforms with 3U VPX

More powerful. Lighter. Cooler. These are the key criteria for the design of Line Replaceable Units (LRUs) in next-generation Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) platforms, which continue to grow in importance to military organizations worldwide. The ability of these platforms to provide persistent surveillance of targets while eliminating the need to put warfighters in harm’s way makes them indispensable assets to commanders. The effectiveness of these platforms in the field is governed by their sensor payload and their processing systems. Next-generation UAS designs, such as the Navy’s Unmanned Combat Air System Carrier Demonstration (UCAS-D), require high levels of processing power for multiple onboard sensors, and all that power must be delivered in a lighter, cooler configuration that minimizes the size, weight and power (SWaP) envelope of onboard electronics subsystems.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Military vehicles and equipment, Unmanned aerial vehicles
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UGVs — On the Cutting Edge of Thermal Management

Thermal management of unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) is more complex than other electronic equipment because they have to operate in harsh environments such as humid tropical rainforests or sandy deserts where moisture as well as dust and sand can compromise the reliability of the control electronics. Regular open enclosures are certainly not an option; instead they need sealed and ruggedized enclosures to also withstand hard shocks and vibrations.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Electronic control systems, Thermal management, Unmanned aerial vehicles
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Controlling the Seas: Introducing a New Concept in Autonomous Surface/Underwater Vehicles

The boundary between the sea and sky is an important place to be. It’s the critical connecting layer for commercial and military information exchange between the undersea world to aerial, space and shore. Being present at this boundary between sea and sky, with cost-effective endurance in challenging conditions, requires the use of autonomous surface vehicles.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Autonomous vehicles, Marine vehicles and equipment
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Connectivity in Robotic Systems

While many think of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or space probes and planet rovers when they think of unmanned systems, the field of robotics covers every environment known to man: sea, ground, air, and space. Beyond UAVs, unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) and unmanned surface vessels (USVs) have begun to capture headlines, primarily in the role of security and defense. Likewise, terrestrial unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) are now gaining their share of the limelight. The U.S. Navy is even experimenting with a humanoid robot (SAFFiR) to help fight shipboard fires as a first responder.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Robotics
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Anti-Hacking Software for UAVs

Galois
Portland, OR
503-626-6616
http://galois.com

To address growing evidence that commercial Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), automobiles and other vehicles are vulnerable to hacking and sophisticated cyber security attacks, Galois developed and successfully demonstrated what has been called “the world’s most secure UAV software.” Galois, a company that specializes in protecting information, devices, networks, and vehicles, recently conducted a successful demonstration for the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s High-Assurance Cyber Military Systems (HACMS) program. Galois is part of a team that produced provably correct and secure software that runs on commercial UAVs.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Defense, Computer software / hardware, Cyber security, Unmanned aerial vehicles
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Unmanned Naval Helicopter

Northrop Grumman Corporation
Redondo Beach, CA
310-812-4321
www.northropgrumman.com

The U.S. Navy has been conducting ship-board flight testing of the first operational MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter delivered by the Northrop Grumman Corporation. After more than a year of land-based testing conducted at Point Mugu, California, the MQ-8C took its first flight off the deck of the guided-missile destroyer, USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109), off the coast of Virginia in mid-December last year. It marked the first time an unmanned helicopter had ever operated from the deck of a U.S. Navy destroyer. All told, the new Fire Scout made 22 takeoffs and precision landings during its first sea trials, all while being controlled from the ship’s ground control station. According to George Vardoulakis, Northrop Grumman’s vice president for medium range tactical systems, the test program will run throughout the summer of 2015 and if all goes well, the aircraft should be operational by the end of the year.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Defense, Military vehicles and equipment, Rotary-wing aircraft, Unmanned aerial vehicles
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UAV Circuit Boards

Sunstone Circuits
Mulino, OR
503-829-9108
www.sunstone.com

Miki Szmuk is an aerospace engineer with big ideas for building better unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). As a doctoral student from the Controls Lab for Distributed and Uncertain Systems (C-DUS) of the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Texas (UT) in Austin, Szmuk specializes in the engineering of small, sophisticated UAVs.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Defense, Electronic equipment, Unmanned aerial vehicles
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Infrared Stereo Calibration for Unmanned Ground Vehicle Navigation

Many challenges still persist in the area of autonomous (and even semi-autonomous) vehicle navigation for unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs). One challenge is in detecting and classifying obstacles for avoidance and path planning. The use of laser-based sensors, such as lidar, has become quite common for assisting in such a task; however, lidar systems may be too expensive for certain applications, and are active, not passive sensors, so they may not be desirable in some missions. Lidar is adversely affected by smoke, dust, fog, and rain. Therefore, the use of passive camera sensors, such as typical color and infrared (IR) cameras, has become an important research topic in UGV navigation.

