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0618.2 Industrial Wireless
0618.3 Programming Language Advances
0618.4 Security Priorities
0618.5 Hydrogen Fuel Cells
0618.6 Robotics Firmware
0618.7 Virtual Reality
***New DisplayPort Interface Standard for PCs, Monitors, TV Displays and Projectors Released by the Video Electronics Standards Association
The newly-developed DisplayPort interface standard designed to unify the desktop and notebook PC markets to a common high-bandwidth display interface has been approved by the member companies of the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA).
The new DisplayPort standard was developed by a VESA Task Group comprised of leading companies in the display silicon, connector, computer monitor, TV display, projector, and PC industry segments.
DisplayPort allows high-definition digital audio to be available to the display device over the same cable as the digital video signal. It delivers true plug-and-play with robust interoperability, and is cost competitive with existing digital display interconnects. Designed to be available throughout the industry as an open, extensible standard, DisplayPort is expected to accelerate the adoption in PCs of digital outputs enabling higher levels of display performance. When the optional content protection capability is active, DisplayPort will support viewing high definition television, video and other types of protected content.
DisplayPort enables for the first time a common interface for both external and internal display connections within a PC notebook or a desktop display. This approach allows for standardized connections between source devices and display devices, such as LCD panels, without the need for signal translation. This direct drive capability simplifies display product design and reduces cost. DisplayPort may be applied within notebook PCs, and for external display connections, including interfaces between a PC and monitor or projector, between a PC and TV or between a device such as a DVD player and TV display.
The standard includes an optional digital audio capability so high-definition digital audio and video can be sent over the interface. DisplayPort also provides performance scalability so that the next generation of displays can feature higher color depths, refresh rates, and display resolutions. The external connector is small, user-friendly and optimized for use on thin profile notebooks in addition to allowing multiple connectors on a graphics card.
Layered, Modular Architecture Includes Main Link and Auxiliary Channel
DisplayPort incorporates a Main Link, a high-bandwidth, low-latency, unidirectional connection supporting isochronous stream transport. One uncompressed video stream with associated audio is included in Version 1.0. DisplayPort is seamlessly extensible, enabling support of multiple video and/or audio streams. Version 1.0 also includes an Auxiliary Channel to provide consistent-bandwidth, low-latency, bi-directional connectivity with Main Link management, and device control based on VESA's EDID and MCCS standards. The Link configuration enables true "Plug-and-Play."
The Main Link bandwidth of up to 10.8Gbit/s, equivalent to a data transfer rate of 1080 Mbytes/second, uses four lanes; the auxiliary channel features minimal delay, with maximum transaction periods less than 500 microseconds.
As higher performance display and source technologies are introduced, the demands on interface bandwidth expand and the problem is becoming ever more acute with requirements for more colors, higher resolutions, and higher refresh rates. The DisplayPort standard's high initial bandwidth is designed to scale to even higher bandwidths to accommodate future display requirements.
Data is transmitted across the DisplayPort interface using a micro-packetized format which provides both high performance and the flexibility to handle the evolving requirements of a high performance display interface.
The DisplayPort standard has available an optional robust content protection system which is designed to meet the unique high-bandwidth requirements of the current and future requirements of high-definition audio and video digital technology. In addition, a compliance program is nearing completion to complement the standard and to assure that solutions will be interoperable and provide a great user experience.
The Video Electronics Standards Association is a worldwide organization with more than 140 member companies that promotes and develops timely, relevant, open display and display interface standards, ensuring interoperability, and encouraging innovation and market growth.
***Honeywell Joins Industry Leaders to Establish SP100 Industrial Wireless Standard
Honeywell Industry Group Will Develop a Multi-Functional Wireless Network Standard that Supports Sensing and the Wireless Worker in Industrial Environments
Honeywell, Adaptive Instruments, Endress+ Hauser, Flowserve, OMNEX Control Systems, 3e Technologies International (3eTI) and Yokogawa announced they have joined the Instrumentation, Systems, and Automation Society (ISA) SP100 working group to support the committee's efforts to create an open industrial and multi-functional wireless standard. This industry group will work towards a joint solution that will enable industrial plants to use a single wireless network architecture to support a wide range of applications from low-rate monitoring to process control to wireless worker functions.
These industry group members are developing a network structure which is based on existing wireless technologies to meet current and future customer requirements. The SP100 committee has identified needs for managing just a few devices, or up to tens of thousands of devices residing on a single, scalable, wireless plant network. Plant operators can use this system to perform multiple, simultaneous tasks, including low- and high-rate monitoring, control functions as well as tasks performed with hand-held Wi-Fi devices. The network architecture will provide integrated end-to-end security that will guard against cyber threats, as well as enable companies to reduce the number of disparate wireless networks used at a plant - which also reduces operational costs and disruptions.
