November 07, 2017 Volume 13 Issue 41

Electrical/Electronic News & Products

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Cool Tools: You'll FLIP over this inspection system

Who doesn't like a little flexibility these days? The L.S. Starrett Company has just introduced the HVR100-FLIP, an innovative large field-of-vision (FOV) Benchtop Vision Measurement System that can be used in either a vertical or horizontal orientation and features a high-resolution digital video camera and minimal optical distortion for accurate FOV measurements of up to 90 mm (3.65 in.). The changeable orientation lends itself to an extremely wide array of applications, from flat parts such as gaskets and seals to turned and threaded parts. Includes a 24-in. LCD touch-screen monitor, LED ring light, and motorized drive. Auto Part Recognition can be set to recognize and inspect a part in a few seconds.
Click here to learn more.


World's first solid-state 3D LiDAR IC receives two CES 2018 Innovation Awards

LiDAR laser surveying tech is now available to the masses. LeddarTech is the developer and owner of Leddar, a patented solid-state LiDAR sensing technology that constitutes a novel approach to light detection and ranging. Their product recently one two CES 2018 Innovation Awards in the categories of "Embedded Technologies" and "Vehicle Intelligence and Self-Driving." Up to now, this high-resolution 3D-mapping technology has been very expensive to incorporate into planes, autonomous cars, and drones. This advancement should help push forward large-scale production of automotive-grade LiDAR at an affordable price for mass-market vehicles.
Learn more about this exciting technology.


MEMS inertial accelerometers for drones and more

The Silicon Designs Model 1525 Series tactical-grade MEMS inertial accelerometer family is ideal for zero-to-medium frequency instrumentation applications that require high repeatability, low noise, and maximum stability, including tactical guidance systems, navigation and control systems (GN&C), AHRS, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs), remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), robotic controllers, flight control systems, and marine- and land-based navigation systems. They may also be used to support critical industrial test requirements, such as those common to agricultural, oil and gas drilling, photographic and meteorological drones, as well as seismic and inertial measurements.
Click here to learn more.


First 7-axis motion and pressure sensor

TDK has announced the availability of the InvenSense ICM-20789 MEMS 7-axis integrated inertial device, combining a 3-axis gyroscope, 3-axis accelerometer, and an ultra low-noise MEMS capacitive barometric pressure sensor. The ICM-20789 features a single small footprint, with the industry’s lowest pressure noise of 0.4Pa RMS and excellent temperature stability with a temp coefficient of +/-0.5 Pa/°C. Applications include: drones and flying toys; smart watches, wearables, activity monitoring; motion-based gaming controllers; virtual reality headsets and controllers; and indoor and outdoor navigation.
Click here to learn more.


Energy Harvesting Applications Design Kit (limited release)

AVX has announced the limited release of its new Energy Harvesting Application Design Kit. The kit features a wide range of low-loss components hand-selected to provide engineers with ideal solutions for energy storage, blocking, IC support, output filtering, and external connections in thermoelectric generators, solar cells, piezoelectric devices, and micro wind turbines. Parts include MLCCs, supercapacitors, Schottky diodes, inductors, and connectors. The kit also comes with a booklet that provides users with a brief introduction to energy harvesting and additional information about the components it contains.
Click here to learn more.


New multi-turn sensors with a clutch

Novotechnik, U.S. introduces the ML Series of Multi-Turn Rotary Sensors. These sensors feature a unique friction clutch instead of the end-stops typically found on mechanical multi-turn sensors. The clutch produces a click sound to let users know they have reached end-of-range, and it permits continued turn past end-scale. Compare this feature to a device simply breaking as it is turned past its end-stops. Compact in size, ML Series sensors have a 1/2-in.-sq profile and include models with 6, 10, 25, 50, or 100 turns. Applications include forklifts, sliding gates, electric drive feedback, compactors, and medical devices.
Click here to learn more.