Posted in: Briefs, Defense, Sensors, Imaging, Optics, Sensors and actuators, Vibration
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Simultaneous Vibration Suppression and Energy Harvesting for a Multifunctional UAV Spar

The goal of this work was to investigate using harvested energy to directly control the vibration response of flexible aerospace systems. Small, lightweight, flexible Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs) operate near flutter, providing both harvesting opportunities and vibration suppression requirements. The possibility that ambient energy might be harnessed and recycled to provide energy to mitigate the vibrations through various control laws was investigated. The goal was to integrate harvesting, storage, control, and computation into one multifunctional structure, and illustrate its benefits.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Vibration, Unmanned aerial vehicles
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Development and Evaluation of the Stingray Amphibious Maritime Unmanned Ground Vehicle

Every year, the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps conduct thousands of Maritime Interdiction Operations (MIOs) to enforce embargoes, intercept contraband, prevent drug and human smuggling, and fight piracy. These operations are usually conducted by Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure (VBSS) teams using rigid-hull inflatable boats (RHIBs) or helicopters. Key performance parameters were developed for a portable, throwable robot that can best support their missions. This robot can be used for advanced reconnaissance as the team is about to board a target vessel, to assist in compartment clearing, and for inspection of flooded compartments and bilges.

Posted in: Briefs, Defense, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Product development, Autonomous vehicles, Marine vehicles and equipment
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Pushbroom Stereo for High-Speed UAV Navigation in Cluttered Environments

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) rely on an external motion-capture apparatus that gives the vehicles almost perfect state information at high rates. Major challenges in gathering sensing data necessary for flight are the limited payload, computation, and battery life of the vehicles. Lightweight cameras are a good solution, but require computationally efficient machine vision algorithms that can run within the limits of these vehicles.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Software, Imaging, Navigation and guidance systems, Unmanned aerial vehicles
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Modeling and Simulation of an Unmanned Ground Vehicle Power System

Robotic vehicles such as unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) have multiple sources of power, including batteries, fuel cells, combustion engines, ultracapacitors, and solar cells to allow for extended periods of operation. Fuel-based power sources have a higher specific energy than batteries, which is why most current automobiles are gasoline-powered. Batteries have many other advantages in terms of low noise profile, easy replacement, and direct energy conversion. Solar charging allows for harvesting of natural resources to increase total energy reserves. Mission duration may be maximized using a combination of power systems.

Posted in: Briefs, Defense, Software, Simulation and modeling, Engines, Autonomous vehicles, Vehicle performance
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Rocket Science May Improve Kidney Dialysis

Researchers in the United Kingdom have found a way to redesign an artificial connection between an artery and vein, known as an Arterio-Venous Fistulae (AVF), that surgeons form in the arms of people with end-stage renal disease so the patients can receive routine dialysis. The new design may decrease the likelihood of blockages in AVF, which is a major complication of dialysis.

Posted in: News, Defense
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Are Airships the Future of Aviation?

Researchers from the University of Lincoln, UK, have completed a three-year study of stratospheric passenger airships designed to provide a future sustainable air transport network. The Multibody Advanced Airship for Transport (MAAT) project aims to position airships as the solution for future air transportation that is safe, efficient, cheap, and environmentally friendly.

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Unmanned Aircraft Inspect Energy Pipeline

A fixed-wing unmanned aircraft was used to inspect an energy pipeline route with a piloted chase plane following behind to ensure safety beyond the ground observers' sight line. The flight was a step toward making aerial inspections of energy pipelines safer and more economical. The test aircraft was equipped with a special sensor package to identify threats to pipeline integrity.

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Assisted Steering for Efficient Turning of Electric Vehicles

Scientists are developing a new assisted steering concept for electric vehicles. In conventional vehicles, the internal combustion engine not only accelerates the car, but also supplies onboard assist systems with energy, such as the assisted steering system, which reduces the strain on the driver at the wheel. In electric vehicles, this energy comes from the battery, and also reduces the range as a result. In this case, the steering system is assisted in an energy-efficient manner by intelligent control of the drive torques transmitted to the individual wheels.

