Electrical/Electronics

NASA Flywheel for iPad

John H. Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio NASA Flywheel is an augmented reality application intended to highlight NASA Glenn’s research efforts in the area of flywheel energy storage systems. The app utilizes a printed optical target, available on the GRC Flywheel Program brochure and through the NASA Glenn Web portal, to present users with 3D views of flywheel hardware and space applications. Additional video and imagery are also included in the application package. The software has been compiled and bundled as an iOS app for the iPad, and is intended for release through the Apple App Store.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Power Management, Computer software and hardware, Imaging and visualization, Flywheels

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Three-Dimensional Photovoltaics Array for Laser-Based Power Transfer

Potential applications include situations in which there is a need to create electrical power at a remote location. Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland A standard solar array is a flat panel configured of many individual solar cells, wired in series or parallel, depending on their junction configuration and material. Since the solar flux is constant depending on the distance from the Sun, the maximum energy conversion for a given solar panel depends upon the capability to absorb as many spectral peaks as possible (different materials) across the total solar spectrum. If the radiative source is a man-made device such as a laser, parked in a different orbit or on Earth, then the impinging intensity is narrow spectrally, coherent and accurately pointed, and capable of very high intensities. Thus, the materials can be tailored to match the incoming radiation for maximum absorption.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Power Management, Solar energy

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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, Electronics & Computers, Power Management, Electric power, Nanomaterials

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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, Connectors and terminals, Electric cables, Composite materials, Lightweighting, Motorsports

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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, Spinoff, Electronics, Joining & Assembly, Seals and gaskets

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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, Aeronautics, Computers, Simulation Software, Test & Measurement, Simulation and modeling, Human factors, Test facilities

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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, Engine control systems

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