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

Dr. Robert Braun

Dr. Robert Braun began his NASA career at Langley Research Center in Virginia in 1987 after receiving a B.S in Aerospace Engineering from Penn State University. While at Langley, he worked on a number of advanced space systems concept and flight programs including the Mars Pathfinder, Mars Microbe, and Mars Surveyor 2001 projects. From 1998 to 2000, he managed the development of the Mars Sample Return Earth Entry Vehicle, and from 2000 to 2001, he served as the Deputy Program Manager and Chief Engineer for NASA s Intelligent Synthesis Environment Program.

Posted in: Podcasts

Wireless Sensor Technology for Real-Time Applications

The ability to make real-time decisions based on pressure, temperature, or flow measurements while a process is running can provide significant advantages in a measurement and control system. These advantages can be expressed in different ways such as cost savings through improved resource management, or reduced reliability upon mobile workers. While measurement data can be used to dynamically control a process, it can also be displayed over a network to allow remote monitoring of the process status in real time. Rising pressures, temperatures, or vibration intensity can easily be adjusted if the appropriate personnel are aware of faulty conditions. As data is collected for process control or a SCADA system, it can also be archived for future reference when a review of process trends could provide additional improvements.

Posted in: Articles, Sensors, Measurements, Sensors and actuators, Sensors and actuators

Cockpit Vision System to Improve Pilot Safety

Inertial-Optical Head-Tracking System
Billerica, MA

Under NASA funding, InterSense is developing and testing an inertial-optical head-tracking system for commercial pilots. The company will work with a miniaturized inertial-optical tracker prototype integrated into a Head-Worn Display (HWD). The next phase involves testing and analysis of the system with flight tests in order to assess functionality and performance.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Aviation, Optics, Displays, Displays

Vibration Isolators Supplied for James Webb Telescope Testing

Vibration isolators
Minus K® Technology
Inglewood, CA

Minus K Technology was chosen by ITT Space Systems, LLC, a subcontractor to Northrop Grumman Corp., to provide vibration isolators for the ground testing of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) at NASA s Johnson Space Center (Houston, TX). The JWST will be placed in a vacuum chamber at Johnson Space Center, and supported by a set of custom vibration isolators.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Motion Control, Vibration, Vibration, Test equipment and instrumentation

Predicting Remaining Component Life

Maintaining proper operation is crucial in safety-critical settings such as space-going vehicles, launch operations, and aeronautics applications. Should abnormal conditions be encountered, it is desirable to not only detect these early on, but to predict when the system will no longer meet operational specifications. Operational functionality is provided by the science of prognostics, an engineering discipline that focuses on predicting the remaining useful life of components, subsystems, or systems. Prognostics can be accomplished by modeling the underlying physics of a component as well as the anticipated damage propagation.

Posted in: NASA Tech Needs

Programming Network Processors Made Simple

The telecommunications industry’s continuous strive for higher performance has spurred innovations in processor architectures. The general trend has been to go parallel; adding more cores to a single processor device and then dividing tasks between them. This has resulted in a more complex environment for software engineers to master. But does this mean that the programming of next-generation network processors (NPUs) has to be difficult? Not necessarily.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Architecture, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware

Designing Solid State Drives Into ATCA-based Platforms

Due to the growth of video on demand (VoD), IPTV media content, and embedded database applications, AdvancedTCA (ATCA)-based storage capacity requirements continue to increase exponentially. In addition, storage requirements have become more complex and varied for ATCA designs that have expanded beyond the central office to include network data center and general data center applications that need to handle a wide variety of server platforms. The advancements and general availability of new storage solutions, particularly solid state drives (SSDs), enables ATCA platform developers to meet the design metrics of a broader range of markets where distributed data storage and management become increasingly required. The continual evolution of SSD storage technology, with its improved capacity, performance, and cost reductions, provides additional opportunities for integrating storage directly into the ATCA platform, allowing new designs to gain the benefit of high performance and availability provided by ATCA-based systems.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Architecture, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Data management

Achieving Embedded Software Safety with Agility

Safety-critical development standards, such as DO-1781, have been very successful in guiding the production of reliable software. These standards assist developers in applying good software practices during development, ensuring, as much as possible, the absence of errors. Compliance with these stringent standards involves a high cost because of their labor-intensiveness and high levels of know-how.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers

Optimizing the Interoperability of Military Satellite Communications

Satellite communications offer mobility and communications for military operations in remote locations where terrestrial-based connectivity is not available, or is too expensive. Unfortunately, satellite connectivity brings many challenges that can impair network performance in delivering mission-critical information and applications. High-latency transport and application protocol inefficiencies, adverse weather, and interference are just a few of the causes that slow the delivery of applications and limit the amount of traffic that can run over a satellite link. Compounding these problems is interoperability among disparate military networks that can jeopardize mission-critical communications.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Application Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Optimization, Communication protocols, Satellite communications, Communication protocols, Satellite communications, Defense industry, Satellites

12-Volt System with Mini-ITX Motherboard

ITOX (East Brunswick, NJ) has partnered with Systium® Technologies to introduce the Model 132 “mini” series 12-volt system utilizing the ITOX NP101-D16C Mini-ITX motherboard. The Systium Model 132 “mini” series system platform is designed for cost-sensitive applied computing and x86 embedded systems applications requiring high-quality, long-life modular computing solutions. This is particularly applicable to medical electronics, industrial control, security and surveillance, telecommunications, ATM/POS, digital signage, gaming, and kiosk systems fields. The motherboard utilizes the 45nm 1.6 GHz Intel® AtomTM N270 processor with Intel 945GSE Express chipset and ICH7M I/O controller hub. The platform exhibits a thermal design power of less than 15 watts, delivering higher performance-per-watt than previous platforms. A single 12 VDC power input also reduces overall system configuration and operating costs.

Posted in: Products, Products, Electronics & Computers

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