Disposable Chemical Sensor and Wireless Communication Device

A disposable chemical sensor and temperature device has been developed that may be dropped into building rubble or other areas not accessible by rescue personnel to test the environment in the rubble. The system also provides wireless two-way communication and control to obtain information concerning the environment prior to disturbing an area under the rubble, and gives an indication of the likelihood that the area is a candidate for finding survivors. In addition, it would provide two-way communication between a survivor trapped in the rubble and a surface rescue worker, such that a survivor can be alerted to the fact that he or she should make a sound to make his or her presence known.

Posted in: Briefs, Physical Sciences, Sensors and actuators, Wireless communication systems, Chemicals, Rescue operations

360-Degree Visual Detection and Target Tracking on an Autonomous Surface Vehicle

Operation of autonomous surface vehicles (ASVs) poses a number of challenges, including vehicle survivability for long-duration missions in hazardous and possibly hostile environments, loss of communication and/or localization due to environmental or tactical situations, reacting intelligently and quickly to highly dynamic conditions, re-planning to recover from faults while continuing with operations, and extracting the maximum amount of information from onboard and offboard sensors for situational awareness. Coupled with these issues is the need to conduct missions in areas with other possible adversarial vessels, including the protection of high-value fixed assets such as oil platforms, anchored ships, and port facilities.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Technology, Imaging, Durability, Reliability, Autonomous vehicles, Military vehicles and equipment

Environmental Awareness of Sensor and Emitter Employment

Many Army missions rely on effective sensing capabilities that provide intelligence on the adversary, and protect friendly forces from enemy detection. Sensors that are stationary (microphones, geophones, and ground-based radars) and moving (cameras on unattended aerial vehicles and ground vehicles) assist operations such as persistent surveillance of small, forward-operating bases, and rapid covert troop maneuvers in the air and on the ground. When advantageous, sensing is often performed in multiple signal modalities including visible, infrared, acoustic, seismic, radiofrequency, chemical, and biological.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Optics, Sensors and actuators, Noise, Military vehicles and equipment

Applying OpenVPX to Single Board Computers

For more than two decades, single board computers (SBCs) built on open standards have been largely based on specifications from two preeminent industry organizations, VITA and PICMG. For the 6U Eurocard format, each organization has developed a platform that has provided the basis for standardized SBCs; where VITA introduced the VMEbus standard and derivatives, PICMG introduced CompactPCI bus and its derivatives. Both bus structures use a parallel bus architecture, which has its performance limitations, hence the recent movement to use fabric-based technologies.

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

Using Static Analysis and Code Verification to Improve Embedded Software

Modern software development and test processes encompass a wide range of best practices and development methodologies. Personal preferences and lessons learned — both good and bad — dictate most workflows. Customized tools and scripts are frequently cobbled together with internal and external automation tools. However, at the core there are a set of proven development and test methods that enable deployment of high quality software with, ideally, no defects. Adherence to coding standards, performing software verification early in the development process, checking against an established set of quality metrics, and identifying software operations that are known good or known to contain faulty code will bring quality and consistency to critical embedded software.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Embedded software, Quality assurance, Test procedures

Optical Properties of Aligned Carbon Nanotube Mats for Photonic Applications

Carbon nanotubes possess unique electronic properties that are very useful for building electro-optical devices at nanometer scales. In optoelectronic applications, a large number of carbon nanotubes will be assembled in a desired form.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials, Electronic equipment, Optics, Nanomaterials

Ultraviolet Polymerization of Hydrodynamically Shaped Fibers

Materials composed of stacked plates are stronger than the same materials in bulk. However, such stacked plate materials are generally composed of hard, inorganic materials cemented together by a more flexible substance, and do not occur in long fiber shapes. Very few natural or manmade materials are composed of stacks of plate-like fibers. Manmade polymer fibers are nearly always round because they are fabricated using two-phase systems; for example, a solubilized polymer precursor or a monomer–initiator solution is introduced into air by electrospinning, extrusion, or pulling.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials, Fabrication, Fibers, Materials properties, Polymers

Fabrication of Transparent Carbon Nanotube Films for OLED Applications

The process to prepare single-wall carbon nanotube (SWCNT) solutions with a good degree of dispersion of individually isolated SWCNTs and very thin SWCNT bundles was optimized. The SWCNT-dispersion solutions are so stable that they can be stored and used repeatedly for some period of time.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Fabrication, Nanomaterials, Durability

Measuring Radar Cross Section with Handheld VNAs

Radar cross section (RCS) is the measure of an object's ability to reflect radar signals in the direction of the radar receiver, i.e. it is the measure of the ratio of backscatter per steradian (unit solid angle) in the direction of the target radar to the power density intercepted by the target. RCS measurements help ensure the design of commercial and military aircraft and radar systems, as well as to maintain their performance once they are deployed.

Posted in: Application Briefs, RFM Catchall, Measurements, Antennas, Radar, Commercial aircraft, Military aircraft

Rugged COTS Military Computers

ADLINK Technology (San Jose, CA) has introduced a line of Extreme Rugged™ Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) military computers based on the Intel® Core™2 Duo and Atom™ N270 processors, the MilSystem™ 840 and the MilSystem™ 735. The MilSystem™ 735 and MilSystem™ 840 are built for maximum reliability in the harshest conditions. Designed from the ground up to withstand extreme temperature and high shock environments, they utilize an extreme rugged enclosure with fanless passive-convection cooling and provide a -40°C to +75°C operating temperature range. MIL-STD-D38999 military grade connectors are used by both systems to maximize the reliability of connections between the system and peripherals.

Posted in: Products, Products, Electronics & Computers