2015 Create the Future Design Contest: Electronics Category Winner

Real-Time Fiber Optic Sensing System Lance Richards NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center Edwards, CA A team at NASA Armstrong has developed fiber optic sensing system (FOSS) technology that represents a major breakthrough in high-speed operational monitoring and sensing. Driven by ultra-efficient algorithms, FOSS can be used to determine, in real time, a variety of critical parameters including strain, shape deformation, temperature, liquid level, and operational loads. This state-of-the-art sensor system delivers reliable measurements in the most demanding environments confronted by aerospace, automotive, and energy sectors. FOSS is ideal for monitoring the structural health of aircraft, buildings, and dams; improving the efficiency of turbines and industrial equipment; and detecting instabilities within tunnels and power plants.

Posted in: Articles, Electronics


Reducing Interconnection Weight in Autosports

In Formula 1 and other autosports, weight reduction is critical to competitive advantage. A few grams saved here and a few more saved there can add up to significant savings. There is also a move toward high-density packaging of electronics parts. As the electronics content of cars increases, the natural drive is to miniaturize the package to gain maximum efficiency in the use of space.

Posted in: Articles, Electronic Components, Electronics, Composites, Fiber Optics


Magnetic Fluids Deliver Better Speaker Sound Quality

NASA’s liquid magnetization technology helps Sony increase sound amplitude while reducing distortion. In the early 1960s, NASA scientists were trying to move fuel into an engine without the benefit of gravity. A scientist at Lewis Research Center (now Glenn Research Center) came up with the idea to magnetize the liquid with extremely fine particles of iron oxide. That way, fuel could be drawn into the engine using magnetic force.

Posted in: Articles, Electronics, Joining & Assembly


15 Questions to Ask About Circuit Protection for Wearable Electronics

Have you attended an electronics or design tradeshow lately? Have you visited a big-box retailer or browsed an online electronics vendor? If so, you’ve probably seen many examples of wearable technology, including smart glasses, clothing, wristwear, footwear, neckwear, and headbands. Wearable computing is one of the hottest consumer electronics trends on the market, with global sales expected to grow from $14 billion in 2014 to over $70 billion in 2024, according to IDTechEx.

Posted in: Articles, Electronic Components, Power Management


3D Printer Creates First Object in Space

The International Space Station’s 3D printer has manufactured the first 3D printed object in space, paving the way to future long-term space expeditions. NASA astronaut Butch Wilmore, commander aboard the ISS, installed the printer and conducted the first calibration test print. The first printed part was a faceplate of the extruder’s casing. This demonstrated that the printer can make replacement parts for itself.

Posted in: Articles, UpFront


PATTERNS: Panoptic Aspect Time Triggered Ethernet Robust Network Scheduler, Version 1.0

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas The PATTERNS scheduling tool was created to test the multi-plane concept of a Time Triggered Ethernet (TTE) network. The TTE network interface cards used in the Orion vehicle contain three physical network ports, referred to as planes. Each plane exists to serve as a redundant communication channel for each link in the network. The scheduler used prior to PATTERNS was the vendorprovided demonstration tool, TTE-demo-scheduler, which was unable to schedule Ethernet traffic in a manner that would allow the plane-specific and plane-independent tests required to be performed.

Posted in: Articles, Briefs, TSP


Electromagnetic Waves Transformed from a Coherent to a Quasi-Coherent Nature

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California The transformation of naturally occurring electromagnetic waves called “chorus” from a coherent nature to a quasi-coherent nature when propagating a distance from its source was demonstrated. The aim of the mission was to study the energizing of electrons by the waves and also the loss of these particles by interaction with the waves. Both of these processes will be affected by the quasi-coherent nature of chorus. This work indicates that if coherent waves are not propagated in enhanced ionization ducting, the waves will become only quasi-coherent, and their effect of scattering trapped particles will be substantially diminished.

Posted in: Articles, Briefs