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I/O Module

Innovative Integration (Simi Valley, CA) has introduced the X5-GSPS, an XMC I/O module for applications in radar, electronic warfare, electronic countermeasures, and other defense applications. The module features two 8-bit A/Ds with an FPGA computing core, DRAM and SRAM memory, and an eight-lane PCI Express host interface. Real-time signal processing is enabled at rates exceeding 300 GMACs per second, with more than 1 GB/s sustained transfer rates to the host.

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Analog-to-Digital Converter

The ADC10D1000 analog-to-digital converter (ADC) from National Semiconductor Corp. (Santa Clara, CA) is designed for ground-based radar, data acquisition systems, and point-topoint base station communications. The ADC features a frequency of 248 MHz and spuriousfree dynamic range of 66 decibels relative to carrier (dBc), and 9.1 effective number of bits. It runs off a single supply voltage, and is driven by the 2.5-GHz LMH6554 wideband, fully differential amplifier. The ADC yields 2.52 picojoules per conversion.

The ADC's 2.8W power consumption enables system design without heat sinks over the -40 to 85°C temperature range. The ADC digitizes a pair of analog input signals at sampling rates to 1 GS/S, or a single analog input signal at speeds up to 2 GS/S. Additional features include AutoSync for multi-chip synchronization, and programmable gain and offset adjustment for each channel.

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Digital Camera

Vision Research (Wayne, NJ) offers the Phantom® Miro™ Airborne digital high-speed camera that withstands the extreme environments associated with airborne applications. The rugged camera is designed for applications such as stores separation from manned aircraft or UAVs, miss distance calculations for missile deployment, or landing gear analysis. The camera features a CMOS sensor with a maximum resolution of 800×600, at which it can record 1,250 frames per second. With shutter speeds as low as two microseconds, users can freeze objects in motion, eliminate blur, and enhance details.

The camera features mounting plates with 1⁄4-20 holes on two sides, and lens mounting holes and flange-mount Hi-G and vibrationresistant lenses. It includes 2 GB of internal volatile memory for high-speed image capture and a CompactFlash card slot. After the camera is triggered, it immediately writes to internal memory and automatically transfers images to the removable non-volatile CompactFlash card.

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Video Cards

The Matrix PCI Express 4-lane video cards from Great River Technology (Albuquerque, NM) are designed for high-speed ARINC 818, FC-AV, and HOTLink II applications. The cards can record or transmit video at 500 MB/s, are built with Xilinx Virtex-5 FPGA technology, and can be configured for a variety of video formats and resolutions. They are designed for mission-critical video applications such as digital video recorders, simulation and engineering labs, and flight test programs.

The MTRX PCIe4 HL2V is a Cypress HOTLink II frame grabber and video generator; the MTRX PCIe4 A818 is an ARINC 818 frame grabber, pattern generator, and DVI converter. The cards are used to test cockpit displays, visual and infrared imaging sensors, video concentrators, and map and chart systems.

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Rugged Notebook Computer

GammaTech USA (Fremont, CA) has released the Durabook D15RP rugged notebook computer with a magnesium top and bottom case to protect components from damage due to drop and concussion. The anti-shock mounting design protects the LCD and hard drive from damage and data loss. A spill-resistant design protects the internal components from accidental spills. The D15RP features a 15.4" DuraBrite wide-screen WXGA LCD with graphic resolution up to 1280 × 800/1440 × 900. The on-screen graphics are driven by an Intel Graphics Media Accelerator GMA X3100, which supports up to 384 MB of shared memory. The D15RP is powered by the Intel Centrino Duo mobile technology.

Standard features include three USB 2.0 ports, an IEEE 1394 port, one Express Card slot, and an RS-232 serial port. Optional features include a Web camera, and encrypted hard drives for data security. The D15RP is also available with a smart card reader, 3G card support, and support for TPM 1.2 data security protection.

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Human/Machine Interface Systems

Ocular (Richardson, TX) has introduced the Cascade and Denali lines of human/machine interface (HMI) systems. The Cascade line features ARM9 processors, Crystal Touch projected capacitive touchscreens, and processor speeds from 266 to 533 MHz. Other features include 128 MB of RAM, 128 MB of flash memory, and communications options such as serial I/O, Ethernet, USB, and wireless protocols. The Cascade 4300 includes a 4.3" TFT display, and the Cascade 5700 features a 5.7" TFT display in either QVGA or VGA resolutions.

