July 20, 2021 Volume 17 Issue 27

Electrical/Electronic News & Products

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Ouster-Danfoss partner to bring lidar to off-highway vehicles

Ouster sensors will be the first lidar hardware to be offered through the Danfoss PLUS+1 Partner Program, which is engineered to expedite the development process and bring higher quality machines to market faster. This integration is intended for remote machine management, operator assistance, row following, obstacle avoidance, and task automation. The PLUS+1 Partner Program is a select group of companies with complementary products -- including microcontrollers, joysticks, hydraulic pumps, and radar sensors -- that integrate into PLUS+1 systems the same way all Danfoss hardware components do.
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Control any air conditioning unit remotely

HMS Networks has just launched the new IR-based Intesis AC interface that enables integration of any air conditioning unit, regardless of brand, into Modbus or BACnet Building Automation Systems. This universal interface connects to the AC unit via the IR link that is already used by most AC units to communicate with their remote control. The Intesis IR-based AC Interface is already compatible with more than 100 IR remote controllers and their associated AC units. Simple setup and configuration via MAPS template.
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Graphene Hall sensor for cryogenic applications -- including quantum computing

How futuristic is this? U.K. company Paragraf has introduced a graphene Hall sensor that enables commercial organizations to measure high magnetic field strengths accurately at cryogenic temperatures, increasing manufacturing throughput by quicker magnet mapping and replacing existing NMR probe mapping stages. The GHS-C is the only Hall sensor now in volume production that can offer this level of performance at temperatures below 3 K. It is being supplied in the industry-standard LCC 20 package, making it a drop-in replacement for existing Hall sensors. Applications include quantum computing, high-energy physics labs, cryogenic cooling equipment, fusion, medical accelerators, ultra-low-temp research, and magnet manufacturing.
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What's a strain wave harmonic gearing torque sensor?

Strain wave harmonic gearing sensors from FUTEK are an alternative to six-degrees-of-freedom (DOF) sensors used in applications such as robotic arms that are used in surgery. For example, during some laparoscopic surgery procedures, surgeons must hold the position of the end effector (the instrument inside the abdominal cavity) while the robot arm is moving. This maneuver is difficult to perform with 6-DOF sensors only, because it requires torque measurement on each joint. Strain wave harmonic gearing sensors can handle it, and they are less expensive to implement because torque measurement can be obtained for selected joints only if necessary.
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Raspberry Pi: Pico microcontroller

The Raspberry Pi Pico is built around the brand-new Raspberry Pi RP2040 microcontroller, delivering a flexible, highly affordable development platform that can also be directly deployed into end products -- all for 4 bucks. At the heart of the Raspberry Pi Pico is RP2040, which features two ARM Cortex-M0+ cores clocked at 133 MHz; 264 kB of on-chip SRAM; 30 multifunction GPIO pins; dedicated hardware for commonly used peripherals alongside a programmable I/O subsystem for extended peripheral support; a four-channel ADC with internal temperature sensor; and built-in USB 1.1 with host and device support. Also look for the RP2040 chip to be sold as a standalone product very, very soon.
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New robust angle sensors for off-highway and more

Novotechnik, U.S. introduces the RFE 3200 Series of resilient, touchless Hall-Effect angle sensors. These sensors are specifically designed to operate in demanding environments like off-highway equipment and feature ingress protection to IP69K, EMC immunity, and a decoupled sensor/magnet. The RFE Series measures from 0 to 360 deg and can be ordered with one (partially redundant) or two (fully redundant) channels. High resolution with great dynamic response, large mechanical tolerances, and feasibility of customer-specific output options are added benefits of this wear-free technology.
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Automotive single-chip solution for ultra-wide touch displays

Microchip Technology has just announced its maXTouch MXT2912TD-UW touchscreen controller. This is the industry's first automotive-qualified, single-chip solution that addresses display sizes up to 45 in. with a very wide aspect ratio, supporting LCD and OLED display technologies. This controller reduces the need for multiple touch controllers within a vehicle's HMI display. It provides the highest report rate for wide displays and is independent of the display resolution.
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Automotive antenna-on-package mmWave sensors with Texas Instruments RFIC

