Special Coverage

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
Mechanoresponsive Healing Polymers
Variable Permeability Magnetometer Systems and Methods for Aerospace Applications
Evaluation Standard for Robotic Research

HP Z200

Hewlett-Packard, Palo Alto, CA, has introduced the HP Z200 workstation computer for engineers and designers using CAD software. Also introduced are two monitors: the HP ZR22w and HP ZR24w Performance Displays. The HP Z200 offers dual-core processor options based on the next-generation Intel® processors, as well as quad-core processor options based on the enterprise-class Intel Xeon® 3400 series. The workstation is designed with a convertible mini-tower, tool-less chassis, and FireWire® and USB ports located on the front of the system. It includes an 89% efficient power supply, and offers the WattSaver feature, which uses less than one watt when the workstation is in powered-down mode. The displays feature a brushed aluminum industrial design, and incorporate in-plane switching panel technology. They are available in 21.5" and 24" diagonal sizes. The displays also deliver 16.7 million colors and up to 97% coverage of the sRGB gamut, the standard color space for engineering applications. They feature an eight-way stand for adjustment of height, tilt, swivel, and pivot.

Posted in: Products
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Metallic Foam Reduces Airplane Noise

For people who live around airports, noise created by planes can cause a disturbance. Researchers at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, OH have been working with metallic foam that is installed around an engine to reduce noise. The firm foam, crafted from stainless steel, looks like a tightly compacted honeycomb made of silver metal, and feels uniform on the surface — gently abrasive, like a fine-grained pumice stone. “This is an open cell foam, which is mostly air. The foam is formed by ligaments — like a sponge that you use in your kitchen, except the ligaments are metal,” according to Glenn engineer, Cheryl Bowman.

Posted in: UpFront
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Developing a Commercial Nanoionics Switch for RF Applications

The Antenna and Optical Systems Branch at NASA’s Glenn Research Center is working on many innovations in nanotechnology for use in communications applications. One such emerging field of nanotechnology receiving significant attention for its promising results is nanoionics. Nanoionics-based technologies employ ion transport and chemical change at the nanoscale, using oxidation/reduction reactions of ionic metal species in order to build conductive bridge contacts. These mechanisms can serve as the basis for many nanoscale devices and can help overcome some of the challenges inherent in microelectro-mechanical systems (MEMS)-based and solid-state-based devices for radio frequency (RF) applications.

Posted in: NASA Tech Needs
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PicoEndo Tethered Endoscope

Stevrin & Partners

The PicoEndo endoscope is the smallest tethered endoscope in the world (4.5mm × 12.0mm). It is also inexpensive enough to use and discard. The PicoEndo system is applicable to medical tasks such as photographing the surface of the esophagus, and to applications in any industry that needs to place a tiny electronic camera eye in a location that is difficult to view. It can be adapted to optical biopsy by changing its lighting mix. Because of its tether, which also acts as an electronic connection and steering cable, the body does not have to contain batteries, memory, or processing electronics.

Posted in: Techs for License
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Flat-Plate Lens Achieves Negative Refraction at 100-nm Resolution

AIST Innovations

Experiments with holograms have led to a thin-film flat-plate lens that has a periodic (layered) structure and that is capable of a resolution of 100 nm or finer. The flat lens provides excellent image-forming characteristics by the incidence of light having a wavelength slightly shorter than the wavelength corresponding to the frequency period of the thin film. The structure can exhibit a negative refractive index at high angles of incidence. This lens technology exhibits uniform performance in image formation all over the lens surface. The thin film of the periodic structure is formed by alternate laminations (and pluralities of laminations) of two materials having different refractive indices.

Posted in: Techs for License
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Technology for Drilling/Cutting/Separating Materials

A company seeks alternative methods for sawing, drilling, boring, cutting, or otherwise separating materials such as wood, metal, and composites. When compared to conventional sawing, drilling, boring, or other cutting methods, the new method should be faster and easier; provide a cleaner cut in terms of smooth wall or bore and in chips, dust, or contamination of the work area; offer a longer tool life; minimize noise level; require low physical force during operation; be safe for use in an open environment; and reduce dependence on traditional power tools used in the workplace.

Posted in: NASA Tech Needs
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Near-Field UHF RFID Systems

A company seeks a near-field ultra-high-frequency (UHF) RFID system solution that can communicate in near-field while keeping the field region localized so that far-field talks can be suppressed. A new near-field UHF RFID reader antenna is sought that has strong magnetic near-field, but small far-field gain and beam width. The antenna size should be as small as possible. A second option would be a UHF solution with assisting devices that could guarantee a localized read field. The tags in the interesting field could be read reliably without field nulls. The cross-reading for the tags outside the interesting field could be avoided.

Posted in: NASA Tech Needs
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Electrical Capacitance Volume Tomography With High-Contrast Dielectrics

This nondestructive evaluation tool finds fluid levels in nonconducting composite materials.

The Electrical Capacitance Volume Tomography (ECVT) system has been designed to complement the tools created to sense the presence of water in nonconductive spacecraft materials, by helping to not only find the approximate location of moisture but also its quantity and depth.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Physical Sciences, Measurements, Sensors and actuators, Water, Conductivity, Spacecraft
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Stereoscopic Machine-Vision System Using Projected Circles

This system identifies obstacles in relatively short processing times.

A machine-vision system capable of detecting obstacles large enough to damage or trap a robotic vehicle is undergoing development. The system includes (1) a pattern generator that projects concentric circles of laser light forward onto the terrain, (2) a stereoscopic pair of cameras that are aimed forward to acquire images of the circles, (3) a frame grabber and digitizer for acquiring image data from the cameras, and (4) a single-board computer that processes the data. The system is being developed as a prototype of machine-vision systems to enable robotic vehicles (“rovers”) on remote planets to avoid craters, large rocks, and other terrain features that could capture or damage the vehicles. Potential terrestrial applications of systems like this one could include terrain mapping, collision avoidance, navigation of robotic vehicles, mining, and robotic rescue.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Physical Sciences, Exterior lighting, Artificial intelligence, Computer software and hardware, Optics, Robotics, Collision avoidance systems
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Wavefront Control and Image Restoration With Less Computing

There are numerous potential applications in scientific, medical, and military imaging.

PseudoDiversity is a method of recovering the wavefront in a sparse- or segmented-aperture optical system typified by an interferometer or a telescope equipped with an adaptive primary mirror consisting of controllably slightly moveable segments. (PseudoDiversity should not be confused with a radio-antenna-arraying method called “pseudo-diversity”.) As in the cases of other wave-front-recovery methods, the streams of wavefront data generated by means of PseudoDiversity are used as feedback signals for controlling electromechanical actuators of the various segments so as to correct wavefront errors and thereby, for example, obtain a clearer, steadier image of a distant object in the presence of atmospheric turbulence. There are numerous potential applications in astronomy, remote sensing from aircraft and spacecraft, targeting missiles, sighting military targets, and medical imaging (including microscopy) through such intervening media as cells or water. In comparison with prior wavefront-recovery methods used in adaptive optics, PseudoDiversity involves considerably simpler equipment and procedures and less computation.

Posted in: Briefs, Physical Sciences, Calibration, Imaging and visualization, Waveguides
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