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metrology Satellite project measures gravity, predicts deluges By Christoph Hammerschmidt The advance warning time for deluges will be extended significantly if a research project from a group of institutes led by the University of Bern (Switzerland) succeeds. The scientists plan to deduce deluge warnings from earth gravity anomalies. Likewise, droughts can be predicted with more accuracy. The European Gravity Service for Improved Emergency Management (EGSIEM) project aims at improving the methods to predict deluges. “In view of the climate change, the frequency of extreme weather conditions is increasing significantly”, says Adrian Jäggi from the Astronomical Institute of the University of Bern. “For this reason it is becoming increasingly important to have reliable and relevant data at one’s disposal to take appropriate measures to save life, infrastructure and property in time.” But how can a satellite capture, and even predict the probability of a deluge? The measurement principles utilized by the Bern researchers are anything but self-explanatory and straightforward. First, to predict an inundation, it is important to know the saturation of the subsoil with water. Ironically, the subsoil can be monitored best from space. The GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) satellite system, launched already in 2002, enables users to analyze terrestrial mass changes. The distribution of masses (for instance, water) directly influences the terrestrial field of gravity. This, in turn, affects the satellite orbit. In the case that water is gathering in a certain region, the mass of this region increases, and the satellite orbit is changing. Though the deviation is only marginal - the orbit changes by the thickness of a hair - it can be measured: Within the GRACE system, two identical satellites follow each other in a correlated polar orbit; they continuously measure their mutual distance by means of microwaves. If the leading satellite approaches a region with increased gravity, it experiences a slight acceleration. Measuring this effect allows highly accurate conclusions as to the earth gravity. This enables the scientists to predict the regions where natural and artificial reservoirs are filled and at which speed. Within the EGSIEM project, the institute for terrestrial measurements (IfE) at the University of Leipzig assumes the task of analysing the GRACE sensor data. In this context, a team of researchers led by Prof. Jakob Flury will develop sensor data deviation models that will enable modelling the earth’s field of gravity at even higher accuracy. The system will also enable the prediction of droughts. However, predicting droughts is less time-critical since acridities announce themselves over weeks. Members of the EGSIEM consortium are, besides the University of Bern and the IfE, the University of Luxembourg, the Deutsches GeoFoschungsZentrum (GFZ) in Potsdam (Germany), Géode & Cie (Toulouse, France) and the technical University of Graz (Austria). Yugo Systems externalizes FPGA debug with hardware By Julien Happich For the last 10 years, Belgium company Byte Paradigm has operated as a design centre for high-end FPGAbased systems as well as a provider of test and debug solutions for electronic systems. Under the new company trade name, Yugo Systems, the company is about to expand its offering for FPGA debug and verification. And together with its new launch, Yugo Systems is announcing a unique FPGA debug solution, Exostiv, claimed to deliver up to 200.000 times more observability at speed of operation than traditional embedded instrumentation solutions. We caught up with Frédéric Leens, Byte Paradigm’s CEO to learn more about this new venture. “For a number of years, we have been actively designing with FPGAs and helping our customers debug their systems, and we suffered the same frustration that FPGA designers typically experience with the limited tools provided by FPGA vendors “, said Leens. “Back in 2011, we started to investigate about a new hardwarebased debug tools that could improve a designer’s access to FPGA’s internals. Although we had heard about Tabula doing interesting developments then, our research was geared towards improving the visibility of off-the-shelf FPGAs”. “Typically, designers would want to see as much as possible of their design in operation, in realtime, but today’s embedded debug tools and Exostiv vs. traditional and embedded LA solutions. The numbers show the relative observability provided by each solution. built-in test are too light, only supporting a few kBytes’ worth of information at a time”, continues Leens. With Exostiv, the company doesn’t require designers to put aside the FPGA’s internal memory for embedded debug and built-in test. Instead it externalizes the analysis through fast access points (configured in-system as dedicated IP) capable 12 Electronic Engineering Times Europe February 2015 www.electronics-eetimes.com


EETE FEB 2015
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