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A Hunk of Metal that Computes

Quantum3D recently announced some new ruggedized computers. Ruggedness seemed to be a hot topic some years ago (remember Grid?), but you don’t hear so much about it these days. The Quantum3D boxes are aimed squarely (if not exclusively) at military.

I got a chance to talk to them a bit at ESC some months ago. They described their casing as “a big heat sink”: they rely on conductive cooling, not convective, or air, cooling. The machine inside averages to the power of a laptop, but they have models ranging from netbook-class to the equivalent of an engineering workstation.

These systems are not just regular computers housed in a beefy box. They build their own motherboard, swapping in different processors for the different models. While, in the past, their emphasis was on the ruggedness, they’ve moved beyond that, with their focus now moving to the actual software processing and IP.

They use these for a number of things. Soldier training is one – not shooting training, but communication training. The systems also help with mission prep. For this part, the rugged story obviously dominates.

But other, more demanding applications include things like LIDAR – scanning a 3D space to assemble a cloud of points and then – critically – processing that to make sense out of it. These types of applications are what drives the focus on computing algorithms.

As they look beyond just the military, they are also eying tactical squads (SWAT) as a new market for their equipment.

More info on their latest release can be found here

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