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

Low-Power, Special-Purpose Chip for Speech Recognition in Electronics

Automatic speech recognition is on the verge of becoming the chief means of interacting with computing devices. To address this, MIT researchers have built a low-power chip specialized for automatic speech recognition. Whereas a cellphone running speech recognition software might require about 1 Watt of power, the new chip requires between 0.2 and 10 milliwatts, depending on the number of words it has to recognize. That probably translates to a power savings of 90 to 99 percent, which could make voice control practical for relatively simple electronic devices, including power-constrained devices that harvest energy from their environments, or go months between battery charges.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors, Integrated circuits, Human machine interface (HMI), Sound quality
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9-Meter Slaving System

The objective of the 9-Meter Slaving System is to transmit Launch Trajectory Acquisition System (LTAS) data from one of multiple incoming data streams to the 9-Meter antenna control unit using a synchronous serial modem. The data stream is determined by a 9-Meter telemetry operator's selection via a graphical user interface (GUI).

Posted in: Briefs, Communications, Trajectory control, Antennas, Telemetry, Entry, descent, and landing
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Obs4MIPS.py

The Obs4MIPS.py software package is a front end to an existing free software package written by Lawrence Livermore National Lab, called “Climate Model Output Rewriter” (CMOR2), and reads in a multitude of standard data formats such as netcdf3, netcdf4, Grads control files, MATLAB data files, or a list of netCDF files. The software prepares Earth Science Observational (obs4MIPs) data or Climate Modeling Reanalysis (ana4MIPs) data for publication in the NASA Center for Climate Simulation (NCCS) Earth System Grid Federation system (ESGF). It converts the data into a netCDF file following the Climate and Forecast (CF) metadata convention as specified by Climate Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5). Obs4MIPs.py addresses the differences in input data format, variable definition, and Global Attribute requirements that exist within observational and re-analyses datasets.

Posted in: Briefs, Green Design & Manufacturing, CAD, CAM, and CAE, Weather and climate, Data management
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Turbofan Engine Acoustic Liner Design and Analysis Tools

Statistical- and graphical-based software tools are used to design and analyze turbofan acoustic liners.

NASA Langley Research Center has developed two tools for turbofan engine acoustic liner design and analysis. The first is a statistical approach for broadband liner design and assessment; the second is graphical software to design and analyze resonant channels in acoustic liners.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, CAD, CAM, and CAE, Statistical analysis, Acoustics, Fans, Turboprop engines
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System, Apparatus, and Method for Liquid Purification

Scientists at NASA's Glenn Research Center have developed a unique water purification method that can be used for water recycling or point-of-use applications. Originally developed as a means to recycle water in space, this technology has applications in industrial water treatment, water recycling, and water purification for military bases, disaster sites, and regions without easy access to clean water. Relying on only electrical energy, this technology uses plasma-generated reactive species to decompose organic contaminants, ranging from submicron particles to water soluble organics like glycol, ethanol, and industrial dyes.

Posted in: Briefs, Green Design & Manufacturing, Water reclamation, Water treatment, Electric power
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Multi-Thruster Propulsion Apparatus

This device switches between ion- or Hall-thruster mode, depending on whether the principal need is efficiency or thrust power.

Two different types of electrostatic thrusters are used to propel spacecraft: ion thrusters and Hall-effect thrusters. Ion thrusters have the benefit of relatively high exhaust velocities with higher overall thrust efficiencies. Hall-effect thrusters typically offer higher thrust-to-power ratios, but they operate somewhat less efficiently than ion thrusters. To take advantage of both thrusters’ strengths, innovators at NASA's Glenn Research Center have developed what is essentially a dual-thruster propulsion system. This patented electric propulsion device offers the ability to switch a spacecraft's propulsion system to ion-thruster mode or Hall-thruster mode, depending on whether the principal need is efficiency or thrust power. In addition, Glenn's novel technology allows the dual thruster to operate in burst mode, with one thruster acting as an ion thruster and one as a Hall thruster. This capability can be valuable to facilitate smooth transitions between operating modes or to raise total thrust level (for short periods) beyond what either mode can achieve on its own.

Posted in: Briefs, Propulsion, Electro-thermal engines, Engine efficiency, Spacecraft
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Tangential Wrap Rib Deployable Reflector

The reflector does not use complicated deployment mechanisms.

There is a need for a large deployable reflector of 2-meter diameter or greater so smaller launch vehicles can be used. Common issues with going from a large solid reflector into deployable structures are the structural stiffness and deployable structure complexity.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Antennas, Product development, Storage, Launch vehicles
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Method Improves Accuracy of Imaging Data

Research by the University of Chicago provides scientists looking at single molecules or into deep space a more accurate way to analyze imaging data captured by microscopes, telescopes, and other devices. The method, known as single-pixel interior filling function (SPIFF), detects and corrects systematic errors in data and image analysis used in many areas of science and engineering.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors, Imaging and visualization, Data management, Research and development
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Automation System Manages Critical Gas Distribution Process

Part of the TDK group of companies, Headway Technologies (Milpitas, CA) is a semiconductor manufacturer of memory and drive head technologies, and designs and manufactures recording heads for high-performance hard disk drives.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors, Semiconductor devices, Automation, Gases
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LTAS Source Slaving Selector (LS3) Analyzer

The objective of the Launch Trajectory Acquisition System (LTAS) Source Slaving Selector (LS3) Analyzer application is to convert recorded data files — which are generated by the LTAS Source Slaving Selector (LS3) application in binary format — to human-readable text files as per a variety of options set by the user via a graphical user interface (GUI).

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Trajectory control, Displays, Data management
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