Category Archives: Product

Updates from Adobe

How to Create a Surreal Photo Collage
By Terri Stone – When you composite photos, you usually don’t want the result to look like a composite. Even if the final scene is fantastical, your aim is to transport viewers into another world. Filip Hodas, a 24-year-old freelance artist from Prague, has been creating convincing digital realities for years. Now he’’ agreed to share his process.

To make the otherworldly landscape featured here, Hodas relied heavily on Adobe Photoshop CC layer masks. He placed each source image on its own layer and then used layer masks to hide and reveal parts of each. He also used layer masks to adjust color and add highlights and shadows.

Next came a Color Balance adjustment layer, which he added to the background images so their colors would be a better match. Trees on the right side of the horizon image were distracting, so he removed them with the Clone Stamp tool.

Hodas knows that small details can have a big impact on a composite’s overall look, so his next step was to refine the foreground image’s mask. That softened jagged edges a little and removed a slight yellow outline. more> https://goo.gl/7jat2c

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Make Chips Do More and Last Longer with Embedded FPGA


By Geoff Tate – The cost and the time to design ASSP/ASIC/SoCs keeps rising.

Also, customers are demanding more flexibility in chips so their systems can be upgraded for critical changes (such as protocols/standards), which increases the useful life of their systems and increases their ROI.

For example, in data centers, customers are now seeking reconfigurability. Rather than a fork-lift upgrade when standards evolve, data centers want programmable chips so they can upgrade the data center’s ability during the life of the center without touching the hardware. This also gives the data center the option to customize for added competitive advantage. As Doug Burger of Microsoft said at a recent talk at FPL 2016, (Re)Configurable Clouds will change the world with the ability to reprogram a datacenter’s hardware protocols: networking, storage, security. Adding FPGA technology into the mix is a key in doing this. Embedded FPGA technology is now available to increase performance while lowering cost and power.

Another example is microcontrollers. In older process nodes such as 90nm where mask costs are cheap, a line card can have dozens or hundreds of versions. This offers each customer the small differences in, for example, the number and types of serial interfaces (SPI, I2C, UART, etc). However, now that leading edge microcontrollers are moving to 40nm where masks cost $1M each, microcontroller manufacturers need a programmable way to customize their chips and offer multiple SKUs. Adding this capability also opens the path for their customers to customize the MCUs themselves, similar to how they now write C code for the on-board processors. There are a few microcontrollers today, such as Cypress’ PSoC, which offer some limited customizability. However, only embedded FPGA can provide more and scalable customizability. more> https://goo.gl/9xx7sC

Updates from GE

GE Just Turned the World’s Most Powerful Jet Engine Into A 65-Megawatt Power Plant
By Tomas Kellner – GE is taking the world’s largest jet engine and turning it into a power plant. The machine’s beating heart comes from the GE90-115B, which is the largest and most powerful jet engine, capable of producing 127,900 pounds of thrust, according to Guinness World Records. The electricity generator, which GE calls LM9000, will be able to generate a whopping 65 megawatts — enough to supply of 6,500 homes — and reach full power in 10 minutes.

The technology is also a good example of what GE calls the GE Store — the system of sharing technology, research and expertise among its many businesses. Today, aeroderivatives power towns and factories but also oil platforms and ships. more> https://goo.gl/dSwnhF

Updates from Autodesk

Motion CaptVRe
CADInnovation.com – Motion capture, and the way it is used in game development, is improving rapidly. No longer used solely by animators to record and store an actor’s performance, the technology is expanding into new areas. Those working with it on a daily basis are excited to see where this might lead.

Technology’s inevitable march forward means that motion capture can now occur in realtime, with an actor’s movements being instantly reflected in a game. Not only does this benefit animators by streamlining their process, but it also opens doors to other applications, like virtual reality. The HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR all take advantage of motion capture technology to allow players to interact with virtual worlds. Not as advanced as that used in an animation studio, perhaps, but with time this can only improve.

“The biggest advance in mo-cap, in my opinion, is linked to the VR push,” says Alexandre Pechev, CEO of motion capture middleware provider IKinema. more> https://goo.gl/3vY2NT

Updates from GE

By Mark Egan – As the approaching winter solstice shrouded Oslo in gloom and darkness last month, the workers at a GE factory located in the Norwegian capital found their cheer in a bright green robot known affectionately, if not officially, as “Hulk.”

The facility, which belongs to GE Healthcare, makes contrast media — the fluids doctors inject into patients to highlight organs during X-ray and CT scans. But last year a swell in orders set off by an increased demand from global customers was starting to tax the muscles of some workers. “We experienced an increase in injuries and sick leave,” says Fadi Fetyan, lean manufacturing leader at the Oslo factory.

Fetyan says that as each 6.5-pound box of contrast media came off the production line, a worker would lift it, turn sideways, lean over and place it on a pallet for shipping. A worker had to perform that physical operation seven times per minute, or as many as 3,150 times during an 8-hour shift. The repeated twisting and leaning motions caused back, shoulder and neck aches as well as hand and wrist problems.

That’s when Fetyan started thinking about help. As lean leader, he is a key player in making the factory smarter while lowering costs. So he proposed bringing in a collaborative robot — or cobot.

