A trio of new DAQ modules for 2014

Always looking ahead and developing new products to fill emerging DAQ needs, market-driven Measurement Computing has launched a new ultra high-speed simultaneous sampling board, plus two new additions to the USB-200 Series of low-cost USB DAQ devices in the last month alone! As usual, all modules come with TracerDAQ® software for acquiring and displaying data and generating analogue signals, along with comprehensive support for Visual Studio® and Visual Studio® .NET, DASYLab®, and NI LabVIEW™.

The new USB-2020 features two analogue input channels with multiple input ranges up to ±10V and can sample data from both channels at an overall rate of 40 MS/s to the onboard memory, or continuously stream data to a host computer at up to 8 MS/s. The small, board-only design makes the USB-2020 ideal for OEM and embedded applications. At just £875*, the USB-2020 is unmatched in the industry for ultra high-speed USB DAQ. Click here to find out more and buy online.

The USB-202 and USB-205 feature sample rates up to 500 kS/s, eight 12-bit analogue inputs, two analogue outputs, eight digital I/O and one counter input. OEM versions of both boards are also available and feature header connectors instead of screw terminals.
Find out more about the USB-202 and buy online for just £130* here.
Find out more about the USB-205 and buy online for just £170 here.

* All prices exclude delivery and VAT and are subject to change.

New Year Revolutions

2013 has been a busy year for us and one full of change. In the summer, not only did we launch our revamped and revived website, but we also introduced a brand new corporate logo! And as we embark upon 2014, we’ve no intention of slowing down. We’ve got big plans for this year and some interesting initiatives in the pipeline, so keep an eye on our website and make sure you are signed up for our email newsletters so you don’t miss out on any upcoming announcements.

We’re not the only ones who are looking ahead to what the future holds. Here are some timely technology trend-predicting blog posts you might find interesting:

5 tech trends for 2014 – PTC predict the cutting-edge technology that’s on the rise, featuring wearable tech like smart watches, 3D printing, smart TVs, using big data to target individuals and smart ‘connected’ products with the power to revolutionise cities.

2014 top tech to watch – IEEE Spectrum tells us which technologies will make headlines this year including a superfast wireless system, Chinese space launches, eerily silent electric race cars and the jet pack!

Why skydivers can’t just wing it!

Contrary to belief, there’s more to skydiving than just jumping out of a plane. Simply by moving your head, your arms or legs, you can dramatically affect your trajectory. Changes in pressure, resistance and turbulence will also alter your downward path through the air. This was the topic of exploration for students taking part in an Adept Scientific workshop during an Engineering Festival held at IWM Duxford last month. This unique regional event, which attracted over 500 students, was organised by STEM Team East to promote engineering and inspire young people to study science and maths at schools, as well as pursue careers in these areas.

During the workshop, students modelled the trajectory of a wingsuit-wearing skydiver and then explored the different sources of instability and aspects that might change the divers aerodynamics. They then used the Quanser QUBE-Servo to demonstrate that instability and show how you might use control theory to counter its effects. The assumption is that skydivers who have a better understanding of the different forces acting upon them are able to achieve a more controlled descent.

This popular workshop was just one of a range of practical activities on the day that gave students the chance to work with qualified engineers to solve engineering challenges and gain ‘on-the-job’ experience.

Find out more about this year’s event

Welcome back Multisim!

Back in 1997, we started selling a superb electronics circuit design and simulation software package called Electronics Workbench. Later renamed Multisim, this affordable product delivered advanced schematic capture and SPICE simulation tools along with a library of ready-made components, bringing professional PCB design capabilities within the reach of smaller companies and academic institutions.

Some years later the company decided to sell and support the product directly in Europe. Later still, it was acquired by our good friends at National Instruments – and now they’ve asked us to market the latest version of Multisim once again!

We’re delighted to bring Multisim back into our product portfolio, and even more delighted to see how an already excellent piece of software has developed and improved so substantially over the years. It’s hard to imagine a better implementation of the industry-standard SPICE simulation environment than the brand-new Multisim 13.

With a choice of configurations to suit every need and budget, Multisim provides the tools that ensure optimum performance of your circuits, minimising errors and reducing time to prototype. Easy and intuitive to use, it delivers significant cost savings to PCB manufacturers large and small – and is also ideal for organisations that only need to design the occasional board.

You can find out all about Multisim, including all that’s new in the new version 13, here. It’s available from Adept Scientific in the UK and Ireland, France and all the Nordic countries, backed as always by our renowned customer service and technical support.