Multi-switch detection interface for automotive

Automotive body control modules (BCMs) are electronic control units that manage numerous vehicle comfort, convenience, and lighting functions, including door locks, windows, chimes, closure sensors, interior and exterior lighting, wipers, and turn signals. John Griffith, Automotive Systems Engineer, Texas Instruments, runs through the benefits -- including significant overall power savings -- of incorporating these devices into automotive designs.
Read the full article.


Cool Tools: Babysitter for equipment now includes thermal monitoring

Fluke has expanded the capabilities of its Condition Monitoring system to include thermal monitoring with the addition of the new Fluke 3550 FC Thermal Imaging Sensor. Maintenance managers can now collect a more comprehensive variety of key-indicator data -- thermal imaging, voltage, current, temperature, and power -- on critical equipment to build a real-time picture of an asset’s condition. Alarms can be set to notify technicians via their mobile phones when specific measurement thresholds have been hit. Machine builders might suggest this system when they sell applicable units.
Click here to learn more.


Simplify thermal management, handle high surges

Littelfuse has introduced two new series of High Temperature Alternistor Triacs. With a maximum junction temperature of 150-deg C, the 16A QJxx16xHx Series and 25A QJxx25xHx Series are designed for use as AC switches, helping circuit designers address overheating challenges in AC power control applications with limited or no heat sinking. Applications include: heater control in coffeemakers; tankless water heaters and infrared heaters; AC solid-state relays; dimmers for incandescent and LED lighting; motor speed control in kitchen appliances and power tools; and compressor motor control in light industrial applications.
Click here to learn more.


Cool Tools: Wireless pocket oscilloscope

Saelig has introduced the IkaScope WS200, a pen-shaped battery-powered wireless oscilloscope that streams captured signals to almost any Wi-Fi-connected screen. This tool offers a 30-MHz bandwidth with its 200-MSa/s sampling rate, and the maximum input is +/-40 Vpp. It provides galvanically isolated measurements even when a USB connection is charging the internal battery. The IkaScope WS200 will work on desktop computers (Windows, Mac, and Linux) as well as on mobile devices like tablets or smartphones (iOS and Android Q4 2017). Application software can be downloaded for whichever platform is needed.
Click here to learn more.


Multi-axis robotic controller

Aerotech’s HEX RC is a 6-axis motion controller ideal for controlling robotic systems like hexapods. It is 4U rack-mountable and compatible with the Automation 3200 (A3200) motion platform. A high-performance processor provides the intense computing power needed to run up to 32 axes, perform complex, synchronized motion trajectories, manipulate I/O, and collect data at high speeds. This unit features 6 axes of drives capable of controlling any combination of brush, brushless, or stepper motors (both current loop and servo loop closures). An optional 6-axis jog pendant permits easy, manual control of the positioning system.
Click here to learn more.


Using natural refrigerants in cooling system design

The use of natural refrigerants is on the rise, creating a new set of challenges for cooling system design. You can optimize safety and efficiency by understanding the implications of the trend on component design and selection. This new white paper from Sensata Technologies provides an overview of methods used to mitigate these technical challenges as well as a look at some of the HVAC and refrigeration hardware and safety technologies required, especially pressure switches and pressure sensors.
Read the white paper (no registration required).


Compact touchless position sensors

TFD Series touchless linear position sensors from Novotechnik provide wear-free operation in tight spaces for measurement of short stroke lengths. They use a magnetic position marker to provide a touchless measurement range of 0 to 14, 24, or 50 mm (depending on model). These sensors make measurements through air and non-magnetic materials. Applications include textile machinery, packaging machinery, sheet metal machinery, medical applications, marine, mobile engine management systems, industrial trucks, construction machinery, and agricultural and forestry machinery.
Click here to learn more.


Connectors: High-current DC power in compact design

Amphenol Industrial Products Group now offers a versatile connection system that distributes high-current DC power in a compact design. Designed to connect wire to wire, wire to board, and busbar terminations, the Amphe-PD series distributes higher currents with less heat than similar-sized connectors on the market. Ideal for use in datacenter equipment, robotics, and industrial automation, the Amphe-PD series connectors offer wire terminations ranging from 12 AWG to 4 AWG.
Click here to learn more.


