Special Coverage

Technique Provides Security for Multi-Robot Systems
Bringing New Vision to Laser Material Processing Systems
NASA Tests Lasers’ Ability to Transmit Data from Space
Converting from Hydraulic Cylinders to Electric Actuators
Automating Optimization and Design Tasks Across Disciplines
Vibration Tables Shake Up Aerospace and Car Testing
Supercomputer Cooling System Uses Refrigerant to Replace Water
Computer Chips Calculate and Store in an Integrated Unit
Electron-to-Photon Communication for Quantum Computing

JPEG 2000 Encoding With Perceptual Distortion Control

The bit rate for a given level of perceptual distortion is minimized.

An alternative approach has been devised for encoding image data in compliance with JPEG 2000, the most recent still-image data- compression standard of the Joint Photographic Experts Group. Heretofore, JPEG 2000 encoding has been implemented by several related schemes classified as rate-based distortion-minimization encoding. In each of these schemes, the end user specifies a desired bit rate and the encoding algorithm strives to attain that rate while minimizing a mean squared error (MSE). While rate-based distortion minimization is appropriate for transmitting data over a limited-bandwidth channel, it is not the best approach for applications in which the perceptual quality of reconstructed images is a major consideration. A better approach for such applications is the present alternative one, denoted perceptual distortion control, in which the encoding algorithm strives to compress data to the lowest bit rate that yields at least a specified level of perceptual image quality.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Information Sciences, Data acquisition and handling, Imaging and visualization
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Intelligent Integrated Health Management for a System of Systems

Intelligent elements exchange information and each determines its own condition.

An intelligent integrated health management system (IIHMS) incorporates major improvements over prior such systems. The particular IIHMS is implemented for any system defined as a hierarchical distributed network of intelligent elements (HDNIE), comprising primarily: (1) an architecture (Figure 1), (2) intelligent elements, (3) a conceptual framework and taxonomy (Figure 2), and (4) and ontology that defines standards and protocols.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Sciences, Architecture, Communication protocols, Computer software and hardware, Systems management
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Delay Banking for Managing Air Traffic

Delay credits could be expended to gain partial relief from flow restrictions.

Delay banking has been invented to enhance air-traffic management in a way that would increase the degree of fairness in assigning arrival, departure, and en-route delays and trajectory deviations to aircraft impacted by congestion in the national airspace system. In delay banking, an aircraft operator (airline, military, general aviation, etc.) would be assigned a numerical credit when any of their flights are delayed because of an air-traffic flow restriction. The operator could subsequently bid against other operators competing for access to congested airspace to utilize part or all of its accumulated credit. Operators utilize credits to obtain higher priority for the same flight, or other flights operating at the same time, or later, in the same airspace, or elsewhere. Operators could also trade delay credits, according to market rules that would be determined by stakeholders in the national airspace system.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Sciences, Air traffic control
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Spline-Based Smoothing of Airfoil Curvatures

Spurious curvature oscillations and bumps are suppressed.

Constrained fitting for airfoil curvature smoothing (CFACS) is a spline-based method of interpolating airfoil surface coordinates (and, concomitantly, airfoil thicknesses) between specified discrete design points so as to obtain smoothing of surface-curvature profiles in addition to basic smoothing of surfaces. CFACS was developed in recognition of the fact that the performance of a transonic airfoil is directly related to both the curvature profile and the smoothness of the airfoil surface.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Information Sciences, Wings, Aerodynamics
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Reducing Spaceborne-Doppler-Radar Rainfall-Velocity Error

A combined frequency- time (CFT) spectral moment estimation technique has been devised for calculating rainfall velocity from measurement data acquired by a nadir-looking spaceborne Doppler weather radar system. Prior spectral moment estimation techniques used for this purpose are based partly on the assumption that the radar resolution volume is uniformly filled with rainfall. The assumption is unrealistic in general but introduces negligible error in application to airborne radar systems. However, for spaceborne systems, the combination of this assumption and inhomogeneities in rainfall [denoted non-uniform beam filling (NUBF)] can result in velocity measurement errors of several meters per second.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Sciences, Measurements, Radar, Water, Weather and climate
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Progress in Acoustic Transmission of Power Through Walls

A document presents updated information on implementation of the wireless acoustic-electric feed-through (WAEF) concept, which was reported in “Using Piezoelectric Devices To Transmit Power Through Walls” (NPO-41157), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 32, No. 6 (June 2008), page 70. To recapitulate: In a basic WAEF setup, a transmitting piezoelectric transducer on one side of a wall is driven at resonance to excite ultrasonic vibrations in the wall. A receiving piezoelectric transducer on the opposite side of the wall converts the vibrations back to an ultrasonic AC electric signal, which is then detected and otherwise processed in a manner that depends on the modulation (if any) applied to the signal and whether the signal is used to transmit power, data, or both.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Physical Sciences, Acoustics, Vibration
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Stochastic Analysis of Orbital Lifetimes of Spacecraft

A document discusses (1) a Monte-Carlo-based methodology for probabilistic prediction and analysis of orbital lifetimes of spacecraft and (2) Orbital Lifetime Monte Carlo (OLMC) — a Fortran computer program, consisting of a previously developed long-term orbit-propagator integrated with a Monte Carlo engine.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Information Sciences, Finite element analysis, Life cycle analysis, Spacecraft
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Lightweight Carbon-Carbon High-Temperature Space Radiator

A document summarizes the development of a carbon-carbon composite radiator for dissipating waste heat from a spacecraft nuclear reactor. The radiator is to be bonded to metal heat pipes and to operate in conjunction with them at a temperature approximately between 500 and 1,000 K. A goal of this development is to reduce the average areal mass density of a radiator to about 2 kg/m2 from the current value of ≈10 kg/m2 characteristic of spacecraft radiators made largely of metals.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Mechanics, Composite materials, Lightweight materials, Radiators, Spacecraft
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Transmissive Diffractive Optical Element Solar Concentrators

These would weigh and cost less than do mirror-type solar concentrators.

Solar-thermal-radiation concentrators in the form of transmissive diffractive optical elements (DOEs) have been proposed as alternatives to mirror- type solar concentrators now in use. In comparison with functionally equivalent mirror-type solar concentrators, the transmissive, diffractive solar concentrators would weigh and cost less, and would be subject to relaxed mechanical tolerances.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Physical Sciences, Optics, Solar energy
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Nematic Cells for Digital Light Deflection

Smectic A (SmA) prisms can be made in a variety of shapes and are useful for visible spectrum and infrared beam steerage.

Smectic A (SmA) materials can be used in non-mechanical, digital beam deflectors (DBDs) as fillers for passive birefringent prisms based on decoupled pairs of electrically controlled, liquid crystalline polarization rotators, like twisted nematic (TN) cells and passive deflectors. DBDs are used in free-space laser communications, optical fiber communications, optical switches, scanners, and in-situ wavefront correction.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Materials, Optics, Materials properties
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