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

Rotationally Vibrating Electric-Field Mill

The disadvantages of rotary couplings in conventional field mills could be avoided.

A proposed instrument for measuring a static electric field would be based partly on a conventional rotating- split-cylinder or rotating-split-sphere electric-field mill. However, the design of the proposed instrument would overcome the difficulty, encountered in conventional rotational field mills, of transferring measurement signals and power via either electrical or fiber-optic rotary couplings that must be aligned and installed in conjunction with rotary bearings. Instead of being made to rotate in one direction at a steady speed as in a conventional rotational field mill, a split-cylinder or split-sphere electrode assembly in the proposed instrument would be set into rotational vibration like that of a metronome. The rotational vibration, synchronized with appropriate rapid electronic switching of electrical connections between electric-current-measuring circuitry and the split-cylinder or split-sphere electrodes, would result in an electrical measurement effect equivalent to that of a conventional rotational field mill.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Physical Sciences, Measurements, Electrical systems, Fiber optics, Switches, Test equipment and instrumentation
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Estimating Hardness From the USDC Tool-Bit Temperature Rise

Temperature rise during drilling is correlated with hardness of the drilled material.

A method of real-time quantification of the hardness of a rock or similar material involves measurement of the temperature, as a function of time, of the tool bit of an ultrasonic/sonic drill corer (USDC) that is being used to drill into the material. The method is based on the idea that, other things being about equal, the rate of rise of temperature and the maximum temperature reached during drilling increase with the hardness of the drilled material.

Posted in: Briefs, Physical Sciences, Soils, Drilling, Materials properties, Thermal testing
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Automated Production of Movies on a Cluster of Computers

Processing is faster, easier, more flexible, and more collaborative than before.

A method of accelerating and facilitating production of video and film motion- picture products, and software and generic designs of computer hardware to implement the method, are undergoing development. The method provides for automation of most of the tedious and repetitive tasks involved in editing and otherwise processing raw digitized imagery into final motion-picture products. The method was conceived to satisfy requirements, in industrial and scientific testing, for rapid processing of multiple streams of simultaneously captured raw video imagery into documentation in the form of edited video imagery and video derived data products for technical review and analysis. In the production of such video technical documentation, unlike in production of motion-picture products for entertainment, (1) it is often necessary to produce multiple video derived data products, (2) there are usually no second chances to repeat acquisition of raw imagery, (3) it is often desired to produce final products within minutes rather than hours, days, or months, and (4) consistency and quality, rather than aesthetics, are the primary criteria for judging the products.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Sciences, Computer software and hardware, Imaging and visualization, Collaboration and partnering, Data management, Automation
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FIDO-Class Development Rover

A report describes a rover-type robotic wheeled vehicle recently built for use as a testbed for development of software for future rover-type vehicles. This vehicle is a derivative of the Field Integrated Design and Operations (FIDO) rover, which is a prototype Mars- exploration rover that also serves as a terrestrial testbed.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Mechanical Components, Mechanics, Computer software and hardware, Robotics, Autonomous vehicles, Spacecraft
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Tone-Based Command of Deep Space Probes Using Ground Antennas

A document discusses a technique for enabling the reception of spacecraft commands at received signal levels as much as three orders of magnitude below those of current deep space systems. Tone-based commanding deals with the reception of commands that are sent in the form of precise frequency offsets using an open-loop receiver. The key elements of this technique are an ultrastable oscillator and open-loop receiver onboard the spacecraft, both of which are part of the existing New Horizons (Pluto flyby) communications system design. This enables possible flight experimentation for tone-based commanding during the long cruise of the spacecraft to Pluto.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Antennas, Flight control systems, Wireless communication systems, Spacecraft
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High-End Computing Resources to Pioneer the Future in Space Exploration, Scientific Discovery, and Aeronautics Research

As an agency, NASA invests a significant amount of resources in the development and advancement of highend computing (HEC) resources and associated technologies to support all of its missions. The demand for HEC resources has increased dramatically in the last several years and continues to grow in response to progressively challenging modeling and simulation requirements.

Posted in: NASA Tech Needs
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Platform Technology for Electromechanical Position Sensor

This technology provides an efficient and cost-effective way to measure absolute position in one or two dimensions using a new Point Coupled Linear Transformer (PCLT). The PCLT detects movement and position on flat or curved surfaces. The nature of its design provides the sensor with excellent linearity, its DC output voltage allowing it to be used as a direct drop-in replacement for other position sensors.

To date, inductive sensors (LVDT/RVDT/LVIT) have dominated the market, but they have certain limitations that can be overcome by this new technology. Namely, PCLTs can be used to measure a position on flat or curvilinear surfaces, and can also be extended to 2D measurements, whereas LVDTs are limited to 1D position sensing. PCLT also has a 90% stroke-tolength range, which is 30% better than LVDTs. This could result in a 30 to 60% weight reduction of the sensor.

Get the complete report on this technology at: Email: nasatech@yet2.com Phone: 781-972-0600

Posted in: Techs for License
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Dispelling Light Sources

Philips is offering an innovative technology to dispel humans (and animals) from an area where they are unwanted. The new and patented dispelling light source (DLS) concept is based on disturbance of humans and/or animals using photosensitive stimuli. When switching a DLS system to the specifically programmed flickering mode, it directly induces negative psychological and/or physiological effects such as aversion, discomfort, dazzling, disorientation, fear, or malaise. As a direct result, humans and/or animals will be dispelled from the site. Proper selection of the flicker frequency avoids triggering of photosensitive epilepsy.

DLS-suitable lighting systems comprise high-pressure gas discharge lamps, where the high-pressure sodium lamp exhibits a particular provocative effect. A strong feature of DLS systems is its dual-mode operation: the system operates in the normal application-dependent illumination mode until the system driver is externally triggered by a proximity detector. Once humans and/or animals have been dispelled, the system switches back to normal lamp operation.

Get the complete report on this technology at: Email: nasatech@yet2.com Phone: 781-972-0600

Posted in: Techs for License
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Gripping Hand or Chuck Technology for Automated Applications

A company is seeking unique technologies for automated hand, chuck, and grip product assembly applications (not CNC machining). Multiple sizes of gripping device are acceptable for different sized parts. The chuck or hand technology should be general purpose in nature, and show versatility in its ability to grip or manipulate parts of various forms and shapes in order to be applicable to a wide range of assembly processes.

Respond to this TechNeed at: Email: nasatech@yet2.com Phone: 781-972-0600

Posted in: NASA Tech Needs
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Natural Technology for Food Preservation

Technologies are sought that will provide a natural method for extending shelf life, the prevention of food deterioration (oxidation and/or spoilage), and growth of pathogenic micro-organisms along the full chain of fresh or processed food. The solution could be effective at any stage, from feedstock to point of processing, through to consumer use. It could be a new natural preservative (plant extract, food-grade cultures), natural process/additive for enhancing the activity of existing known natural preservatives, or antimicrobial films or coatings.

Respond to this TechNeed at: Email: nasatech@yet2.com Phone: 781-972-0600

Posted in: NASA Tech Needs
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