March 04, 2014 Volume 10 Issue 09

Electrical/Electronic News & Products

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Smallest rugged AI supercomputer for avionics

Aitech Systems has released the A178-AV, the latest iteration of its smallest rugged GPGPU AI super-computers available with the powerful NVIDIA Jetson AGX Xavier System-on-Module. With its compact size, the A178-AV is the most advanced solution for artificial intelligence (AI), deep learning, and video and signal processing for next-gen avionic platforms.
Learn more.


Touchless angle sensors get CAN SAE J1939 interface

Novotechnik has added the CAN J1939 interface (developed for heavy-duty vehicles) to its RFC4800 Series of touchless angle sensors measuring angular position up to 360°, turn direction, turns, speed, and operational status. It can provide one or two output channels. It has a longer life and robustness than an optical encoder. It can signal if a sensor needs replacing or average a programmable number of values to output to reduce external noise if present. This is wear-free angle measurement made easy.
Learn more.


Radar level sensor monitors liquids and powders

The innovative FR Series non-contact radar level sensor from Keyence has been designed to monitor the level of both liquid and powder in any environment. This sensor features short- and long-range models, as well as chemical and sanitary options to address a wide array of level sensing applications. Works even when obstructions or harsh conditions are present, such as build-up, steam, or turbulence.
Learn more.


Raspberry Pi launches $70 AI Kit

Artificial intelligence (AI) is all the rage, and the makers of Raspberry Pi have created a way for enthusiasts of the single-board computer systems to take part and do a lot of experimenting along the way.
Read the full article.


3D model sharing at Brother Industries cuts rework

When Brother Industries, maker of printers, computers, and computer-related electronics, deployed Lattice Technology's XVL Player as a viewer for sharing 3D models throughout the processes of product design, parts design, mold design, mold production, and QA of molded parts, they reduced rework significantly -- especially from downstream departments. XVL Studio with its Difference Check Option helped address the rework in mold design, for example, by always keeping everyone informed of design changes.
Read this real-world case study.


What is 3D-MID? Molded parts with integrated electronics from HARTING

3D-MID (three-dimensional mechatronic integrated devices) technology combines electronic and mechanical functionalities into a single, 3D component. It replaces the traditional printed circuit board and opens up many new opportunities. It takes injection-molded parts and uses laser-direct structuring to etch areas of conductor structures, which are filled with a copper plating process to create very precise electronic circuits. HARTING, the technology's developer, says it's "Like a PCB, but 3D." Tons of possibilities.
Learn more (video included on page).


New! Thermoelectric dehumidifiers for enclosures

Seifert Systems has just introduced its line of compact Soliflex® Series thermoelectric dehumidifiers, with or without condensate pump. These IP 56-rated units are designed to dehumidify enclosures and small control panels, can be used indoors or outdoors, and are maintenance free. When used with a hygrostat, Soliflex dehumidifiers will keep enclosure humidity below a defined level and only operate when needed.
Learn more.


More Stego enclosure heater options from AutomationDirect

Automation-Direct has added more Stego enclosure heaters to their Enclosure Thermal Management lineup. These new 120 to 240 VAC/VDC units include small, flat versions that distribute heat evenly within compact enclosures and are available with 8- or 10-W heating capacities. Also added are compact loop heaters that feature a patented loop body design for increased natural convection airflow, reduced thermal stress on the heater, and better heat transfer. Loop heaters are available in 10- to 150-W heating capacities.
Learn more.


Great design: Handle with integrated lighting/signaling

Signaling and indicator lights, switches, and buttons -- elements that hardly any machine can do without. The new JW Winco cabinet U-handle EN 6284 integrates all these functions into a single, compact element. The new U-handle is designed to enhance the operation of systems and machines. It features an integrated button and a large, colored, backlit area on the back of the handle. These elements can be used individually or in combination, providing a versatile tool for system control and process monitoring that can be seen from across the room.
Learn more.


Engineer's Toolbox: What is ground loop feedback?

Improper grounding can create problems in data logging, data acquisition, and measurement and control systems. One of the most common problems is known as ground loop feedback. Experts at CAS DataLoggers run through five ways to eliminate this problem.
Read the full article.


AI development kit for multi-camera products

The QCS6490 Vision-AI Development Kit from Avnet enables engineering teams to rapidly prototype hardware, application software, and AI enablement for multi-camera, high-performance, Edge AI-enabled custom embedded products. The kit facilitates design with the new, energy-efficient MSC SM2S-QCS6490 SMARC compute module based on the Qualcomm QCS6490 processor. Provides support for up to four MIPI CSI cameras and concurrent Mini DisplayPort and MIPI DSI displays.
Learn more.


