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Evaluation Standard for Robotic Research
Small Robot Has Outstanding Vertical Agility
Smart Optical Material Characterization System and Method
Lightweight, Flexible Thermal Protection System for Fire Protection
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Product of the Month: March 2017

Watlow, St. Louis, MO, introduced the D4T with INTUITION® data logger with a range of field-removable I/O modules. The data logger features a 4.3” color graphical touch panel with a high-resolution graphical user interface that allows channels, alarms, inputs, and outputs to be customized with user-defined names. The unit is programmable to show information in multiple languages, and enables users to choose encrypted, .CSV, or both types of file formats for tamperproof record needs. Users can select which parameters to log, from one to 128 points simultaneously, and where to store files — inside the controller, on a connected USB memory device, or to a connected PC anywhere in the world. The system records as fast as one time per 0.1 second, or as slow as one time per hour. The system is available with 1 to 24 channels, and is compatible with temperature, altitude, humidity, AC current, and other 0-10VDC or 0-20 mA process units. It connects with a controller via Ethernet, and offers communications options including Ethernet Modbus® TCP and SCPI, and EIA-232/485 Modbus® RTU.

Posted in: Products, Electronics & Computers

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Vulnerability Assessment Tool

Malawi has not been spared from the severe impacts of climate change. In the past two decades, Malawi has experienced a number of adverse climatic hazards, the most serious being dry spells, seasonal droughts, intense and unpredictable rainfall, riverine floods, and flash floods. Some of these, especially droughts and floods, have since increased in frequency, intensity, and magnitude over the past decades, and have adversely impacted food and water security, water quality, energy, and sustainable livelihoods of most rural communities. With its narrow economic base, limited agroprocessing industries, over-dependency on rain-fed agriculture, and biomass for household energy, Malawi is highly vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change and extreme weather events. This situation is exacerbated by increasing poverty among rural communities, increasing population pressure on a limited land resource base, land degradation arising from agricultural expansion and the cultivation of marginal lands, and increasing deforestation to meet the increasing demands for energy, food, and construction purposes.

Posted in: Briefs, Green Design & Manufacturing, Statistical analysis, Weather and climate, Developing countries, Risk assessments

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MRAM Alternative Uses Less Energy than Conventional Chip

Purely electrical memory chips commonly used today are volatile and their state must be continuously refreshed, which requires a lot of energy. An alternative to these electrical memory chips is magnetic random access memory (MRAM), which saves data magnetically and does not require constant refreshing. They do, however, require relatively large electrical currents to write the data to memory, which reduces reliability.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Computer software and hardware, Integrated circuits, Energy consumption

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Nodal Averaging Program for CFD Planes

Aerodynamic heating of aerospace vehicles such as aircraft and spacecraft occurs when air passes over a vehicle during transit, ascent, descent, and re-entry, and is a function of re-entry angle, speed, air density, thermal protection system material, and vehicle configuration. The degree of aerodynamic heating experienced by an aerospace vehicle may affect various characteristics of the vehicle. It is advantageous to have a method and apparatus that takes these issues into account.

Posted in: Briefs, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Computational fluid dynamics, Mathematical models, Heat transfer, Aerodynamics, Entry, descent, and landing

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Vapor-Barrier Vacuum Isolation System

Applications include metal fabrication in the automotive, aerospace, sporting goods, and medical industries.Electron Beam Freeform Fabrication, or EBF3, is a process that uses an electron beam gun, a dual wire feed, and computer controls to manufacture metallic structures for building parts or tools in hours, rather than days or weeks. EBF3 can manufacture complex geometries in a single operation, and provides efficient use of power and feedstock. The technology has a wide range of applications, including automotive, aerospace, and rapid prototyping. It can build large metallic parts measuring feet in length, and has been reduced in size and power to enable zero-gravity experiments conducted on NASA's Reduced Gravity aircraft.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, CAD, CAM, and CAE, Rapid prototyping, Fabrication, Metallurgy

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Temperature-Regulating Fabrics Keep Babies Comfortable

Materials designed for spacesuits now regulate heat in baby clothes and blankets.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, Materials, Human factors, Infants, Thermal management, Fabrics

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Algae Bioreactor Using Submerged Enclosures with Semi-Permeable Membranes

Applications include diesel fuel production, lipid-based chemical production, advanced sewage treatment, and renewable energy.NASA has invented an innovative method to grow algae, clean wastewater, and capture carbon dioxide to ultimately produce biofuel. The invention consists of floating flexible-plastic enclosures and photo-bioreactors with semi-permeable membranes. This new cultivation system is made of lightweight material and is deployed offshore, avoiding the problems of land costs and competition with other land uses. The surrounding waters provide infrastructure, cooling, and some mixing from wave action. Ideally, this cultivation system is filled with nutrient-rich domestic wastewater and a source of CO2 to promote the growth of algae and to remediate pollution.

Posted in: Briefs, Green Design & Manufacturing, Water reclamation, Biofuels, Biological sciences, Performance upgrades, Product development

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