MEMs

Plastic Radomes

Custom-fabricated, weather-proof, plastic radomes from Mayfield Plastics (Sutton, MA) provide lightweight, durable antenna and electronics protection. Custom thermoformed from a selection of plastics that will not interfere with signal transmission, the lightweight domes can be manufactured to OEM specifications in spherical, geodesic, planar, and other shapes.

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Ultra-Broadband Directional Coupler

KRYTAR (Sunnyvale, CA) recently introduced the Model 101050013 directional coupler, which performs over the ultrabroadband frequency range of 1.0 to 50.0 GHz. The single unit’s frequency range enables coupling (with respect to output) of 13 dB ±1.0 dB, frequency sensitivity of ±1.0 dB, and directivity of >10 dB. The directional coupler exhibits insertion loss (including coupled power) of less than 1.6 dB across the frequency range of 1.0 to 26.5 GHz, and less than 2.9 dB from 26.5 to 50 GHz. Maximum VSWR (any port) is 1.5 (1.0 to 26.5 GHz) and 1.8 (26.5 to 50 GHz), input power rating is 20W average and 3kW peak. The 2.5" (L) × 0.50" (W) × 0.65"(H) Model 101050013 weighs 2.0 ounces and comes with 2.4-mm SMA female connectors. Operating temperature is -54° to 85°C.

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Transitioning Application Platforms to Sandy Bridge

Intel’s new Sandy Bridge microarchitecture is changing how software applications run and perform on server platforms. In order for applications to tap the full power of these new devices, developers will need to update not only their application software, but also the hardware platforms on which those applications run. Changes to Intel’s Xeon® E3 and E5 series of microprocessors include new instructions used to accelerate common encryption tasks and floating point calculations, as well as increased core counts and cache per CPU. Paramount to adoption is the critical thinking that developers need to consider to successfully transition to the Sandy Bridge microarchitecture.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Computer software / hardware
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Strong-ARMing The Market

Embedded market applications have entered a new era thanks to extensive software support as well as the shrinking of borders between different processor technologies enabling the software ecosystem to expand to additional technology platforms. Consequently, the standard form factors at the board and module level must also be enhanced to fully realize the multiple interface options available with new processor platforms.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Embedded software
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3D Body Motion Tracking System

Xsens (Enschede, Netherlands) and STMicroelectronics (Geneva, Switzerland) recently demonstrated the world’s first wearable wireless 3D body motion tracking system based on consumer-grade MEMS combo sensors. Xsens built the demonstrator by combining their patented sensor-fusion algorithms and wireless protocols with STMicroelectronics’ iNEMO-M1, the 9-axis “Smart System” combining iNEMO MEMS motion combo sensors and the STM32 microprocessor from ST. Having supplied the motion-capture technology for Hollywood productions such as Alice in Wonderland, Iron man 2 and X-Men, Xsens is now reaching out to partners in consumer electronics to help create unique next-generation user experiences and solutions for 3D body motion tracking. Wearable wireless 3D body motion tracking will enable the next wave of innovation in cloud-connected wearable sports, fitness, healthcare and gaming sensor accessories for smartphones.

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Thermoelectric Power Generators

Nextreme Thermal Solutions (Durham, NC) has announced a new series of thin- film thermoelectric power generators that offer higher power, more robust mechanical design and ease of integration with common sources of thermal energy. The eTEG(TM) PG8000 Series harvests waste heat from thermal sources, converting it into electricity for a variety of self-powered applications in the wireless sensor, automotive, aerospace, industrial and medical device markets. The eTEG PG8000 Series includes five new modules that can produce between 2.7mW to 21.6mW of output power and open circuit voltages of 0.17V to 1.35V at a temperature differential of only 10K. At a temperature differential of 50K, the series can produce 65mW to 520mW of power and open circuit voltages of 0.85V to 6.8V. The modules can be configured electrically in series to produce higher output voltage.

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Projected Capacitive Touchpanel

EVERVISION Electronics Europe (Karlsruhe/Germany) has unveiled a new capacitive touch panel product line called IPCT (Improved Projected Capacitive Touchpanel). IPCT specifically addresses industrial electronics and medical technology applications that until now have used resistive touch panels and but now require capacitive touch technology. EVERVISION offers the IPCT in diagonals from 3.5“ to 10.2“ that are already mounted ex works on the corresponding EVERVISION TFT displays. The IPCT touch panel features a durable surface hardness of 7H, reliably detects up to five fingers and is neither sensitive to detergents nor to disinfectants. Its transparency is 85 percent. Further characteristics are an I²C interface (USB in Q1/2013) and a chip-on-flex structure.

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Free 32-bit MCU Compiler

Microchip Technology (Chandler, AZ) is offering a free C++ compiler with unlimited code generation. The MPLAB XC32++ compiler supports all of Microchip’s 32-bit PIC32 microcontrollers (MCUs), and enables designers to develop and reuse C++ projects by making all of Microchip’s C language extensions available in an environment that is compliant with the majority of C++98 and C++2003 ANSI standards. Additionally, the Free MPLAB XC32++ Compiler includes Dinkumware(R) standard C, C++, and template libraries. The Free version of the MPLAB XC32++ Compiler — available for download now at Microchip’s Web site — has no time or memory limits, and can be used in commercial applications.

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Thermal-to-Visible Face Recognition

For nighttime surveillance, acquisition of visible light imagery is impractical due to the lack of illumination. Thermal imaging, which acquires mid-wave infrared or long-wave infrared radiation naturally emitted by the human body, can be utilized in low-light conditions to perform surveillance tasks. Identification of individuals captured by thermal imaging would significantly enhance nighttime intelligence gathering capabilities. However, government watch lists and databases almost exclusively contain visible-light face imagery of individuals of interest. Matching thermal face imagery to the existing databases therefore requires the development of across-modality face recognition algorithms and methods. Due to the large modality gap caused by the wavelength difference between visible and thermal radiation, thermal-to-visible face recognition is a challenging problem.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Technology, Mathematical models, Surveillance, Thermodynamics, Identification, Visibility
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Target Detection and Classification Using Seismic and PIR Sensors

Unattended ground sensors (UGS) are widely used in industrial monitoring and military operations. Such UGS systems are usually lightweight devices that automatically monitor the local activities in-situ, and transfer target detection and classification reports to the processing center at a higher level of hierarchy. Commercially available UGS systems make use of multiple sensing modalities (e.g., acoustic, seismic, passive infrared, magnetic, electrostatic, and video). Efficacy of UGS systems is often limited by high false alarm rates because the onboard data processing algorithms may not be able to correctly discriminate different types of targets (e.g., humans from animals). For example, discriminating human footstep signals from other targets and noise sources is a challenging task, because the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of footsteps decreases rapidly with the distance between the sensor and the pedestrian.

Posted in: Briefs, Physical Sciences, Mathematical models, Security systems, Sensors and actuators
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