Handheld Scanner Keeps USAF Planes Combat-Ready

Engineers at several United States Air Force (USAF) bases now use NVision's HandHeld laser scanner to reverse-engineer complex aircraft parts, which are then accurately machined and installed. Reverse engineering is often required for aircraft that were originally designed without computer aided design systems (CAD), and for which even blueprints can be very difficult to obtain.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Design processes, Lasers, Parts, Aircraft, Military aircraft

Quasicrystalline Aircraft Coating Shows Promise for Cookware, Prosthetics

A technology initially designed to lubricate aircraft parts could lead to more durable nonstick cookware and prosthetic bone-repair implants.

Posted in: Tech Transfer Reports, Coatings & Adhesives

Thin Film Fixes Flaws in Thermal Battery Igniters

Unlike alkaline batteries used in common consumer electronic items, thermal batteries are inert, solid-state devices that do not rely on liquid electrolytes, which can corrode or leak from their casings over time. Long shelf life and reliability make thermal batteries the most common device to power missile navigation and control systems.

Posted in: Tech Transfer Reports, Energy Storage

Stackable Computer Architecture Moves to 3rd Generation

Change is a concept that is well known in the computer industry. Designers and manufacturers alike have embraced this trend in an ongoing race to increase computing power while reducing size, weight, and power and cost (SWaPaC). With the latest round of ultra-low power processors from Intel, VIA, AMD and DMP, stackable computer systems need to adapt as well, especially with respect to I/O, while striking a balance between new and legacy technology.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Computer software / hardware, Product development

Small Form Factor Computing in OpenVPX

The new OpenVPX™ (VITA 65) standard helps military system designers build compatible embedded systems by defining “profiles” to which vendors can adhere when designing boards, and system integrators can use to locate available COTS solutions. The market is seeing a proliferation of 6U VPX boards, which have numerous interconnect pins and are able to support many more simultaneous external connections with a single profile. In comparison, 3U VPX boards have fewer interconnect pins available, resulting in a far wider fragmentation of profile support, since vendors can support fewer external connections with a single 3U card profile. That makes it all the more important for designers of small form factor VPX systems to understand how to effectively use OpenVPX profiles.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Communication protocols, Embedded software, Switches, Defense industry

Using FPGAs to Improve x86 Processor I/O Flexibility

By offering the ability to update application functionality, provide a reconfigurable solution and enable easy design customization, Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) technology has long been known as a cost-effective design resource. Similarly, x86 processor architectures share many of the same extended ecosystem, installed base, and multi-functionality benefits as FPGAs.

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

Testbed for Reconfigurable Network Security Research and Experimentation

A novel, reconfigurable network testbed has been developed, suitable for the implementation, testing, and analysis of new and existing network-based defenses against various information attacks. The system is based on a cluster of reconfigurable networking nodes that can be configured to emulate an arbitrary network infrastructure.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Analysis methodologies, Cyber security, Test procedures

Architectures for Cognitive Systems

A need exists for small, autonomic systems in the battlefield. Autonomy allows the creation of unmanned systems to perform complex, high-risk, and/or covert operations in the battlefield without the need for constant human operation. Current computing systems are not optimized to perform intelligent operations such as environmental awareness, learning, and autonomic decisions in a size, weight, and power form factor that matches platforms envisioned for future use.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Autonomous vehicles, Military vehicles and equipment

Circuit-Switched Memory Access in Photonic Interconnection Networks for High-Performance Embedded Computing

High-performance embedded systems, such as those found in aerial surveillance platforms and handheld devices used by the military, are of key importance. These systems are characterized by stringent power budgets and the need for extremely fast, streaming access to memory. While general-purpose processors offer a customizable solution, they typically do not meet the power and performance requirements for the systems in question. For this reason, specialized chip multiprocessors (CMPs) are used.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Embedded software, Surveillance, Military vehicles and equipment

Analysis of Voltage and Current Signal Processing in a Li-ion Battery Management System

A Battery Management System (BMS) manages Li-ion batteries in a storage system for pulsed power weapons aboard Naval vessels. The system charges the batteries with a buck converter according to the Constant Current Constant Voltage method. The BMS uses analog equipment to measure signals and then digitally converts signals for transmittal to a Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA).

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Analysis methodologies, Lithium-ion batteries, Marine vehicles and equipment, Military vehicles and equipment