The Denali systems feature an x86 processor running at 1.0 GHz, with 1 GB or more of RAM. Panel-mounted PCs and fully sealed enclosures are available. The Denali 7000 is a ruggedized Win CE platform for hostile environments. It integrates a 7" WVGA TFT capacitive touchscreen. The Denali 1040 is a panel PC for industrial environments that features a 1.0-GHz x86 processor that runs Windows or Linux operating systems.

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Passivation Tester

The Model 2026 passivation tester from Koslow Scientific (Englewood, NJ) measures the corrosion tendency of the surface of stainless steel. It detects surface free iron through a galvanic process that is measured as a voltage. There is no size limitation to the test piece. A test takes only one or two seconds. Electrical contact is made between a test piece through a moist pad. The Passi-Probe is pressed into the pad to complete the circuit and the cell voltage appears on the digital meter.

The measurement can be repeated over the surface of the test part at sensitive spots such as welds and seams. Values for passive and non-passive readings are included, and a standard 304 stainless steel coupon is provided for test comparison and instrument checkout. Samples reading non-passive can be passivated by running them through a passivation bath, and then re-tested. The tester can be used with chromium-containing stainless steels such as 300 and 400 series, and precipitation-hardened steels such as 17-4, 15-5, and 17-7.

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Spectroradiometer

Konica Minolta Sensing Americas (Ramsey, NJ) offers the CS- 2000A spectroradiometer for measuring ultra-low luminance levels of light-emitting devices, and for performing measurements corres - pond ing to scotopic relative luminosity. The unit enables measurements as low as 0.0005 cd/m2 and contrast measurements of 1,000,000:1. The system provides measurements required for development of organic EL displays, LEDs, and plasma displays.

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Man-Wearable Control Units for Military Robotics

It is no secret that robots are rapidly asserting themselves in today's military applications. For the duration of the Iraq War, robots have roamed the streets of Baghdad, Fallujah, and other Iraqi cities. And, last summer, we saw the introduction of the first-ever armed robots being deployed into battle — the "special weapons observation remote reconnaissance direct action system" (SWORDS) robots come equipped with M249 machine guns and were designed not just for reconnaissance, but also warfare.

These robots, however, have yet to fire their weapons because of concerns over friendly fire and civilian casualties. The Army, interested in the ways that robots could aid in fighting, has yet to become comfortable with the security of using robots in more than a support and reconnaissance capacity.

Part of the reason for this concern has to do with the way that robots are being controlled on the battlefield today. Historically, robots have been controlled from afar, by a pelicancase- based controller. In this scenario, robot operators are stationed remotely and control the robot using cameras, audio feedback from a fire team, and other cues. While this method has the advantage of keeping the human operator away from the dangers of the battlefield, it severely limits the operator's ability to understand what is happening on the ground and make rapid tactical decisions. It is this disconnect, at least in part, that is responsible for much of the concern the Army has regarding robots being used for shooting or other quick-action tasks. A better option for robotic control — and one that has gained traction in recent military tests — is for the operator control unit to be worn by a member of the fire team. This approach, though not without limitations, provides the operator with a more up - front perspective and the ability to make safer and more accurate decisions than the remotely-positioned operator.

Test Case for Man-Wearable Control Units

Last summer, the Army Robotic Systems Joint Project Office (RSJPO) hosted an event at Fort Benning that was instructive regarding the future of military robotics. Formed as a joint venture between the Army and Marine Corps, the RSJPO showcased a pair of armed robots and explored their usefulness as assets to an assault fire team.

The first robot was the Army's MAARS robot (Modular Advanced Armed Robotic System), developed by Foster Miller (see Figure 1). The MAARS robot leveraged the traditional approach to operator control, stationing a remote controller away from the fire team. While the robot was effective in achieving many of its objectives, the remotely stationed pelican- case controller revealed a couple of limitations. First, one member of the fire team had to be stationed remotely. This meant that this fire team member could not be on the ground to coordinate mission specifics and work with his team. It also meant that the controller was stranded in another location — theoretically, if not practically, alone and in danger as the rest of his fire team was completing a mission. The second issue was the communication lag that existed between the fire team members close to the robot and the operator stationed remotely. Like an elementary school game of telephone in which students struggle to maintain the meaning of a message as it is passed from one student to the next, the operator had to interpret the suggestions and comments from other fire team members on the ground. These two problems signaled not a problem with the MAARS robot, but rather, the manner in which it was being controlled.

