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New and Notable Product Design

New and Notable Product Design


Fellowes Secure Touch Mouse. Now you can secure your computer, files, or website access to various levels with the addition of this mouse with a built-in fingerprint reader. The sensor from AuthenTecTM (see DN 11.04.02, p. 54) uses active RF sensing of the live skin under the contamination-prone surface for reliable authentication of the user. Senior Product Engineer John Herbst notes, the package is essentially a hub USB linked to the mouse functions and sensor, which made for easy integration. In addition to the reliable biometric sensor, OmniPassTM software from Softex for data processing and a good form factor were critical. For the latter, a "trough" with a ridge under the finger joint positions the "data rich" middle of the finger tip flat over the sensor, even for a person with long fingernails. Senior Product Engineer:John Herbst, [email protected] ( Enter 576


Sport Sensors Swing Speed Radar(TM). Its short range (less than 10 ft) is the key to making this microwave Doppler-radar velocity sensor low power (three AA batteries) and inexpensive. But accuracy is not sacrificed, thanks to circuit features such as having the antenna be part of the oscillator resonant circuit. This, according to President and inventor Al Dilz, self tunes the device to an optimum frequency, permitting standard FR4 circuit boards to be used in place of more costly microwave dielectric board material. The Swing Speed is placed on the ground behind the club, or on a batting cage fence. It allows golf, baseball, and softball players to determine clubhead or bat "sweet spot" speed for best distance, control, and accuracy. President:Al Dilz, [email protected] ( Enter 577


Hydrogenics HySTAT(TM) Energy Station. This 50-kW (enough to supply up to 15 homes) demonstrator is more than a power plant. The shipping-container size device also incorporates a reformer to extract hydrogen from natural gas, not only to power its fuel cells but to fuel hydrogen-powered vehicles as well. According to VP Boyd Taylor, key components are the fuel-cell membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) from W. L. Gore & Associates. "These polymer-based ionic conductors separate the anode and cathode and allow protons to cross, but not electrons. Gore was the first supplier with a complete MEA, which allows for consistency from one component to the next." He adds these MEAs make more efficient use of platinum, lowering cost, and have improved ionic transfer and lower resistance. HySTAT is currently used for "peak shaving," supplementing power at times of peak demand. VP Business Development, Sales, and Marketing:Boyd Taylor, [email protected] ( Enter 578


Intel Portable Media Player (PMP). Intel needed a mobile platform to feature the high-quality streaming video playback capability of its XScaleTM processor. The company turned to DesignworksUSA, a BMW-owned design firm, to showcase the technology in a useful, easy-to-use, and attractive package. Engineers started with a screen large enough (dimension is 4-inches) for better enjoyment of the inherent video quality. For ergonomics, after testing several foam "form-factor" models, they chose the one sized large enough for a snug fit in the hands, allowing intuitive sweeping of the thumb across the control buttons and five-way cursor. Size, shaping, and mass provide a comfortable palm grip rather than a more straining position between the fingers, as with some game devices. VP Business Development and Operations:Neil Brooker, [email protected] ( Enter 579


Folding Cell Phones. Many mobile devices feature clamshell packages incorporating a larger screen that folds down to protect both the display and keypad without an overall size increase. These flip-types rely on circuit laminates from Rogers Corporation for flexible, reliable electronic connections between the two halves. "The choice of copper foil and polyamide film is important, in combination with epoxy-based adhesives, for a secure and flexible bond to accommodate complex dynamic movement and balance circuit strain," notes Diana Williams, product manager in the Advanced Circuit Materials Division. Factors to be considered include: the number of circuit layers and the design on each layer; the number of flex cycles, mechanical action, and physical fit within the phone case; the film's mechanical properties; and the circuit fabrication process. Product Manager:Diana Williams, [email protected] ( Enter 580.


Ezrox Corp. Automatic Rocking Crib. Rocking a baby usually puts the child to sleep. But continuous rocking can leave parents sleep deprived. This timer-governed motorized crib can help parents make it through the night. Its glider mechanism moves head-to-toe, eliminating the tendency to roll the baby over, a possible contributor to sudden infant death syndrome. A 12V, 1A dc torque motor, linked to the crib by a lever and spring, provides the motion. A magnetic sensor measures position and velocity, and a microcontroller determines when to "push" the crib and for how long, based on one of three speeds selected. President Jim Xu says the direct drive motor is used because a worm-gear transmission proved too noisy. The spring link decouples the motor if a parent leans in, and prevents injury if a body part is placed in the linkage. President:Jim Xu, [email protected] ( Enter 581

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