Sunday, January 23, 2011

DrDAQ low-cost USB data logger

DrDAQ from Pico Technology is far more than just a data logger plugged on USB. With its software complements Picolog and PicoScope, DRDAQ doubles as a signal generator and an arbitrary waveform generator (AWG) too.

Thanks to the built-in sensors for light, sound and temperature you can start using your USB DrDAQ Data Logger straight out of the box.

The USB DrDAQ also has an RGB LED that you can program to show any 1 of 16.7 million colours. When you want to do more with your DrDAQ you can, thanks to the external sensor sockets.

DrDAQ is ideal fore use in colleges and labs because it also contains a basic oscilloscope or spectrum analyzer. By running the supplied PicoScope software DrDAQ becomes a single-channel scope with a 100 kHz bandwidth, 8-bit resolution and the ability to measure voltages of up to ±10 volts. Both PicoLog and PicoScope are fast and easy to use. USB DrDAQ also includes 4 digital input/outputs.

In input mode these give you even more monitoring options. When used as outputs they enable DrDAQ to control external devices.

Two of the digital I/Os include a pulse-counting function when used as inputs, and a pulse- width modulation (PWM) output capability.

DrDAQ is manufactured by Pico Technology (distributors worldwide).

Friday, January 14, 2011

Hot swappable 2-channel 2-wire multiplexer with bus buffers

Linear Technology’s LTC4312 is a hot-swappable 2-channel 2-wire bus multiplexer that allows one upstream bus to connect to any combination of downstream busses or channels. An individual enable pin controls each connection.

The LTC4312 provides bidirectional buffering, keeping the upstream bus capacitance isolated from the downstream bus capacitances. The high noise margin allows the LTC4312 to be interoperable with I2C devices that drive a high VOL (> 0.4V).

The LTC4312 supports level translation between 1.5V, 1.8V, 2.5V, 3.3V and 5V busses. The hot-swappable nature of the LTC4312 allows I/O card insertion into, and removal from, a live backplane without corruption of the data and clock busses.

If both data and clock are not simultaneously high at least once in 45ms and DISCEN is high, a FAULT signal is generated indicating a stuck bus low condition, the input is disconnected from each enabled output channel and up to 16 clocks are generated on the enabled downstream busses.

A three state ACC pin enables input and output side rise time accelerators of varying strengths and sets the VIL, RISING voltage.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Flat panel antennas offer superior directional characteristics

The PN Series of panel antennas from Antenna Factors is designed for long-distance directional communication in wireless link networks.

Operating in the 2.45-GHz band with 16 dBi of gain and a directivity of 23° in both the horizontal and the vertical planes, they offer better performance than typical Yagi antennas, increasing the range and reliability of wireless link networks.

The sleek, attractive flat panel package is rugged and fully weatherised, making the antennas equally suited for indoor or outdoor applications.

Each antenna includes complete mounting hardware for standard masts. In its present range the PN Series panel antennas deliver both value and outstanding performance.
Image courtesy: Antenna Factor

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Upper Airway Stimulation device offers hope for sleep apnea sufferers

Loud snoring is not just a tiring irritation for partners but can also be a sign of sleep apnea.

The National Institutes of Health reports that more than 12 million Americans suffer from the most common of the three varieties – obstructive sleep apnea, where the upper airway is repeatedly blocked during sleep.

There are a number of treatment options already available and Minneapolis-based Inspire Medical Systems is about to add a shocking new addition to the treatment options on offer.

The new system – which is about to enter clinical trials – electrically stimulates the nerve at the base of the tongue to keep it from blocking the air's journey to and from the lungs, and so offers the patient a good night's sleep.

An apneic can experience a cessation of airflow for more than ten seconds, but is generally partly awoken to take a breath. Even so, this lack of sound sleep can lead to other problems.

Persistent oxygen starvation often results in daytime fatigue, lack of concentration and decreased alertness and can go on to increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. Depression, muscle pain, inefficient metabolism, diabetes, impotence and a host of other ailments are also associated with sleep apnea.

One of the main causes of the most common variety of the condition – obstructive sleep apnea – is caused by the tongue and throat muscles becoming too relaxed and blocking the airway. Most sufferers are treated using a system known as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), where air is blown through the nose throughout the night and which can be very effective if used all the time.

But such a system is not for everyone and studies have shown that the technique is often abandoned by a significant percentage of sufferers.

Using well-established technologies from the fields of cardiac pacing and neurostimulation, Inspire Medical Systems has developed a system specifically to help those who are plagued by that troublesome tongue. The Upper Airway Stimulation (UAS) therapy designed by Inspire Medical Systems stimulates the nerve that controls the base of the tongue with a small electrical pulse during sleep, to keep it toned and in place.

A pacemaker-like device is implanted under the skin, near the collarbone, and a wire is fed to the problematic twelfth cranial nerve. A sensor detects when the sufferer takes a breath and instructs the implant to stimulate the nerve.

The system is adjusted so that the tongue receives just enough current to keep it from blocking the airway but not enough to disturb sleep (or result in any rude mid-snooze gestures) and a remote allows the patient to activate and deactivate the system. A timer can also be set so that the zapping is delayed until after the user is asleep.

Inspire Medical Systems' hypoglossal nerve stimulation technology has just recently been given the all-clear for Stimulation Therapy for Apnea Reduction pivotal clinical trials by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and will soon be heading to key sites throughout the U.S. and Europe.

However, sufferers reading this might like to note that only those who tick all of the right boxes will be accepted into the trial, so cases where some other tissue causes the problem will not make it through. The results of the study will form the basis of a pre-market approval application to the FDA.

Source courtesy: Gizmag

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Haptic exciters simulate mechanical key movement and act as audio drivers

HiWave Technologies PLC (formerly known as NXT), a provider of electronics solutions for audio and haptics, has announced combined haptic touch and audio exciters for touch panels and screens used in industrial, home automation, automotive and consumer electronic products.

Applications include pad computers, hand-held and integrated displays and controllers.

When used with HiWave driver modules, a pair of NXHX14C exciters disperses bending waves evenly over the surface of touch panels so that users experience the sensation of depressing mechanical keys when they touch the panel surface.

The simulated mechanical movement enhances the human interface, enabling faster and more accurate keystrokes.

The same transducers also convert the touch screen into a flat panel loudspeaker with nominally flat response from 200 Hz to 15 kHz.

This eliminates the need for separate loudspeakers and amplifiers, enabling more compact products with fewer components. It also reduces bill of materials and manufacturing costs.

The exciters are designed for use with touch screens up to 19” and are available in 1-W and 2-W (RMS) versions with nominal drive impedances of 4, 8, 16 or 32 ohms.

Each exciter consists of a 14-mm diameter voice coil mounted on plastic suspension. Overall height is just 11 mm.

Image courtesy: HiWave

More info at: HiWave website