ALBION, N.Y., July 3, 2012 — Picard Industries’ USB-GradientWheel system offers a compact, quiet and simple method of automating the positioning of a gradient filter disk into a beam path. The system is supplied with custom application software examples that operate on any standard PC with a Windows XP/Vista/Windows 7 operating system. The software, along with LabView examples, uses proprietary DLL files to allow the user to integrate the gradient wheel function into a custom control system. Each USB-GradientWheel is assigned a serial number, located on its base, to allow multiple units to be controlled from a single PC using externally powered USB hubs. Descriptive labels also can be assigned to each unit. The assignments are stored and activated with the reset/store button. The system holds gradient wheels up to 100 mm in diameter, and it mounts on standard optical tables with ¼-20 fasteners on 25-mm centers. Features include 340° with 0.5° resolution motorized or manual control of the gradient wheel’s position with active absolute positional sensing. The low-power motor is energized only when the gradient wheel is in motion Quiet long-life stepper motor operation provides reliable and repeatable positioning. The system is USB hot-pluggable with autodetection. The provided Windows-based user interface can individually control four USB-FilterWheels. Status (red/green) indicators on the panel show whether the filter wheel is properly connected to the USB hub/port. A computer mouse clicks the run, stop and arrow buttons to move the filter wheel to new positions.