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In Brief

01 November, 2005

In Brief

WowWee, the Hong Kong firm behind high-tech toys such as Robosapien and Roboraptor, has become the first third-party company to licence the technology used in the innovative Segway Human Transporter, electrically-powered two-wheel vehicle. In addition to selling licences for its Smart Motion technology, Segway plans to co-develop products with other companies. The first WowWee products to use the technology will appear next year and will "move and behave in ways that challenge the imagination and provide advanced functionality," promises WowWee president, Richard Yanofsky.

• Westermo Data Communications is staging a free one-day conference on industrial communications in Wakefield, UK, on 1 December. The event will focus on industrial and wireless Ethernet and on GSM/GPRS and will include hands-on training and practical demonstrations. You can register online or by phoning 01489 580585

• Allegro MicroSystems has developed a microstepping motor driver chip with built-in translator circuitry which is said to make it easy to use. The A3979 chip can operate bipolar stepper motors in full-, half-, quarter and sixteenth-step modes, at 35V and 2.5A. Users simply input a single pulse for the motor to take one microstep

• Modbus-IDA and the Instrumentation Technology & Economy Institute have announced the opening of ITEI`s Modbus Conformance Test Laboratory in Beijing, China. The laboratory will test and certify devices as conforming to the Modbus TCP/IP or Modbus over Serial Line specifications, using equipment donated by Schneider Electric.

• Yaskawa Engineering Europe has introduced a kit for refurbishing the spindles of its MTY2 and MT2B spindle drives, still in use in more than 1,000 machine tools, despite being almost 25 years old. There is no need to change the spindle motor because the retrofit drive has a special resolver interface. The upgrade is said to take less than four hours.

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