Omniscient Code Generation for 8-, 16- and 32-bit Microcontrollers

C-language programs are usually developed by teams of engineers who are often geographically dispersed, leading to redundant code and inconsistent variable declarations between modules. Traditional compilation technology compiles each module separately with no regard for what goes on in the other modules and with no information about how pointers, stacks, variables and functions are used throughout the whole program. Traditional compilers tend to over-allocate memory space for pointers, stacks and registers. They are unable to fully exploit the wide variety of memory maps, and register and stack configurations available in today’s micro-controllers. All too often, the programmer must resort to manual optimizations that compromise portability (Figure 1).

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Design processes, Architecture, Computer software / hardware

Using AdvancedTCA and MicroTCA in High-Availability Military Systems

The complexity of military and aerospace systems is growing — more components, interfaces, power, bandwidth, processing, features, and data — and these systems are being networked to form even more complex "systems of systems." Modern networkc-entric systems can contain hundreds, even thousands of electronic modules.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Computer software / hardware, Data management, Defense industry, Systems management

Multipurpose Transaction Protocol: A New Data Transport Model

It is no secret that high-performance and the Internet are often seen as contradictory terms. Even private IP networks see serious performance challenges once they extend beyond the local building and around the globe. As devices and their users become more mobile, it has become critical to design with high-speed, Wide Area Networks in mind. But software and hardware designers are traditionally given few choices and little control for ensuring high network performance.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Communication protocols, Data exchange, Internet

Wireless Electronic Patches Improve Medical Data and Patient Mobility

Non-invasive and ambulatory monitoring of body parameters is receiving much interest from the medical, sports and entertainment world. Possible applications are the monitoring of brain waves to detect epilepsy, monitoring of muscle activity during an athlete's training, and monitoring of heart rate during gaming. The idea is to develop small, low-power, autonomous biomedical monitoring systems that collect and process data from human body sensors and wirelessly transmit the data to a central monitoring system.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Application Briefs, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Sensors and actuators, Wireless communication systems, Diagnosis, Medical equipment and supplies

Detecting Explosives by Use of LIBS

Laser-induced breakdown spectros - copy (LIBS) has been investigated for potential utility as a means of detecting trace amounts of chemical explosives and residues thereof in lawenforcement, forensic analysis, and military settings. In LIBS (see figure), a laser is used to rapidly generate a microplasma of a sample, and the light emitted by the microplasma is analyzed to identify (and determine the intensities of) spectral lines of elements and compounds in the sample. In previous applications for purposes other than detection of explosives, LIBS has been shown to enable remote, rapid, multielement micro-analysis of bulk samples (solid, liquid, gas, aerosol) of compounds having concentrations in the parts-per-million range.

Posted in: Briefs, Physical Sciences, Lasers, Spectroscopy, Chemicals, Hazards and emergency management, Rescue and emergency vehicles and equipment

NO-Generating Coats for Subcutaneous Glucose Sensors

In a research program now in progress, polymeric materials that catalyze the generation of nitric oxide (NO) at low concentrations are being developed and tested for utility as coatings on surgically implantable amperometric glucose sensors. Heretofore, efforts to develop subcutaneous sensors for real-time clinical monitoring of glucose concentrations in diabetic patients have been stymied by inflammatory/foreign-body responses to implantation of sensors. The present research program follows from an observation, made in a related prior research program, that local generation of NO at low concentrations enhances the biocompatibility of implanted sensors by reducing inflammatory responses.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical, Sensors and actuators, Nitrogen oxides, Prostheses and implants, Coatings Colorants and Finishes

Fusion of Image- and Inertial-Sensor Data for Navigation

Amethod of real-time fusion of readout data from electronic inertial and image sensors for passive navigation has been developed. By "passive navigation" is meant navigation without the help of radar signals, Lidar signals, Global Positioning System (GPS) signals, or any other signals generated by on-board or external equipment. The concept of fusion of image- and inertial- sensor data for passive navigation is inspired by biological examples, including those of bees, migratory birds, and humans, all of which utilize inertial and imaging sensory modalities to pick out landmarks and navigate from landmark to landmark with relative ease. The present method is suitable for use in a variety of environments, including urban canyons and interiors of buildings, where GPS signals and other navigation signals are often unavailable or corrupted.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Technology, Mathematical models, Navigation and guidance systems, Data management

MEMS Offset-Beam Torsional Electrothermal Actuators

Prototypes of microelectromechanical system (MEMS) rotational actuators based on a principle of torsion induced by thermal expansion of electrically heated offset beams have been designed, fabricated, and tested. It is envisioned that after further development, these actuators might be used to satisfy stringent competing requirements for smaller, larger-force, largerdisplacement actuators in increasingly complex MEMS systems. Until now, MEMS thermal actuators have been regarded as inefficient and capable of producing, variously, either large forces and small displacements or small forces and large displacements. The actuators of the present type are intended to overcome some of the deficiencies heretofore attributed to MEMS thermal actuators by producing medium displacements and medium forces.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Microelectricmechanical device, Sensors and actuators

Update on Implantable Sensors for Metabolic Monitoring

Progress has been made in a continuing effort to develop surgically implantable, biocompatible electrochemical- sensor arrays for continuous measurement of concentrations of analytes that play major roles in human and animal metabolism. This development at an earlier stage was described in "Implantable Electrochemical Sensors for Metabolic Monitoring" (ARL-0017), Defense Tech Briefs, Vol. 1, No. 4 (August 2007), page 28. To recapitulate: in the electrochemical-monitoring approach followed in this development effort, cyclic voltammetry, amperometry, squarewave voltammetry, or a combination of these techniques is used to measure the rate of catalytic oxidation of glucose by the enzyme glucose oxidase (GOX) in a reaction mediated by poly[vinyl pyridine Os(bipyridine)2Cl]- co-ethylamine (POs- EA), which is an osmium-based polycationic redox polymer. To ensure biocompatibility, the GOX is entrapped in a poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate (PEGDA) hydrogel that has previously been demonstrated to be biocompatible.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical, Architecture, Biological sciences, Prostheses and implants, Polymers

Use of a Heat Pipe to Cool Aircraft Electronics

The first steps have been taken in a continuing project to study the suitability of dissipating heat from electronic and electric-actuator equipment aboard an aircraft by using a loop heat pipe, containing water as the working fluid, that delivers the heat to the exterior aircraft skin. The first steps include the following:

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Avionics, Water, Cooling, Hoses