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Embedded Radios

Specialized wireless transceivers and radio modems from Ritron (Carmel, IN)provide OEMs and Integrators with wireless connectivity and COTS convenience in a compact, cost-effective package. Direct modulation with low distortion and low group delay results in a low bit-error-rate (BER) for enhanced system integrity and reliability. The Swift Lock™ synthesizer-loading algorithm reduces unit turn-on-time to less than 10ms or high-speed data throughput, and Controlled Envelope™ keying reduces adjacent channel “keyclicks”, resulting in spectrum-friendly operation.

All models meet the 2013 FCC narrowband mandate. All components are placed on the top side of a single PCB for mechanical rigidity and increased protection against damage. Narrow band (12.5 kHz) and Very narrow Band (6.25 kHz) models available.

Posted in: Products, Products, Electronics & Computers
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Thermal Cloak Heat Barrier

Concept Group (West Berlin, NJ) is developing the Insulon® Thermal Cloak™ heat barrier for use on automatic weapons. The barrier, which is attached to the fore-end of the weapon, uses a hair-thin Shaped Vacuum™ layer to halt the convection of heat and prevent thermal imagers from seeing the barrel and gas tube after firing. Thermal imagers can “see” heat coming off a weapon long after firing, even though the soldier is in complete darkness. The new Insulon thermal cloaking technology eliminates this risk. A tube whose wall contains a hair-thin Shaped Vacuum layer surrounds the barrel and gas tube. It can completely stop the convection of heat, cloaking the weapon’s barrel and gas tube with a virtually impenetrable thermal shield. Even though the weapon’s fore-end parts are extremely hot –– hundreds of degrees –– the outside of the Insulon Thermal Cloak remains at ambient temperature, virtually invisible to thermal imagers.

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Analyzer Remote Control

Agilent Technologies (Santa Clara, CA) has announced that its FieldFox handheld analyzers can now be remotely controlled via an iOS device such as an iPad or iPhone. Also new are a spectrum analysis time-gating option and support for Agilent’s USB peak-power sensors. The remote control capability enables viewing and control of the instrument via the Remote Viewer iOS application. With a wireless LAN or cellular broadband data connection using an iOS device, the analyzers can be placed in areas where users do not wish to stay long due to extremely harsh or unsafe conditions. Additionally, if one technician or engineer has trouble making a measurement or determining the source of a problem, another can step in to remotely troubleshoot and solve the problem.

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MIL-STD-1553 Transceiver/Transformer Device

Data Device Corporation (Bohemia, New York) has introduced a radiation-tolerant SPACE-PHY +5V Dual MIL-STD-1553 Transceiver/ Transformer Device. SPACE-PHY is an integrated MIL-STD-1553 physical layer in a single package, including dual transceivers and transformers. The SPACE-PHY features an extended -55°C to +125°C temperature range.

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Capacitive Touch Sensing Tools

Texas Instruments Incorporated (Dallas, TX) has announced a new software library, sensor tuning GUI, design collateral, and support for additional microcontrollers (MCU). TI’s MSP430™ MCUs operate at less than 1μA average current per button. TI’s open source MSP430 Capacitive Touch Software Library now allows developers to use the MSP430G2xx5 Value Line devices and Wolverine MSP430FR58xx/FR59xx devices for button, slider, wheel, and proximity capacitive touch applications.

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PCIe Carrier Card

The APCe8675 carrier card from Acromag (Wixom, MI) allows a PC to communicate with an XMC mezzanine module over a PCI Express (PCIe) bus. Acromag’s FPGA modules, or other XMC modules, can be inserted on the carrier card. The carrier’s PCIe x8 interface supports up to eight serial lanes for rapid data transfer between the plug-in XMC module and the host computer.

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RF Switch

Peregrine Semiconductor Corp. (San Diego, CA) has released the PE95421 SPDT RF switch. Manufactured on Peregrine’s UltraCMOS® technology, the PE95421 switch is resistant to total dose and single-event radiation effects. The switch features HaRP™ technology enhancements for high linearity of 60 dBm IIP3.

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3U OpenVPX Backplanes

Pixus Technologies (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada) has announced new 3U OpenVPX backplanes in 5-slot and 6-slot sizes. The 5-slot OpenVPX backplane features a mesh topology, and the 6-slot version has a distributed topology. Both backplanes are designed for speeds from 3.125 Gbaud/s to 6.25 Gbaud/s, and they come with or without RTM connectors.

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Eyes In The Sky

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are critical to today’s intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions, supplying valuable aerial imagery to ground forces. Small UAV systems are a highly flexible ISR solution since they can be quickly deployed with minimal infrastructure and manpower. Unfor tunately, their performance is hindered by limited bandwidth communication links and the stringent size, weight, and power (SWAP) constraints of small UAVs, which make onboard real-time processing of imagery impossible. As a result, a potential game-changing combination of high-resolution cameras and small UAVs has not yet been realized.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Imaging, Telecommunications, Unmanned aerial vehicles
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MISRA C:2012

For C programmers working on safety- critical applications, following restrictions and guidelines to ensure safe-coding practices can be painful. Features of the language designed to make your work easier, more efficient, or provide work-arounds for obstacles are often just the features that the guidelines disallow. However, whether for avionics or in the midst of battle, a problem with the software is the last thing needed. The risks prohibit taking chances.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Software, Computer software / hardware, Safety critical systems, Regulations, Risk management
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