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New Technology May Double Radio Frequency Data Capacity

A team of Columbia Engineering researchers has invented a new technology called full-duplex radio integrated circuits (ICs) that can be implemented in nanoscale CMOS to enable simultaneous transmission and reception at the same frequency in a wireless radio. Up to now, this has been thought to be impossible; transmitters and receivers either work at different times or at the same time but at different frequencies. The Columbia team, led by Electrical Engineering Associate Professor Harish Krishnaswamy and funded by the DARPA RF-FPGA program, is the first to demonstrate an IC that can accomplish this.

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Innovative Army Tool Enhances Electronic Warfare Capabilities

Beginning with the early stages of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, the Army has steadily increased its electronic warfare (EW) capabilities from both a manpower and equipment standpoint. In particular, significant progress has been ongoing since the Army reestablished its EW corps and set up the Project Manager Electronic Warfare office in 2009 to provide materiel solutions that protect soldiers from radio-controlled improvised explosive device (IED) attacks and provides them with an accurate and complete understanding of their environment across the electromagnetic spectrum.

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New CMOS Device Could Cut Costs of Night Vision, Thermal Imaging

Engineers at The University of Texas at Dallas have created semiconductor technology that could make night vision and thermal imaging affordable for everyday use.

Posted in: News, Defense
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Scientists Unlock Secrets of Super Solar Power Perovskites

The best hope for cheap, super-efficient solar power is a remarkable family of crystalline materials called hybrid perovskites. In just five years of development, hybrid perovskite solar cells have attained power conversion efficiencies that took decades to achieve with the top-performing conventional materials used to generate electricity from sunlight. Now researchers at the University of Utah, in collaboration with the University of Texas at Dallas, have uncovered some of the secrets behind the amazing material’s performance.

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Silicon Avalanche Photodiode

Excelitas’ (Waltham, MA) new HeliX Silicon Avalanche Photodiode (APD) Module is a compact, easy-to-use, analogue low-light-level detection (L³D) module employing Excelitas’ Si APD chips. The detector is in a hermetic TO package, mounted on a practical OEM-based PCB that includes high-voltage power supply, temperature compensation, a low-noise transimpedance amplifier, APD bias monitor and micro- controller. The preamplifier gain is optimized to obtain maximum dynamic range and linearity with the APD at gain adjustable operating voltage. It optimises APD operation in key performance parameters such as higher sensitivity, and better signal-to-noise ratio across the 400nm – 1100nm wavelength range.

To learn more, click here.

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Tablet Cameras

Motic (Richmond, British Columbia) has figured out a way to turn tablet computers into dynamic imaging stations that will preview, acquire, store, measure, and communicate microscope images. Built on Android technology, Motic’s new line includes two tablet cameras, the 7” Moticam S2 and the 10” Moticam T2. Both Tablet Moticams are managed by Android’s powerful 1.6GHz quad core processors using 1GB of DRAM, and both sport brilliant 1280x800 displays. The S2 provides 8GB internal memory while its bigger cousin boasts 32GB. Because images devour storage, both systems are equipped with Micro SD cards (up to 32GB). They also “play well with others”, readily sharing images and movies via Bluetooth, WiFi, and HDMI connections.

To learn more, click here.

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Spectrometer Platform

Ibsen Photonics (Farum, Denmark) recently announced the new FREEDOM HR spectrometer platform for integrators of compact analytical and process control instruments. The new HR platform consists of FREEDOM HR-UV, HR-VIS, and HR-VIS-NIR for high resolution down to 0.2 nm in the UV, 0.4 nm in the VIS and 0.6 nm in the VIS-NIR. The size of the spectrometer is only 61 x 64 x 19 mm. All FREEDOM spectrometers can be configured with a range of CCD, CMOS, and NMOS detectors as well as an optional USB controller and accompanying software. The spectrometers are robust and almost athermal and can operate under demanding environmental conditions.

To learn more, click here.

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Laser Interferometer

4D Technology Corporation (Tucson, AZ) has introduced its newly improved AccuFiz compact laser interferometer for accurate, repeatable measurement of surface shape and transmitted wavefront quality. New features include long- range wireless remote control, motorized tip-tilt and a variable sensitivity alignment system. The wireless remote provides control over instrument set- up, data acquisition and the motorized tip-tilt, for precise system adjustment without disturbing the cavity. The improved alignment system makes it easy to align weakly reflecting samples and high-loss cavities, even in high ambient lighting conditions. The new Surface Isolation Source option adds a second, external laser source to measure plane parallel optical surfaces, without the need for messy coatings or back-surface treatments to eliminate unwanted reflections.