It’s here! We’ve been getting pretty excited over the past few weeks as we learned more and more about what the latest version of Mathcad, Prime 3.1, would deliver – and now we can share that with you as the new version has been officially launched. Many of the new features of Prime 3.1 have been included in response to the demand from Mathcad users. A case in point is the inclusion of a Global Definitions Operator, a popular function in Mathcad 15 and earlier versions but until now unavailable in Mathcad Prime. Although Prime 2.0 featured a Definitions Operator that let you assign a value to a variable, that assignation wouldn’t apply to previous instances of that variable. Now in Prime 3.1 the value you assign can be applied to the defined variable throughout your worksheet, instantly. That will make life a whole lot easier for very many Mathcad users. There’s a lot more too. A significantly enhanced calculation engine allows more complex equations to be solved even more quickly, while faster matrix decomposition functions support pivoting and complex numbers. Live maths can now be incorporated right into your text, and you can now easily create standardized templates for your worksheets. You can even reuse existing algorithms that have already been coded in C, C++, Fortran etc. You can read about these and all the other new and improved features of Mathcad Prime 3.1 here – there’s a great video there too! We believe that with this new version, Mathcad Prime has really come of age. Whether you’re entirely new to Mathcad or you’re using an older version, surely now is the time to start benefitting from the amazing usability, flexibility and extensive functionality that Prime 3.1 offers? Contact your local Adept office to find the most cost effective way of getting hold of the latest release.

It’s here! We’ve been getting pretty excited over the past few weeks as we learned more and more about what the latest version of Mathcad, Prime 3.1, would deliver – and now we can share that with you as the new version has been officially launched.

Many of the new features of Prime 3.1 have been included in response to the demand from Mathcad users. A case in point is the inclusion of a Global Definitions Operator, a popular function in Mathcad 15 and earlier versions but until now unavailable in Mathcad Prime. Although Prime 2.0 featured a Definitions Operator that let you assign a value to a variable, that assignation wouldn’t apply to previous instances of that variable. Now in Prime 3.1 the value you assign can be applied to the defined variable throughout your worksheet, instantly. That will make life a whole lot easier for very many Mathcad users.

There’s a lot more too. A significantly enhanced calculation engine allows more complex equations to be solved even more quickly, while faster matrix decomposition functions support pivoting and complex numbers. Live maths can now be incorporated right into your text, and you can now easily create standardized templates for your worksheets. You can even reuse existing algorithms that have already been coded in C, C++, Fortran etc. You can read about these and all the other new and improved features of Mathcad Prime 3.1 here – there’s a great video there too!

We believe that with this new version, Mathcad Prime has really come of age. Whether you’re entirely new to Mathcad or you’re using an older version, surely now is the time to start benefitting from the amazing usability, flexibility and extensive functionality that Prime 3.1 offers? Contact your local Adept office to find the most cost effective way of getting hold of the latest release.

SPC/EMI event is a roaring success with record-breaking attendance and an impressive line up of speakers

Adept Scientific were delighted to welcome so many delegates to last week’s SPC/EMI Executive Briefing – new and familiar faces alike served to make this unique gathering of minds a worthwhile and enlightening event.

The day started with a practical exercise delivered by Mr Roland Caulcutt who has extensive experience in the field of industrial statistics. Four teams were chosen to criticise, praise or ignore a sales person whose monthly figures were presented over the course of 4 months. With undertones of Deming’s fabled Red Bead experiment, delegates were shown that their decisions based on raw data often bore no relation to overall process behaviour and their reactions to individual data points didn’t factor in the bigger picture. Simply put – your reactions to individual data points without suitable analysis will always lead you in the wrong direction. Roland finished his session with an excellent overview of the humble control chart which, regardless of the level of experience in the room, proved a useful starting point for everything that followed.

Next we welcomed the Manufacturing Advisory Service who extended the discussion to consider the processes, systems and culture needed to support data-driven decision making. Their speaker, Mr Richard Wild-Jones (an experienced practitioner in Continuous Improvement), described in detail the abundance of short-term thinking which, more often than not, is at odds with the long term objectives for improvement. This can be solved by adopting a standardised model for continuous improvement. Richard rounded off his presentation by recommending the use of hard facts/data to determine cause and effect. There isn’t anything better to support decision making. He also added that to succeed in todayís global market you need to be constantly thinking, how can we do things differently? How can we do things better?

