Special Coverage

Transducer-Actuator Systems for On-Machine Measurements and Automatic Part Alignment
Wide-Area Surveillance Using HD LWIR Uncooled Sensors
Heavy Lift Wing in Ground (WIG) Cargo Flying Boat
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

Low-Cost Chip Extends Life of Battery Sensors

Batteries in sensors last longer – in some cases, more than ten times longer.

A voltage detector chip was developed that requires only a few trillionths of a Watt (picowatts) to activate other circuits, enabling engineers to design sensors that continuously listen, without using power from a battery or mains. The result is smaller batteries, or a battery life that is extended, in some cases by years. The voltage detector can also eliminate standby power.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors, Batteries, Integrated circuits, Sensors and actuators, Batteries, Integrated circuits, Sensors and actuators
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Using Microwaves to Produce High-Quality Graphene

This method makes graphene for flexible and printable electronics, energy storage, and catalysis.

Engineers have developed a simple method for producing high-quality graphene that can be used in next-generation electronic and energy devices. The method essentially bakes the compound in a microwave oven.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Manufacturing processes, Graphite
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Custom Administration Reporting (gTracker)

A reporting tool was needed that could indicate the accuracy of search results by tracking the number of clicks required by users to find their desired search results. The application should also capture the number of times other links and like filtering components are clicked. The report should have the ability to display a specific date range. The application is configured to allow multiple interfaces to utilize the service, and can provide statistics per interface or across all interfaces for a consolidated view of search user behavior metrics.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Big data, Data acquisition and handling, Internet, Big data, Data acquisition and handling, Internet
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Process Produces Renewable Car Tires from Trees and Grasses

This discovery could also impact other technologically advanced rubber-based products.

A team of researchers has invented a new technology to produce automobile tires from trees and grasses. Conventional car tires are viewed as environmentally unfriendly because they are predominantly made from fossil fuels. The car tires produced from biomass that includes trees and grasses would be identical to existing car tires, with the same chemical makeup, color, shape, and performance.

Posted in: Briefs, Green Design & Manufacturing, Tires and traction, Environmental technologies, Biological sciences, Manufacturing processes, Chemicals
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PathDroid

Android is the primary software platform for mobile, networked devices such as tablets and smartphones. These devices are increasingly used for safety-critical functions that require verification of correct and robust behavior of applications. Such software written for the Android operating system is hard to test because applications are inherently concurrent, applications are usually being driven by asynchronous user input and network events, the application model is not amenable to unit testing, and the availability of sources for many commercial applications is missing. Safety-critical applications require verification by means of systematic exploration of all possible software behaviors. Conventional testing does not guarantee sufficient coverage, especially for concurrent applications.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Cyber security, Internet of things, Safety critical systems, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Cyber security, Internet of things, Safety critical systems, Test procedures
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Micromachined Sensors Monitor Train Rails and Predict Failures

Sensors designed to predict helicopter transmission failures are now used to detect problems in train tracks.

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, Sensors, Failure analysis, Sensors and actuators, Sensors and actuators, Railway vehicles and equipment
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Flood Dashboard 2.0

Google Maps and Google Earth allow the development of customized displays, but such displays must be constructed by a software developer. The Flood Dashboard allows non-technical users to utilize a simple Web form to build and present custom displays. It is a Ruby on Rails 4 application that allows users to build custom geospatial displays, distribute bulletins, and show hydrological data in a clean Web display. This system allows users a greater situation awareness of hydrological activity that will hopefully enable decision-makers to respond more quickly and in a more informed manner to natural disasters.

Posted in: Briefs, Green Design & Manufacturing, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Terrain, Water, Displays, Displays, Disaster and emergency management, Emergency management
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Enterprise Business Information System (EBIS) Data Warehouse Quality Inspector

A typical data warehouse may contain thousands of tables. Validating the data quality of all data warehouse content is an unmanageable and unmaintainable task if handled in an ad-hoc fashion. This software seeks to ensure that a data warehouse accurately reflects the contents of the business systems that feed it, in turn guaranteeing accuracy of business reports. Data anomalies can occur due to breaks in processes, unexpected changes to business rules, upgrades, unanticipated data relationships, or inadequate testing. Inspecting the data after each batch load for anomalous conditions allows IT to respond quickly to such issues, and to deliver a higher-quality product to end users.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Data management, Logistics
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Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) was created with a national sense of urgency in February 1958 amidst one of the most dramatic moments in the history of the Cold War and the already-accelerating pace of technology. In the months preceding the official authorization for the agency's creation, the Soviet Union had launched an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), as well as the world's first satellite, Sputnik 1.

Posted in: Articles, Defense, Defense industry, Historical reference, Research and development
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3D-Printed Heart-on-a-Chip with Integrated Sensors

This technique paves the way for more complex, customizable devices.

The first entirely 3D-printed organ-on-a-chip with integrated sensing has been built by a fully automated digital manufacturing procedure. The 3D-printed heart-on-a-chip can be quickly fabricated and customized, allowing researchers to easily collect reliable data for short-term and longterm studies.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Integrated circuits, Sensors and actuators, Integrated circuits, Sensors and actuators, Cardiovascular system, Medical equipment and supplies, Additive manufacturing
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