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IEE Review

Issue 6 • Date 19 Nov 1998

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Displaying Results 1 - 6 of 6
  • Machine vision reaches top gear

    Page(s): 265 - 267
    Save to Project icon | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (544 KB)  

    The power and simplicity of a new generation of machine vision systems have done much to overcome the automotive industry's reluctance to invest in this technology. Most vision applications in the automotive industry are for machine guidance or quality inspections. In quality control inspections, the vision system determines whether parts or sub-assemblies are acceptable or defective and then directs motion control equipment to reject or accept them. Machine guidance applications use vision systems to improve the accuracy and speed of assembly robots and automated materials handling equipment in several areas. The most advanced machine vision systems enable a robot to locate the part or sub-assembly on which it is working, regardless of rotation or scale. In most applications, machine vision provides real-time data and live feedback to guide robots as they go through programmed sequences of operations. The new generation of vision systems can be trained to look for detailed patterns and shapes that match templates for correctly made subassemblies. Powerful pattern recognition capabilities allow vision systems to find missing material, chips, scratches, dents, misplaced markings and a variety of other flaws. As well as ensuring the quality of finished parts and products, they also enable manufacturers to reduce costs by eliminating defective pieces before wasting additional material and time on them View full abstract»

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  • Engineering the information age

    Page(s): 250 - 252
    Save to Project icon | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (436 KB)  

    Electronics, computing and communications are becoming mature technologies, although there is still a tremendous amount of innovation and new technology ahead. However, the information technologies being created on this established technological base are in their infancy, and their impact on society is only just beginning. As the information age dawns, the author describes the implications for our personal and professional lives View full abstract»

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  • An electronic controller for adaptive suspension

    Page(s): 275 - 277
    Save to Project icon | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (608 KB)  

    Developing an adaptive suspension system for a luxury car weighing over 2000 kg presents an exacting challenge in embedded control. This article describes the development of an adaptive suspension controller by Lamerholm Fleming Ltd for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ltd. during the period from 1995 to 1997. The controller replaced an earlier design, which had originally entered production in 1989. The new system uses hydraulic dampers (shock absorbers) which can be switched between three different settings by means of two solenoid controlled valves. Each damper setting provides a different complex force/velocity response for bounce and rebound. These mechanical characteristics are determined by the precise magnitudes of springs and orifices within the damper. The function of the electronic controller is to select the optimum damper setting for any particular driving conditions and to choose the best time to switch from one setting to another. The aim of the whole suspension system is to provide the best possible compromise between ride, comfort and handling View full abstract»

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  • Embedding Windows

    Page(s): 272 - 274
    Save to Project icon | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (496 KB)  

    Not content with dominating the desktop, Microsoft is now testing the Windows standard against the taxing requirements of the embedded systems market. The author outlines the implications for developers View full abstract»

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  • The heart of a new machine [Powerformer, cable-wound stator machine]

    Page(s): 255 - 258
    Save to Project icon | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (584 KB)  

    Powerformer (an amalgam of power generator and transformer) is a radically new generator design that could herald a new era in high-voltage generation. The new machine from ABB is a 100 RPM, 11 MVA, 45 kV machine, installed as unit 9 (U9) of the Porjus Hydropower Centre, on the Lule river in northern Sweden. The Powerformer uses a cable-wound stator using XLPE insulated cable. The cable's circular cross section solves the two basic problems arising from the use of conventional, rectangular stator windings. First, within the stator slots, the uniform field in the insulator maximises insulation performance, and hence the voltage rating of the cable. Secondly, bending a cable of circular cross section does not result in the kinks and sharp edges that arise with a rectangular cable. Thus, even in the end regions, where the cable is bent to make the transition from one slot to the next, the electric field within the insulator remains free of singularities. In the end regions of the Powerformer the electric field remains confined within the cable, and the need to control an external electrical field as in a conventional machine, is eliminated View full abstract»

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  • Airline with the personal touch

    Page(s): 261 - 264
    Save to Project icon | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (928 KB)  

    Passengers flying with Cathay Pacific from Hong Kong's new Chek Lap Kok Airport may not be in too much of a hurry to board their plane once they see what the airline's high-tech departure lounge has to offer. The major IT element within the lounge is a unique state-of-the-art passenger `infotainment' network that allows passengers to access a multitude of services via custom-built desktop units. The system is based around asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) networking technology, which provides a high-speed switching capability for multimedia sources such as video, graphics, text and audio. Passengers access services via a touch screen by swiping their boarding pass through a built-in boarding pass/credit card reader. This immediately personalises the display according to records stored in a customer database, and the passenger is presented with a customised graphical user interface that allows them to navigate through a number of different menu levels with four simple, colour coded `hot' buttons: forward, backward, main menu and restart. At a touch they can find flight information, choose from a large number of TV channels, obtain the latest share price information, view travel facts about their destination, or perhaps listen to a selection of radio channels. Looped video material similar to traditional in-flight entertainment is also provided View full abstract»

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