Industrial wireless has many complex issues when compared to traditional wired offerings and needs a comprehensive solution to be successful in the long run. So, the industry group members are drawing from their current wireless industrial plant experiences as well as extensive research to select the best wireless technologies that will provide an open, standard environment for industrial vendors to develop interoperable products. Therefore, providing customers the ability to choose from many products they want to use in their plants.
The industry group will develop this solution within the ISA-SP100 committee, which was chartered last year "to establish standards, recommended practices, technical reports and related information that will define procedures for implementing wireless systems in the automation and control environment." SP100 committee members will have the opportunity in the next few months to vote on the elements to standardize this solution. The group will also cooperate with associations like the HART Communication Foundation (HCF) and others to ensure a single wireless network architecture for easy use in industrial plants.
Each partner in the industry group brings a wealth of industrial and wireless expertise. Adaptive Instruments has provided a broad range of digital micro-powered measurement and control instrumentation to the global process automation industry for over two decades. Adaptive has pioneered the development of Class 1, Div 1 industrial-strength wireless technologies specifically for applications in the most demanding industrial and processing environments. Flowserve is a recognized world leader in supplying pumps, valves, seals and automation services to industrial companies. Endress+Hauser is a world-wide operating company providing automation and logistics solutions and instruments for the process industry. OMNEX is a provider of trusted wireless RF solutions for industrial applications. 3eTI, also a member of the Wireless International Network Alliance, is a wireless infrastructure and application provider that focuses on the government sector. 3eTI provides wireless infrastructure for U.S. Navy ships. Yokogawa is a total solution provider in the industrial automation business arena - manufacturing both process control instrumentation and systems. Products include analyzers, flow meters, transmitters, controllers, recorders, data acquisition products, meters, instruments, distributed control systems and more.
***Ada 2005 Standard Receives Technical Approval; Formal Standardization by International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Anticipated Soon
Systems & Software Technology Conference
SALT LAKE CITY
The Ada Resource Association has announced the accomplishment of a major milestone in the development of the new Ada ISO standard. ISO's Ada Working Group (WG 9) has unanimously accepted the proposed amendment to the language and has forwarded it to the parent organization for an official ballot. Formal approval by ISO is expected some time later this year.
The new amendment to the language, commonly referred to as Ada 2005, culminates a collaborative international effort to enhance the 1995 version of the Ada language. The effort was sponsored in part by the Ada Resource Association, which helped support the work of the project editor, Mr. Randall Brukardt.
Ada 2005 offers significant enhancements in several areas. Improvements in the language's Object-Oriented Programming features include the addition of Java-like interfaces and traditional "object.operation" syntax. More flexible program structuring allows mutually dependent package specifications and makes it easier to interface with languages such as Java. Real-time system support includes additional task dispatching policies such as Earliest Deadline First, execution-time clocks, and handlers for task termination. The concurrency and object-oriented features are successfully unified through a new interface feature that allows implementation through either a sequential or concurrent type. Support for safety and security is enhanced with the inclusion of the Ravenscar Profile (a tasking subset that is amenable to safety certification), syntax that avoids some common Object-Oriented Programming errors with inheritance, and a mechanism for defining language profiles. Other enhancements increase the language's general expressiveness, for example by allowing nested subprograms to be passed as run-time parameters, and by extending the predefined environment with new functionality, such as a Containers library.
About the Ada Resource Association
The Ada Resource Association (ARA) is an international Ada advocacy trade group comprising major Ada language and tool vendors. The ARA financially supports the maintenance of the Ada language standard and is committed to ensuring the continued success and expanded usage of Ada-related technology. Current ARA members are AdaCore, IBM Rational Software, Polyspace Technologies, Praxis High Integrity Systems, and SofCheck.
***Endpoint Authentication Replaces Anti-Spyware as the #1 Priority for Corporate Security Organizations According to TheInfoPro's Security Study
TheInfoPro (TIP) has released the Wave 6 Time Series report of its Information Security Study, detailing the time comparison of four sets of in-depth interviews with leading Information Security professionals conducted over two years in six month intervals or "waves". The latest study, released in Q1 of 2006, involved over 260 in-depth interviews with pre-screened information security decision makers. The study uncovers a change in deployment priority between the last two waves from Anti-Spyware technology to Endpoint Authentication. This change is consistent with the overall change in focus towards dealing with internal security vulnerabilities.
By studying the information security market in six-month waves TIP is ideally positioned to identify shifts in technology use and the vendors that are best positioned to benefit. TIP found that when the results of the last two studies are compared:
In addition to the current lead vendors many others have Endpoint Authentication offerings that are getting attention. Emerging vendors such as ENDFORCE and Vernier, among others as well as larger security focused vendors such as McAfee are also mentioned by users as currently in use and in consideration for new projects. For Data Encryption, lead vendor PGP along with others such as Entrust, Pointsec, PC Guardian and Microsoft are identified as in use.
TIP will be examining these issues in greater detail during Wave 7 of the study. Technologies including Endpoint Authentication, Data Encryption, Identity and Access Management and Strong Authentication along with enterprise Information Security priorities on securing the enterprise, addressing compliance needs and deploying new technologies will be covered in depth.
