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Membrane Pump for Synthetic Muscle Actuation

A synthetic muscle has been developed that uses inflatable balloons to produce a tensile force from a positive pressurization. Mechanical supply and ducting is used to provide the required pressurization. However, the mechanical supply and ducting that is currently used is limited in several respects. To optimize rate of actuation, it is desirable to minimize the cell volume and to maximize the area through which fluid is forced into the cell. Ideally, a fully closed cell that is inflated through some mass transfer process that takes place through the cell boundary would lead to a maximum cell response rate.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Architecture, Sensors and actuators, Pumps, Marine vehicles and equipment
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Nonlinear, High-Fidelity, Aeroelastic Analysis for Novel Configurations

Efforts to develop morphing air vehicles with multiple mission capabilities have recently been undertaken by several research teams, including NASA’s Aircraft Morphing program and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Morphing Aircraft Structures program. One such morphing wing structure is the folding wing concept. With multiple individually articulated sections, various wing geometries can be achieved in-flight, allowing for multirole missions with the same aircraft.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Wings, Vehicle styling, Aircraft, Military aircraft
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Shape Memory Polymer Process Development

This work introduces a simple technique of separately fabricating electrospun short fibers. This technique employs a paper mesh, which is placed between the needle tip and counter electrode of the electrospinning unit. Usability of this technique was examined by fabricating fine fibers consisting of different kinds of polymers.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Fabrication, Fibers, Polymers, Smart materials
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Surface-Plasmon-Enhanced Organic Thin-Film Solar Cells

Fabrication of two-dimensional metal nanoparticle arrays was achieved both by thermal annealing and nanosphere lithography techniques, which are both very fast and economic. The surface plasmon resonance of the fabricated nanostructure was analyzed experimentally by optical absorption spectroscopy and theoretically by three-dimensional finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) calculation. The surface plasmon resonance frequency of the metal nanos- tructure can be modified to match the solar spectrum by adjusting several processing parameters. These results will provide a database of the surface plasmon resonance of different metal nanoparticle arrays with different sizes and shapes.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Finite element analysis, Data acquisition and handling, Spectroscopy, Fabrication, Nanomaterials
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High-Density Rad-Hard Reconfigurable FPGA

Xilinx, Inc. (San Jose, CA) has launched the industry’s first high-density, rad-hard reconfigurable FPGA. The new devices are built on the second-generation ASMBL™ column-based architecture of the Virtex-5 family with support in Xilinx’s ISE® Design Suite. Virtex-5QV devices integrate many of the same hard-IP system level blocks, such as flexible 36-Kbit/18-Kbit block RAM/FIFOs, second generation 25x18 DSP slices, power-optimized high-speed serial transceiver blocks for enhanced serial connectivity, and PCI Express™ compliant integrated Endpoint blocks. The Virtex-5QV device offers 130,000 logic cells, 320 DSP Slices supporting fixed and floating point operations, and 836 user I/Os programmable to more than 30 different standards for applications and ease of interfacing to a wide variety of system components. The Virtex-5QV family also provides the industry’s first integrated high-speed connectivity solution for space with 18 channels of 3Gbps Multi-gigabit Serial Transceivers for chip-to-chip, board-to-board and box-to-box communication.

Posted in: Products, Products, Electronics & Computers
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Video Frame Grabber

The PIXCI® SI2 frame grabber from EPIX (Buffalo Grove, IL) supports two high-resolution SILICON VIDEO® cameras with resolutions from 0.3 to 10 megapixels on the x1 PCI Express bus. With 64 MB of onboard memory and XCAP-Lite software, it allows image capture at rates up to 280 MB/sec and capture of short bursts of high-resolution images from two cameras. Both free-run and async capture modes are provided. TTL trigger and strobe connectors allow async capture and strobe control. Two cameras can be synchronized for simultaneous or stereo image capture. It is available with a standard height or low-profile bracket.

Posted in: Products, Products, Electronics & Computers
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Multi-Touch Controller Chip

STMicroelectronics (Geneva, Switzerland) has introduced the STM32TS60, a single-chip multi-touch “resistive” touchscreen controller that detects up to 10 simultaneous touches with fingers, nails, or stylus, enabling designers to replace complex sequences with user controls. The controller combines STM32 microcontroller architecture with PMatrix™ multitouch technology from Stantum. The STM32TS60’s high EMI immunity makes it suitable for use in multi-function wireless products such as cellphones, notebook PCs, netbooks, and mobile Internet devices. Moreover, its low power consumption helps to maximize operating times and recharge intervals, and is a direct benefit of the STM32’s energy-saving design features and ARM® Cortex™-M3 processor. In addition, very-low-power idle mode with ‘wake-up on touch only’ helps further extend mobile battery life. It is housed in a 7mm x 7mm, 144-pin UFBGA package.

Posted in: Products, Products, Electronics & Computers
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Electrical Test and Measurement CD

Keithley Instruments (Cleveland, OH) has released a free tutorial CD that offers practical and helpful techniques for obtaining the most accurate and precise measurements possible using advanced electrical test instruments and systems. The A Guide to Understanding Electrical Test and Measurement CD covers aspects of measurement performance such as how to troubleshoot, how to connect, how to select instruments, and more. It also contains a large number of application notes, white papers, and webcasts on a variety of test and measurement topics. Instrument options cover digital multimeters, source and measure instruments, and function/pulse/arbitrary/pattern generators. Application examples range from accelerated stress testing to wireless device testing.

Posted in: Products, Products, Electronics & Computers
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16-Bit Microcontroller

The MAXQ622® microcontroller with integrated USB transceiver from Maxim Integrated Products (Sunnyvale, CA) features an ultra-low stop-mode current (300nA, typ.) and intelligent supply switching to extend battery life in portable consumer and medical applications. Designed for low-power applications, this microcontroller operates from either an external supply (1.7V to 3.6V) or directly from USB power.

Posted in: Products, Products, Electronics & Computers
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6U OpenVPX Radar System Upgrade

Available in both air- and conduction-cooled configurations, the Ensemble™ 6000 Series OpenVPX HCD6410 High Compute Density Module from Mercury Computer Systems (Chelmsford, MA) combines eight high-performance Power Architecture processor cores with various I/O capabilities and the scalable serial RapidIO interconnect. The HCD6410 also features the MultiCore Plus® software infrastructure, which allows ease of portability in an open software development environment.

Posted in: Products, Open VPX, Products, Electronics & Computers
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