Special Coverage

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
Mechanoresponsive Healing Polymers
Variable Permeability Magnetometer Systems and Methods for Aerospace Applications
Evaluation Standard for Robotic Research

Resonance-Actuation of Microshutter Arrays

This innovation uses MEMS technology to selectively capture spectra of distant objects.

The field of view required for future missions is much larger than for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). Researchers at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center have created a new actuation scheme to reduce mass and complexity of the microshutters used on the NIRSpec instrument. This new development implements pulsed electrostatic actuation in place of magnetic actuation.

Posted in: Briefs, Photonics, Optics, Sensors and actuators, Product development, Refractory materials

Wireless Electrical Device Using Open-Circuit Elements Having No Electrical Connections

This technology produces sensors for axial load force, linear displacement, rotation, strain, pressure, torque, and motion sensing.

NASA Langley Research Center has developed a wireless, connection-free, open-circuit technology that can be used for developing electrical devices such as sensors that need no physical contact with the properties being measured. At the core of the technology is the SansEC (Sans Electrical Connections) circuit, which is damage-resilient and environmentally friendly to manufacture and use. The technology uses a NASA award-winning magnetic field response measurement acquisition device to provide power to the device and, in the case of a sensor application, to acquire physical property measurements from them. This fundamental new approach using open circuits enables applications such as sensors for axial load force, linear displacement, rotation, strain, pressure, torque, and motion sensing, as well as unique designs such as for a wireless keypad or wireless rotational dial, or for energy storage.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Integrated circuits, Sensors and actuators, Wireless communication systems, Electric power, Magnetic materials

Designing Stronger Concrete

Plasticity at small scales boosts concrete's utility as the world's most-used material by letting it constantly adjust to stress, decades or centuries after hardening. To find out why, Rice University researchers performed an atom-level computer analysis of tobermorite, a naturally occurring crystalline analog to the calcium-silicate-hydrate (C-S-H) that makes up cement, which in turn holds concrete together. By understanding the internal structure of tobermorite, they hope to make concrete stronger, tougher, and better able to deform without cracking under stress.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Finite element analysis, Composite materials, Materials properties, Test procedures

Designing Materials with Reprogrammable Shape and Function

Researchers from Harvard University's John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and the Wyss Institute of Biologically Inspired Engineering have developed a general framework for designing reconfigurable metamaterials — materials whose function is determined by structure, not composition.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Research and development, Materials properties, Smart materials, Biomechanics

Today's Automobile: Supercomputer on Wheels

With every passing year, it's getting more difficult to recognize the current crop of passenger vehicles as the descendants of Henry Ford's Model T. Those first mass-produced vehicles didn't even include a battery or starting system, relying instead on a hand-cranked engine with a magneto to provide ignition. As recently as 20 years ago, many cars were still essentially mechanical systems supplemented by hydraulic or electrical systems for handling functions like steering, ignition, lights, and audio entertainment.

Posted in: Articles, Automotive, Infotainment systems, Product development, Technical review, Autonomous vehicles

Designing and 3D Printing Customized Insoles for Diabetics

Insoles for diabetics have traditionally been handmade by makers of orthopedic shoes. In the future, these specialist shoemakers will be able to produce insoles more cost effectively using new software and 3D printers.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Diseases, Prostheses and implants, Additive manufacturing, Productivity

Software Improves Medication Adherence for Heart Stent Patients

MyIDEA (My Interventional Drug-Eluting Stent Education App) software was developed by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) who study data-simplification to improve clinical outcomes. The tablet computer application helps heart patients with drug-eluting stents take their medications correctly.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Computer software and hardware, Cardiovascular system, Medical equipment and supplies, Education, Education and training, Pharmaceuticals

Vibration Tables Shake Up Aerospace and Car Testing

Shaker tables developed for satellite testing will protect Webb telescope during launch.

Spinoff is NASA's annual publication featuring successfully commercialized NASA technology. This commercialization has contributed to the development of products and services in the fields of health and medicine, consumer goods, transportation, public safety, computer technology, and environmental resources.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Automotive, Vibration, Performance tests, Test equipment and instrumentation

Launch Trajectory Acquisition System (LTAS) Simulator

The objective of the LTAS Simulator application is to transmit one or more streams of simulated LTAS data frames in User Datagram Protocol (UDP) packets to the network. Each LTAS data frame is filled with simulated data values, with each data field determined using several methods: 1) constant value from the user’s input via a graphical user interface (GUI), 2) internal generated counter from a start value, 3) internally generated random value using uniform probability that is set by the user, and 4) internally generated modified value using uniform probability that is set by the user.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Trajectory control, Computer simulation, Spacecraft guidance, Human machine interface (HMI), Displays

Inductive Monitoring System Graphical User Interface (IMS GUI) for Processing, Analyzing, and Cleaning Datasets

The Inductive Monitoring System (IMS) software uses data mining techniques to automatically characterize nominal system operation by analyzing archived system data. These nominal characterizations are then used to perform near-realtime system health monitoring or analyze archived system data to detect anomalies in system behavior as compared with previous nominal behavior. To operate most effectively for system monitoring, the archived system data used to build the system models for IMS should contain only nominal operations data. Most available data sets contain contaminated data, data transients, or other data that does not represent nominal operations. Finding and removing these undesirable off-nominal data points manually is an error-prone and time-consuming task. Along with a variety of data extraction and program controls, the IMS graphical user interface (IMS GUI) allows the user to visually examine results of IMS monitoring analyses, and graphically select segments of data and outlier data points using a mouse or similar input device. The GUI will then automatically process the candidate dataset to remove undesired data points, leaving a clean dataset containing nominal data to use for building IMS system monitoring models.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Computer software and hardware, Human machine interface (HMI), Displays, Vehicle health management, Data management, Reliability

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