Additional information about this study can be found in a multimedia presentation located at:
***The Global Hydrogen Boom has Already Began Due to Success in Traditional Markets, a new Visant Strategies Study finds
KINGS PARK, N.Y.
Energy and transportation applications will contribute to the doubling of hydrogen use over the next five years but obstacles remain to a green hydrogen economy, a new Visant Strategies report finds.
According to the author, producing hydrogen at a reduced cost is the greatest challenge facing the hydrogen industry today. Hydrogen prices are acceptable today for industrial uses but must decline greatly if we are to realize the hydrogen economy many are touting. A successful foray into energy and transportation uses is going to take a lot of effort, change and funds.
Some of these changes, according to the report, include new methods for the distribution and production of hydrogen for fuel cell and hydrogen internal combustion engine use as well as the industrial retooling of the auto industry and other industries within the hydrogen economy.
While the move to energy and transportation applications will help contribute to the doubling of hydrogen use to 40 million metric tons globally in 2010, according to the report, it is the industrial users that will drive this expansion.
Hydrogen use in petroleum refining, unconventional oil refining, semiconductor fabrication and annealing stainless steel and ferrous metals will grow through 2015, according to the study. Other traditional hydrogen markets such as galvanizing and brazing operations, sintering, use in the float glass industry and hydrogenation will also continue to utilize more hydrogen as the decade progresses.
"World Hydrogen 2006: Established and Emerging Markets" also examines annual sales and revenues of electrolysers, large stream reformers and small reformers along with annual production levels of Methanol, ammonia and hydrogen through 2010.
Hydrogen fuel cell use for stationary, transportation and mobile applications are examined along with alternative fuels. Also detailed is the plausibility of renewable energy sources taking foothold and how hydrogen will be used in this scenario.
***Hackers, Get Ready! LEGO Group Announces Open Source Firmware, Developer Kits for LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT
The LEGO Group has announced that for the first time it will release as open source the firmware of the LEGO MINDSTORMS microprocessor - the new NXT brick - the core component of its next generation robotics toolset. Additionally, the company announced that it will release Software, Hardware and Bluetooth Developer Kits to its growing global audience of robotics enthusiasts. The firmware code and three developer kits will be available in August 2006 in the "Extreme" section of www.mindstorms.com, in conjunction with the retail availability of LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT.
The Software Developer Kit will include the NXT driver interface specification and necessary tools for creating third-party programming environments. The Hardware Developer Kit will provide the schematics and detail for the NXT 6-wire digital connector system, enabling the community to design and develop third-party sensors that can interact with and control the NXT motors and intelligent brick. The Bluetooth Developer Kit will detail the Bluetooth protocol embedded in the NXT microprocessor, allowing users to create applications for any Bluetooth device that them to communicate with MINDSTORMS robots.
This also marks the first time that the original 14 MINDSTORMS Users Panel members and 100 recruited members of the MINDSTORMS Developer Program, an exclusive group of enthusiasts charged with helping guide the product development process, can publicly share their initial experiences and experiments with the NXT platform. During a four-month process, participants have had access to a secure Web forum where they can communicate with one another, learn more about the project, debate issues, create solutions and support the ultimate launch of LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT in August.
About LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT
LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT is a robotics toolset that provides endless opportunities for armchair inventors, robotics fanatics and LEGO builders ages 10 and older to build and program robots that do what they want. The set includes 571 pieces, the NXT intelligent brick, touch, light, ultrasonic and sound sensors, 3 interactive servo motors, USB 2.0 cable, is Bluetooth enabled and features a new PC/MAC compatible programming software powered by LabVIEW from National Instruments and featuring 18 robotics building and programming challenges to inspire robotics creation.
LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT will be available at most toy and discount merchandise retailers, select consumer electronics retailers or online at LEGOshop.com in August 2006 and will have a suggested retail price of $249.99 (USD) and $ 349.99 (CAD). Pre-orders are currently being taken at toysrus.com, target.com, walmart.com, bestbuy.com and LEGOshop.com. A special version for school and institutional use is releasing later this year.
***eMagin Microdisplays Make Virtual Reality a Reality in Sensics piSight
Twenty-four active matrix OLED microdisplays from eMagin Corporation are core to Sensics’ new panoramic virtual reality (VR) display system. The piSight seamlessly tiles 12 microdisplays for each eye with a unique optical system to provide a complete an unprecedented panoramic virtual reality display with 150 degrees field of view and an effective resolution of 2200 x 1200 pixels per eye.
The lightweight piSight includes an integrated six-degree motion tracker
for a fully-immersive VR experience. The system is controlled by a high-performance
image generator cluster and aims at numerous applications including industrial
design, training and simulation, visual analytics and more. The piSight
system further includes an interactive 3D viewer that supports models
created by most commercial CAD packages, and allows for easy porting
of existing applications so that they can take full advantage of its
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