Nasa Processing Technologies Enable Advanced Computing Applications

Embedded processing technologies developed at NASA field centers are enabling the use of next-generation computer-controlled instruments and spacecraft, including SpaceCubes, integrated photonics modems, and new ways to manufacture computer components.

SpaceCube Processors

Next-generation spacecraft instruments are capable of producing data at rates of 108 to 1011 bits per second, and both their instrument designs and mission operations concepts are severely constrained by data rate and volume. SpaceCube™ enables these next-generation missions.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Electronic Components, Electronics & Computers, Photonics, Avionics, Computer software and hardware, Data exchange, Spacecraft
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Precision Coffeemaker Adapts Brews to Beans and Taste

NASA’s embedded communications technology and PID controllers play key roles in coffee brewing system.

Technology often takes circuitous paths. A magnetron developed for precision bombing during World War II led to the microwave oven, and a battery-powered drill created for collecting samples of Moon rock gave birth to the Dustbuster. Likewise, one student’s NASA experience with autonomous robotic vehicles has informed the creation of one of the world’s most sophisticated coffee machines.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Communications, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Design processes, Human machine interface (HMI), Robotics
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Diamond Meta-Surfaces Enable New Laser Applications

Over the last 15 years, breakthroughs in the manufacture and processing of diamond grown by chemical vapor deposition (CVD) have established diamond as an excellent substrate material for high-power and high-energy optics. Diamond is a natural choice for these highly demanding applications due to a combination of desirable properties including: extremely broad transmission spectrum, low absorption, chemical inertness, mechanical strength, and the highest room temperature thermal conductivity of any material. These properties allow diamond to perform in environments and applications where other materials are simply not viable options.

Posted in: Articles, Lasers & Laser Systems, Optics, Photonics, Lasers, Ceramics, Conductivity, Durability
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Inside NASA’s White Sands Test Facility: How High-Speed Cameras Support Hypervelocity Experiments

At NASA’s White Sands Test Facility, Donald Henderson and his team spend much of their days shooting projectiles at 15,700 miles per hour. Hypervelocity testing done at the Las Cruces, NM center simulates the impact of micrometeoroids and orbital debris on spacecraft shields.

Posted in: Articles, Cameras, Imaging, Photonics, Optics, Impact tests, Test equipment and instrumentation, Test facilities, Spacecraft
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2016 Create the Future Design Contest

The 2016 Create the Future Design Contest — sponsored by COMSOL, Mouser Electronics, and Tech Briefs Media Group (publishers of NASA Tech Briefs) — recognized innovation in product design in seven categories: Aerospace & Defense, Automotive/Transportation, Consumer Products, Electronics, Machinery/Automation/ Robotics, Med ical, and Sustainable Technologies. In this special section, you’ll meet the Grand Prize Winner, as well as the winners and Honorable Mentions in all seven categories, chosen from over 1,100 new product ideas submitted from a record 71 countries. To view all of the entries online, visit www.createthefuturecontest.com.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Automotive, Defense, Electronics, Alternative Fuels, Energy, Renewable Energy, Green Design & Manufacturing, Medical, Patient Monitoring, Automation, Robotics, Design processes, Collaboration and partnering
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2016 Create the Future Design Contest: Grand Prize Winner

HYLIION - HYBRID TECHNOLOGY FOR SEMI-TRAILERS AND THE TRUCKING INDUSTRY

Thomas Healy, RF Culbertson, AJ Emanuele, Morgan Culbertson, Wilson Sa, Pam Culbertson, Chad Saylor, Len Kulbacki, Eric Weber, Adam Faris, Kim Kasee, Roger Richter, Jared King, Phil Aufdencamp, and Tim Gehring

Hyliion, Pittsburgh, PA

"The Hyliion team is honored to be the Grand Prize winner of the prestigious Create the Future Contest. It is a tremendous validation of the impact the Hyliion Intelligent Electric Drive Axle System will have on the trucking industry, and the environment."

Hyliion is bringing hybrid efficiency to the trucking industry by replacing a semi-trailer’s passive axle with the Intelligent Electric Drive Axle System. The system can decrease fuel consumption and reduce emissions by capturing wasted energy and storing it in a battery pack to help propel the trailer when needed. Currently, tractor-trailers get 6.5 miles per gallon, and on average use $48,000 of fuel annually (per tractor). The trucking industry in the U.S. spends $150B per year on fuel; 6.2% of all emissions in the U.S. comes from trucks.

