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Image Processing for Controlling a Robot or Quality Inspection

A company seeks technologies that may be applicable to automated assembly lines, including a robot to use image processing to select and pick up small parts from a bin using a pin several millimeters in diameter. The image processing technology should be general-purpose and highly versatile to allow the techniques to be applied to many different situations. The required picking speed is several seconds. Possible solution areas are 3D medical imagery and automated surgical equipment. Respond to this TechNeed at: Email: nasatech@yet2.com Phone: 781-972-0600

Posted in: NASA Tech Needs

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Multichannel Monitor-Stabilizer for Injection-Locked Lasers

Temp Tracker and Temp Tracker 12 ch (single-channel and 12-channel versions) programs are designed for use with an atomic gravity gradiometer. They support the stable operation of the injection-locked slave laser(s) in an autonomous regime. Due to changes of environmental conditions and aging, slave lasers tend to drift from the locking range and need to be relocked. This program checks the injection-locking range for each slave laser and re-centers them with respect to the master lasers, if needed. The master laser is assumed to be locked at an absorption line of Cs.

Posted in: Photonics, Briefs, TSP

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Self-Quenching Single-Photon Detector

The detector has applications in nuclear physics instruments, spectroscopy, night-vision devices, and biological instrumentation. The self-quenching single-photon detector exhibits unique avalanching behaviors. It can automatically quench each of the Geiger mode avalanche events occurring inside the detector, can maintain the capability over a broad bias range, and can output explicit pulses with virtually constant and high value gain.

Posted in: Photonics, Briefs

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Reducing Temperature Effects in Optical Resonator Sensors

Influences of temperature fluctuations are suppressed by factors of about 105. A differential-frequency measurement technique has been devised to reduce the spurious contributions of temperature fluctuations to determinations of physical quantities from readings of optical resonator and interferometric sensors. The technique is applicable mainly to sensors in the form of whispering-gallery mode (WGM) optical resonators. The evanescent electromagnetic fields of such resonators interact with their environments, such that their resonance frequencies change in response to environmental changes (e.g., a change in the index of refraction of the surrounding medium) that one seeks to measure. The resonance frequencies also vary significantly with temperature, with consequent introduction of errors and uncertainties and, hence, effective loss of sensitivity to changes in quantities other than temperature that one seeks to determine.

Posted in: Photonics, Briefs, TSP

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Sensor Technology Leads Manufacturing into Predictive Maintenance

Reactive, avoidable equipment repairs are a leading contributor to lost productivity in industrial manufacturing operations. Parts with an average selling price of just a few dollars can cost manufacturers many times that in repairs and unrealized revenue once they fail. In a worst-case scenario, undetected faults can cascade through the system, causing widespread damage and triggering major and expensive production outages.

Posted in: Features, Articles

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Flexible Digital Servo Drives Speed Machine Control Design

Advances in digital hardware technology and software innovations now allow a single digital servo drive to be configured to work in a variety of machine control architectures.

Posted in: Features, Articles

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QuickSilver Servo Motors Drive Autonomous Vehicles

The design of remotely operated, autonomous battery-powered vehicles places special requirements on motion control systems. High torque at low speeds is needed to climb over obstacles, while higher speed operation is needed for cruise speed. Efficient operation from lower voltages (12V to 48V) reduces battery size and weight requirements, while regenerative drives maximize the operating time and distance by recharging the batteries while braking.

Posted in: Applications, Application Briefs

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