To learn more, click here.

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Silicon Carbide Foam

Silicon carbide (SiC) foam from Goodfellow (Coraopolis, PA) provides the exceptional hardness, high-temperature durability and performance of solid silicon carbide, but in a lightweight foam structure. The matrix of cells and ligaments of silicon carbide foam is completely repeatable, regular and uniform throughout the material, yielding a rigid, highly porous and permeable structure with a controlled density of metal per unit volume. Characteristics of SiC foam include: exceptional hardness (Mohs 9) and resistance to wear and corrosion; can withstand temperatures up to 2200°C; high thermal and electrical conductivity; and low thermal expansion.

Silicon carbide foam is available from stock in a standard pore size of 24 pores per centimeter (60 ppi), with a bulk density of 0.29 g.cm-3, a porosity of 91% and a thickness of 10mm.

For Free Info Click Here

Posted in: Products, Defense, Consumer Product Manufacturing, Materials
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Dual-Node, Short-Depth 4U Chassis

Advantech (Irvine, CA) has launched the 4U, dual-node, short-depth (350mm), industrial chassis ACP-4D00 designed for machine automation applications that require two computers in one piece of equipment. The dual node architecture allows the user to install two half-size slot SBCs in two sub-systems and integrate them in a compact 4U cage. Each ACP-4D00 node supports a PICMG 1.3 or PCI half-size CPU card with computing power up to desktop Core™ i7, 6-slot backplane with maximum 3 PCIe or PCI expansion slots (3 slots are occupied by CPU card) and 250W or 350W high-efficiency 80 Plus power supply.

Currently Advantech offers two PICMG 1.3 CPU cards— PCE-3028 (Intel® Q87), PCE-4128 (Intel® C226), and three PICMG 1.3 backplanes—PCE-3B03-00A1E, PCE-3B06-00A1E, and PCE-3B06-03A1E, for use with ACP-4D00. The system configurations support the latest Intel® 4th generation Core™ i processors, advanced PCIe Gen 3, or legacy PCI expansions.

For Free Info Click Here

Posted in: Products, Defense, Consumer Product Manufacturing, Automation, Electronics & Computers
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Custom 19” Fan Tray

Verotec (Derry, NH) recently custom designed intelligent fan trays for a major defence project. The 19-inch rackmounted 1U trays have six fans, strategically located within the tray to maximise the cooling of critical elements of the electronic system located above the fan tray. Key issues for the fan tray design were noise levels, current consumption and reliability. A custom control board sequentially powers up each of the fans in order of importance to minimise initial inrush current. An embedded microprocessor controls fan speed using PWM technology.

Reliability is critical, so three separate events will trigger a warning signal: if power is lost to the fan tray, if the controller board itself develops a fault or if the speed of any fan falls below 20% of maximum. The fan cooling the main processor board is deemed to be a critical component, so if its speed falls below 20% the relay latches into the alarm position. If triggered by any of the other five fans, the alarm relay will re-energise when the speed increases above the 20% threshold.

For Free Info Click Here

Posted in: Products, Defense, Electronics & Computers, Thermal Management, Consumer Product Manufacturing
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Signal Conditioning Modules

Precision Filters Inc. (Ithaca, NY) has introduced a new family of signal conditioning modules for measurement systems built on National Instruments™ rugged, compact, low power cRIO™ platform. The four analog input/output modules condition charge, bridge, dynamic strain, IEPE or voltage-based sensors. With the supplied LabView™ driver VI, you can integrate PFI™ signal conditioning module technology with proven NI™ voltage input A/D modules to build a complete high performance sensor measurement system for charge, voltage, bridge and dynamic strain.

For applications where a rugged, low-power, compact standalone signal conditioning system is required as a front-end for a data acquisition system, the new signal conditioning modules can be housed in low-cost 4-slot or 8-slot chassis and controlled by PFI’s Graphical User Interface software with no code development needed. All modules feature fully programmable gain and excitation and are equipped with Precision Filters’ Test Input for inserting calibration signals at the module input allowing full end-to-end verification.

For Free Info Click Here

Posted in: Products, Defense, Consumer Product Manufacturing, Measuring Instruments, Test & Measurement
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