• Award Winning Optical Fiber Vibration Sensor to Monitor Landslides

    According to an academic source from the National Kaohsiung First University of Science and Technology (NKFUST), an award winning optical fiber vibration sensor, has been used effectively in monitoring and signaling alerts of landslides. This sensor won a silver medal at the Taipei International Invention Show, in September 2010.

    Optical fiber vibration sensor

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    According to Tsair-Chun Liang, Project Guide, and College of Electrical Engineering and Science’s Dean this sensor was developed by a research team from NKFUST in the year 2008 and was able to recognize and detect rockslides and landslides. In 2009, the sensors were deployed in a river watershed in Shenmu Village of the Central Nantou County, an area prone to landslides especially during the heavy rains. He further stated that this sensor was as competent as the other imported sensors available, at a fraction of their cost. They were also more dependable as their cameras did not fail during flash floods, as compared to the other conventional monitoring systems.

    The sensors in the device arrest the vibrations in the ground and between the rocks and then transmit the vibration amplitude and frequency to a monitoring unit or station via the optical fiber system. The station then gives out warnings to the people residing in the areas which are in the danger zone, and allows them to move from their homes to safer ground. This device has a dimension of 6 cm X 3.5 cm X 4.5 cm, and is encased in a stainless steel container. It could also be used for monitoring earthquakes. The University is trying to patent this device.

    From azosensors Saturday, October 16, 2010
  • Zivix Optical Fingertip-Sensing Technology Makes Guitars Compatible with the Digital World

    Zivix, LLC, a developer leveraging innovative technology through peripherals, real musical instruments and software, today announced the company has partnered with Indiegogo, an international crowdfunding website, to open consumer investment on Friday, April 19 for the widely popular JamStik™, the company’s portable, easy-to-use guitar-like instrument for iOS.


    Recently named a winner of the Popular Science 2013 Invention Awards, the JamStik enables a new dimension for learning, experiencing music and giving both novice and experienced players access to hundreds of existing midi-based applications. Over a span of 40 days, the campaign aims to raise $100,000, which will go toward prototypes, tooling, manufacturing set-up and consumer experience enhancements.

    Making its debut in Las Vegas at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January, Zivix demonstrated for attendees how JamStik bridges music with mobile technology to provide consumers with a real-time, life-like guitar experience on the go. The easy-to-use instrument transforms your mobile device into a guitar speaker and musical interface with real strings and frets that users can pluck and play while experiencing the real “feel” of a traditional guitar. Based on the company’s multi-patented IR fingertip-sensing technology, JamStik delivers an authentic guitar experience in a mobile-friendly style and with mobile-friendly connectivity.

    IR Fingertip-sensing Technology at Heart of JamStikZivix’s proprietary, multi-patented (more than 90 claims), optical fingertip-sensing technology, which makes guitars compatible with the digital world, is at the heart of JamStik. This technology is unique in being able to precisely locate the position of the user’s fingers even before they touch the strings. High-speed scanning of all finger positions ensures there is virtually no latency. Since JamStik is a digital instrument, users do not have to tune it, which makes it easy for beginners. When they are ready, users can transfer the skills they learn on JamStik to a guitar.

    JamStik Complemented by Bundled Apps, MIDI AppsZivix has developed a suite of bundled apps that broaden the appeal and depth of JamStik:

    Related StoriesPanasonic Releases Digital Single Lens Mirrorless Camera with 4K Cinematic Recording CapabilityNovel Technology for Cheaper and Faster Food Safety DetectionSelecting the Correct Level Sensor TechnologyJamTutor is a truly interactive system that teaches entry-level guitar. Users can actually see where their fingers are on JamStik’s frets, get instant feedback, and learn at their own pace.
    Using a variety of interactive game-like activities within JamTutor lets users learn and play songs in fun, engaging and rewarding way.
    JamMix is a hybrid experience that combines guitar and DJ elements for instant action for both beginners and advanced players. JamMix enables players to mix loops, sounds and instruments on the fly to explore and create original music.