After a short coffee break we heard from Mr Frazer Nicholson, formerly of RioTinto-Alcan, who had implemented real-time process control dashboard software in less than a day at the Lynemouth smelter in Northumbria. Having searched for an off-the-shelf package which was easy to implement, they chose Northwest Analytics because it could monitor multiple process indicators at the same time via user-friendly role-specific dashboards. Frazer detailed how the system had potentially made over £60,000 in savings and was also extended to other areas within the plant. Although the Lynemouth smelter closed in March 2012, Frazer remains employed as an independent consultant and is currently working with the Fort William smelter. Frazer is also available for consultancy work – his website is www.frazersit.co.uk

Next up to the stage was Lloyd Colegrove, Director of Fundamental Problem Solving at Dow Chemical, who gave a hugely enjoyable presentation about the way in which data analysis took place in his organisation. Dow Chemical makes extensive use of NWA software because it can use data from existing systems and put it in front of the right people. There was plenty of sympathetic nodding from delegates who were also looking for a way to access data locked away in legacy systems and unavailable for timely analysis. My favourite comment of the day came from Lloyd who said, “You have already paid for the hardware to collect the information, the data itself is free! It’s your data – use it!”

After a networking lunch, Mr Paul Russell kick started the afternoon session with a lively (and very frank) discussion about the way in which Statistical Process Control had been implemented at Zotefoams. Paul attended Adept’s first quality event back in 2008 as a delegate when they were in the process of sourcing a supplier of SPC software. Ultimately, they chose Northwest Analytical as their preferred vendor and now Zotefoamsí team of data-informed, software-using decision makers has grown from 2 to 25. Paul was keen to share the lessons theyíd learnt while choosing and implementing quality control software. Louis Halvorsen (Chief Technical Officer, Northwest Analytics) remarked that Paul’s presentation was the “best lessons-learnt story that he had ever seen!” This opinion was echoed on other delegatesí feedback forms.

A second presentation from Lloyd Colegrove went into more detail about how NWA Focus EMI had been used at Dow Chemical to empower operators to do something constructive about process variation. EMI has revolutionised the way in which data is used at Dow Chemical, transforming Data into Information, then Knowledge and then ultimately into Wisdom. A process problem at Dow could cost the company dearly, so timely notification of process problems is their primary objective. Lloyd then detailed the way in which Dow had implemented real-time dashboards and suggested ways in which other companies could do the same. This offered inspiration to everyone in attendance, particularly those who were in the early phases of researching SPC.

Having heard about the benefits of SPC and EMI, we were then given a demonstration of the solution by Louis Halvorsen, who discussed the steps needed to implement and deploy the software throughout a plant. Delegates liked the role-specific dashboards and the fact that they could be customised to suit particular job functions from controlling the process on the factory floor to monitoring the company on a plant by plant basis. The day concluded with a demonstration of Northwest Analytics Multivariate SPC module which produces a familiar Shewhart chart with contributory indicators showing which variable is likely to have caused the problem.

All in all, an action-packed and productive day! If you missed our EMI event, why not watch this short Focus EMI presentation? It lasts just 6 minutes and provides a brilliant overview of the key benefits of Enterprise Manufacturing Intelligence. The video contains real-life examples plus a compelling testimonial from Dow Chemical’s Lloyd Colegrove (key speaker at our event). All of which demonstrate how Enterprise Manufacturing Analytics help to identify opportunities for process improvement, improve plant efficiency and reduce the cost of goods.

Adept’s AIBO Robotic dogs rehomed at The National Museum of Computing

Adept Scientific recently donated two Sony AIBO dogs to The National Museum of Computing at Bletchly Park – home of the World’s first electronic computer. They might be just 14 years old, but that’s positively antique in computing technology terms! Named Spot and Rex, these cyber canines caused quite a stir when they were first bought in the summer of 1999 and became ‘office pets’ at the Adept Letchworth HQ. The interactive, ball-playing, tail-wagging, leg-cocking digital doggy duo were featured regularly on television and in the press at the time because they used state-of-the-art AI technology. There were only 5000 first generation AIBO dogs ever made and they went on sale only in the US and Japan. That makes them quite a rarity in the UK. Hence, they’re taking pride of place in the museum’s robotics display surrounded by a collage of press cuttings that any celebrity would be proud of.

Though Spot was mechanically complete, it didn’t actually work. Rex, on the other hand, still functioned but with a few glitches like an ‘arthritic’ leg and ‘Sleep Head Syndrome’ where he goes into sleep mode and won’t reactivate. The Museum team solved the limb issue by swapping one of Spot’s legs with Rex’s, though the sudden napping needs manual override using the sleep button on the front.

Rex gets the chance to show off to visitors occsionally under close supervision on special museum days and events like the recent visit from Doctor Who’s K9 (see photo) and he’s a big hit with the children who are interigued by his interactive antics.

If you’re passing Bletchley Park, why not pop in for a visit?
Refer to the Museum’s website for opening times and more information

Picture shows George the Robot (made by the late Tony Sale), K9 and the two Aibo's sitting guard.
Picture shows George the Robot (made by the late Tony Sale), K9 and the two Aibo’s sitting guard.

