Special Coverage

Iodine-Compatible Hall Effect Thruster
Precision Assembly of Systems on Surfaces (PASS)
Development of a Novel Electrospinning System with Automated Positioning and Control Software
2016 Create The Future Design Contest Open For Entries
Clamshell Sampler
Shape Memory Alloy Rock Splitter
Deployable Extra-Vehicular Activity Platform (DEVAP) for Planetary Surfaces
Home

Repairing Fractured Bones by Use of Bioabsorbable Composites

Less surgery would be necessary, and full strength would be restored sooner. A proposed method of surgical repair of fractured bones would incorporate recent and future advances in the art of composite materials. The composite materials used in this method would be biocompatible and at least partly bioabsorbable: that is, during the healing process following surgery, they would be wholly or at least partly absorbed into the bones and other tissues in which they were implanted. Relative to the traditional method, the proposed method would involve less surgery, pose less of a risk of infection, provide for better transfer of loads across fracture sites, and thereby promote better healing while reducing the need for immobilization by casts and other external devices. One requirement that both the traditional and proposed methods must satisfy is to fix the multiple segments of a broken bone in the correct relative positions. Mechanical fixing techniques used in the traditional method include the use of plates spanning the fracture site and secured to the bone by screws, serving of wire along the bone across the fracture site, insertion of metallic intramedullary rods through the hollow portion of the fractured bone, and/or inserting transverse rods through the bone, muscle, and skin to stabilize the fractured members. After the bone heals, a second surgical operation is needed to remove the mechanical fixture(s). In the proposed method, there would be no need for a second surgical operation.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

Read More >>

Intersection Monitor for Traffic-Light-Preemption System

This unit provides real-time phase data essential for effective preemption. The figure shows an intersection monitor that is a key subsystem of an emergency traffic-light-preemption system that could be any of the systems described in the three immediately preceding articles and in “Systems Would Preempt Traffic Lights for Emergency Vehicles” (), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 28, No. 10 (October 2004), page 36. This unit is so named because it is installed at an intersection, where it monitors the phases (in the sense of timing) of the traffic lights. The mode of operation of this monitor is independent of the type of traffic-light-controller hardware or software in use at the intersection. Moreover, the design of the monitor is such that (1) the monitor does not, by itself, affect the operation of the traffic-light controller and (2) in the event of a failure of the monitor, the traffic-light controller continues to function normally (albeit without preemption).

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

Read More >>

Covering a Crucible With Metal Containing Channels

Metal is deposited on a sacrificial pattern that defines the channels. In a procedure that partly resembles the lost-wax casting process, a crucible made of a brittle material (ceramic, quartz, or glass) is covered with a layer of metal containing channels. The metal cover and the channels can serve any or all of several purposes, depending upon the application: Typically, the metal would serve at least partly to reinforce the crucible. The channels could be used as passages for narrow objects that could include thermocouples and heat-transfer strips. Alternatively or in addition, channels could be used as flow paths for liquid or gaseous coolants and could be positioned and oriented for position or direction-selective cooling. In some cases, the channels could be filled with known gases and sealed so that failure of the crucibles could be indicated by instruments that detect the gases.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

Read More >>

Solving the Swath Segment Selection Problem

Several techniques for solving the problem have been tested and compared. Several artificial-intelligence search techniques have been tested as means of solving the swath segment selection problem (SSSP) ? a real-world problem that is not only of interest in its own right, but is also useful as a test bed for search techniques in general. In simplest terms, the SSSP is the problem of scheduling the observation times of an airborne or spaceborne synthetic aperture radar (SAR) system to effect the maximum coverage of a specified area (denoted the target), given a schedule of downlinks (opportunities for radio transmission of SAR scan data to a ground station), given the limit on the quantity of SAR scan data that can be stored in an onboard memory between downlink opportunities, and given the limit on the achievable downlink data rate. The SSSP is NP complete (short for “nondeterministic polynomial time complete” ? characteristic of a class of intractable problems that can be solved only by use of computers capable of making guesses and then checking the guesses in polynomial time).

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

Read More >>

The Spatial Standard Observer

Degrees of visibility and discriminability of targets in images can be estimated. The spatial standard observer is a computational model that provides a measure of the visibility of a target in a uniform background image or of the visual discriminability of two images. Standard observers have long been used in science and industry to quantify the discriminability of colors. Color standard observers address the spectral characteristics of visual stimuli, while the spatial standard observer (SSO), as its name indicates, addresses spatial characteristics. The SSO is based on a model of human vision. The SSO was developed in a process that included evaluation of a number of earlier mathematical models that address optical, physiological, and psychophysical aspects of spatial characteristics of human visual perception. Elements of the prior models are incorporated into the SSO, which is formulated as a compromise between accuracy and simplicity. The SSO operates on a digitized monochrome still image or on a pair of such images. The SSO consists of three submodels that operate sequentially on the input image(s):

Posted in: Briefs

Read More >>

Less-Complex Method of Classifying MPSK

Nearly optimal performance can be obtained with less computation. An alternative to an optimal method of automated classification of signals modulated with M-ary phase-shift-keying (M-ary PSK or MPSK) has been derived. The alternative method is approximate, but it offers nearly optimal performance and entails much less complexity, which translates to much less computation time.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

Read More >>

Assistant for Analyzing Tropical Rain Mapping Radar Data

A document is defined that describes an approach for a Tropical Rain Mapping Radar Data System (TDS). TDS is composed of software and hardware elements incorporating a two-frequency spaceborne radar system for measuring tropical precipitation. The TDS would be used primarily in generating data products for scientific investigations. The most novel part of the TDS would be expert-system software to aid in the selection of algorithms for converting raw radar-return data into such primary observables as rain rate, path integrated rain rate, and surface backscatter. The expert-system approach would address the issue that selection of algorithms for processing the data requires a significant amount of preprocessing, non-intuitive reasoning, and heuristic application, making it infeasible, in many cases, to select the proper algorithm in real time. In the TDS, tentative selections would be made to enable conversions in real time. The expert system would remove straightforwardly convertible data from further consideration, and would examine ambiguous data, performing analysis in depth to determine which algorithms to select. Conversions performed by these algorithms, presumed to be correct, would be compared with the corresponding real-time conversions. Incorrect real-time conversions would be updated using the correct conversions.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

Read More >>

The U.S. Government does not endorse any commercial product, process, or activity identified on this web site.