“The world's largest” isn't generally a smart way to describe Alice. But CERN researchers on a project dubbed A Large Ion Collider Experiment (ALICE) say their Large Hadron Collider is the largest system in the world of scientific instruments. The sub-atomic particle accelerator is housed in a 27 km-long tunnel that's 100m underground. It sends two beams of atomic particles called hadrons, either protons or lead ions, in opposite directions, speeding them up before they collide. When that occurs, 120 Virtex 4 FPGAs from Xilinx help analyze the 1.2 million analog signals gathered from 540 parallel particle detectors. The FPGAs all hold two IBM PowerPC microprocessors.
New versions of BASF's Ecovio line are both compostable and designed for either injection molding or thermoforming. These combinations are becoming more common for the single-use bioplastics used in food service and food packaging applications, but are still not widely available.
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 radio show will show what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.