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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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