He reached out to FANUC, a Japanese company that specializes in building robots that automate factories, which had just the machine he needed. The robot’s first trip was to GE Healthcare’s Advanced Manufacturing Engineering (AME) lab in Waukesha, Wisconsin. The lab typically tests new automation technologies designed to make machines and factories work more efficiently. more> https://goo.gl/jDdEZC

Updates from GE

By Tomas Kellner – Last year, Indian Railways (IR) awarded GE Transportation a contract to build 1,000 new diesel-electric locomotives. These next-generation machines will start the process of upgrading the IR’s 5,000 older engines — mostly from the 1970s and 1980s — that currently haul freight over its railroad network. The state-run railroad operator, which holds a 26 percent stake in the joint venture, had already had Marhaura in mind.

It typically opens new factories in underserved parts of the country. For example, GE also is building a maintenance shop for the new locomotives in Roza, Uttar Pradesh, a town in another populous state racing to catch up to the rest of the country. France’s Alstom, which won a large contract from IR for electric locomotives at the same time as GE, is building in Bihar. “They want these contracts to be catalysts for economic development,” says Nalin Jain, the CEO of GE’s Transportation and Aviation businesses in the country.

The team designing the locomotive sits at the Indian outpost of GE Global Research in Bangalore. The machine will be based on GE’s Evolution-series locomotives, which are best in class on fuel efficiency and emissions, but it will have to meet specific local requirements. For example, the six-axle locomotive can only weigh 22 tons per axle, while its heavier American cousins typically clock in between 25 and 30 tons. “You are talking about taking out as much as 48 tons for the whole locomotive,” Jain says. “That’s a lot of weight.” more> https://goo.gl/qUhBc2

Simulation Takes on Bigger Roles in Product Development

By Rob Spiegel – The real world isn’t what it used to be when it comes to testing. Simulation has created a world of new product testing that puts products through scenarios that cannot be duplicated by prototypes in the real world.

Instead of just testing an actual part physically, simulation can test an entire complex product – like a car – and see how each part performs in conjunction with the entire product – a form of accurate testing that can’t be done in the real world.

The exception is with composites and some 3D-printed parts. There is not enough data on the new materials and 3D-printed shapes to provide accurate simulation. That’s temporary, however. The data from the physical testing of composites and 3D shapes are getting fed into simulation programs so those programs can begin to include new materials and shapes into the digital world of simulation.

Simulation used to be a side function, something done after preliminary design to see how the product performs in the real world. Simulation has moved to the center of the process so the product’s performance can be evaluated as it is being designed. more> https://goo.gl/72FE3N

Updates from GE

No Laughing Matter: The World Is Running Out Of Helium, But It Won’t Hold These MRI Engineers Down
By Tomas Kellner and Dorothy Pomerantz – MRI machines explore the body by using powerful magnets and pulsing radio frequency signals. For the magnets to work, MRI manufacturers such as GE use liquid helium to cool them to minus 452 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 269 Celsius), just above absolute zero. At that temperature, they lose all electrical resistance and become superconducting.

“When you power up a super-cooled magnet, it can produce the same magnetic field for a thousand years with no more power required,” MR engineer and inventor Trifon Laskaris told GE Reports. The problem is that some machines need as much as 8,000 liters of the helium, and the world is running out of it, to the chagrin of radiologists and party-store owners alike.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, the Helium Privatization Act of 1996 got the government out of the business of producing the gas. But sales from the huge U.S. helium reserve stored in porous rock deep underneath Amarillo, Texas, kept down prices and gave private producers few incentives to enter the market. The shortage followed. more> https://goo.gl/emDpN3

Updates from GE

By Kristin Kloberdanz – The GE Hybrid EGT is the world’s first gas turbine and battery storage hybrid, coupling a 10-megawatt battery with a 50-megawatt (MW) GE LM6000 Gas Turbine. The whole thing is operated by an integrated digital turbine control system.

Under normal conditions, some gas turbines must run at minimum loads in order to provide reserves to the grid. This maintains the reliability of the grid but forces the turbines to run at inefficient minimum loads and burn gas even when they’re not really needed.

The new hybrid system uses excess power from the turbine to charge the battery. The battery then responds quickly to any changes in power demand and allows the gas turbine to operate at a smoother rate. This increases efficiency and reduces maintenance costs.

A hybrid car is a good analogy for the new system. The engine charges the battery when it’s running, and when the engine isn’t really needed, say at a stoplight, it can turn off and let the battery take over. more> https://goo.gl/T74vMg

Updates from GE

GE’s New Aviation Plant In The Heart Of Europe Will Build Engines With 3D Printed Parts For Next-Gen Cessna Denali

By Tomas Kellner – GE and the Czech government announced today (Oct 20) plans to build a new factory outside of the city focused on the development and production of the world’s first turboprop engine with 3D printed components.

The plant, which will double as GE Aviation’s first aircraft engine headquarters outside the United States, will employ 500 people. It is scheduled to open in 2022.

GE is spending $400 million to develop the engine, which the company calls Advanced Turboprop — or ATP. It will first power the Cessna Denali, Textron Aviation’s next-generation business aircraft.

3D printing allowed designers to consolidate 845 parts into just 11 components. Although the engine still has hundreds of parts in it, the reduction in complexity will help speed up production, reduce fuel burn by up to 20 percent, achieve 10 percent more power and lower the engine’s weight.

The engine will be powerful and efficient enough to reach Chicago from Los Angeles or Miami from New York.

“The physics is simple,” says Milan Slapak, a turboprop program manager at GE Aviation in Prague. “The more metal you have in the air, the more money you need to spend on the material itself and on the fuel to keep it flying. Also, an engine with fewer components reduces the number of parts you need to design, certify, inspect and make or order. 3D-printing really is the game changer and it will totally change the way traditional supply chains operate and simplify them massively.” more> https://goo.gl/BdLU3w