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Rover Wheel-Actuated Tool

A report describes an interface for utilizing some of the mobility features of a mobile robot for general-purpose manipulation of tools and other objects. The robot in question, now undergoing conceptual development for use on the Moon, is the All-Terrain Hex-Limbed Extra-Terrestrial Explorer (ATHLETE) rover, which is designed to roll over gentle terrain or walk over rough or steep terrain. Each leg of the robot is a six-degree-of-freedom generalpurpose manipulator tipped by a wheel with a motor drive. The tool interface includes a square cross-section peg, equivalent to a conventional socket-wrench drive, that rotates with the wheel. The tool interface also includes a clamp that holds a tool on the peg, and a pair of fold-out cameras that provides close-up stereoscopic images of the tool and its vicinity. The field of view of the imagers is actuated by the clamp mechanism and is specific to each tool. The motor drive can power any of a variety of tools, including rotating tools for helical fasteners, drills, and such clamping tools as pliers. With the addition of a flexible coupling, it could also power another tool or remote manipulator at a short distance. The socket drive can provide very high torque and power because it is driven by the wheel motor.

Posted in: Mechanical Components, Briefs

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Jing Li, Scientist, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA

NASA recently tested the Nano ChemSensor, the first nanotechnology- based electronic device to fly in space. The test showed that the sensor could monitor trace gases inside a spaceship. This technology could lead to smaller, more capable environmental monitors and smoke detectors in future crew habitats. Jing Li, a NASA Ames scientist, is the principal investigator for the test.

Posted in: Who's Who

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A Method of Partly Automated Testing of Software

Principles of symbolic execution and temporal monitoring are exploited. A method of automated testing of software has been developed that provides an alternative to the conventional mostly manual approach for software testing. The method combines (1) automated generation of test cases on the basis of systematic exploration of the input domain of the software to be tested with (2) run-time analysis in which execution traces are monitored, verified against temporal-logic specifications, and analyzed by concurrency-error-detection algorithms. In this new method, the user only needs to provide the temporal logic specifications against which the software will be tested and the abstract description of the input domain.

Posted in: Information Sciences, Briefs

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Improved Heat-Stress Algorithm

Corrections for solar radiation and wind increase the accuracy of determining dangerous outdoor work environments. NASA Dryden presents an improved and automated site-specific algorithm for heat-stress approximation using standard atmospheric measurements routinely obtained from the Edwards Air Force Base weather detachment. Heat stress, which is the net heat load a worker may be exposed to, is officially measured using a thermal-environment monitoring system to calculate the wet-bulb globe temperature (WBGT). This instrument uses three independent thermometers to measure wet-bulb, dry-bulb, and the black-globe temperatures. Two reasons for this project were limited access to the Dryden monitoring system and delays of the required manual issuances for heat-stress warnings.

Posted in: Information Sciences, Briefs

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Electronic Tongue Containing Redox and Conductivity Sensors

Progress has been made toward long-lived sensors for monitoring water quality. Electronic tongue 2 (E-tongue 2) represents the second generation of the apparatus described in “Electronic Tongue for Quantitation of Contaminants in Water” (NPO-30601), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 28, No. 2 (February 2004), page 31. To recapitulate: The previously reported apparatus, now retrospectively denoted E-tongue 1, is an assembly of sensors for measuring concentrations of metal ions and possibly other contaminants in water. Potential uses for electronic tongues include monitoring the chemical quality of water in a variety of natural, industrial, and laboratory settings, and detecting micro-organisms indirectly by measuring microbially influenced corrosion.

Posted in: Physical Sciences, Briefs

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Innovate and Win!

Your unique invention could win you $20,000 or other great prizes. Enter your design idea in the 2007 Create the Future Design Contest, presented by SolidWorks Corp. and NASA Tech Briefs. Entries are being accepted in six categories: Machinery, Equipment, and Component Technology; Consumer Products; Medical; Safety and Security; Transportation; and Sustainable Technologies. Co-sponsored by COMSOL Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co., and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, the sixth annual contest recognizes outstanding innovations in product design, awarding a Grand Prize of $20,000, and six First Prizes (one from each category) of Hewlett-Packard engineering workstations. Entrants may elect to have their entry posted on the contest Web site, and the 10 most-visited entries will each be awarded $250. All qualified entrants will receive a Create the Future Design Contest T-shirt. Click here for guidelines and the official entry form.

Posted in: Blog

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Technology Business Briefs

Composite Absorptive Fiber Substantively Reduces Bulk This technology yields an absorbent, composite fiber for use as a cloth, medical dressing, or clothing. It combines a hydrophobic exterior and a hydrophilic interior for use as an absorbent to capture, or as a reservoir to release, liquids. Disposable Electronic Alarms for Expiration Date and Compliance This technology is applicable to any product or service that has a long-term time-tracking requirement, including bulk pharmacy medications, chemical drums, medications, prescription vials, or any other product or service that requires assistance with compliance management or perishables. The Technology Business Briefs portray licensing or selling opportunities intermediated by NextTechs. NextTechs Technologies, LLC is a Global Technology Investment Bank engaged in technology offers and needs intermediation in over 41 industries and 141 research disciplines. Search NextTechs' Technology Portfolio here.

Posted in: Blog

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