Computers, wastewater, geosynthetics

March 2008 » New & Noteworthy
Computers, wastewater, geosynthetics
CE News Staff

Rugged tablet computer
Glacier Computer says its Ridgeline Tablet portable, rugged computers are Windows XP devices capable of running any application while withstanding extremes of water and humidity at virtually any temperature. Each tablet computer is equipped with a touch screen interface that workers use to retrieve and send information. The Ridgeline Tablet has a 10.4-inch display with options for daylight readable functionality. It was designed and tested to withstand repeated 3-foot drops to concrete, as well as IP 65 sealing mandates. Each unit comes with integrated 802.11 a/b/g radio, Bluetooth, numerous I/O, and many hard drive options. Users can input date via touch screen or pen. Special software allows for signature capture and character recognition. An integrated GPS module is also available.
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Cell modem option for GPS
Topcon Positioning Systems, Inc., offers a new internal CDMA cellular modem option for its GR-3 family of GPS receivers. The CDMA option allows use of signals from Verizon and Sprint, two major cell phone providers. The new receiver kits are available with both single- and dual-mode GR-3 UHF receivers. Topcon introduced the GR-3 fully integrated system—GNSS receiver, batteries, antenna, and communications system—in 2006.
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Regenerative thermal oxidizers for wastewater treatment
Koch Knight LLC’s regenerative thermal oxidizers (RTOs), coupled with bio-solids driers, are used in wastewater facilities to abate volatile organic compounds and odor. A patented FLEXERAMIC ceramic structured packing is engineered to resist siloxane clogging and maximize RTO uptime. FLEXERAMIC structured packing is composed of corrugated ceramic sheets that are vertically aligned in the RTO bed, eliminating horizontal surfaces that may create resistance to vapor flow. According to Koch Knight, this geometric construction reduces the channeling of vapor and provides more efficient contact of hot gases with the ceramic surface, as well as minimizes the packing’s ability to trap particulates such as silica powder from the incoming air, and decreases the pressure drop across the RTO bed. Increased efficiency offers reductions in energy use and opportunities to increase flow through the RTO bed, the company says. Koch Knight also offers two plastic random packings: INTALOX SNOWFLAKE high-performance random packing and Super INTALOX Saddle random packing.
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New calculator approved for PE exam
HP announced that the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying approved the new HP 35s Scientific Calculator for the 2008 FE/PE exams. It joins the HP 33s Scientific Calculator on the list of approved calculators. HP unveiled the HP 35s last year in commemoration of the original HP-35, the world’s first handheld scientific calculator launched in 1972. According to HP, the new calculator is the company’s most advanced scientific programmable calculator, featuring ample memory for keystroke programming, equation solving, and more than 800 storage registers; 100 built-in functions; and a large, two-line display with adjustable contrast to easily view entries. It joins HP’s portfolio of advanced calculators, which includes the HP 50g Graphing Calculator and the HP 33s Scientific Calculator. Additionally, HP now offers Calculator Skins to personalize HP calculators, including a wide selection of designs from colleges, professional sports, entertainment, and fashion. Or, users can create their own skin by uploading a photo.
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Graphics board handles large CAD models
NVIDIA introduced the Quadro FX 3700, a high-end graphics board, which the company says is capable of increasing performance as much as two times compared with the previous generation of product, to improve productivity for computer-aided design (CAD) and digital content creators. With 112 parallel processors, 512 MB of onboard graphics memory, and a 256-bit memory interface, the card easily manages large models in CAD applications, the company says. The Quadro FX 3700 graphics board incorporates the NVIDIA Application Configuration Engine (ACE), which automatically configures the graphics hardware and software to deliver maximum application performance. The board also offers SLI technology to scale graphics performance dynamically, enhance image quality, and expand display real estate. The Quadro FX 3700 is Energy Star 4.0 compliant, consuming less than 80 watts of power.
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’Education Box’ promotes geosynthetics
Geosynthetica.net is launching what it calls a "Geosynthetics Education Box" for free distribution to engineering departments at colleges and universities. The company’s 2007 survey of 540 professors found that few engineering departments incorporate geosynthetics information into their undergraduate curriculum—despite the expanding role the materials play in civil and environmental engineering. The Education Box project will include specifications, design information, product samples, and more. A support website is planned to deliver updates and give instructors long-range aid for educating the engineers of tomorrow.
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