The second robot being evaluated was the Marine Corps's Gladiator robot (developed by Carnegie Mellon), shown in Figure 2. This robot leveraged a man-wearable control unit in which a member of the fire team was able to directly control the robot via a system worn on his vest. Not only did this improve the speed and accuracy with which the robot could be controlled, but it also improved the cohesiveness and effectiveness of the fire team. The controller, no longer stationed remotely, could perform other duties as part of the fire team when not busy controlling the Gladiator robot.

The Role of a Robotic Squad Member

The advantages of having a man-wearable control unit only apply insofar as the robotic squad member provides a certain level of service, safety, and advantage. As is alluded to above, a man-wearable control unit offers an embedded fire team a number of advantages over a remotely positioned pelican-case controller. Soldiers are free to remain as part of a cohesive fire team, the cadence of operations is not impeded by communications back to a remote operator, firepower is im proved because of the local operator's improved perspective, and the setup and movement of the control unit is considerably easier when it is appended to a soldier in the field. However, these advantages come with a few detractions; namely, increased risk to the operator in the field, operator loading, and the increased burden of protecting the operator while the robot is being controlled. Thus, while the man-wearable control unit is proving to be a superior choice than a pelican-casebased control unit, there are several key characteristics that the controller must adhere to.

For the robot to be beneficial to a fire team, it must provide the team with an advantage without handicapping the fire team or compromising the mission. There are potential conflicting levels of importance on freeing up the soldiers and enabling the robot to take an increased role in surveillance and firepower. In one way, the man-wearable control unit frees up the operator when compared to a pelican-case-based controller. No longer stranded remotely, the operator is a more effective participant; but, controlling from the field means that, when controlling, the operator is somewhat distracted. This leads to handicapping: With all of the value of a manwearable control unit, care must be taken to ensure that the benefits (improved effectiveness of both the robot and operator) are not outweighed by negative consequences (increased danger due to operator distraction).

Beyond these elements, the concerns pertaining to the robotic squad member are the same as they would be for a remotely controlled unit. Servicing, transport, and reliability are likely to be similar in both man-wearable and remote-location control scenarios. While the argument could be made that man-wearable control could provide efficiencies in these areas because of the ability to directly communicate with the robot, these advantages are likely to be few. The primary concern regarding robotic control in theater, then, remains the safety and effectiveness of the fire team.

Requirements for a Man-Wearable Control Unit

In order to minimize danger to the fire team and improve effectiveness, the robotic control unit should be easy and natural to use, thus minimally burdening the operator — both physically and mentally. Weight is a key concern. Pelicancase controllers are impractical for manwearable scenarios because of their excessive weight; such a controller would literally weigh down the fire team member to an unacceptable extent. The ideal control unit, then, should weigh no more than a couple of pounds. At this weight, the soldier can easily wear the system on his or her vest without negatively impacting mobility.

Reliability is another key concern. Identifying a lightweight processor that is sufficiently ruggedized can be a difficult proposition. Not only should the processor be enclosed in an indestructible casing (to prevent it from being damaged as the soldier crawls or drops to the ground), but it also needs to be sufficiently protected from the elements. This means that the unit should be rated for extreme temperatures, be sand- and dirt-proof, and be capable of running in wet conditions. This balance of ruggedness and weight requires a different approach. Even traditional "tough" laptop computing solutions are insufficient. Robotic control requires an embedded system that is specifically designed for deployed military applications, such as the Thermite Tactical Visual Computer shown in Figure 3. Such a computer is necessary for reliability. All of the graphics capability in the world is worthless if the processor is incapable of performing in the field.

No less important for the control unit is a long battery life. The objective is to ensure continued operation for prolonged periods of time. And, finally, the system must deliver clear graphics and video capabilities, without which the system's convenience would be made irrelevant.

At the beginning of the article, we noted that the only armed robots in Iraq — the SWORDS — have yet to fire their weapons in battle. This has to do with the fact that it is difficult to make fire/no fire decisions from a remote location. The rounds from a submachine gun will travel through multiple bodies or walls, making the decision to fire a potentially devastating incident. The decision to fire is something that soldiers are trained for, and something that a remote operator, with limited information, is under-qualified to determine.

