Nanowire-Based Piezoelectric Power Generation

Energy scavenging is appealing for powering sensors, and for charging cellphones and small consumer electronics. Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California Sensors have improved in terms of size, capability, and power consumption, but their deployment in remote areas is limited by battery power supplies. Using piezoelectric (PE) materials for energy scavenging is a possible way to remedy the situation. The technology developed in this work converts existing sources of nonpolluting energy (mechanical strain) from nature into electricity. The quantity of energy produced is not massive, but it can be easily generated from free sources such as vibration and electromagnetic waves.

Posted in: Briefs, Power Management


An Operationally Based Vision Assessment Simulator for Domes

Applications include remote visualization, flight simulation, virtual environments, and planetariums. Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California The work described here is part of the U.S. Air Force-sponsored Operational Based Vision Assessment (OBVA) program that has been tasked with developing a high-fidelity flight simulation laboratory to determine the relationship between human vision and performance in simulated operationally relevant tasks. The OBVA simulator was designed and built to provide the Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine (USAFSAM) with a scientific testing laboratory to study human vision and testing standards.

Posted in: Briefs, Computers, Simulation Software


Reducing Power-On/Off Glitches in Precision DACs

Voltage glitches are common in a signal chain path, especially when the system is being powered up or down. Depending on the peak amplitude and glitch duration, the end result in the system output can be catastrophic. One example is an industrial motor control system where a digital-to-analog converter (DAC) drives the motor drivers to control motor spin. If the glitch amplitude is higher than the motor driver’s sensitivity threshold, the motor could be spinning without control in any direction when the system is powered up/down.

Posted in: Briefs, Power Management, Motors & Drives


Self-Diagnostic Accelerometer Field Programmable Gate Array

The system could be utilized as a portable and temporarily installed diagnostic system. John H. Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio The development of the self-diagnostic accelerometer (SDA) is important to both reducing the in-flight shutdowns (IFSD) rate — and hence reducing the rate at which this component failure type can put an aircraft in jeopardy — and also as a critical enabling technology for future automated malfunction diagnostic systems. Critical sensors, such as engine sensors, are inaccessible to the operator during typical operation due to safety concerns and enclosed environment. The SDA can diagnose the sensor in-flight and remotely with minimal interference with the typical operation of the sensor. The SDA system utilizes programmed health algorithms that can automatically determine the health, therefore increasing the precision in diagnosing sensor faults by removing the erroneous perspective and opinions of a human operator. The health of the sensor could also be determined immediately, which would remove its erroneous effect on a system that depends on the sensor.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Power Supplies, Thermal Management, Sensors


Capacitively Coupled, High-Voltage Current Sensing for Extreme Environments

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California Wide-temperature and extreme-environment electronics are crucial to future missions. These missions will not have the weight and power budget for heavy harnesses and large, inefficient warm boxes. In addition, extreme-environment electronics, by their inherent nature, allow operation next to sensors in the ambient environment, reducing noise and improving precision over the warm-box-based systems employed today.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronic Components, Power Supplies, Thermal Management, Sensors


E-Textile Interconnect

Devices constructed from e-textiles have applications in law enforcement, by first-responders, and in wireless communications and computing. Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas E-textiles have shown great promise within the microwave and antenna community to provide a low-mass, highly conformal option that integrates extremely well with fabric-based microwave devices and antenna platforms, but often not as well with more conventional devices.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Antennas


Automotive Circuit Protection Using High-Reliability TVS Diodes

Diode technology eliminates transient surges and enhances vehicle safety. Littelfuse, Chicago, Illinois Designing automotive electronics presents numerous technical challenges, including the need to protect against electrical hazards. The three major sources of electrical hazards in automotive systems are electrostatic discharge (ESD), switching loads in power electronics circuits, and lightning. Overcoming these transient surges that can harm the vehicle’s electronics, whether under the hood or in the cabin, is one of the biggest obstacles of system design.

Posted in: Briefs, Power Management


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