Once you've entered the world of engineering, you start looking at science-fiction action movies, such as the Terminator franchise, in a whole different way.
Before, you could suspend reality, accept the cinematic special effects, and appreciate the futuristic T-800 cyborgs while not thinking about the plausibility of their actual engineering.
But now, with engineering in your skillset, you're now wondering about how the Terminator is walking up the stairs without tripping, what colors is it seeing, and how much memory would it need? Cyborgs would need a lot of technology.
Typically, most design engineers don't have cyborgs on their projects list—unless, of course, they're on the Hanson Robotics team that's developing humanoid-like robots like Sophia aimed at human interaction. You've seen the videos.
Whatever lab they're in, design engineers are working on ways to develop, build, upgrade, or optimize their latest robotic projects with the component solutions.
In this week's New Tech Tuesdays, we'll look at new products from Trinamic, Intel®, and Renesas that help robots see, move, and think.
The Intel® RealSense™ Depth Camera D455 is a depth-tracking camera that offers additional range and precision, exactly what's needed to develop robotics and drones. The D455 features stereo cameras that provide depth information for indoor and outdoor uses. The camera has an extended distance between sensors that measures 95mm, meaning that at 4m, the depth error is less than 2 percent. The camera also integrates an inertial measurement unit (IMU) to allow applications to refine depth awareness in situations where the camera moves, which is an important feature in robotics. The camera's optimal range is 6 meters, twice that of the D400, without a cut in field of view.
Looking for a versatile, discreet gate driver to power up? The Trinamic TMC6140-LA 3-Phase BLDC MOSFET Gate Driver is suited for applications that operate in the range of 5V to 24V and supports motor power ratings from 1W to 1kW. The TMC6140 is a fully integrated universal 3-phase MOSFET gate driver for PMSM servo or BLDC motors designed to work with a single external power supply rail. The TMC6140 is uniquely suited for industrial, factory automation, and robotics applications.
Size-wise, the driver comes in a QFN35 package (0.5mm x 6.0mm).
To evaluate the TMC6140, designers can turn to the Trinamic TMC6140-EVAL-KIT Evaluation Kit. The kit includes an MCU board Landungsbrücke, Eselsbrücke bridge board, and the TMC6140-EVAL driver board. The downloadable TMCL-IDE SOFTWARE enables the user to develop Trinamic module and chip applications using the Graphical User Interface (GUI) tools to change setting parameters easily, visualize data in real-time, and develop and debug stand-alone applications.
Renesas Electronics RA6M5 32-Bit Microcontroller Group is a family of microprocessors based on the 200MHz Arm® Cortex®-M33 core with TrustZone®. They're ideal for Internet of Things (IoT) applications requiring strong security, broad connectivity, and up to 2MB code flash memory. You'll find Renesas RA6M5 microcontrollers in applications like wired Ethernet, enhanced fire and burglar detection, as well as industry robotics, door openers, and UPS systems.
As the technology evolves, design engineers will be tasked with developing and maintaining robotic technology. They have a wealth of robotic solutions to develop efficient and practical machines. If we learned anything from the Terminator movies, it's the importance of creating efficient and practical robotics for the good of humanity.
Tommy Cummings is a freelance writer/editor based in Texas. He's had a journalism career that has spanned more than 40 years. He contributes to Texas Monthly and Oklahoma Today magazines. He's also worked at The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, San Francisco Chronicle, and others. Tommy covered the dot-com boom in Silicon Valley and has been a digital content and audience engagement editor at news outlets. Tommy worked at Mouser Electronics from 2018 to 2021 as a technical content and product content specialist.
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