Features

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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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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Update on NASA’s Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

In the August issue of Defense Tech Briefs, we highlighted NASA’s Altair/Predator B unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for Earth science missions. A lot has happened in the past two months, so we’re providing an update on the latest aircraft and applications in NASA’s growing UAV program.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace
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SpaceWire: The Standard for Aerospace Communications

Developed in 1999 under the auspices of the European Space Agency, SpaceWire answered a longstanding spaceflight problem: no standard, high-speed communications protocol existed for flight electronics. Therefore, all spaceflight electronic payloads (such as processing units and onboard computers) were customdesigned, which resulted in long development periods, high costs, and elevated risks. The SpaceWire standard was developed as a network of nodes and routers interconnected through bidirectional, high-speed serial links, limiting the customdesign problem by designing a standard with flexibility, modularity, and reusability.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace
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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.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Imaging, Sensors and actuators, Medical equipment and supplies
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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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