Cool Tools: Wireless digital micrometer

The new 40 EWRi is the latest addition to Mahr's Integrated wireless family of products, including digital calipers, indicators, and depth gages, which allow users to measure faster, more easily, and more reliably. Measurement data is transferred to an i-Stick on a computer without any interfering data cables, and MarCom software makes data acquisition simple: Just take a measurement and transmit measuring data directly into MS Excel or via a keyboard code into any Windows program or existing SPC application.
Click here to learn more.


Fiber optics competitor? 'Twisted' light could illuminate new path for wireless communications

Scientists have taken an important step toward using 'twisted' light as a form of wireless, high-capacity data transmission that could make fiber optics obsolete.

In a new report published Oct. 26 in the journal Science Advances, a team of physicists based in the UK, Germany, New Zealand, and Canada describe how new research into "optical angular momentum" (OAM) could overcome current difficulties with using twisted light across open spaces.

Scientists can 'twist' photons -- individual particles of light -- by passing them through a special type of hologram, similar to that on a credit card, giving the photons a twist known as optical angular momentum.

While conventional digital communications use photons as ones and zeroes to carry information, the number of intertwined twists in the photons allows them to carry additional data -- something akin to adding letters alongside the ones and zeroes. The ability of twisted photons to carry additional information means that optical angular momentum has the potential to create much higher-bandwidth communications technology.

While optical angular momentum techniques have already been used to transmit data across cables, transmitting twisted light across open spaces has been significantly more challenging for scientists to date. Even simple changes in atmospheric pressures across open spaces can scatter light beams and cause the spin information to be lost.

The researchers examined the effects on both the phase and intensity of OAM carrying light over a real link in an urban environment to assess the viability of these modes of quantum information transfer.

Their free-space link, in Erlangen, Germany, was 1.6 km in length and passed over fields and streets and close to high-rise buildings to accurately simulate an urban environment and atmospheric turbulence that can disrupt information transfer in space -- a thorough approach that will be instrumental in moving OAM research forward.

Conducting these field tests in a real urban environment has revealed exciting new challenges that must be overcome before systems can be made commercially available. Previous studies had indicated the potential feasibly of OAM communication systems but had not fully characterized the effects of turbulent air on the phase of the structured light propagating over links of this length.

Dr. Martin Lavery, head of the Structured Photonics Research Group at University of Glasgow, is the lead author on the team's research paper. Dr Lavery said: "In an age where our global data consumption is growing at an exponential rate, there is mounting pressure to discover new methods of information carrying that can keep up with the huge uptake in data across the world.

"A complete, working optical angular momentum communications system capable of transmitting data wirelessly across free space has the potential to transform online access for developing countries, defense systems, and cities around the world.

"Free-space optics is a solution that can potentially give us the bandwidth of fiber, but without the requirement for physical cabling.

"This study takes vital steps forward in the journey towards high-dimensional free-space optics that can be a cheaper, more accessible alternative to buried fiber optics connections."

The turbulent atmosphere used in this experiment highlighted the fragility of shaped phase fronts, particularly for those that would be integral to high-bandwidth data transfers. This study indicated the challenges future adaptive optical systems will be required to resolve.

Dr. Lavery added: "With these new developments, we are confident that we can now re-think our approaches to channel modelling and the requirement places on adaptive optics systems. We are getting ever closer to developing OAM communications that can be deployed in a real urban setting.

"We want to start a conversation about the issues that need to be addressed and how we are going to move towards the resolution."

Dr. Lavery undertook the work in partnership with researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light and Institute of Optics, and the Universities of Otago, Ottawa, and Rochester.

These findings allow researchers to address challenges -- not previously observed -- in developing adaptive optics for quantum information transfer to move closer towards a new age of free-space optics that will eventually replace fiber optics as a functional mode of communication in urban environments and remote sensing systems.

The paper, titled "Free-space propagation of high dimensional structured optical fields in an urban environment," is published in Science Advances. The work was funded by Royal Academy of Engineering, EPSRC, and supported by the International Max Planck Partnership.

Source: University of Glasgow

Published November 2017

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