Mantaro - Tech Talk

Tech Talk is a series of white papers or presentations created by engineers at Mantaro to share our knowledge in different technical areas. With a diverse and progressive set of clients, Mantaro has a rich history of staying at the leading edge of the technology curve. To keep the entire engineering team updated on the latest tools, trends, and technology, Mantaro holds regular meetings where engineers share their findings. Tech Talk captures this information in the form of white papers which are made available to the general pubic through our website. In certain instances, the presentations are given at events held throughout the country. If you have any questions or comments, please email us This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

A Modular and Power-Intelligent Architecture for Wireless Sensor Nodes

The current state of the art in wireless sensor nodes, both in academia and industry, is a fractured landscape of designs mostly addressing individual problems. The most common commercial design derives directly from a mote developed at the University of California, Berkeley around 1999, and presents only moderate, incremental improvements over the original design. No designs yet present a comprehensive, intelligent solution befitting a modern system. By using dynamic power management, deep system configurability, autonomous peripheral modules, and multiple CPU architectures, this paper presents a flexible and efficient node architecture. Modules on a sensor node communicate with each other to coordinate their activities and power levels. Special attention is given to power sourcing and distribution. The platform may be configured to efficiently work with most networks, sensor types and power sources due to its improved connectivity and hierarchical design. The resulting Configurable Sensor Node (CoSeN) architecture is competitive with existing designs on price, size and power while greatly exceeding most of them on performance, configurability and application potential. CoSeN is validated through prototype implementation.
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Using a Solar Concentrator with Photovoltaic Cells

A solar concentrator was built using photovoltaic cells and mirrors in a linear Fresnel reflecting pattern. Various data was taken to determine if there is an advantage to building a concentration system versus purchasing additional photovoltaic cells to harvest more energy. The results illustrate that there is a power output gain to be realized from concentrating solar energy and that thermal issues are a limiting factor that must be dealt with.
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Modeling the Range Performance of the Electra 10E - Amelia Earhart's Aircraft

A persistent question in the history of aeronautics is the fate of Amelia Earhart. Her attempt to fly around the world in an Electra 10E failed when she was unable to reach Howland Island on July 2, 1937. The fact that her flight disappeared leaving little or no evidence to support an investigation has led to wide ranging speculation on the circumstances of her disappearance.

A computer model is developed to simulate the flight time, distance and fuel usage of the Lockheed Electra 10E aircraft under arbitrary conditions and pilot inputs. The model is based on engineering data contained in Lockheed’s Maximum Range Report prepared by Kelly Johnson and W. C. Nelson in 1936. These data are used to develop a set of differential equations which are then integrated to compute the aircraft’s state at regular intervals during the flight. The results of the computer model are compared with the Lockheed’s original calculations and are found to be in agreement.
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Porting a Legacy Industrial Control System to LabWindows/CVI Real-Time

This presentation provides a real world example of a factory control system that was ported from a Multibus architecture to the PXI platform. It was initially presented at NI Week 2009 in Austin, TX on August 4, 2009 and is now available for download below. This presentation covers economic benefits of the conversion, reasons for choosing PXI and LabWindows/CVI Real-Time, how existing C software was ported, key lessons learned, and performance characteristics of the final system.
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Efficiently Coding Communications Protocols in C++

Using object oriented programming in C++ can improve the developer’s efficiency in implementing communications protocols. With careful use, C++ does not add intolerable overhead to executing communications protocol software. This paper will review how to:
  • Use C++ classes to implement protocol layers
  • Use a tasking/queuing model that cuts across protocol layers efficiently
  • Reduce overhead in creating message buffers.

An implementation is presented that uses C++ classes to implement a layered protocol. This implementation also demonstrates how the tasking/queuing model can be separated from the layered implementation. Methods for efficiently parsing message headers and use caching for low overhead creation of message buffers are also reviewed.
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