The soldier on the ground, however, has been trained to make these decisions and has a more accurate perspective of the robot's position. The operator with the man-wearable control unit has not only the training, but also the positioning to make these types of critical determinations.

It is these types of situations that ultimately point to the power of a man-wearable system. While caution needs to be exercised and procedures put in place to protect the field-embedded operator, the value derived from having an embedded operator far outweighs the risks. As with the fire/no fire decision, the embedded operator is able to maximize the value of what the robot was initially intended to provide — battlefield assistance that improves soldier safety and increases the likelihood of mission success.

This article was written by Rick Davis, Principal Application Engineer for Quantum3D, San Jose, CA. For more information, click here.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Electronic control units, Human machine interface (HMI), Robotics, Military vehicles and equipment
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Today’s Gigabit Ethernet Modules: Realizing the Netcentric Vision

To realize the Depart ment of Defense's (DoD) vision of a ubiquitous, netcentric battlefield — connecting the warfighter with critical data in real time — embedded commercial offthe- shelf (COTS) vendors have begun to deliver innovative, open-standards-based, rugged, high-speed switches and router modules.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Architecture, Computer software / hardware, Military vehicles and equipment
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AC Coupled Interconnect for Low-Power Spaceborne Electronics

An AC coupled interconnect (ACCI) has been developed that could be used to create multiple solutions to contactless chip-to-chip communications. Assembly and testing of a 0.18 um bulk CMOS chip containing multiple circuit experiments were performed. Figure 1 shows the chip floorplan, chip layout for the wire bonded experiments, and a microscope photograph of the die. The experiments tested in this phase of measurements were located around the periphery of the die in the band designated in the die photo of Figure 1.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Integrated circuits, Wireless communication systems, Spacecraft
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Fuzzy System for Fault Diagnostics in Power Electronics-Based Brake-by-Wire System

Research in fuzzy diagnostics of brake-by-wire systems focuses on the power electronics switches, since they are often considered to be the weakest link in the system. The objective of fault diagnostics in the power electronics of the brake-by-wire system is to accurately locate any faults within the circuit as soon as they occur.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers
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High-Voltage, High-Temperature Power Electronics Capacitor

A novel high- temperature, high- voltage power electronics capacitor incorporates materials of construction and electrical components that have been initially designed as a segment of an integral electronics component, package, or system to be subjected to harsh or high- temperature environments. The capacitor can withstand operating temperatures in excess of 300°C, while maintaining a capacitance between a fraction of 1 to several μFs.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers
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Cluster-Assembled Soft Magnets for Power Electronics Applications

This technique uses nanocluster assembly to produce model soft magnetic materials with simpler chemical composition than existing materials and well-controlled nanostructure, and to use these materials to improve understanding of the fundamental mechanisms responsible for the soft magnetic properties. An inert-gas condensation deposition chamber was developed, and transition-metal, rare-earth, and alloy nanoparticles with mean grain size D from 5 - 50 rim were deposited.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials
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Evaluation of Performance of WL Fe-Based Spin-LEDs

A study was performed to evaluate the performance of a recently developed type of Fe-based spin-light-emitting diodes (spin-LEDs) that incorporate wetting layers (WLs). [The term "wetting layer" has two slightly different meanings as explained below.] Light beams emitted by the WL Febased spin-LEDs were found to exhibit the same high degree of circular polarization as do those of previously developed Fe-based spin-LEDs, but differ in one very important aspect: they are an order of magnitude brighter than those emitted by their previously developed counterparts. As a consequence, the WL Fe-based spin-LEDs function reliably at room temperature, whereas their previously developed counterparts do not.

Posted in: Briefs, Photonics
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Advances Toward Affordable High-Energy Laser Modules

A multidisciplinary research project entitled “Affordable High-Energy Lasers” has made numerous contributions to the development of several types of advanced laser modules, including not only lasers but also coupling optics and integral laser/ coupling-optic combinations. There are numerous potential applications for such modules, including weaponry, lidar, high-data-rate optical communications, interferometry, spectroscopy, remote sensing, and processing of materials. The devices developed in this project include novel fiber lasers, novel vertical-external-cavity surface emitting lasers (VECSELs), and a radially emitting photonic-bandgap (PBG) polymer fiber laser. Somewhat more specifically, the contributions are summarized as follows:

Posted in: Briefs, Photonics, Design processes, Lasers, Product development, Research and development
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Lasing Consequences of Silicon Nanostructures

While silicon electronics has been a success in modem technologies, silicon photonics is still in development and in need of a laser source. Many approaches have been explored, from anodized silicon luminescence, to generating direct emissions by quantum-confinement, and to indirect down-conversion of a shorter wavelength laser light via silicon's nonlinear dielectric responses. One approach that was developed has led to the demonstration of laser emission in silicon-on-insulator at cryogenic temperatures (<85K).