High-temp cabinet cooler keeps incineration process in business

An EXAIR client company handles waste treatment on a large ship by operating an incinerator. The area where the incinerator is located gets very hot (over 120° F). This causes failures in the electronics package used to control the incineration process. Since compressed air is readily available, EXAIR's Model HT4225 Cabinet Cooler System is being used to keep the panel cool. It saved the customer from having to replace their control units due to the hot conditions in the incinerator room. Thermostat control is also available, conserving air and operating only when needed to minimize air consumption.
Learn about EXAIR's huge selection of Cabinet Coolers.


Compact snap-in capacitors for general-purpose applications

TDK's new EPCOS B43659 series of snap-in aluminum electrolytic capacitors is the next generation of ultra-compact, general-purpose components for voltages of 450 V (DC) featuring an extremely high CV product. It provides the same features and serves the same applications as the previous series but is much more compact. These RoHS-compliant capacitors can be used in a wide range of applications, such as switched-mode power supplies, frequency converters, UPS, medical equipment, and solar inverters.
Get all the specs.


Conductive Brush Ring overcomes current leakage in EV powertrains

SKF's new Conductive Brush Ring paves the way to greater reliability and longer life in high-performance electric vehicle powertrain systems. Using pure carbon fiber bristles, it provides a reliable electrical connection between an EV eAxle rotor shaft and its housing. When used in combination with SKF Hybrid ceramic ball bearings, it helps to alleviate parasitic current effects that can lead to premature failure in bearings and other components. Available in different configurations for wet (oil-lubricated) motor designs -- and soon for dry (sealed) applications.
Learn more.


Intro to reed switches, magnets, magnetic fields

This brief introductory video on the DigiKey site offers tips for engineers designing with reed switches. Dr. Stephen Day, Ph.D. from Coto Technology gives a solid overview on reed switches -- complete with real-world application examples -- and a detailed explanation of how they react to magnetic fields.
View the video.


DARPA seeking tiny component to counter counterfeit electronics

New program seeks tool that authenticates electronic components at any step of the supply chain

Used and non-authentic counterfeit electronic components are widespread throughout the defense supply chain; over the past two years alone, more than 1 million suspect parts have been associated with known supply chain compromises1.

The problem is pervasive, with both expensive and inexpensive electronic parts being targeted. Counterfeit, or otherwise suspect electronic components, present a critical risk for the Department of Defense (DoD), where a malfunction of a single part could lead to system failures that can put warfighter lives and missions at risk. A new program from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) seeks to develop a tool to verify, without disrupting or harming the system, the trustworthiness of a protected electronic component.

The DARPA Supply Chain Hardware Integrity for Electronics Defense (SHIELD) program seeks proposals to develop a small (100 micron x 100 micron) component, or dielet, that authenticates the provenance of electronics components. Proposed dielets should contain a full encryption engine, sensors to detect tampering, and would readily affix to today's electronic components such as microchips.

Artist's concept of SHIELD technology.

 

 

Successful development of SHIELD technology would provide 100 percent assurance against common threat modes, such as:

  • Recycled components that are sold as new;
  • Unlicensed overproduction of authorized components;
  • Test rejects and sub-standard components sold as high quality;
  • Parts marked with falsely elevated reliability or newer date of manufacture;
  • Clones and copies, which may be of low quality, or may include hidden functionality; and
  • Components that are covertly repackaged for unauthorized applications.

"SHIELD demands a tool that costs less than a penny per unit, yet makes counterfeiting too expensive and technically difficult to do," says Kerry Bernstein, DARPA program manager. "The dielet will be designed to be robust in operation, yet fragile in the face of tampering. What SHIELD is seeking is a very advanced piece of hardware that will offer an on-demand authentication method never before available to the supply chain."

The dielet will be inserted into the electronic component's package at the manufacturing site or affixed to existing trusted components, without any alteration of the host component's design or reliability. There is no electrical connection between the dielet and the host component. Authenticity testing could be done anywhere with a handheld probe or with an automated one for larger volumes. Probes need to be close to the dielet for scanning. After a scan, an inexpensive appliance (perhaps a smartphone) uploads a serial number to a central, industry-owned server. The server sends an unencrypted challenge to the dielet, which sends back an encrypted answer and data from passive sensors -- like light exposure -- that could indicate tampering.

"The Department of Defense puts severe demands on electronics, which is why a trusted supply chain is so important" says Bernstein. "SHIELD is a technology demonstration leveraging the asymmetry of scaling for security. While the program is being funded by DARPA, industry will adapt future implementations to make the technology scalable to the industry and the defense supply chain."

SHIELD is seeking proposals that revolutionize electronic authentication with potential scalability and advanced technology not available today. DARPA will host a Proposers' Day Workshop in support of the SHIELD program on March 14, 2014. More information is available at http://go.usa.gov/B6BT.

1"Inquiry into Counterfeit Electronic Parts in the Department of Defense Supply Chain," Report of the Committee on Armed Services, United States Senate, May 21, 2012, pp i-ii

Source: DARPA

Published March 2014

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