D3 Engineering, a Texas Instruments platinum design partner, recently announced their DesignCore RS-1843AOP and RS-1843AOPU mini mmWave Radar Sensors. They feature a 1-in. cube form factor, heat-spreading metal body, and mounting tabs. They may be used with a PC or embedded platform to facilitate field testing, sensing evaluation, algorithm development, and application demonstrations. Automotive applications include parking assist and collision avoidance. Other applications include robotics, autonomous machines, industrial vehicle systems, and facility monitoring, as well as people counting and tracking.
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Pinpoint the leading cause of Industrial Ethernet failures

Fluke Networks introduces the LinkIQ-IE Cable+Network Industrial Ethernet Tester designed to troubleshoot network cabling, the leading cause of Industrial Ethernet failures. With Ethernet-based technologies increasingly the default for automation networks, the need for easy-to-use tools to troubleshoot these networks is growing rapidly. By combining Fluke Networks' state-of-the-art cable measurement technology and basic tests for Industrial Ethernet switches, LinkIQ-IE speeds and simplifies the discovery of network failures in a simple-to-use touchscreen interface akin to a smartphone.
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Premium Hi-Temp ETX Series thermoelectric coolers

Laird Thermal Systems has developed a thermoelectric module series that is rated for high temperature in emerging optoelectronic applications, including LiDAR and CMOS sensors for autonomous systems in vehicles and drones, digital light processors (DLP) used in 3D machine vision and advanced lighting systems, and optical transceivers. The HiTemp ETX Series thermoelectric cooler has a robust construction that allows it to survive in temperatures up to 150 C, exceeding most outdoor applications. These solid-state heat pumps are assembled with advanced materials that boost cooling capacity by up to 10% compared to traditional thermoelectric coolers.
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Compact power module with side flange mounting

SCHURTER's proven power entry module, series DD11, provides a high level of functional integration in the most minimal of package dimensions. The power module is ideally suited for equipment with low-profile panels. Consisting of an IEC appliance inlet (C14), which is compatible with cord retention, 1- or 2-pole fuse holder, and power ON/OFF switch, the DD11 is now available with side mounting flanges in addition to the existing model with top and bottom flanges. The new model is designed to minimize height when vertically mounted. Applications include medical, IT and telecom, office and household equipment, and automation systems.
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Automotive Ethernet cables

The ODU MINI-SNAP for Single Pair Ethernet (SPE) enables Ethernet connections via copper cables with a single twisted wire pair, while allowing for the voltage supply of terminal devices via PoDL (Power over Data Line). The simpler design of the new generation of connectors and the associated weight and space reduction are good for designers and developers in various areas. SPE is currently being introduced in new automotive generations, replacing CAN and other bus systems. In the future, communication, controls, and security functions will be managed uniformly via Ethernet.
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Cool Tools: Complete 3D scan and reverse engineering suite for under 15 grand

Verisurf Software is offering special limited-time pricing on its 3D scanning and reverse engineering solution bundle. It has everything needed to quickly deploy the system, including: Verisurf Scan Data and Reverse Engineering Suite with Quick Surface, Verisurf online training, Peel 2 3D handheld scanner, 1-year hardware warranty, and Peel 2 and Verisurf installation and setup video. The Verisurf Scan Data Reverse Engineering Suite is part of the recently released Verisurf 2020, the only measurement, inspection, and reverse engineering software dedicated to Model-Based Definition (MBD) and built on a CAD/CAM platform.
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Asset tracking down to the centimeter

ON Semicon-ductor's Quuppa Intelligent Locating System enables real-time tracking of Bluetooth tags and devices -- with centimeter-level accuracy even in challenging environments. Quuppa technology allows positioning updates to be sent up to 50 times per second, providing a reliable and versatile Real-Time Locating System (RTLS) solution for all industries. Users can design ultra-low-power indoor asset-tracking applications with Direction Finding features and advanced Angle of Arrival (AoA) technology.
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Noncontact measurement of speed and length

