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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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Low Power 65nm FPGA

Altera Corporation (San Jose, CA) announced the shipment of the EP3C120, the largest member of its new low-cost 65nm Cyclone® III FPGA family. Leveraging Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company's (TSMC's) 65-nm low-power (LP) process, Cyclone III FPGAs offer low power, a rich supply of logic (5K to 120K logic elements), memory (up to 4 Mbits) and digital signal processing (DSP) capabilities (up to 288 DSP multipliers).

Posted in: Products, Products, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers
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Cell Technology Tackles 3D Medical Imaging Reconstruction Challenges

Medical imaging is an information processing technique that takes data samples from medical devices such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computer tomography (CT) scanners and translates them into 2D, 3D or even 4D images. Advances in sensor technology allow for the generation of an increasing number of images per procedure and per patient, posing a tremendous challenge for the efficient, in-time processing and visualization of the resulting images. In addition, sensor systems are now capable of acquiring thousands of projections per second, literally flooding the image reconstruction subsystem with several hundreds of Mbytes of data per second.

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User Programmable FPGAs Power CompactRIO Embedded Systems

With a laundry list of design constraints, including a combination of real-time requirements, reliability/durability requests, and functionality and performance needs, it’s not surprising that engineers may find successfully building a competitive embedded solution difficult. To simplify the process, National Instruments developed a rugged, new high-performance embedded system, called CompactRIO, that combines the processing power and flexibility of a field-programmable gate array (FPGA) with the reliability of a real-time processor.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Integrated circuits, Product development, Reliability
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Using RapidIO® Technology as a System-Level Fabric

Both Serial RapidIO and Ethernet are being used as a backplane interconnect technology in a wide range of embedded applications. Many suppliers support both standards and let designers choose to work with whichever interconnect they feel is best. This neutral position provides interesting insights into both of these technologies. From a high-level point of view, it seems as if these two technologies are in stiff competition with each other. While Ethernet is certainly the incumbent technology, Serial RapidIO has had a huge uptake in adoption over the past year, with more silicon vendors supporting the standard than was originally anticipated.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Embedded software
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Ruggedized Hard Disk Drives Keep Data Safe In Harsh Environments

Conventional hard disk drives (HDDs) are designed to reliably operate in the hospitable physical surroundings of interior deployments, which are typically characterized by mild temperatures, stable humidity and modest levels of vibration. By contrast, outdoor and mobile storage environments can entail anything from sweltering heat or sub-zero frost to oppressive dampness and pounding vibration. And all may be encountered miles above sea level. So it’s no surprise that bringing the benefits of HDD-based storage to outdoor and mobile settings such as automotive, industrial PC, field computing, and military applications poses a formidable challenge to engineers.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Application Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Computer software / hardware, Durability
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