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

Digital-to-Analog Transformation and Reconstruction of ECG Data

This technology allows rapid, automated, second interpretation of 12-lead ECG data.

The innovators at NASA Johnson Space Center have developed a new method and device for specialized digital-to-analog conversion (DAC) and reconstruction of multichannel electrocardiograms (ECGs), including 12-lead ECGs. Current devices do not have the functionality that allows for the transmission of stored digital ECG data collected from one manufacturer’s ECG machine to another for an automated second opinion. With this technology, the physician has the opportunity to compare results by transferring the ECG data to another ECG machine — regardless of location — when a patient’s results are difficult to interpret for a second opinion. The technology also allows for the use of less expensive 12-lead ECG front ends or analog-to-digital conversion (ADC) hardware that is advantageous when in remote locations or with patients who are mobile during research studies. The digital-to-analog transformation and reconstruction of ECG data technology is available for licensing.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical
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Impedance Measurement Box

This tool provides single-point measurement of batteries.

The dependability of energy storage devices — particularly batteries — is becoming increasingly important to consumers, industry, and the military. As battery technology becomes more complex and users' expectations become more pronounced, there is a pressing need for highly accurate assessment techniques that can give state-of-health readings in conditions approaching real time.

Posted in: Briefs, Test & Measurement
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Transducer-Actuator Systems for On-Machine Measurements and Automatic Part Alignment

These systems have applications in machine shops, and in automotive and aircraft parts and manufacturing.

When performing machine tool setup and maintenance operations, it is frequently necessary to use a position transducer to “sweep” a surface and establish its relationship to a machine. A machine operator or maintenance technician typically attaches a position indicator to one portion of a machine, and then sweeps the position transducer over the object of interest, while observing the indicator run-out. If necessary, multiple adjustments and re-checks are made to the position of the object to obtain the desired alignment condition.

Posted in: Briefs, Test & Measurement
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Blue-Light-Canceling Lens Gives Skiers a Clearer View

An optical filter for assessing plant health finds use in ski goggles.

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, Optical Components, Optics
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Bacteria-Powered Battery is Printed on a Single Sheet of Paper

This battery enables self-sustained, paper-based, point-of-care devices.

A bacteria-powered battery that can power disposable electronics has been created on a single sheet of paper. The manufacturing technique reduces fabrication time and cost, and the design could revolutionize the use of bio-batteries as a power source in remote, dangerous, and resource-limited areas.

Posted in: Briefs, Energy
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Paper-Based Electrochemical Test Strip Detects Harmful Bacteria

This test could eliminate the need for more expensive follow-up tests.

Borrowing concepts from medical diagnostic devices, researchers have created a simple, inexpensive set of handheld tests that can detect the presence of many water- or food-borne pathogens. If applied in the field, such tests could greatly reduce the number of expensive follow-up tests needed to keep the food supply safe from fecal contamination.

Posted in: Briefs, Test & Measurement
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Internal Short Circuit (ISC) Device Helps Improve Lithium-Ion Battery Design

This tool helps manufacturers ensure the safety and reliability of electric vehicle batteries.

Battery safety is key to the acceptance and penetration of electric vehicles into the marketplace. When battery internal shorts occur, they tend to surface without warning, and usually after the cell has been in use for several months. While some failures simply result in the cell getting very hot, in extreme cases, cells go into thermal runaway, igniting the device in which they are installed. The most publicized failures involved burning laptop and cellphone batteries, and resulted in millions of recalls.

Posted in: Briefs, Energy
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Center/TRACON Automation System Software Suite

The FAA has expressed great interest in early field tests and usage demonstrating reduced delays and operational errors.

Air traffic control within the US is getting more complicated as the number of aircraft increases. There is a great need to increase the efficiency of the system so that flight delays are minimized without having to build new airports or runways. At the same time, safety must be maintained so that increased traffic levels do not lead to air traffic control-related incidents.

Posted in: Briefs, Aeronautics, Aerospace
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Products of Tomorrow: July 2017

This column presents technologies that have applications in commercial areas, possibly creating the products of tomorrow. To learn more about each technology, see the contact information provided for that innovation.

Posted in: Products, Materials, Sensors
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Heavy Lift Wing in Ground (WIG) Cargo Flying Boat

The main commercial application is transoceanic cargo transport.

There are two commonly used options to transport large-volume and heavy cargo across the ocean: container ships and airline transport aircraft. Container ships take about 3 to 4 weeks to deliver goods, and airline transport aircraft take about 2 days. This innovation is a flying boat aircraft designed for heavy lift cargo utilizing wing in ground (WIG) effect. The wing in ground effect has many names, but it refers to the phenomenon where an aircraft flying close to the ground has increased lift and decreased induced drag. The induced drag of the aircraft is half of the induced drag compared to flying at altitude when the aircraft operates within 10% of its wingspan to the surface. The lift is double compared to flying at altitude when the aircraft is operating within 10% of its chord length to the surface.

Posted in: Briefs, Aeronautics, Aerospace
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