Cognex acquires AssistWare
A supplier of machine-vision sensors and systems, Cognex (Natick, MA), has acquired AssistWare Technology (Gibsonia, PA), a privately held developer of lane-departure-warning (LDW) systems for the heavy truck market.
AssistWare’s LDW system uses a small video camera and machine-vision technology to watch the road ahead and alert drivers if they unintentionally leave their lane or if their driving pattern becomes erratic. Cognex will retain AssistWare’s employees and current offices in Gibsonia, which will serve as an Advanced Research and Development center for Cognex’s initiative in this new market area.
GOES-N carries e2v image sensors
e2v technologies (Essex, England) supplied image sensors for the recently launched Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, GOES-N. GOES-N is the latest in a series of satellites that monitor Earth and space weather systems to improve predictions regarding hurricanes, flash floods, and severe storm warnings, and to help track global climate change.
e2v supplied 20 flight model and 20 engineering model charge-coupled devices (CCDs) for GOES-N, O, and P. Destined for the spacecraft’s new Solar X-ray Imager (SXI) and designed and built at the Lockheed Martin Space Systems Advanced Technology Center in Palo Alto, CA, the imaging devices were supplied in a custom-designed package. The new CCD package design concept for GOES-N-P has since become a standard that was repeated on the focal-plane package for Solar-B and more recently the Solar Dynamics Observatory.
Plextronics pitches solar to Congress
Troy Hammond, vice president of products at Plextronics (Pittsburgh, PA), spoke to the U.S. Congress’ subcommittee on energy and air quality. He addressed the opportunity for new solar technologies, such as Plextronics’ Plexcore PV, to utilize sunlight as a commercially viable source of renewable energy.
“Today’s solar technology is not cost competitive,” stated Andrew Hannah, Plextronics’ president and CEO. “Polymer solar cells have an opportunity to decrease the cost of solar power, which currently ranges from 25 to 50 cents, down to 10 cents per kilowatt hour. That price point meets the President’s objective of reducing the cost of solar cell technologies so that they are cost competitive by 2015.”
Innovalight raises $7.5 million
Innovalight (Santa Clara, CA), a privately held firm developing low-cost, nanotechnology-based printed solar cells, has raised an additional $7.5 million in private equity financing from existing investors to accelerate the development of ultra-low-cost, lightweight solar cells using a proprietary silicon ink-based technology.
More than 90% of solar energy modules are made from crystalline silicon wafers that are costly to produce and in critical short supply because of competing demand from the semiconductor industry. “Today, solar energy represents a paltry two-hundredths of one percent of the total global electrical energy generated because current production methods are still too expensive,” said Conrad Burke, president and CEO.
Innovalight was recently recognized as a 2006 Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum, Switzerland, for the company’s potential to substantially reduce the cost of clean, renewable energy production.
LED backlights for TVs coming soon
Based on in-depth analyses done by Insight Media (Norwalk, CT), it now looks as though LED backlights for TVs will be adopted much faster than previously thought. Insight Media analysts say there are several factors driving this conclusion, including rapid development of high-brightness LEDs and a groundswell of backlight innovation currently under way. The combination of these factors is now likely to lead to cost-competitive LED backlight units by 2007 in 32 in. LCD TVs, with larger sizes competitive in the following years.
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Also in the news . . .
Northrop Grumman (Rolling Meadows, IL) announced that flight testing is under way for the new Electro-Optical Surveillance and Detection System intended for the U.K. Ministry of Defence’s NIMROD MRA-4 aircraft. . . . The latest listing of certified infrared training courses offered by the Infrared Training Center (ITC) is now available at www.infraredtraining.com/courses. . . . DALSA (Waterloo, ON, Canada) received a contract for $1.7 million to supply high-resolution image sensor chips for a high-performance photogrammetry camera customer. . . . QinetiQ (Hampshire, England) and Thales Research & Technology (Berkshire, England) have been jointly awarded the initial research phase of the Decision Support System contract by the U.K. Ministry of Defence (MOD) to investigate and demonstrate innovative ways to assist the operators of Tactical Air Battlespace Management Systems in identifying, classifying and tracking a variety of targets.