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Nanoactuators Based on Electrostatic Forces on Dielectrics

Large force-to-mass ratios could be achieved at the nanoscale. Nanoactuators of a proposed type would exploit the forces exerted by electric fields on dielectric materials. As used here, “nanoactuators” includes motors, manipulators, and other active mechanisms that have dimensions of the order of nanometers and/or are designed to manipulate objects that have dimensions of the order of nanometers.

Posted in: Mechanical Components, Briefs, TSP

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Robot Forearm and Dexterous Hand

The hand is highly anthropomorphic and even includes a folding palm. An electromechanical hand-and-forearm assembly has been developed for incorporation into an anthropomorphic robot that would be used in outer space. The assembly is designed to offer manual dexterity comparable to that of a hand inside an astronaut’s suit; thus, the assembly may also be useful as a prosthesis or as an end effector on an industrial robot.

Posted in: Mechanical Components, Briefs

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Synthetic Bursae for Robots

Functions would be similar to those of natural bursae. Synthetic bursae are under development for incorporation into robot joints that are actuated by motor-driven cables in a manner similar to that of arthropod joints actuated by muscle-driven tendons. Like natural bursae, the synthetic bursae would serve as cushions and friction reducers.

Posted in: Mechanical Components, Briefs

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Software for Secondary-School Learning About Robotics

The ROVer Ranch is an interactive computer program designed to help secondary-school students learn about space-program robotics and related basic scientific concepts by involving the students in simplified design and programming tasks that exercise skills in mathematics and science.

Posted in: Mechanical Components, Briefs

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Surface Bacterial-Spore Assay Using Tb3+/DPA Luminescence

A total spore count could be obtained in minutes. Equipment and a method for rapidly assaying solid surfaces for contamination by bacterial spores are undergoing development. The method would yield a total (nonviable plus viable) spore count of a surface within minutes and a viable-spore count in about one hour. In this method, spores would be collected from a surface by use of a transparent polymeric tape coated on one side with a polymeric adhesive that would be permeated with one or more reagent(s) for detection of spores by use of visible luminescence. The sticky side of the tape would be pressed against a surface to be assayed, then the tape with captured spores would be placed in a reader that illuminates the sample with ultraviolet light and counts the green luminescence spots under a microscope to quantify the number of bacterial spores per unit area. The visible luminescence spots seen through the microscope would be counted to determine the concentration of spores on the surface.

Posted in: Bio-Medical, Medical, Briefs, TSP

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Product of the Month: Infrared Emitters & Sensors

O P T E K Technology (Carrollton, TX) offers the OP280 series of infrared emitters, and the OP580 series of matching silicon photo sensors. The OP280 emitter series consists of three standard devices: the OP180 940-nm infrared emitter, the OP280 880-nm infrared emitter, and the OP280K 890-nm infrared emitter; and the OP280PS 850-nm point source infrared emitter and the OP280V 850-nm vertical cavity surface emitting laser (VCSEL) device. The OP580 series of sensors consists of the OP580 phototransistor, the OP580PR silicon photodarlington, and the OP580RB silicon phototransistor with an integrated base-emitter resistor. The emitters and sensors are housed in standard PLCC-2 surface mount packaging, and are suitable for applications in industrial automation control, optical encoder equipment, and bar code readers.

Posted in: Products

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Digital Servos, Software Chart New Directions in Optical Scanning

Optical scanners, or servo-controlled, limited-rotation motors with laser-beam steering mirrors, were first introduced 40 years ago by General Scanning. Since then, they have become the enabling technology behind many innovative products across many different industries, including medical imaging, industrial machining, product identification, biomedical research, automotive manufacturing, and many more.

Posted in: Features, ptb catchall, Photonics, Articles

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