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New and notable Product Design

New and notable Product Design

ONE TOUGH PC

DAP Technologies CE8460 MICROFLEX Mobile Computer. Get a better grip on this ruggedized PC package running Windows(R) CE.net (4.0). "We added 'soft touch' overmolded elastomer (TPE) bumpers on a high-impact plastic casing to provide shock resistance," says Industrial Designer Alain Poirier. Test units survived 4-ft drops onto concrete in dozens of orientations at temperatures from -20 to 50C. For greater strength, engineers provided a body 10-15 mm thicker than a conventional laptop plate to increase the case's moment of inertia. The grip is aided by game-controller inspired handles on each side. Industrial Designer: Alain Poirier, [email protected] (www.daptech.com) Enter 576

SCOOTER GETS A BRAKE

Assembled Products Browser(TM) Vehicle. Based on its electric carts popular with seniors, Assembled Products' Browser is powered by the company's 24V Xti Hub Motors(TM), which are 76% efficient, compared to 63% for a separate motor and transaxle. The engineers' challenge was to develop an internal parking brake in the motor that grips after regenerative braking solely stops the scooter. The coil activating the brake had to operate at 26V overvoltage without overheating and still be strong enough to safely park the vehicle at 18V when the controller shuts down. Solution: A custom coil designed by Assembled Products and wound to spec. Senior Product Engineer: Pat Turner, [email protected] (www.itbeatswalkin.com) Enter 577

THROW AWAY PHONE

Hop-On Disposable Cell Phone. With 60 minutes of prepaid calling built in, users of this disposable cell phone don't have to worry about long-distance and roaming charges. But disposable products must be inexpensive to make. Thus engineers eliminated an LCD screen, opting for a voice interface through the earpiece to identify the number dialed. However, Samuel Demissie, president, says the greatest challenge was to develop a low-cost printed antenna to fit in the available space. It's printed on a single board instead of two. And though it takes up 16% of the board area, there are few interface components, such as LEDs. Components were optimized for cost (larger is cheaper), performance, and area. President: Samuel Demissie; Engineer: Igor Radutiny ([email protected]) (www.hop-on.com) Enter 578

INFRARED IMAGING MADE EASY

Infrared Solutions IR FlexCam(TM). When it comes to using infrared cameras, operators may require weeks-long training because many of them run on less familiar platforms. To ease the hassle, Infrared Solutions engineers developed FlexCam, which integrates Windows(R) CE, enabling a PC-like menu and mouse functions. The camera also features user-friendly ergonomics, such as five programmable buttons for frequent commands, a USB port for an add-on mouse, and a 180 degrees lens joint for various camera angles. Unlike some infrared cameras that display only file names, FlexCam's 5-inch sunlight readable color LCD allows image thumbnail browsing, image annotation, and full-screen image rendering. Program Manager and Senior System Engineer: Kirk Johnson, [email protected] (www.infraredsolutions.com) Enter 579

RECORD IN REAL-TIME

AVerMedia DVD EZMaker(TM) USB 2.0. This palm-sized device allows users to convert home videos to CDs and DVDs during real-time playback, compared to two to three times longer with previous conversion systems. Using software encoding rather than hardware, the USB-powered analog connection captures raw video at a resolution of 720 x 480 pixels and allows users to record from the video output of a VCR to a CD/DVD burner. Users can also re-edit previously recorded DVDs, a feature known as +VR standard. Director of Product Application: Warren Chang (www.avermedia.com) Enter 580

PRIMED FIRE PROTECTION

MIJA Inc. EN-Gauge(TM) Fire Extinguisher Monitor. About one quarter of all fire extinguishers in the field are fully or partially discharged, a fact of which building owners are often unaware. Engineers of the EN-Gauge monitoring system look to change that with a new monitoring system, says Gaurav Rohatgi senior mechanical engineer with its developer Design Continuum (www.dcontinuum.com). A Sensor Interface Module (SIM) communicates with a facility's central protection system and monitors pressure using a programmable Hall-effect sensor (eliminating mechanical calibration) to detect the position of a magnet-backed pointer in the pressure gauge atop the extinguisher. A wall-mounted ultrasonic sensor also tells the SIM if an object is blocking the extinguisher, hiding it from view. If an object is present, algorithms trigger more frequent scanning. After a predetermined time an alert is sent to the central control panel. Senior Mechanical Engineer: Gaurav Rohatgi, [email protected] (www.mija.com) Enter 581

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