Nasa Tech Briefs

Systems, Methods, and Apparatus for Developing and Maintaining Evolving Systems with Software Product Lines

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland Physical manufacturers have been taking advantage of mass manufacturing ideas for a long time, increasing their productivity, cutting their costs, and ensuring the quality and uniformity of their products. Now, this idea is being applied to software production so the same benefits can be reaped in that field.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Software, Computer software and hardware, Productivity


Team Electronic Gameplay Combining Different Means of Control

Applications include biofeedback equipment, physical therapy, athletic training, and mind-body medicine. Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a technology at the forefront of a new generation of computer and video game environments that trains valuable mental skills, beyond eye-hand coordination, for the personal improvement, not just the diversion, of the user.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Software, Computer software and hardware, Human machine interface (HMI), Reaction and response times, Education, Education and training


The K Development Language

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California Graphical modeling tools have gained popularity within engineering communities, but such languages are known to suffer from lack of semantics and mathematical rigor. By supporting a graphical language with a textual language, and mapping graphical models to the textual language, one ensures proper unique semantics of the graphical language. In addition, some engineers prefer to express themselves in textual languages not unlike programming languages. This is in part due to the fact that it can be unnecessarily time-consuming to model graphically, and graphical models take up a considerable amount of visual space. As an example, the definition of a function in K may occupy one line of text, whereas in a graphical modeling language, it is not uncommon that such a specification may occupy one page. Finally, it is easier to provide analytical support for a textual language.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Software, Mathematical models, Imaging and visualization, Terminology, Identification


MATTC Method for Efficient Prediction of Boundary Layer Transition

Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia The objective of the current innovation was to develop a simple but accurate method for predicting boundary layer transition that would include the growth characteristics of laminar boundary layer disturbances while requiring only the pressure distribution over an aerodynamic surface. Other existing methods either give only an estimate of the transition location [and only for surfaces where the TS (Tollmien–Schlichting) growth is the determiner of transition] with no disturbance growth characteristics, or require boundary layer information that must be extracted from a Navier-Stokes flow solver or obtained from a separate boundary layer solver.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Software, Mathematical models, Aerodynamics


Google Earth Offline Cache Pre-loader v1 (GEOCP)

GEOCP gives disaster responders better and more reliable access to information in the field, while minimizing the amount of effort required before deployment.Google Earth is a geospatial browser produced by Google that allows interactive exploration of the world from data servers on the Internet. An integral part of Google Earth is a built-in “cache” that is stored locally on the user’s computer, and allows the user to later revisit previously viewed regions (even if the network link is disrupted or unavailable). The Google Earth cache is filled as the user interacts with Google Earth (i.e., flying and zooming the interface). The Google Earth Offline Cache Pre-loader (GEOCP) is a tool that allows users to specify a region to cache, and controls Google Earth to automatically and systematically fill the Google Earth cache. While connected to the Internet, the user specifies a latitude/longitude box, and a desired height above the ground. GEOCP then commands Google Earth to view the requested area in a lawnmower pattern, which has the side effect of bringing those areas into the Google Earth cache. When finished, the user is free to disconnect the network and continue to view the area.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Software, Computer software and hardware, Imaging and visualization, Internet, Terrain


Robustness Analysis and Robust Design of Uncertain Systems

Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia A methodology was developed for the analysis and design of systems subject to parametric uncertainty in which design requirements are specified via hard inequality constraints. Hard constraints are those that must be satisfied for all parameter realizations within a given uncertainty model. Uncertainty models are given by norm-bounded perturbations from a nominal parameter value (i.e., hyperspheres) and by sets of independently bounded uncertain variables (i.e., hyperrectangles). These models, which are also quite practical, allow for a rigorous mathematical treatment within the proposed framework. Hardconstraint feasibility is determined by sizing the largest uncertainty set for which the design requirements are satisfied.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Software, Mathematical models, Durability


XDB3 Extension for Equality and Relational Operators

Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California While keyword full-text searches work well for textual data, they do not work well for numeric, date, or other more highly structured information. In particular, Netmark/XDB could retrieve any record where the author contained “Knight” in the text, but could not return only those records from Calendar Year 2010 that have “Knight” in their author section. Traditional relational databases allow for rich comparison “relational” operators; for example, one can express a query such as “return all rows where the signature date is on January 1, 2010.” Netmark/XDB, being primarily targeted at XML processing and retrieving XML-structured data, was designed for full-text querying to find keywords. Most other XML indexing and querying systems also are designed with the assumption that content (“CDATA”) is textual or binary data that can be queried against, but not with relational comparison operators like “greater than a value.”

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Software, Computer software and hardware, Data acquisition and handling, Terminology


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