“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.
One way to keep a Formula One racing team moving at breakneck speed in the pit and at the test facility is to bring CAD drawings of the racing vehicle’s parts down to the test facility and even out to the track.
Most of us would just as soon step on a cockroach rather than study it, but that’s just what researchers at UC Berkeley did in the pursuit of building small, nimble robots suitable for disaster-recovery and search-and-rescue missions.
Design engineers need to prepare for a future in which their electronic products will use not just one or two, but possibly many user interfaces that involve touch, vision, gestures, and even eye movements.
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