    Over the past couple of years, crowdfunding has emerged as an alternative to the traditional Venture Capital or Angel investment route for start-up companies or products looking for funding. Launched as a collective public effort to fund companies and products, individuals have the ability to invest money in a product or cause based on tiered investments. In most cases each investment tier is accompanied by a return for the investor with the reward being early product access, mention as an investor in the campaign product campaign, or the ability to show support at an early stage for a new and exciting idea. Indiegogo, an international crowdfunding site and crowdfunding partner of JamStik, is headquartered in San Francisco, Calif., and has hosted over 100,000 funding campaigns in the music, charity, small business and film space.

    The Zivix team, located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, needs funding to get the JamStik in the hands of guitar players, both expert and novice, throughout the United States. For contributing to this Indiegogo campaign, Zivix is offering various rewards in appreciation. Everyone who donates $25 will have their name creatively displayed on the Founder’s Page at, which will be incorporated into the JamStik Founder’s Poster design, as well as exclusive progress updates and a JamStik-backer T-shirt. Those who donate $50 to the campaign will additionally receive a $35 discount coupon towards their future purchase of a JamStik. Other rewards include owning the JamStik prior to in-store and online availability, an option for an exclusive numbered version of the JamStik, receiving developer credit and being personally invited to attend Zivix’s official JamStik release party as a VIP.

    For further information about the JamStik crowdfunding campaign, visit the official campaign page or contact Leslie Schmidt of Engage at [email protected]/*

    From azosensors Monday, April 22, 2013
  • Allwinner reveals new octa-core and 64-bit quad-core SoCs

    Allwinner unveiled octa-core, Cortex-A7 based “A83T” and “H8” SoCs for tablets and media-streaming boxes, respectively, plus a quad-core, 64-bit “H64” SoC.
    Allwinner system-on-chips based on the ARM Cortex-A7, such as the dual-core A20 and quad-core A31, have become the darlings of Android- and Linux-based open source single board computer projects and media players. Now, the fast growing Chinese chipmaker is increasingly going octa-core.


    In May, Allwinner announced an UltraOctaA80 SoC with four Cortex-A15 cores and four Cortex-A7 cores, appearing first on a pcDuino8 SBC, and soon to appear on a Zero Devices Z8C Alice TV Box (see farther below). Last month Allwinner announced an octa-core Cortex-A7-based SoC for tablets called the A83T, and now it has debuted a similar SoC with eight –A7 cores for set-top boxes called the H8.

    Allwinner isn’t stopping at Cortex-A7 and –A15, however. The company recently announced a Nobel64 SBC based on a previously unannounced H64 SoC that incorporates four 64-bit ARMv8 cores (see farther below).

     Allwinner A83T and H8

    Last month, Allwinner released a few details of a new “A83T” SoC designed for mid-range tablets, and then recently provided substantially more information regarding a similar “H8” SoC model. Like the A80 and Samsung’s Exynos 5422 Cortex-A15/-A7 octa-core, Allwinner’s new all-A7 octa-cores are built with a 28nm fabrication process. Both the A83T and H8 run at up to 2.0GHz and will ship in products in the fourth quarter.

    Like the A80 and Exynos 5422, the two new SoCs provide Big.Little task-sharing among cores, as well as full heterogeneous multi-processing (HMP). This enables power and performance optimizations for each cores, as well as the ability to run all eight cores simultaneously.

    Other similarities between the two SoCs include the ability to play 1080p @60fps video, as well as the integration of Allwinner’s SmartColor technology, which is touted as enabling enhanced image quality and better visual effects. The A83T is listed as offering a PowerVR Series 5 GPU, while the H8 more specifically features a 700MHz PowerVR SGX544 Series 5 variant with support for OpenGL ES 2.0/1.1 and OpenCL 1.1 APIs.

    The new H8 is aimed at high-end gaming devices and video OTT (over-the-top) set-tops, says Allwinner. It supports the H.265/HEVC video format, as well as HDCP 2.0 and HDMI CEC. The H8 also integrates an 8-megapixel image processor.

    For I/O, the H8 supports USB host and dual-role interfaces, and provides a gigabit Ethernet MAC and three SD/MMC controllers. The SoC is further touted for enabling “competitive BOM costs.”

    “Allwinner has already been dedicated to OTT box SoC design for years, making it one of the most popular OTT box SoC designers in China”, said Jack Lee, the CMO of Allwinner Technology.

     Zero Devices A80-based Z8C Alice STB

    For a somewhat higher-powered set-top, vendors can turn to the all-purpose Allwinner A80, which uses the faster Cortex-A15 architecture for four of its eight cores. The SoC also provides a more capable PowerVR G6230, the first of Imagination’s Series6 Rogue GPUs.

    Z8C Alice TV Box
    (click image to enlarge)
    The first STB to use the A80 will likely be a Z8C Alice TV Box recently tipped by Zero Devices. CNXSoft spotted the STB in a tweet, the contents of which are duplicated on the Zero Devices home page with an “available soon” tag.

    The 4K-ready Z8C Alice is the first of Zero Devices’s Android-powered STBs and media players to use an octa-core SoC. Features include a Broadcom chipset with WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0, as well as HDMI, SPDIF, AV, USB 3.0, and USB 2.0 ports. Storage options include a SATA port and an SD card slot.

    Z8C Alice TV Box and motherboard in Zero Devices twitter tease
    (click image to enlarge)
    As noted by CNXSoft, Zero Devices shared more photos of the device’s motherboard on a Freaktab thread. The thread shows a prototype earning a 54253 Antutu performance score.
    Z5C Thinko

    Zero Devices has recently been focused on HDMI stick media player computers that run Android on Rockchip SoCs. Most recently, it announced a Z5C Thinko stick computer with a Rockchip RK3288. The RK3288 features four Cortex-A17 cores and a Mali-T764 GPU, which boasts 16 shader cores instead of four for its less powerful sibling, the Mali-T720.

     Allwinner debuts 64-bit ARMv8 SoC and SBC

    CNXSoft also recently reported on a scoop by PadNews [translated] about a Nobel64 SBC from Allwinner and Merrii Technology. The Nobel64, which debuted at the Hong Kong Electronics Fair, is referred to by Allwinner and Merrii as the world’s first 64-bit development board.

    (Source: Padnews)
    The Nobel64 uses a previously unknown Alllwinner H64 SoC with four 64-bit ARMv8 cores. CNXSoft noted that a year ago an Allwinner roadmap mentioned an upcoming 64-bit octa-core SoC called the A9X due in Q4 2015. However, Allwinner never mentioned a quad-core model.Nobel64 promo
    (click image to enlarge)
    (Source: Padnews)
    The H64 SoC is presumably based on the Cortex-A53 rather than the similarly 64-bit ARMv8 Cortex-A57, which primarily targets higher-end server duty. Padnews offered no more details on the H64 except that it supports the upcoming 64-bit Android L release, and will be suitable for “tablets, OTT boxes, notebooks, digital signage and AIOs, etc.”

    Padnews did supply some more details on the H64-based Nobel64 board, however. The 118 x 70mm Nobel64 is equipped with 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, as well as gigabit Ethernet, dual-band WiFi, and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity. The SBC offers an HDMI 1.4 port, and dual USB 2.0 host ports.

    From linuxgizmos Tuesday, October 14, 2014
  • 3D Printed Jaw Aids Surgeons Performing Operation on Infant

    There is something special about a baby’s first cry; that amazing transition from soundless presence to noisy participation is anticipated with excitement by expectant parents. That initial cry of entry was eagerly awaited by Nicole and Chad Bourg as they headed in the operating room. Instead the parents were met with silence after the delivery of their baby.

    Nicole remembers:Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 4.15.27 PM

    “I knew she wasn’t crying right and I kept looking at Chad’s face and the doctors kept on going on like everything was fine but I knew something wasn’t right.”

    Nicole’s mothering instincts were spot on. The Bourgs’ baby was born with Pierre Robin Syndrome, a defect that caused her lower jaw to be significantly smaller than normal, a cleft palate, and the base of her tongue to be located too far to the back of her mouth. This displacement of the base of her tongue blocked her airway and cut off her cry.

    Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 4.18.19 PMShe was airlifted to Children’s Hospital in Houma, LA where she was placed under the care of Dr. Hugo St. Hilaire, a board certified surgeon in both plastic and reconstructive surgery as well as oral and maxillofacial surgery. In the days leading up to her surgery, baby Ella had a breathing tube as she waited in the NICU for the operation.

    At only ten days old, she underwent an excruciating series of procedures to place a jaw implant that would be adjusted twice daily to stretch out her jaw in two directions. Prior to the surgery, the medical team utilized data gathered from CT scans to create a 3D model of Ella’s skull. They then 3D printed that model and used it to plan and prepare for the day of the surgery. In addition, custom devices were fabricated that would ensure the precision of every cut and each placed screw.

    Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 4.17.36 PMAll of this meant that the surgery could be performed without damaging the jaw’s nerves or interfering with any of Ella’s teeth buds. And little by little, her jaw was stretched so that her tongue moved in to the right spot and she was able to breathe without difficulty. It was then, after 18 days of anxious waiting, that the breathing tube was removed and the Bourgs celebrated.

    Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 4.19.00 PMElla is now enjoying her first month at home with her siblings and her parents have a new appreciation for the sound of a baby’s cry. In another month, her jaw implant will be removed and when she is a year old, she will undergo the surgery necessary to repair her cleft palate. Dr. Hilaire is very optimistic about Ella’s future and her parents are very relieved just to have her home.

    Have you heard of similar uses of implants to help newborns? Join the conversation in the 3D Printed Jaw Implant forum thread over at

    Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 4.15.39 PM


    From 3dprint Wednesday, September 9, 2015
  • Cracking carbon fibre

    Far Composites and Axon Automotive have been collaborating on a low cost, low waste carbon fibre beam technology, called Axontex. Tom Austin-Morgan went to the recent Cenex Low Carbon Vehicle event at Millbrook where Far Composites’ director and general manager, Lyndon Sanders, described the roadmap the companies have travelled to get to where they are now and what their next challenges are.

    The niche sports car company, Westfield, is about to start tests with a carbon fibre frame made of Axontex in one of its Sport 250 cars. The frame can replace the standard steel frame the car is supplied with. One of the big selling points of Axontex is that it can be made for the same price as an aluminium frame.

    “Westfield said ‘prove it’,” said Sanders, who is also director of Axon Automotive. “So we designed a passenger cell for them which they had priced in aluminium and we met that price with Axontex.

    “Our frame is around 35% lighter than the aluminium frame and 70% lighter than the standard steel frame,” he added.

    Sanders and his team were confident in their ability to produce this frame for Westfield because their technology has already proved itself. In 2011 the company built the Axon 8080, a 500kg, two-seater plug-in hybrid electric vehicle that used a small petrol powered engine for use in towns and cities. It emitted less than 50g/km of CO2 in a government emissions test, half the level needed for free annual road tax in the UK.

    “We couldn’t convince anyone to buy them,” admitted Sanders. “Nonetheless, it’s a demonstrator, we proved the technology worked.”

    The Axon 8080 plug-in hybrid electric vehicle

    In 2012 Axon went on to produce the Axon 60, which won the company a JEC Award for Innovation. Using Solid Edge, an FEA model was made to demonstrate the performance of the Axontex frame in a crash and to analyse its torsional rigidity. The Axon team put the frame through a full crash test for a 600kg vehicle and through adjusting various material grades and thicknesses and running iterative models, a compliant structure was specified. This allowed them to produce three road-going models, a petrol electric hybrid, a pure electric vehicle and an internal combustion engine that ran on hydrogen.

    Hyundai approached Axon to provide an Axontex frame for its hydrogen fuel-cell powered Intrado concept car for the 2014 Geneva Motor Show. Hyundai reported that the Axontex frame achieved a reduction in weight of 70% over a traditional steel frame. It also said that the strength and rigidity of the central structure would allow body panels to be made from any material, giving designers greater flexibility and aiding reparability.

    This led to Axon to offer Westfield a frame which featured the same benefits as it had on the Axon 60 and Hyundai Intrado: a ‘crash proof’ carbon fibre frame that costs the same as a lightweight aluminium one. It is also lighter and stiffer allowing for higher cornering speeds and stability.

    The next step is for a professional racing driver to test the Westfield with the Axontex frame on a race track. “It’s 154% stiffer and it’s quite a bit lighter, so we’re kind of expecting the racing driver to come back and say he likes it,” said Sanders. “Let’s assume he does, then it will go through crash tests – which we know it will pass – and it can then go into production.”

    What makes Axontex so innovative and inexpensive is the way it is made. Instead of being constructed like a conventional carbon fibre beam, which are hollow and filled with foam, Axontex incorporates a carbon cross-web which effectively makes it more like an I-beam. Sanders explained that if it is loaded from the side it won’t buckle. It is designed to crush progressively in a crash scenario so it can absorb large amounts of energy without failing.

    Sanders continued: “To get a column strong enough when it’s hollow you have to make it very deep, which uses a lot of carbon. If you think about the size of the door sill of a BMW i8, for example, there’s a lot of carbon to step over to get into the car because they’re trying to make a hollow beam buckle-proof by making it bigger. We make ours buckle-proof by making it cleverer and by using less carbon.”

    The production process for Axontex doesn’t involve any expensive aerospace or Formula 1 technologies. Axon uses a low cost manufacturing group that removes a lot of the capital from the process and strips down the tooling prices. The process is also said to produce a carbon yield of 97%, whereas larger car manufacturers only reach yields of between 50 to 65%.

    As long as the test of the carbon fibre frame by Westfield is a success, Axon expects it to be available for Westfield’s customers between the end of 2016 and the start of 2017.

    As for the next steps for Axon and Far Composites, they are looking to take the material to OEM customers for mass adoption. However, OEMs are looking for short cycle times and high process repeatability as well as low costs.

    Sanders is confident about it passing crash tests and being able to achieve mass production part costs as Axontex costs the same as aluminium parts. He also thinks the company is ready to meet investment costs because of its range of low cost tooling solutions. But there are other factors like supply chain and short cycle times that he is less confident about; even though the Axontex resin cures in around 60 to 90 seconds, they would need a cell to prove it.

    “Process repeatability is an entirely tougher standard – we’re talking about one or two PPMs of rejects, and very tight repeatability. We physically haven’t made enough cars to do the maths to prove that we can actually hit those target standards, because you have to have samples of 100 and we haven’t made 100 cars yet,” he admitted.

    The Westfield test, as well as some others the companies are working on should help with getting them closer to working with OEMs. However, Sanders could not elaborate on these, he concluded: “A lot of what we do is covered by NDAs so there’s a lot of stuff I can’t tell you about, come back next year and maybe I’ll have some more news for you.”

    Carbon flax hybrid offers greater damping

    As part of the Innovate UK funded CARBIO project, Composites Evolution has developed a carbon/flax automotive roof panel using its Biotex Flax material.

    Compared to carbon, flax fibres are renewable, lower in cost, CO2 neutral and have excellent vibration damping properties. The 50/50 carbon/flax hybrid biocomposite panel features equal bending stiffness to carbon fibre, but is 15% cheaper, 7% lighter and exhibits 58% high vibration dampening.

    Composites Evolution has also developed hybrid fabrics that contain carbon and flax yarns that allow tunable performance, vibration dampening and unique aesthetics at lower cost than carbon. This material would suit complex structural and decorative parts on sports as well as automotive industries.

    From eurekamagazine Tuesday, October 4, 2016