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

Methods for Purifying Enzymes for Mycoremediation

This process applies to remediation and restoration of soils contaminated by fuel, polychlorinated biphenyl wastes, etc. While there can be a general beneficial effect of microbial communities, individual plant-fungus combinations can vary in their efficacy in removal of pollutants from the environment. Selection of the most effective combination of plants and fungi is very important for achieving the desired benefits. Not all fungi are created equal, as some die off in contaminated soils. Having a set of enzymes from fungi specifically adapted to conditions in contaminated soils and use of native plant/fungal combinations is a huge advantage. Ectomycorrhizal (EM) mediated remediation of phenolic-based contamination through use of specifically adapted soil and enzymes utilizes plant/fungal combinations that are specifically adapted to conditions created by phenolic application to soils, and the abilities of EM fungi to oxidize these compounds. This platform can be adapted to other ecosystems through field assessments of the EM community in each new site.

Posted in: Briefs, Green Design & Manufacturing

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Land Cover Viewer

The Land Use Land Cover Viewer is an online visualization tool that enables users to view land use land cover maps. The maps were developed under the Land Cover Mapping for Green House Gas (GHG) Inventories project, which sought to enable SERVIR Eastern and Southern Africa countries to have data to report on GHG inventories as required by UNFCCC. The countries for which land cover maps are available are Malawi, Rwanda, Zambia, Namibia, Botswana, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Lesotho. The viewer has maps for all nine countries for different epochs. Each country for each epoch has four to six maps based on two different classifications: country-specific and EPA. In addition to the viewer having the basic online map elements (legend, zoom, etc.), it has statistics modules that display the basic statistics of the displayed map based on a selection by the user.

Posted in: Briefs, Green Design & Manufacturing

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Low-Cost RFID Torque and Tension Sensing Tag System

The system has applications in shipbuilding, aerospace engine construction, and other high-tech equipment.This technology is a low-cost RFID-based torque and tension sensor for high-performance fasteners, such as bolts, that are used in sophisticated high-tech equipment and systems. It offers the ability to remotely and quickly verify that a given fastener is torqued properly, resulting in potential cost-savings over the life of the fastener and its host system. The technology is also extremely low-cost compared to current torque sensing wrenches and comparable technologies. This asset management tool offers performance and safety improvements as well. The motivation behind this invention was the catastrophic event in which a NOAA satellite sustained heavy damage after falling from a Turn-Over-Cart (TOC). The root cause was a configuration change in which 24 bolts had not been secured properly to the TOC. With this NASA invention, the quality assurance, tension monitoring, and configuration management associated with proper torqueing of fasteners will be largely automated, therefore providing a higher degree of safety.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors

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Intelligent Robotics Safeguarding

Traditional robot applications limit operator access to hazards through hard-guarding and protective devices that either detect and stop the hazard, or prevent access into the safeguarding space until the hazard no longer exists. The introduction of power- and force-limited robots used in collaborative applications changes this environment. Reduced or nonexistent hard-guarding, along with continuous motion and interaction between the robot and the operator, makes the environment inherently dynamic and uncertain. Methods to reduce risks to a tolerable level include limiting forces and speed, but these measures can yield unacceptable production rates.

Posted in: Articles, Robotics

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SpinDx™ Lab on a Disk

Currently, when a patient arrives at the hospital or doctor's office feeling ill, they are first examined by the doctor, sent to a blood lab where vials of blood are taken, and then sent home to wait for results. This approach often means patients must wait days or weeks to get results. During that waiting period, they are not receiving treatment, which can be a critical factor for cancer, heart attack, or stroke patients.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors

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Cellular Reflectarray Antenna and Method of Making Same

A simple-to-install design for satellite and communications applications solves the problems associated with traditional parabolic reflectors.NASA's Glenn Research Center invites companies to license a new concept design for terrestrial satellite dishes and communications systems. The Cellular Reflectarray Antenna (CRA) has been developed and tested for use with next-generation Ka-band satellites, although it can be used with all bands of satellite communication. The design's flat, planar configuration all but eliminates the wind-loading problems associated with larger parabolic reflectors for dish systems. The technology also offers unique features that provide ease of installation and improved signal reception, while deterring piracy and theft of subscription satellite services.

Posted in: Briefs, Communications

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Low-Power, Special-Purpose Chip for Speech Recognition in Electronics

Automatic speech recognition is on the verge of becoming the chief means of interacting with computing devices. To address this, MIT researchers have built a low-power chip specialized for automatic speech recognition. Whereas a cellphone running speech recognition software might require about 1 Watt of power, the new chip requires between 0.2 and 10 milliwatts, depending on the number of words it has to recognize. That probably translates to a power savings of 90 to 99 percent, which could make voice control practical for relatively simple electronic devices, including power-constrained devices that harvest energy from their environments, or go months between battery charges.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors

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9-Meter Slaving System

The objective of the 9-Meter Slaving System is to transmit Launch Trajectory Acquisition System (LTAS) data from one of multiple incoming data streams to the 9-Meter antenna control unit using a synchronous serial modem. The data stream is determined by a 9-Meter telemetry operator's selection via a graphical user interface (GUI).

Posted in: Briefs, Communications

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Obs4MIPS.py

The Obs4MIPS.py software package is a front end to an existing free software package written by Lawrence Livermore National Lab, called “Climate Model Output Rewriter” (CMOR2), and reads in a multitude of standard data formats such as netcdf3, netcdf4, Grads control files, MATLAB data files, or a list of netCDF files. The software prepares Earth Science Observational (obs4MIPs) data or Climate Modeling Reanalysis (ana4MIPs) data for publication in the NASA Center for Climate Simulation (NCCS) Earth System Grid Federation system (ESGF). It converts the data into a netCDF file following the Climate and Forecast (CF) metadata convention as specified by Climate Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5). Obs4MIPs.py addresses the differences in input data format, variable definition, and Global Attribute requirements that exist within observational and re-analyses datasets.

Posted in: Briefs, Green Design & Manufacturing

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Turbofan Engine Acoustic Liner Design and Analysis Tools

Statistical- and graphical-based software tools are used to design and analyze turbofan acoustic liners.NASA Langley Research Center has developed two tools for turbofan engine acoustic liner design and analysis. The first is a statistical approach for broadband liner design and assessment; the second is graphical software to design and analyze resonant channels in acoustic liners.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace

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