Modular, Portable, and Reconfigurable Wireless Sensing System

A modular, portable, reconfigurable wireless sensor system monitors and records environmental conditions in an aircraft cabin. By designing a sensor system that can be easily configured for different needs (with the ability and flexibility to accommodate different/ extra sensors), the system can be used to measure parameters that meet multiple research requirements. Through design considerations such as generalized signal interface, and hierarchical code structure that can be easily reworked for new sensors, this system can be used to measure parameters that meet multiple research requirements. This sensor system, the ASCENT 1000, is configured with temperature, humidity, sound level, carbon di-oxide, and pressure sensors. The system has been calibrated in the laboratory without the use of a pressure chamber.

Posted in: Briefs, Physical Sciences, Sensors and actuators, Wireless communication systems, Passenger compartments

Performance Evaluation of Commercial Carbon Monofluoride Materials in Lithium Batteries

The performance of six different commercially available carbon monofluoride (CFx) materials was evaluated at four different discharge rates. The physical and chemical properties of the CFx materials were correlated to cell performance in lithium coin cells. This study was undertaken to determine how the physical and chemical properties of commercial CFx materials affect discharge capacity, discharge voltage, rate capability, and voltage delay in Li-CFx cells.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials, Lithium-ion batteries, Performance tests, Test procedures

Nanodomain Model of Polymer-Derived Ceramics

Areport discusses a model developed to explain the unusual properties of polymer- derived ceramics (PDCs), which are so named because they are made by controlled pyrolysis of cross-linked polymers. PDCs are metastable ceramics that have potential to be further developed into high-temperature materials that can be tailored to have properties needed to perform specific functions. The PDCs studied thus far have comprised silicon, carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen. The unusual properties of PDCs are the following: They bear similarity to both polymers and metallic glasses, even though the pyrolysis temperatures used in producing them are with experimental data.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials, Simulation and modeling, Ceramics, Heat resistant materials, Materials properties, Polymers

Lightcraft Propulsion for Launching a Small Satellite

A study of lightcraft propulsion systems in general has led to the conception and analysis of such a system for launching a small (having a mass no more than a few kilograms) satellite into a low orbit around the Earth. This study built on theoretical and experimental investigations of the feasibility of lightcraft, performed by a number of researchers during the past two decades. The word “lightcraft” signifies an aircraft or spacecraft that derives its propulsive energy from a laser beam aimed toward it from an external platform that, for the purpose of the present study, would be a ground station.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Mirrors, Lasers, Propellants, Satellites

Eccentric Mounting and Adjustment System for Belt-Driven Devices

This design relates to an eccentric mounting and adjustment (EMA) system for belt driving, or for belt-driven devices, that is installed and operated within the restricted confines of an engine compartment, typically a motor vehicle. It satisfies two essential requirements for automotive devices driven by an endless flexible belt, including a reliable mounting to the engine block assembly, and a continuous provision of a proper amount of tension to the belt for either driving or driven devices. As a result, there is minimal wear and tear on device bearings and the belt, which reduces operational failures and assures maximum efficiency for these devices.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Mountings, Engine components

Taking COTS to the Next Level in Vetronics Subsystems

Embedded vetronics (vehicle electronics) subsystems for rugged deployed ground vehicles have long benefited from the reduced risk, faster time to market, and long lifecycle support offered by COTS board vendors. Recent advances in open standards developments, namely the OpenVPX/VITA 65 specification that defines system-level interoperability profiles for VPX architecture boards and backplanes, promise to take the COTS model from the board to the subsystem level, enabling faster deployment of proven, standards-based fully integrated enclosures.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Application Briefs, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Electronic equipment, Integrated circuits

Cooling Embedded Systems What Are The Options?

As the cooling challenges in embedded system applications have multiplied due to increased processing performance, smaller package and system footprints, and the requirement to operate in more rugged environments, new thermal management options and industry standards continue to evolve. Designers of systems for these markets, and especially those in remote or rugged, 24/7 operating environments, have always had to make difficult decisions regarding lifespan, reliability, and cost.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Embedded software, Cooling, Durability

The Inner Workings of Solid State Flash: SLC versus MLC

Because all solid state flash products are not created equal and flash storage is finding its way into more and more embedded computing applications, system designers should understand the critical tradeoffs between competing technologies when evaluating flash products. Most commonly, the endurance and reliability required in end-user applications help dictate the appropriate storage technology to use. Two well-known flash storage technologies, Single Level Cell (SLC) and Multi Level Cell (MLC), offer distinct advantages, depending on a user’s needs.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Computer software / hardware, Data management

VITA 66 & 67 Bringing Fiber Optic and Mixed Signal Capability to VPX

Today’s rugged embedded computing industry demands the best of technology and reliability. Driven by requirements for higher performance solutions, platforms continually evolve. Standards organizations, such as the VSO (VMEbus Standards Organization), are diligently working to bring the technology for these solutions to the mainstream. The VSO’s VPX architecture, based on Tyco Electronics’ MULTIGIG RT2 backplane connector as qualified to the VITA 46.0 standard, is the latest technology to be applied to rugged embedded computing. In addition to dealing with escalating processing, power, and cooling requirements of leading edge solutions, the VSO is now addressing the need to realize high bandwidth and high fidelity transmission via alternative media — e.g. fiber optic and coaxial wave guides. This technology is crucial in realizing the full potential of today’s cutting edge C4ISR gear, including RF intensive radar, SIGINT and IED defeat gear, as well as systems benefiting from fiber optics, including secure, long distance and high data rate communications lines.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Computer software / hardware, Embedded software, Fiber optics, Waveguides, Reliability

GPU Tools

NVIDIA (Santa Clara, CA) has introduced what it claims is the most powerful and advanced graphics visualization product lineup in the company’s history. Spanning the range from entry-level to standalone visual computing systems, the new series includes:

Posted in: Products, Products, Embedded Technology, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers