Article Index – 2003

All feature articles from this year are available online. Click the links below.

To see indexes for other years, click below.

For articles from 2005 onward, please visit our main web site: www.sensorsmag.com.

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December 2003
  • Editorial: Got You Covered

    Sensor Technology and Design:
  • Acoustic Inspection and Analysis of Liquids in Sealed Containers
    Inspectors with the U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection are beta testing a new, portable surveillance tool designed to thwart fraud and smuggling at our borders and ports.

  • Jack of All Trades: The Self-Contained Throughbeam Sensor
    Among the dizzying array of specialized photoelectrics, fork sensors (self-contained throughbeams) are proving surprisingly useful in many applications.

    Intelligent Systems:
  • Standards-Based Wireless Networking Alternatives
    The number of wireless choices is growing. Here's how to select the appropriate technology for your application.

  • Test Data Anomalies-When Tweaking's OK
    Cleaning up your data set doesn't have to be a fraudulent maneuver. Just use methods whose validity stands up to the demands of physics and common sense.

    Putting Sensors to Work:
  • Packaging MEMS: New Manufacturing Methodology Substantially Reduces Smart MEMS Costs
    An innovative capping technology opens doors to broader applications.

  • Application Snapshots
    Solving burning issues with a portable DA system, kicking corrosion with embedded sensors, and speedy scanning with a PCI frame grabber.


    Departments
      Business Sense
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  • November 2003
  • Editorial: News from Sensors Expo

    Sensor Technology and Design:
  • Measuring Current with IMC Hall Effect Technology
    This Hall effect current sensor features an integrated magnetic concentrator (IMC) that allows it to measure current directly, without a ferrite core.

  • The ABCs of RTDs
    This short tutorial will bring you up to speed on the operating principle of resistance temperature detectors.

    Intelligent Systems:
  • BiSS, an Open Digital Interface Standard for Smart Sensors
    An open bidirectional synchronous-serial sensor interface-BiSS-is designed to network smart sensors without breaking the bank.

  • Nanotechnology-Enabled Sensors: Possibilities, Realities, and Applications
    Operating on the scale of atoms and molecules, emerging nanotechnologies promise dramatic changes in sensor designs and capabilities.

  • Wireless Wearables-Where's the Technology Headed?
    The military's investing, industry's watching, and before long it could be what you put on in the morning.

    Putting Sensors to Work:
  • Using Precision Digital Multimeters for Quick Checks on Temperature Transducers
    Does this thing work? How a digital multimeter can tell you if your temperature transducer is working, broken, or confused.

  • Application Snapshots
    Automated inspection keeps planes up and running, CCD imaging lets astronomers look outside the box, and robots package tricky links in food processing.


    Departments
      Business Sense
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  • October 2003
  • Editorial: New Muscle Behind Wireless

    Sensor Technology and Design:
  • Flowmeters and Their Apps: An Overview
    Here are 11 ways to measure flow-liquid, gas, and steam. One is sure to be just right for your application.

  • 3D Measurements with Telecentric Lenses
    If you expect your machine vision system to accurately gauge objects with bosses and dings, you might want to consider using telecentric lenses.

    Intelligent Systems:
  • Mind the Gap: Using Wireless Sensors to Measure Gaps Efficiently
    A network of small, wireless sensors is helping Ford measure seal gaps in real time.

    Putting Sensors to Work:
  • Bubble-Based Chemical Sensing for the Process Industries
    An elegant liquid analysis technique combines passive acoustic listening and active ultrasonic Doppler observation to ascertain the physical properties of even opaque liquids.

  • Quest for Fire Control: Using Heat Flux Sensors to Determine Fire Safety
    Heat flux sensors can help you understand how likely a material is to burn and how it'll behave if it does-critical knowledge if you're choosing construction materials.

  • Application Snapshots
    Calibrating gas sensors from a distance, tracking locomotives with FOGs, and chilling out without burning up in hotel rooms.


    Departments
      Business Sense
      Research & Developments
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      Wish List
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  • September 2003
  • Editorial: Having Wonder Full Time

    Putting Sensors to Work:
  • Optoelectronic Sensors in Medical Applications
    As diagnostic equipment becomes smaller, more portable, and more energy efficient, optoelectronic sensors are proving their worth in medical applications.

  • Application Snapshots
    Caring for coral reefs, customized air bag deployment, and synthetic vision for airline pilots.

    Intelligent Systems:
  • Managing Your Data Before, During, and After Testing
    Setting up your test system is only half the battle-how you store the data and access them after testing is the other half.

  • Smart Sensing Power on a Chip: Digital Signal Controllers
    Using innovative system-on-a-chip architecture, digital signal controllers deliver the powerful computation, communication, and control capablities demanded by cutting-edge smart sensing applications.

    Sensor Technology and Design:
  • A Novel Auto-Zero Servo-Inclinometer
    A next-generation servo-inclinometer exhibits accuracy of a few arc-seconds, has virtually banished the zero drift problem (even under harsh conditions), and can go without recalibration for extended periods of time.

  • A Unique Angular-Rate-Sensing Gyro
    Using specialized MEMS technology, integrated gyroscopes deliver significant advances in angular rate sensing-and make a fully integrated inertial measurement unit with six degrees of freedom a real possibility in the not-so-distant future.

  • Enhancing Crane Safety: Digitally Compensated Tilt Sensors
    Crane safety systems using high-performance tilt sensors help avert serious accidents, enhance production, and control costs for a highly competitive industry.

  • Integrated Solutions for Calibrated Sensor Signal Conditioning
    This quick read will give you some tips you'll find handy for your sensor calibration and signal conditioning tasks.

  • TechWOW! Special Supplement
    An out-of-the-ordinary supplement premiering with the September 2003 issue of Sensors. It features innovations and surprising applications of sensors, systems, and related technologies, covering such areas as: automotive, medicine and biotech, consumer and home, and safety and security.


    Departments
      Business Sense
      Research & Developments
      Web Picks
      Wish List
      Advertiser Index


  • August 2003
  • Editorial: The Unexpected Power of Sensor Data

    Putting Sensors to Work:
  • Detecting Out-of-Balance Conditions with MEMS Technology
    A vigorous spin cycle in your washing machine makes less work for the dryer, but high spin rates can shake your washer to pieces. To keep that from happening, this MEMS accelerometer detects off-balance load conditions and helps corrrect the problem.

  • Application Snapshots
    Positioning a rocket, setting a jet engine air gap, and listening to colors.

    Intelligent Systems:
  • Building an Engine Simulator for ECU Testing
    Challenged to develop an engine simulator for hardware-in-the-loop testing of engine controller modules, engineers turned to FPGA-based reconfigurable I/O boards, enabling real-time simulation with precise, flexible timing and synchronization of I/O signals.

  • Using Off-the-Shelf Components for High-Precision Motion Control Systems
    In a climate of ever-increasing cost pressures, engineers are using PC-based motion control systems to help them automate their processes more easily. And they're using off-the-shelf components to do it.

    Sensor Technology and Design:
  • The Role of Thermal Imaging in a Predictive Maintenance Program
    Does your manufacturing or process equipment have heartburn? IR imaging will let you know for sure.

  • Tunable Lasers for Multichannel Fiber-Optic Sensors
    Tunable lasers, highly manufacturable and cost-effective, are opening new opportunities for multichannel fiber Bragg grating sensors using single-fiber and single-laser technology in multiple-point interrogation systems.

    BEST OF SENSORS EXPO WRAPUP


    Departments
      Business Sense
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  • July 2003
  • Editorial: What's Yours?
    Are you clear about who has rights to your designs?

    Putting Sensors to Work:
  • Pressure Sensors Help Control Your Networked HVAC/R System
    The days of just checking the temperature output of HVAC/R units are past. Pressure transducers have become an integral element of control systems designed to reduce energy consumption, improve system performance, and facilitate preventive maintenance programs.

  • Application Snapshots
    A printer cartridge understudy; how to measure a cloud; and a facial fever giveaway.

    Intelligent Systems:
  • Securing Your Process Control Networks
    Interconnecting business networks with modern process networks has opened the door for hackers and viruses to enter the production environment. If left untended, this doorway can lead to failure of process networks of unauthorized modification of the production systems that are attached to them.

    Sensor Technology and Design:
  • Ultrasonics: Industry's Multipurpose Maintenance Technology
    Ultrasonic instruments are increasing production, reducing maintenance costs and energy consumption, and shortening downtime.

  • Tire Pressure Monitoring: An Industry Under Pressure
    Federal insistence that auto manufacturers warn drivers of low tire pressure means a booming market in tire pressure monitoring systems-and efficient, flexible systems that directly monitor each tire will likely be the big winners.


    Departments
      Business Sense
      Research & Developments
      Web Picks
      Wish List
      Advertiser Index


  • June 2003
  • Editorial: Imposing Change

    Putting Sensors to Work:
  • Making a Space Heater Smart
    OEMs can buy a module, build a circuit, and send a greatly enhanced product out the door.

  • Application Snapshots
    Keeping the snap in snap beans; pumping iron without hurting yourself; and a virtual hand on the wheel.

    Intelligent Systems:
  • Meet the ZigBee Standard
    Many in the industry are calling for a wireless networking standard that can deliver device-level communications for sensing, data acquisition, and control applications. Will the ZigBee standard make this a reality?

  • Machine Condition Monitoring, Part 2: Using Order Analysis for Condition Monitoring
    Modern condition monitoring systems require state-of-the-art vibration acquisition as well as powerful analysis capability. In Part 2 of this two-part series, we take a closer look at one of the popular analysis techniques for advanced machine monitoring and diagnostics.

    Sensor Technology and Design:
  • Calibrating Weight Sensors Using a Dead-Weight Test Stand
    Clever electronics can maintain your force sensor's calibration but they're wasted if the sensor isn't properly calibrated in the first place. Here are some practical tips and techniques for using a dead-weight test stand properly.

  • Genetic Analysis Leaves the Lab
    Wider access to the enormous amount of information contained in DNA and RNA molecules will revolutionize drug discovery, disease diagnostics and control, and medical treatment.


    Departments
      Business Sense
      Research & Developments
      Web Picks
      Wish List
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  • May 2003
  • Editorial: Are Today's Sensors Limiting Innovation?

    Putting Sensors to Work:
  • A Novel Robotic Workcell Makes High-End MEMS Devices
    A multitalented robot is performing spin coating, baking, and all the transfer steps of substrates that go into a quartz rate sensor MEMS gyro. The advantages are lower manufacturing costs, higher throughput and yield, and enhanced process flow.

  • Application Snapshots
    Monitoring the muscleworm; aligning mobile antennas; and mating tires to wheels.

    Intelligent Systems:
  • Is Linux Bringing Open Systems to the Factory Floor?
    GNU/Linux is a great facilitator of open systems. When enough people undersand that, GNU/Linux may just gain dominance on the shop floor.

  • Switching Fiber-Optic Circuits with Microscopic Bubbles
    Advanced computational fluid dynamics modeling software plays a critical role in the development of a revolutionary photonic switching platform.

  • EtherNet/IP-An Application-Layer Protocol for Industrial Automation
    Building on the TCP/IP and CIP protocol suites, EtherNet/IP provides a seamless integrated system from the sensor-actuator network to the controller to the enterprise networks.

    Sensor Technology and Design:
  • Machine Condition Monitoring, Part 1: Vibration Acquisition and Analysis
    Early machine monitoring systems simply determined the need for maintenance, but modern systems assist with severity assessment, avoid false positives, and help with process optimization. Here's a look at one enabling technology for these new systems-dynamic vibration measurement and analysis.

  • Trace Moisture Measurement with Aluminum Oxide Sensors
    Aluminum oxide moisture sensors derive moisture measurements from a calculation of the dew/frost point. Here are the specifics of that technology.

  • Time to Learn Your RTDs
    Sooner or later you're going to need a resistance temperature detector. When you go shopping for one, you'll be glad you read this article.

  • A Digitally Programmable Pulse-Width-Modulation Converter
    A digital technique for converting a 0%-100% PWM signal to a different maximum-to-minimum duty cycle offers linearity and temperature characteristics superior to those achieved by conventional analog conversion methods.


    Departments
      Business Sense
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  • April 2003
  • Editorial: Wow! Tell Us How!

    Putting Sensors to Work:
  • Level Sensing in Harsh Environments with Guided-Wave Radar
    When you need to take a level reading on a tank full of molten sulfur or some other low-dielectric product, a noncontact sensor might not be the best way to go. Here are the reasons.

  • Application Snapshots
    Automating HVAC systems with wireless mesh networks, making keystone adjustments on projectors, and measuring distance at driving ranges.

    Intelligent Systems:
  • Designing Sensor Signal Conditioning with Programmable Analog ICs
    A new breed of programmable analog ICs is bringing greater design flexibility to sensor signal conditioning applications, allowing manufacturers to differentiate products while slashing parts inventory by using a single chip and board layout for multiple applications.

  • A Sensor Model Language: Moving Sensor Data onto the Internet
    A new XML encoding scheme may make it possible for you to remotely discover, access, and use real-time data obtained directly from Web-resident sensors, instruments, and imaging devices.

    Sensor Technology and Design:
  • Dynamic Pressure Calibration
    High-frequency pressure sensors capable of measuring shock waves, blast, rocket combustion instability, and ballistics were initially developed by researchers for laboratory use. Here's an overview of some of the sensor types, and associated calibration equipment, available on the commercial market.

  • PIR Detectors for Security
    Day or night, PIR devices detect motion by sensing any thermal contrast between a moving object or person and a stationary background. As a result, they're being incorporated into a growing number of security devices.

  • A Miniature Flow Sensor with Electronic Temperature Compensation
    Automating the sample dosing step in liquid analysis will enhance testing protocol in the biological and medical sciences.


    Departments
      Business Sense
      Research & Developments
      Web Picks
      Wish List
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  • March 2003
  • Editorial: How Engineers Can Win Customers

    Sensor Technology and Design:
  • Angular Position Sensing with 2-Axis Hall ICs
    A unique IC with 360 sensing capability expands the applications of Hall effect technology in angular position products.

  • High-Resolution, Chip-Size Magnetic Sensor Arrays
    You may have heard of the technique before, but the materials and applications are new. Now you can manufacture arrays that measure small magnetic fields or changes in magnetic fields. And you can use the signal conditioning and logic of integrated circuits to optimize system performance.

  • Capacitive and Inductive Noncontact Measurement
    How do capacitive and inductive position sensors work? And how do you go about selecting the right one? This technology review with sample applications will answer your questions.

    Intelligent Systems:
  • The Impact of Photovoltaic Technology on Sensor Design
    Do you design sensors? If so, you'd better take a look at a new technology that will power sensors into the wireless age.

  • Choosing the Right Op Amp for Your High-Resolution ADC
    Designing with the proper combination of ADCs and op amps can deliver 16-bit performance to sensor-based systems, bridging the gap for high-performance data acquisition systems.

  • Extend the Life of Your Battery
    It's the age of wireless transducers and handheld instruments. Now everyone wants to know where they're going to get the juice to operate these devices. Keeping your batteries alive and well is one way of doing it. Use the right charging methods, and you can extend battery cycle life.

    Putting Sensors to Work:
  • A Statistical Approach to the Verification of Thread Holes
    Eddy current methods of thread verification compare the signature of a good part with that of the unit under test. The results can be plotted as a bell curve and used for trending.

  • Application Snapshots
    Dynamometer systems that test diesel engines; software to keep locomotives on track; and earth-moving electro-optical encoders.


    Departments
      Business Sense
      Research & Developments
      Web Picks
      Wish List
      Advertiser Index


  • February 2003
  • Guest Editorial: Wireless Déjà Vu

    Sensor Technology and Design:
  • An Overview of MEMS Inertial Sensing Technology
    MEMS-scale accelerometers, geophones, and gyros-thanks to their small size and weight, modest power consumption and cost, and high reliability-are replacing some of their standard-size precursors as well as establishing new markets of their own.

  • Low-Pass Filtering for Vibration Sensors
    Vibratory signals can reveal a great deal about a machine's health, but not when extraneous noise corrupts the data. Adding the right filter to your accelerometer can clean that signal right up.

  • Comparing RTDs and Thermocouples in Industrial Applications
    RTDs and thermocouples have their own distinct place in industrial temperature measurements. Knowing their strengths and weaknesses will help you match up the right sensor with the application at hand.

    Intelligent Systems:
  • Wireless Mesh Networks
    Providing industrial-strength connectivity, this technology delivers self-configuring, scalable, and self-healing networks. And it's aimed right at distributed data acquisition and control.

    Putting Sensors to Work:
  • Circuit Protection for Automotive Networks
    As electronic entertainment and information devices migrate from the home to the vehicle, automotive multimedia networks and supporting electrical and electronic systems must be protected against overcurrent and overtemperature damage. Resettable PPTC devices help provide the circuit protection that's needed.

  • Application Snapshots
    Dynamometer systems that test diesel engines; software to keep locomotives on track; and earth-moving electro-optical encoders.


    Departments
      Business Sense
      Research & Developments
      Web Picks
      Wish List
      Advertiser Index


  • January 2003
  • Guest Editorial: Financial Woes Mar the Road to M3 Commercialization

    Sensor Technology and Design:
  • Pressure Measurement: Principles and Practice
    Do you find the sheer variety of pressure sensing methods and products daunting? This tutorial will help you take the pressure off yourself and put it on the right sensor for your application.
  • Digital Signal Controllers Turn Thermocouples into Superstars
    The digital signal controller combines the best features of both microcontrollers and digital signal processors in a powerful, flexible platform on which to build robust measurement and control applications.

  • Do-It-Yourself Machine Vision Software
    This self-help guide is guaranteed relief for those with machine vision software anxiety.

    Intelligent Systems:
  • Getting Connected
    There are many ways of linking a system to the Internet. And they don't all have to cost you an arm and a leg.

    Putting Sensors to Work:
  • Fingerprint Identification and Authentication
    New solid-state sensing devices provide cost-effective, reliable, and sophisticated physical-access security for mobile devices, such as laptop computers, PDAs, and cell phones.

  • Application Snapshots
    Spying on the reclusive storm petrel, improving your ski jump takeoffs, and protecting greenhouse plants from thermal shock.


    Departments
      Business Sense
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