Posted in: Briefs, Photonics
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Software Optimizes Multi-Core Platforms

Perseus is a suite of tools that allows existing x86-based software (in binary form) to be optimized for commodity multi-core platforms. Optimizations are made with respect to both performance (e.g., by avoiding undesirable cache effects) and power consumption (e.g., by modulating frequency and voltage of cores according to necessary workloads). The Perseus solution works by using dynamic binary instrumentation to both insert probes and modify deployed code, and by using genetic-algorithm-based searches to determine optimal deployments within the potential design space.

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Fluidic Flexible Matrix Composites for Autonomous Structural Tailoring

In previous research, a high-mechanical- advantage actuator system inspired by the fibrillar networks in plant cell walls was developed. One of the basic elements in the actuator system is a composite tube consisting of a flexible matrix and multiple layers of oriented, high-performance fibers such as carbon. By tailoring the properties of the fibers and matrix of the flexible matrix composite (FMC) tube, one can create a material that is flexible in certain directions, yet compliant in others. For example, the ratio of Young's moduli in the directions parallel and transverse to the fibers can range from 102 to 104. Strands of such FMC material can be wound into a tube at selected angles relative to the winding axis (a process called filament winding) such that the tube can contract or elongate axially via internal pressurization. It was previously shown that large strain and large force can be achieved with individual, pressurized FMC tubes, and that parallel arrays of tubular elements can be integrated to form 2D adaptive structures (e.g., skins and plates with multiple tubes).

Posted in: Briefs, Materials
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Macromolecular Carriers for Nanomedicine and Nano Devices

Tailoring the surface properties of biodegradable nanospheres and microspheres for in-vivo blood-contacting applications includes defining relationships among chemical composition, processing parameters, nanosphere sizes and size distributions, and surface structure. Developments include: 1) a facile method for achieving magnetite-polylactide nanospheres that can be dispersed in aqueous media; 2) methods for functionalizing the termini of the hydrophilic brushes on the nanospheres in order to conjugate targeting moieties; 3) development of a nanosphere processing approach that yields nanospheres in the desired size range with a narrow distribution of sizes; and 4) maintainence of all of these characteristics with up to approximately 60 weight percent of magnetite incorporated into the nanospheres.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical
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Genetic Studies of Responses of Bones to Mechanical Stresses

Progress has been reported in a continuing program of molecular genetic studies of the responses of bones to mechanical stresses. Prior studies in mice and humans had provided evidence that mechanical loading stimulates bone formation and that immobilization or loss of mechanical stimulation leads to decreasing bone formation and increasing bone loss. Other prior studies in humans and mice had demonstrated that bone anabolic response differs widely among individuals subjected to the same degree of mechanical loading. The initiation of the present studies was motivated by the conjecture that variations in bone anabolic response among individuals are attributable to differences in the transcription levels of genes; that is, they are genetically controlled.

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Characterization of a MEMS Directional Sound Sensor

There is a wide range of potential military applications in which ambiguity in bearing occurs with respect to sound. For example, autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) could employ a sensor to determine the bearing of an explosion and conduct battle damage assessment (BDA) on it. With existing sensors this is difficult to do because the explosion is too short in duration to use the Doppler effect to determine the bearing. Also, an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) acting as a quiet platform to tow a short, omni-directional hydrophone array must contend with bearing ambiguity.

Posted in: Briefs, Physical Sciences
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Two-Camera Imaging System for Kinematic Measurements

A high-speed imaging system has been devised as a noninvasive means of collecting data on the kinematics of working models of developmental underwater or aerial vehicles that would utilize flapping fins or flapping wings for propulsion. The system includes two high-speed digital electronic cameras aimed along orthogonal axes that acquire snapshots of a model simultaneously in rapid succession. The data from successive images are postprocessed to obtain three-dimensional coordinates of points of interest on the model as functions of time. In the case of a flapping appendage, the points of interest are tips on the appendage, and the temporal evolution of the tip coordinates through multiple flapping cycles is utilized, in conjunction with computational fluid dynamics and other analytical tools, in an iterative process of testing and design directed toward improving the swimming or flying performance of the model. The system can, of course, be used as a noninvasive means of kinematic testing of models other than those of vehicles utilizing flapping appendages.

