PULNiX TMC-1020-30 Camera. Now vision systems say "nanocheese" with the color digital AccuPiXELTM camera. It boasts an unusually high frame rate: 30 frames per second, made possible by doubling the horizontal scan frequency from 20 to 40 MHz, thus, timing becomes more critical. The camera has a maximum dynamic range control with a built-in Look-Up-Table (LUT), where the user controls the programming. Using a Bayer CFA (color filter array), unique uniform square pixels provide superior image definition in any orientation. Camera software uses neighboring pixel information to fill in the missing colors between pixels for clear, smooth images. Lead Engineer: Mark Wang (www.pulnix.com/Press/r-TMC1020-30.html) Enter 576
Roomba, Roomba, hey, hey
Irobot Roomba Floor Cleaner. Go ahead...impress him or her by volunteering to do the vacuuming. Then release the Roomba from iRobot in a room, close the door, and go have fun. The Roomba will clean the floor for you in no time. This automatic sweeper spirals around the room using infrared sensors to follow walls and detect drops such as stairs. A light contact sensor identifies furniture and other obstacles. "It sees the world more or less by running into it gently," says Eliot Mack, mechanical engineer from iRobot. The sweeper brush automatically adjusts its height to any cleaning surface by detecting the torque of that surface.
Engineer: Eliot Mack (www.irobot.com) Enter 577
Under a (laser) microscope
Nikon C-1 Confocal Microscope. It's not like high school biology any more. With the laser-based C1 Digital Eclipse Modular Confocal Microscope System, medical researchers and others have a variety of software tools at their finger tips for 3D imaging. Key features are the compact scanning head and pre-calibrated laser and detection modules, which are easily installed and eliminate calibration during set up. The series of lasers and filters available for the microscope provide compatibility with every fluorescent dye used in research today. Time-lapse recording is possible and the system also has analysis software and a graphical user interface for mouse-clicking into advanced scanning methods. Senior Applications Scientist: Stephen Ross (www.nikonusa.com) Enter 578
Wabi Buddiesģ Bears. The folks who brought you Teddy Ruxpin in the1980s are back. The Wabi (no it's not Japanese, but stands for "what a beautiful idea") Buddies teddy bears will provide children with voice messages, as well as stories and lullabies. "The 900 MHz digital cordless chip technology provides the right combination of low cost, good range, high quality connection, and high security," notes Dave Durran, VP of engineering. "A Wabi bear can be thought of as a computer controlled digital answering machine in the handset of a cordless telephone. All intelligence resides in the bear (handset). The bear 'wakes up' periodically to poll the Wabi message server, and stores any new messages locally," Durran notes. Other services with stored material "are implemented in additional software running on the answering machine microcontroller," he adds. Engineer: Dave Durran (www.wabiland.com) Enter 579
3D vision in your hand
Global Haptic Georb. Imagine a 3D mouse on steroids. The Georb, a spherical device used in virtual sculpting or navigating through 3D space, breaks away from flat keyboard mapping to be more intuitive than any other haptic (touch-based) device. It features unique mapping of a convex surface to 3D space and interacts through tactile user input of 26 sensors and switches. The shape of the device, slightly longer than it is high, and slightly higher than it is wide, orients the user to easily recognize which part of the orb they are holding. Lead Engineer: Michael Wallace (www.globalhaptics.com) Enter 580
Don't get cold feet!
Hotronicģ FootWarmer. Cold feet are the worst if you like winter sports. And those little packets that you shake and insert into your boot often bake your toes and then leave a funny feeling lump in the front of the boot. The Hotronic's FootWarmer puts an end to cold and uncomfortable feet. Microprocessor technology allows the user to regulate warmth before going outside to prevent feet from getting cold. The rechargeable battery pack contains surface mounts that work with the chip located on the bottom of the heating element. This determines the temperature for each of the four individual settings. The heat generated by the chip is disbursed across the 65 x 55 mm oval heating element through individual layers of fiberglass and copper.
Engineer: Geoff Bruce (www.hotronic.com) Enter 581