Special Coverage

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
Small Robot Has Outstanding Vertical Agility
Smart Optical Material Characterization System and Method
Lightweight, Flexible Thermal Protection System for Fire Protection
Nasa Tech Briefs

BiBlade Sampling Chain

This tool enables multiple sampling attempts per sample.The BiBlade sampler has been developed for potentially acquiring samples from the surface of a planetary body. The tool could conceivably be used in both in situ and notional sample return missions to planetary bodies including asteroids, comets, and moons. While the tool was designed for planetary sampling missions, it could have terrestrial applications as well.

Posted in: Briefs, Automation, Soils, Tools and equipment, Robotics, Test equipment and instrumentation, Spacecraft

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Six-Legged Robots Move Faster with Bipod Gate

The two-legged gait is more efficient for ground robots that don't climb walls or ceilings.Six-legged insects run fastest using a three-legged (tripod) gait where they have three legs on the ground at all times (two on one side of their body and one on the other). The tripod gait has long inspired engineers who design six-legged robots, but researchers at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and the University of Lausanne (UNIL) revealed that there is a faster way for robots to move on flat ground, provided they don't have the adhesive pads used by insects to climb walls and ceilings. Their work suggest designers of insect-inspired robots should give up the tripod-gait paradigm and consider other possibilities, including a new locomotor strategy denoted as the “bipod” gait.

Posted in: Briefs, Automation, Computer simulation, Mathematical models, Kinematics, Robotics, Biomechanics

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Four Ways to improve Production by Understanding the Physics of Servos

There is always a need to increase production in automation applications. Sometimes achieving improvements requires breaking the process down to its fundamental basics. The science behind the technology of servo-based motion control systems should be considered when attempting to eliminate inefficiencies. Four fundamentals to examine are inertia, resonance, vibration suppression, and regeneration.

Posted in: Articles, Motion Control

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Converting from Hydraulic Cylinders to Electric Actuators

Hydraulics are rugged and deliver a low cost per unit of force, but electric rod actuators have attained higher force capacities while becoming more flexible, precise, and reliable.Advances in motion control technology have prompted a new debate — do hydraulic cylinders or electric linear actuators offer the best solution for a linear motion application? Hydraulic cylinders provide high force at an affordable cost. Hydraulics are rugged, relatively simple to deploy, and deliver a low cost per unit of force. However, electric rod actuators (electric cylinders), particularly those with roller screws, have attained increasingly higher force capacities while becoming more flexible, precise, and reliable.

Posted in: Articles, Motion Control

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Custom Brakes Meet the Challenges of Gearless Motor Elevators

Standard braking systems could not meet the difficult speed, energy, and dynamic torque constraints.A manufacturer of low and high-rise elevators faced a challenge when customers began calling for a flexible elevator to meet the needs of the growing mid-rise, mixed-use building market. The global construction boom of mid-rise buildings can be attributed to several factors. Developers are more apt to build “short” because it requires less capital and the time to get permits approved is reduced considerably, especially in developing countries.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Motion Control

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Reducing Inaccuracies in Force/Haptic Feedback Systems

This novel algorithm automatically compensates for the errors introduced by physical factors, enabling the control system to Adjust the applied force accurately.Researchers at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center have developed a new technology to reduce inaccuracies in force/haptic feedback devices and systems. Used at NASA in aircraft simulations for force feedback pilot controls, these systems involve a servo motor applying precise force to a specific point based on very accurate measurements. However, because the force instrumentation often cannot be placed directly at the point of interest, a mechanical assembly is used, linking the force transducer to the target point. Unfortunately, this mechanical assembly introduces inaccuracies due to its own forces of gravity, friction, and inertia.

Posted in: Briefs, Automation, Computer simulation, Mathematical models, Human machine interface (HMI), Aircraft operations, Reliability

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Exo-Brake Enables Safe Return for Small Spacecraft

The tension-based, flexible braking device resembles a cross parachute.NASA's Exo-Brake is a critical technology that can potentially help science payloads return to Earth from the International Space Station through the deployment of small spacecraft. The Exo-Brake is a tension-based, flexible braking device resembling a cross-parachute that deploys from the rear of a satellite to increase the drag. It is a deorbit device that replaces the more complicated rocket-based systems that would normally be employed during the deorbit phase of re-entry.

Posted in: Briefs, Automation, Product development, Drag, Entry, descent, and landing, Satellites, Spacecraft

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