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

Active Heat Sink Technology to Improve Thermal Performance of Military Systems

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has extended its contract with Thermacore to develop and commercialize active heat sinks that can be used with Micro-technologies for Air-Cooled Exchangers (MACE). The MACE program harnesses active micro-devices that greatly improve heat sink thermal performance and cool military electronic systems used for telecommunications, active sensing and imaging, radar, and other functions. Thermacore is partnering with the University of Minnesota, Lockheed Martin Company, and the Bergquist Torrington Company to develop the technology.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Defense, Electronic equipment, Imaging, Radar, Telecommunications systems, Thermal management, Military vehicles and equipment

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

Maintaining Mobility

Fuel is one of the top three logistics drivers on the battlefield, along with water and ammunition. Fuel powers the vehicles that mobilize troops and keep communications and supply chains running, and is used in the generators that power forward operating bases. Transporting fuel to the front lines, however, has become extremely costly in both lives and dollars.

Posted in: Application Briefs, RFM Catchall, Logistics, Military vehicles and equipment

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

Development of Soldier Conformable Antennas Using Conducting Polymers

Soldiers performing dismounted operations in the field use radios that have antennas with a distinct visible signature and can become easy targets. These antennas also tend to snag on other equipment or vegetation, creating a hazard and a distraction to any ongoing operation. Therefore, it has become necessary to develop an antenna that can conform to soldiers and be virtually indistinguishable from a soldier’s body armor.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Antennas, Radio equipment, Protective clothing, Military vehicles and equipment

Variable-Thrust, Multiple-Start Hybrid Motor Solutions

Interceptor boost propulsion has traditionally been dominated by solid rocket systems due to their responsiveness and high mass fraction capabilities. However, increased costs of handling these flammable motors, the need to evolve more and more insensitive munitions, the static thrust profile created at propellant casting, and the inherent performance limitations of solid propellants have motivated the interest in exploring alternate technologies.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Solid propellants, Product development, Hybrid engines