Posted in: Articles, Automotive, Alternative Fuels, Energy, Energy Storage, Renewable Energy, Green Design & Manufacturing, Heavy trucks, Hybrid electric vehicles, Trailers
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2016 Create the Future Contest: Automotive & Transportation Category Winner

CASTROL REINVENTS THE OIL CHANGE WITH NEXCEL

Krishan Arora, Mike Baker, Glenn Barber, Peter Brett, Ross Dewhurst, Melvyn Dover, John Gamston, Steven Goodier, Annie Leeson, Vincent Panel, Ben Russell, Alessandra Scotese, Oliver Taylor, Julian Von Thungen-Reichenbach-Evans, Chris Wilks, John Ward-Zinski, and Roy Williamson

Castrol, Oxford, UK

Castrol’s NEXCEL system is a sealed oil cell that contains both the engine oil and the oil filter, so it can be easily removed and replaced by hand in about 90 seconds versus 20 minutes for a conventional oil change. The sealed cell ensures that used oil is collected and handled safely, facilitating enhanced recycling and reuse of the waste oil into high-quality lubricants through a dedicated re-refining process.

Posted in: Articles, Automotive, Thermal Management, Recycling Technologies, Design processes, Engine lubricants, Maintenance, repair, and service operations
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2016 Create the Future Contest: Aerospace & Defense Category Winner

FLASH® BAINITE — HIGH PERFORMANCE ARMOR

Gary Cola, Flash Bainite, Washington, MI

“This award provides small-scale manufacturers, the largest steel mills, and all in between the Flash knowledge to make everyday steel components stronger than titanium, lighter than aluminum, yet able to fold almost like paper. Migrating Flash Armor Technology to civilian markets will allow automotive, agricultural, architectural, shipping, and oil/gas infrastructure to be lightweight, yet stronger.”

The Flash® Bainite Process is a rapid heat treating process for creating steel that is stronger than titanium, lighter than aluminum, and made at lower cost than traditional high-strength steel. Flash Bainite steel, which was originally developed for the armor industry, is migrating to civilian uses such as automotive applications (safer/lighter crash structure), building/bridge construction (stronger), and even lawn edger blades (longer life).

Posted in: Articles, Defense, Steel, Protective equipment, Protective structures, Military vehicles and equipment
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2016 Create the Future Design Contest: Electronics Category Winner

1,000X BETTER DATA COMPRESSION AND REAL-TIME DECODING OF HIGH-RESOLUTION MAPS

Shaun McWherter, Mark Skoog, and Jamie Willhite, NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center, Edwards, CA; and Loyd Hook, University of Tulsa, OK

“Our team is honored to receive this award. Our improvements to data handling and compression will hopefully go on to save many lives in the future. This award will help garner the attention of potential licensees and build interest in this advancement. We are very grateful to NASA Tech Briefs and the judges for their consideration.”

This NASA-developed data-compression technology is capable of encoding massive amounts of data into a package more than 1,000 times smaller than with standard compression, which can transform the use of digital terrain maps (DTMs) in restricted environments such as tablets, smartphones, and embedded systems. Created at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center, the software system integrates innovative encoding and decoding algorithms to provide a 5,000:1 compression ratio and rapid/continuous decompression in constrained computing situations. It enables users to access and create customized DTMs from a variety of data sources using a single graphical user interface.

Posted in: Articles, Electronics, Cartography, Computer software and hardware, Imaging and visualization, Data management
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2016 Create the Future Design Contest: Machinery/Automation/Robotics Category Winner

SHAPE MEMORY ALLOY BASED SAFETY LATCH

Nicholas W. Pinto, Suresh Gopalakrishnan, Chandra S. Namuduri, Nancy L. Johnson, and Mark Vann General Motors, Warren, MI

General Motors has invented a device that indicates when an unsafe level of energy remains in an electrical panel box after the main power has been disconnected. Possible sources of this energy may be incorrect wiring, external device add-ons, and the presence of residual charge from capacitors. The device works by engaging a safety latch mechanism built with shape memory alloy (SMA) technology along with an audio or visual alarm.

Posted in: Articles, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Implants & Prosthetics, Medical, Automation, Robotics, Alloys, Smart materials, Hardware, Restraint systems
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