Posted in: Briefs, Physical Sciences
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Synthesizing Pseudo-Finer-Resolution MODIS Data Products

A document discusses a methodology for synthesizing finerresolution data products from outputs of the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instruments aboard NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites. Typical MODIS ocean color data have 1-km resolution, but those in five wavelength bands have 500-m resolution and those in two wavelength bands have 250-m resolution. Finer-resolution bio-optical-property data products improve our capability for monitoring coastal ocean and estuarine processes.

Posted in: Briefs, Physical Sciences
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Infrastructure for Development of Secure, Reliable Software

The Verification and Automated Reasoning research group at Cornell University has been building an infrastructure, comprising human expertise and computational resources, for the development of secure, reliable software for critical military applications. Such software includes distributed real-time embedded software systems, which are inherently complex and difficult to understand and specify. The infrastructure includes both efficient means of constructing the software and mathematically rigorous means of ensuring that the software will be secure and correct by construction.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Technology
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A Formal Model of the Attack Surface of a Software System

A formal model has been devised to impart some mathematical rigor to the concept of the attack surface of a software system. Complementing the model is a definition of a quantitative measure of the attack surface as an indicator of the relative insecurity of the system (the larger the attack surface, the more insecure the system). The model and the quantitative measure are intended to serve as systematic means of assessing progress in the development of secure software; they are expected to be especially valuable for evaluating the relative degree of security of two successive versions of nominally the same computer program.

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Deciphering the New SUMIT™ Specification

The new SUMIT specification is managed by the Small Form Factor Special Interest Group (SFF-SIG). SFF-SIG is a newly formed, non-profit industry group that develops, promotes, and supports small form factor circuit board specifications and related technologies. The group embraces the latest technologies, but also has a philosophy of maintaining legacy compatibility and enabling smooth transitions to next-generation interfaces.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Computer software / hardware, People and personalities, Terminology
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Applying Cognitive Memory to Pattern Recognition

Whether you are involved in robotics or other domains, pattern recognition is essential to progress. A new device, called the CogniMem chip, offers a hardware solution to this problem. CogniMem can be considered a true Artificial Intelligence device because it has been designed specifically for the purpose of learning, memorizing and recognizing.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Artificial intelligence, Electronic equipment, Neural networks
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Direct Spray Liquid Cooling Systems

For decades military platforms have included electronics for avionics, vehicle controls, radios, radar, sonar and fire control. From a computational standpoint most of these systems could be accomplished with relatively low power devices. There have always been higher performance electronics for applications such as radar processing, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Re - connaissance (ISR) processing, and mission computing; however, high performance electronics were relegated to stationary, benign environments. Due to bandwidth limitations of secure communications between command centers and front line troops, trends to include these computationally intense applications on vehicles and aircraft exist. From airborne platforms such as U-2 Dragon Lady and Global Hawk operating up to 70,000 feet and -65°C, to a surface-to-air missile launcher mounted on a 5-ton truck called Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) in a scorching +60°C desert, the military is deploying incredible performance in harsh environments. To fit on these military vehicles, the size, weight and power (SWaP) of the electronic systems are minimized to extend the range of airborne platforms or allow ground vehicle transport with a wider range of operation. Direct spray cooling systems are enabling these programs with minimal SWaP budgets and harsh environmental requirements to use lower cost, high performance embedded electronics.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Electronic equipment, Cooling, Durability, Reliability
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Nanostructured Ferromagnetic-Wire/Insulator Composites

A research and development effort now in progress is focused on nano-structured ferromagnetic- wire/insulator composite materials to be used as the magnetic-core materials of sensors for measuring weak magnetic fields. Figure 1 schematically depicts an example of such a sensor — a flux-gate magnetometer that resembles a traditional orthogonal flux-gate magnetometer except that, instead of a single cylindrical ferromagnetic core, there are multiple parallel ferromagnetic wire cores packed together with insulating material between them. An overriding consideration in the design, fabrication, and operation of such a magnetometer is that high effective magnetic permeability of the core is necessary as one of the prerequisites for obtaining high sensitivity.

Posted in: Briefs, Physical Sciences
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