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System Could Detect Concealed Person-Borne Bombs at a Distance

The recent tragic events at the Boston Marathon illustrate the growing and critical need for the detection of person-borne improvised explosive devices (PBIEDS). Such systems, in fact, are currently under development under the guidance and supervision of the Department of Homeland Security. These sophisticated next-generation radar systems are being designed to detect bombers at long distances, in crowded areas, and even at non-fixed locations.

Posted in: Articles, RFM Catchall, Aerospace, Radar, Security systems, Sensors and actuators
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CompactPCI Steps Into the Future

CompactPCI Serial has proven to be a beneficial technology upgrade for a number of embedded systems designers accustomed to working with the legacy CompactPCI platform. Not only does CompactPCI Serial bring modern serial interfaces and a ruggedized connector scheme into play, but it also provides significant cost advantages while adhering to many known design principles, lessening a developer’s need to learn a new and complex technology.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, CAD / CAM / CAE, Architecture, Embedded software
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The Evolution of AdvancedTCA: From telecommunications to military, aerospace and security

The Advanced Telecom Computing Architecture (AdvancedTCA® or ATCA®) is a series of open standard computing platform specifications originally ratified in 2002 to meet the needs of carrier grade communications equipment, primarily for core network telecommunications applications. In the 11 years since ATCA products first appeared on the market, there have been numerous advances in the governing standard, the products available, and the products and applications that are driving its adoption and growth.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Telecommunications, Defense industry
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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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