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Ultra-Wideband Recording Stretches to Keep Up With Digitizers

Systems designers are always pressing for faster and faster real-time performance, and data acquisition technology continues to evolve to meet that need. Currently available high-performance digitizers perform in the range of 2 to 5 GS/sec, and some new instruments are featuring 7 GS/sec digitizers for transient capture.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Data acquisition and handling, Electronic equipment, Performance upgrades
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Using Ethernet for Process Automation

The use of Ethernet communications in industrial applications is growing because it enables the real-time exchange of information between processing equipment and companies' Ethernet-based management systems. Some of the factors encouraging the use of Ethernet technology include:

the speed advantages over lower baud rate protocols the number of tools available for troubleshooting and optimizing a network, the broad base of competitive vendor support and solution options and the large pool of trained personnel who are familiar with the technology.

In addition, the ability to bridge existing proprietary communications schemes makes it possible to phase in the use of Ethernet rather than having to replace everything at once.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Telecommunications systems, Automation, Industrial vehicles and equipment
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How PCI Express Is Changing Machine Vision

PCI Express is the peripheral bus now being adopted by next-generation PCs, servers, and industrial computers. It provides a scaleable, high-bandwidth, point-to-point pathway between peripheral cards and the computing core while retaining application software compatibility with previous generations. For machine-vision systems, the architecture and higher bandwidth of PCI Express yield major increases in achievable frame rate and image size as well as simplifying the implementation of multi-channel capability.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Artificial intelligence, Computer software / hardware, Automation
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Object Detection and Screening

Brijot Imaging Systems, Orlando, FL, has introduced the BIS-WDS® GEN 2 object detection and people screening system that provides security officials with an effective method of detecting and locating suspicious objects on a person quickly and discretely. The system features full-motion, real-time passive millimeter-wave imaging that allows users to search for potential threats on an individual from a standoff distance while the person walks through the system's field of view. It also detects liquids and gels hidden beneath a person's clothing, as well as objects made of metal, plastic, composite, liquid, and other materials that contrast with the millimeter-wave energy naturally emitted by the human body.

The BIS-WDS GEN 2's sensors do not image anatomical details or emit radiation. The system can begin imaging hidden objects when a subject is about 15 feet from the millimeter sensor aperture with an optimal focal distance of 10 feet. The system continually looks for millimeter- wave contrast and detects items based on selected size settings, with the minimum definable size of 2.5 × 2.5". The automated detection engine is comprised of three images: the real-time CCD camera image, the raw millimeter-wave image, and the processed millimeter-wave image. A graphical user interface displays up to three detection items at a time, identifying detection events in real time as they occur.

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Night Vision Systems

The Owl® and Prowler® night vision systems from B.E. Meyers & Co., Redmond, WA, can couple to 35-mm, CCD, and digital cameras along with C-Mount and 35-mm objective lenses, telescopes, microscopes, and camcorders in addition to rifles and spotting scopes. They include a built-in 200' mid-range wide-angle infrared illuminator and the original Image Guard bright light-tube protection system that automatically protects the image tube by switching off power if the unit is turned on in daylight.

These units can operate from a 1.5V AA battery or a single CR123 3V lithium battery, and weigh 18 ounces. Each unit features a 1.5" diameter wide-angle, adjustable rotary eyepiece. The Owl and the Prowler are also equipped with a multi-coated 50-mm F/1.3 C-mount objective lens with focus and an adjustable iris. The units are shipped complete with batteries and a waterproof, foam-lined carrying case.

Optional infrared spot illuminators provide, on demand, an invisible field of illumination, allowing viewing deep into dark areas and long-range image-enhancing illumination when the units are used with high-magnification telescopes. A push/pull zoom laser system allows the size of the illumination beam to be varied from wide field to narrow to match the field of view, or any objective lens optics from 50 mm to 2000 mm focal length.

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Military Training Simulation Software

Aptima, Inc., Woburn, MA, has announced the DDD 4.0 desktop simulation software for training military and civilian teams. DDD can model a range of environments, including AWACS air battle management, civilian disaster response, search and rescue, Joint Task Force command decision-making, and business management. DDD can simulate the group dynamics and interactions of teams operating in situations where personnel need to coordinate around time-sensitive tasks.

Embedded within DDD are tools that capture and quantify team performance to help team members improve their skills and help planners increase mission effectiveness. As a networked application, DDD lets geographically distributed team members interact as if they were all in the same location.

DD supports training and rehearsal applications in a variety of domains. The US Air Force uses DDD to train networked teams in Air Operations Centers, preparing them to track, fix, and organize strikes on enemy targets.

The software gives users the ability to create and modify their own virtual environments and operating scenarios. Mission planners, trainers, and researchers can modify operational roles, mission resources — such as weapons, fuel, and troop strength — and objectives to simulate realistic team activities.

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Privacy Filters

3M, St. Paul, MN, has introduced an expanded line of the 3M™ Privacy Filters for laptop computers and LCD monitors to make data visible only to persons directly in front of the screen. The microlouver technology works like vertical blinds on a window to restrict viewing to anyone looking at the computer from the side. The device allows people sitting directly in front of the screen to see their information, while others see a darkened screen. The filters fit inside the frame of the computer screen, and can be left in place when the laptop is closed. Protecting computer screens from scratches and marks, these filters also feature 3M Vikuiti™ technology, which improves screen color, contrast, and clarity.

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Notebook/Tablet PC

GETAC, Lake Forest, CA, has announced the V100 convertible PC featuring an LCD screen that instantly transforms from a notebook into a tablet PC. The portable V100 features ultra-quiet fanless design and includes a range of standard features, including a 10.4" screen, power-saving 1.2 GHz Intel® Core™ Duo Platform technology, 512 MB expandable to 2 GB of DRAM, 120 GB shock-mounted removable hard drive, integrated Bluetooth, reversible waterproof camera, and various wireless networking capabilities. The PC weights 4.9 pounds and is housed in a water-resistant magnesium alloy case with a hand strap. The package includes the Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional and XP Tablet PC Edition 2005 operating system.

The V100 features a 180-degree rotatable screen transformable from a notebook to a tablet PC, an optional 12.1" wide LCD screen, a shock-mounted removable hard drive, and a sunlight readable display. It is fully compliant with MIL-STD 810F and IP54 standards.

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Mobile Communications Systems

NEC Unified Solutions, Irving, TX, has announced its Mobile Voice and Data Unit, a mobile communications system that enables secure communications during disaster recovery. The system provides wireless voice, data, and video communications to government agencies and first responders during emergency situations. The VoIP-based system provides quick deployment of remote Internet and voice capabilities through satellite access. The system uses the UNIVERGE® SV7000 MPS to support temporary or long-term voice and data networks, as well as WL1500 wireless access points, DTerm Phones, and wireless handsets.

The system is available in two preconfigured bundles for first responders and disaster recovery scenarios. The First Responder bundle is configured for more frequent and shorter-duration responses, while the other bundle is a standalone, self-sustaining system, configured for longer duration of events with increased access to desktop phones and a voicemail system. All bundles house the equipment in military-grade portable cases and include the satellite communications equipment and service.

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Energy Storage for Hybrid Military Vehicles

The benefits of hybrid electric vehicles have been recognized by the U.S. Army and other military services. As a consequence, hybrid vehicles are being considered as future combat and tactical platforms. In order to achieve an All Electric Combat Vehicle (AECV), integration challenges have to be overcome for every system in the new vehicle.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace
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