 

 

One purchase buys you EndNote X7.4.4 on both the Windows & Mac platforms

 

This week saw the release of EndNote X7.4 on the Mac, delivering the research tools you need, regardless of whether you’re working on a Windows or Macintosh machine! Your EndNote X7.4 product key allows you to install EndNote on multiple computers without having to purchase separate versions – one single-user licence allows installations on three computers, regardless of platform (2 Windows and 1 Mac or 2 Mac and 1 Windows). This also applies to student and upgrade purchases.

And don’t forget, your purchase of the EndNote desktop software also includes access to EndNote online with 5GB of file storage, unlimited reference storage and group sharing. Once you install your software, you’ll need to register at my.endnote.com.

That’s one comprehensive research toolkit, chock-full of functionality and flexible enough to fit the way you work exactly!

Find out more about the Windows and Mac exclusive new features for EndNote X7.4

Try out EndNote X7.4 on both platforms to see what your single-user licence purchase buys you. Upgrades start from just £75 or buy from new from £159

Prices are for single-user downloadable versions excluding VAT and correct at the time this article was published.

New Script module means more flexibility for DASYLab users

Want to know which new feature stands out in the latest version 13 release of DASYLab – the easy-to-use software for configuring and controlling custom DAQ and analysis applications? If she had to choose from the extensive enhancements, CJ Butler, DASYLab Product Marketing Manager at Measurement Computing, believes the new Script module is the most important, most useful new addition to DASYLab’s toolset.

She said, “The script module addresses a number of instances where DASYLab functions don’t quite do what’s required or a new driver, computation or file type is needed. For example, several years ago, one of our customers needed a very specific, very proprietary computation and so they hired a C programmer to create a module for them using the Extension toolkit. Now with the introduction of the new Script module, it’s very likely they would have been able to use the Python script language to create the module themselves. It would have been faster, cheaper and could have been done in-house. These guys already use Python in a number of other areas. This customer is now looking at the Script module and Python to customise a PID function.”

She goes on to say, “What kinds of things will you be able to do with Python? I wrote a driver as part of the learning and testing process. I had a serial port device that was too complex for the RS232 module, and provided ActiveX/Com objects for developers. It was pretty easy to set up a module that found and initialised the device, programmed it, and then acquired all available data from it at 20-30 samples per second. MeasX has done a number of drivers using the Script functions and the DASYLab IVI modules are all created using the Script functions.”

CJ then tells us about an ongoing project. She explains, “I’ve been working on two Script modules. The first is a supplement for customers with worksheets that use the DDE Out module to send data to Microsoft Excel. It looks for and opens the target Excel workbook before the measurement starts, so that it is ready for the DDE Out. The second takes the thought a step further. Using the Example from the Help, I added the workbook logic that I’d done for the first, and created a Script that would open or create an Excel workbook, create a new sheet and then log data to it.”

The new Script module looks set to open up DASYLab usage for both end users and resellers by enabling them to enhance and extend DASYLab beyond the out-of-the-box release. The ability to export and package it as a standard module secures their intellectual property and allows them to sell or share it without the code. The possibilities are immense, and DASYLab’s developers are really hoping users will take advantage of this new feature!

DASYLab customers who want to share (or sell) their new scripts or modules on the DASYLAB website should email info@dasylab.com.

Disclaimer – the Script module cannot do everything. If you need a new Display module, for example, you will still need to use the Extension Toolkit.

EndNote embraces the digital revolution at Umbrella 2013

This week our intrepid EndNote team travelled to The University of Manchester for CILIP’s Umbrella 2013 Annual Conference and Exhibition. The event brings together Library and Information Professionals across the country to share ideas and new ways to improve literacy, access to information and the transfer of knowledge.

A key theme for the day is how libraries are keeping up with the changing nature of the information landscape in today’s digital age. Thanks to the web, web-based and mobile technologies, people have greater access to more research material than ever before. It’s a trend that EndNote has grasped with both hands. No longer confined to the desktop, you’ll also find its renowned research and referencing tools available in varying degrees of complexity on the Web or on an iPad. And thanks to automatic library syncing, you’re able to access, manage and coordinate your library anywhere!

umbrella2013endnote

EndNote unlocks the research potential of the web; putting hundreds of online reference resources at your fingertips; making it easy to instantly capture relevant extracts and source information; automatically finding and downloading full text files; plus automatically updating records to keep your collection current. EndNote’s web-based component also makes it easy to share references and collaborate online.

Click on the following links to discover how EndNote could maximise your online reference search potential, as well as help you work together and pool resources on research projects. Want to see if EndNote could work for you? Download a free trial today.


For the time being we are unable to offer the following product ranges although we are currently working hard to increase the number of products we can offer in the future. Please contact us to talk about alternative products that we may be able to offer you.