With the SPEETEC, SICK has expanded its product range for speed and length measurement of objects moving in a linear path to include technology that measures directly on the material surface. The non-contact sensor is able to measure a wide range of web and continuous materials, as well as blanks, with incredible accuracy. This speed sensor closes the gap between tactile, indirect-measuring encoder solutions and laser velocimeters, which are often expensive to purchase and require considerable effort to integrate and operate.
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Weird Science: Physicists claim new circuit generates clean, limitless power from graphene

A team of University of Arkansas (U of A) physicists has successfully developed a circuit capable of capturing graphene's thermal motion and converting it into an electrical current.

"An energy-harvesting circuit based on graphene could be incorporated into a chip to provide clean, limitless, low-voltage power for small devices or sensors," said Paul Thibado, professor of physics and lead researcher in the discovery.

The findings, published in the journal Physical Review E, are proof of a theory the physicists developed at the U of A three years ago that freestanding graphene -- a single layer of carbon atoms -- ripples and buckles in a way that holds promise for energy harvesting.

Paul Thibado, professor of physics, holds prototype energy-harvesting chips. [Credit: Russell Cothren, University of Arkansas]

 

 

 

 

The idea of harvesting energy from graphene is controversial, because it refutes physicist Richard Feynman's well-known assertion that the thermal motion of atoms, known as Brownian motion, cannot do work. Thibado's team found that at room temperature the thermal motion of graphene does in fact induce an alternating current (AC) in a circuit, an achievement thought to be impossible.

In the 1950s, physicist Léon Brillouin published a landmark paper refuting the idea that adding a single diode, a one-way electrical gate, to a circuit is the solution to harvesting energy from Brownian motion. Knowing this, Thibado's group built their circuit with two diodes for converting AC into a direct current (DC). With the diodes in opposition allowing the current to flow both ways, they provide separate paths through the circuit, producing a pulsing DC current that performs work on a load resistor.

Additionally, they discovered that their design increased the amount of power delivered. "We also found that the on-off, switch-like behavior of the diodes actually amplifies the power delivered, rather than reducing it, as previously thought," said Thibado. "The rate of change in resistance provided by the diodes adds an extra factor to the power."

The team used a relatively new field of physics to prove the diodes increased the circuit's power. "In proving this power enhancement, we drew from the emergent field of stochastic thermodynamics and extended the nearly century-old, celebrated theory of Nyquist," said coauthor Pradeep Kumar, associate professor of physics and coauthor.

According to Kumar, the graphene and circuit share a symbiotic relationship. Though the thermal environment is performing work on the load resistor, the graphene and circuit are at the same temperature and heat does not flow between the two.

That's an important distinction, said Thibado, because a temperature difference between the graphene and circuit, in a circuit producing power, would contradict the second law of thermodynamics. "This means that the second law of thermodynamics is not violated, nor is there any need to argue that 'Maxwell's Demon' is separating hot and cold electrons," Thibado said.

The team also discovered that the relatively slow motion of graphene induces current in the circuit at low frequencies, which is important from a technological perspective because electronics function more efficiently at lower frequencies.

"People may think that current flowing in a resistor causes it to heat up, but the Brownian current does not. In fact, if no current was flowing, the resistor would cool down," Thibado explained. "What we did was reroute the current in the circuit and transform it into something useful."

The team's next objective is to determine if the DC current can be stored in a capacitor for later use, a goal that requires miniaturizing the circuit and patterning it on a silicon wafer, or chip. If millions of these tiny circuits could be built on a 1-mm by 1-mm chip, they could serve as a low-power battery replacement.

The University of Arkansas holds several patents pending in the U.S. and international markets on the technology and has licensed it for commercial applications through the university's Technology Ventures division.

Source: University of Arkansas

Published February 2021

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