Since any controller is only as good as its inputs, sensors continue to play a critical role in advanced control applications. To address increasingly tough system requirements, manufacturers are tackling new designs on multiple fronts. From the semiconductor side, integrated sensors take advantage of the design and manufacturing capabilities in that industry. These sensors combine integrated circuitry with sensing elements to make acceleration, position, angle, speed, and gyroscope measurements, among others.
Semiconductor sensors cannot solve every sensing need so other suppliers approach sensor designs with different advanced technologies. These technologies including Hall effect, inductive, temperature, laser displacement, ultrasonic sensors, and photoelectric detectors to solve a variety of measurement problems. Some of these approaches rely heavily on semiconductor components, but the end solution is typically a complete electronic assembly. Programmable signal conditioner ICs simplify the design of those electronic modules.
In a bid to boost the viability of lithium-based electric car batteries, a team at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has developed a chemistry that could possibly double an EV’s driving range while cutting its battery cost in half.
Using Siemens NX software, a team of engineering students from the University of Michigan built an electric vehicle and raced in the 2013 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. One of those students blogged for Design News throughout the race.
Robots that walk have come a long way from simple barebones walking machines or pairs of legs without an upper body and head. Much of the research these days focuses on making more humanoid robots. But they are not all created equal.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.