March 27, 2018 Volume 14 Issue 12

Electrical/Electronic News & Products

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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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Displays: New HMI and drive faceplates

ABB's CP600 Gen 2 HMIs offer NEMA 4X rating, an expanded temperature range, 33% brighter screens, additional communications ports, and integral web server capability, allowing users to expand HMI usage into more applications. Available in 7-, 10-, and 15-in. sizes, the CP600 Gen2 HMI units join the CP600-eCo units and the CP600-Pro units to cover the full range of industrial display needs.
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Cool Tools: Hexagon RS6 high-speed laser scanner

The handheld or arm-mounted RS6 laser scanner available from Exact Metrology is designed for high-speed and high-accuracy scanning. When compared to other scanners, the RS6 has a 3x faster frame rate, a 30% wider laser stripe, and excellent scanning performance on difficult surfaces (including glossy black plastic automotive body parts or molded carbon fiber components). Its unique SHINE technology allows you to scan 99% of parts without touching the scanner exposure. It scans up to 1.2 million points/sec with a scan rate of 300 Hz.
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New Intellistat Ion Air Gun for static elimination

EXAIR's patented Intellistat Ion Air Gun is a handheld and lightweight solution for static elimination in clean processes or sensitive assembly work such as scientific and electronic test facilities, laboratories, and clean rooms. The Intellistat was designed to consume minimal compressed air while simultaneously delivering precise blow-off, and exceptional static decay rates capable of reducing 1000 V to less than 100 V in less than a second at up to 24 in. away.
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DIY lightweight hyperspectral imagers bring sophisticated imaging capability to drones

Researchers used 3D printing to create hyperspectral imagers that are light enough to use on a drone. The imager is the small protrusion on the bottom of the drone's body. [Credit: Joćo Fortuna, Norwegian University of Science and Technology]

 

 

 

 

In a new study, researchers used 3D printing and low-cost parts to create an inexpensive hyperspectral imager that is light enough to use on board drones. They offer a recipe for creating these imagers, which could make the traditionally expensive analytical technique more widely accessible.

Hyperspectral imagers produce images like a traditional color camera but detect several hundred colors instead of the three detected by normal cameras. Each pixel of a hyperspectral image contains information covering the entire visible spectrum, providing data that can be used, for example, to automatically detect and sort objects or measure ocean color to map harmful algae blooms. Traditional hyperspectral imagers can cost tens of thousands of dollars and are very bulky and heavy.

In The Optical Society (OSA) journal Optics Express, the researchers detail how to make visible-wavelength hyperspectral imagers weighing less than half a pound for as little $700 (USD). They also demonstrate that these imagers can acquire spectral data from aboard a drone.

"The instruments we made can be used very effectively on a drone or unmanned vehicle to acquire spectral images," said research team leader Fred Sigernes of University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS), Norway. "This means that hyperspectral imaging could be used to map large areas of terrain, for example, without the need to hire a plane or helicopter to carry an expensive and large instrument."

Printing the right parts
A desktop 3D printer greatly eased the process of making the custom optics holders needed for the imagers. "Making items in metal is time consuming and can be very expensive," said Sigernes. "However, 3D printing with plastic is inexpensive and very effective for making even complex parts, such as the piece needed to hold the grating that disperses the light. I was able to print several versions and try them out."

Researchers used 3D printing to make the holder (black rectangular piece) for the optics used to create an inexpensive and small hyperspectral imager. Feasibility tests showed that 3D printing can be used to produce prototype parts that are accurate enough for optical systems. [Credit: Fred Sigernes, University Centre in Svalbard]

 

 

 

 

The hyperspectral imagers created by the researchers employ what is known as the push-broom technique, which uses precise line-scanning to build up a spectral image. The researchers added a stabilization system to the setup so that a drone's movement would not distort the image as it was being generated.

"Push-broom hyperspectral imagers typically require expensive orientation stabilization," explained Sigernes. "However, you can now buy very inexpensive gyroscope-based, electronically stabilizing systems. The advent of these new systems made it possible for us to make inexpensive hyperspectral imagers."

In-flight testing
The researchers made several prototypes by using 3D printing to create plastic holders that precisely position small, lightweight commercially available cameras and optical components. They tested one of the instruments onboard an octocopter drone equipped with a two-axis electronic stabilizing system. The hyperspectral imager performed well and was able to detect landscape features such as vegetation and bodies of water.

The researchers also performed handheld tests with the hyperspectral imagers and three-axis electronic stabilizing systems. For one experiment, they swept the imager across a computer screen displaying a fruit collection, acquiring 571 spectrograms in 22 seconds.

These feasibility tests showed that 3D printing is accurate enough to produce prototype parts for optical systems. The printed plastic parts were light weight and strong enough to keep the overall system light and small, which is important for use with drones. After testing, metal versions of 3D-printed parts could be ordered if desired to create imagers that would be more durable.

Improving sensitivity
Although the new imagers don't provide the sensitivity of traditional hyperspectral imagers, their performance is sufficient for mapping terrain or detecting ocean color in daylight. The researchers are now working to improve sensitivity by making slightly larger versions of the instruments that would still be small and light enough for use on drones. Improving the sensitivity of the imagers will provide higher quality data.

"There are many ways to use data acquired by hyperspectral imagers," said Sigernes. "By lowering the cost of these instruments, we hope that more people will be able to use this analytical technique and develop it further."

Source: The Optical Society

Published March 2018

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