MEMs

Robotic Platform

The Chaos™ robotic platform from Auton - omous Solutions (Logan, UT) is designed to remotely access hazardous areas previously accessible only by foot, reducing risk to personnel. The robot is able to navigate over rough, steep, and loose terrain with four independent drive tracks that can continuously change orientation a full 360 degrees. It can alter its pitch, roll, and yaw to navigate surfaces too uneven for other tracked platforms.

The robot features a high payload capacity and an available manipulator arm with a 50-pound capacity at full reach of 72". Its low base weight allows it to be lifted out of a vehicle and deployed by two people. As a JAUS-compatible platform, the robot allows addition of a variety of sensors and other robotic payloads.

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Air-Cooled Enclosures

Carlo Gavazzi Computing Solutions (Brockton, MA) has introduced the 715 Series of recirculating, air-cooled, rugged ATR enclosures for protection of commercial off-the-shelf convection-cooled cards de ployed in caustic environments. The enclosures withstand extremes in temperature, vibration, humidity, and contaminants. The cooling system uses a recirculating fan on the inside to transfer circuit card heat energy to the conducting walls. The walls are engineered thermal cores that provide heat transfer to the exterior surfaces of the system. The enclosures feature a brazed aluminum frame construction and are available with scalable power options for a variety of airborne and vehicle applications.

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Aerospace Seals

Trelleborg Sealing Solutions (Fort Wayne, IN) has introduced Turcon® Varilip® PDR industrial seals for the aerospace industry. They are designed for high-speed rotating applications, and are constructed from one or multiple PTFE-based sealing elements, which are mechanically retained in a precision-machined metal body. The metal body provides a static seal against the housing, preventing thermal cycling. The Turcon sealing element provides positive dynamic sealing on the shaft at high rotary speeds.

The seals reduce temperature generation, permit higher peripheral speeds, and lower power consumption. The seals offer a choice of standard parts in various corrosion-resistant materials and lip geometries.

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Increasing System Flexibility Using FPGAs

The proliferation of FPGAs into the embedded computing industry has opened up many new pathways for designers to design cost-effective systems that will withstand technology upgrades, changes in application requirements, and requests for low volumes for system components. Because it allows a user to update functionality after the device has left the manufacturer, FPGA technology gives embedded designers the flexibility to configure both customized and standard products. They can rethink the way systems are constructed and build ones that significantly advance existing technologies and blaze new paths for cutting-edge embedded systems.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Embedded software, Integrated circuits, Cost analysis
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StackableUSB™ Adapting PC Technology to the Embedded Market

Embedded systems and desktop PC's have had a love hate relationship over the years. The PC has been the source of significant technological advances that have enabled embedded systems to evolve to their current levels of sophistication, using the faster processors and highly-integrated functionality of the CPU cores available today. Additionally, the PC world has also spun off I/O buses, both serial and parallel, that have enabled embedded systems designers to expand and configure their system I/O. On the other hand, the embedded industry has often been wary to adopt PC technology due to the short life cycle some PC technologies experience.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Design processes, Architecture, Embedded software, Performance upgrades
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Using Virtualization to Secure Mobile Device Designs

Mobile devices are increasingly coming under attack from malicious applications. As more complex operating systems (OS), such as Symbian, Windows Mobile, and Linux are used in handsets, providing security updates and identifying new vulnerabilities has become more complicated. Addition ally, frequent patching and rewriting of code to keep one step ahead of hackers undermines the utility and longevity of legacy software. What developers really need is an environment that is inherently safe from attack and provides the appropriate level of security for all code running in the target device. Secure, segregated areas for critical code must be combined with secure communications in order to provide protection for mobile devices.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Communication protocols, Cyber security
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Real-Time Data Distribution for Industrial Automation Systems

The quest to bring lockstep efficiency to labor intensive factory production at first relied on mechanical ingenuity. Over time, as reliable and cost-effective microprocessor technology became available, assembly lines were retooled to use the new electronics to achieve greater automation and productivity. Today, pervasive network technology, including the Internet, is bringing about another evolutionary change in industrial automation. No longer is it sufficient for individual machines to perform their specific tasks independently. Instead, individual parts of a larger process must be aware of each other; they must exchange data in realtime, and adapt to changes in the process or environment. Additionally, it is increasingly necessary to exchange data outside of the traditional industrial network and beyond the factory floor, and to include enterprise LANs and the Internet. Up-tothe- minute information on manufacturing processes needs to be available to analysts, inventory managers, and others within the office environment.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Application Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Data exchange, Automation, Production, Industrial vehicles and equipment
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3D Stacked IC Technology (Esc Booth # 1535)

IMEC (Leuven, Belgium) has announced significant progress with its 3D-SIC (3D stacked IC) technology. IMEC recently demonstrated the first functional 3D integrated circuits obtained by die-to-die stacking using 5μm Cu through-silicon vias (TSV). The 3D stacked integrated circuits will be further developed on 200mm and 300mm wafers, integrating test circuits from participating partners. The dies were realized on 200mm wafers in IMEC's reference 0.13μm CMOS process with an added Cu-TSVs process. For stacking, the top die was thinned down to 25μm and bonded to the landing die by Cu-Cu thermocompression.

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On-Chip Debug Solutions (Esc Booth #1840)

Macraigor Systems (Brookline Village, MA) has ported their proprietary OCDemon On-Chip Debug Technology to ARM Cortex-M3 processors and is offering full GNU toolsets to be used with these processors. Engineers developing applications for these new processors can control and debug their hardware designs and application software without the use of other system resources such as UARTs, Ethernet channels, or parallel ports. Macraigor's JTAG interface devices are available for use with the ARM Cortex- M3 based cores as well as other ARM family devices including ARM 7, ARM 9, ARM 11, Freescale's iMX series, XScale, and others.

Debug method is available for hardware initialization and debug as well as Flash EEPROM programming, kernel, driver, and application software debug.

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SMP Virtual Machine (Esc Booth #1610)

Aonix® (San Diego, CA) now offers the PERC Ultra SMP with support for multicore hardware. PERC Ultra SMP is a multiprocessor and multicore solution for complex mission-critical embedded and real-time Java applications. When the Java language, initially designed for multithreaded programming environments, is coupled with Aonix's PERC Ultra SMP virtual machine, developers are able to leverage full SMP benefits without rewriting code originally designed to run in older, uniprocessor systems. PERC Ultra's real-time garbage collector ensures that real-time microsecond response can be guaranteed even in missioncritical applications.

With PERC Ultra SMP, all Java threads access the same shared objects, making them free to relocate themselves within memory. It also allows threads to migrate between processors, a crucial element to load balancing in multicore systems. To handle these needs, Aonix has developed a special patent-pending synchronization technique that ensures that an application thread on one processor does not attempt to access an object while another process is relocating the desired object as part of the garbage collection process. This performance-optimized solution hinges on the generation of specialized code sequences by the PERC Ultra SMP JIT compiler and on an enhanced real-time garbage collection algorithm.

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