Application Briefs

IDS Camera Automates Inspection

Until now, machine-based surface inspection methods have checked visual quality by means of direct or transmitted light in conjunction with a camera system. When it comes to the automated inspection of reflective and smooth surfaces, however, these methods involve problems. The resulting reflections need to be either eliminated or included in the measuring process. Consequently, complex lighting conditions using polarized light or fringed projection in a darkroom are required, or the objects need to be positioned with high precision and completely shock-free. Whichever solution is employed, neither permits an automated 100% in-process inspection.

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Spacecraft Leak Detection System Uses Ultrasonic Sensors

Spacecraft leak detection system Invocon Conroe, TX 281-292-9903 www.invocon.com NASA has selected a spacecraft leak detection system from Invocon that would sense and locate air leaks in pressurized space stations or lunar habitat modules caused by micrometeoroid and space debris impact events. Low-cost, ultrasonic sensor arrays developed by Iowa State University are used in the system. The spacecraft structure would be monitored for leak-generated, surface- borne ultrasound by means of a flexible and modular electronics package with fully integrated data sensors, data acquisiti

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NASA Probes Gather Solar Information

STEREO observatories and Solar Probe Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory Laurel, MD 240-228-5000 www.jhuapl.edu NASA’s Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) is comprised of two nearly identical spacecraft that were launched in 2006. They will gather images of the Sun simultaneously from different angles. These images will then be combined to produce three-dimensional pictures of coronal mass ejections. These eruptions can blow 10 billion tons of the Sun’s atmosphere into space, and can trigger severe magnetic storms on Earth that cut off electric power and communications.

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Implementing Thermal Bumps in New Product Designs

Thermal issues are dominating today’s electronic product design landscape as never before. It is easy to see this in Intel’s move to a multi-core architecture as a methodology to manage their thermal problems. Of course, less than optimal solutions lead to less than optimal results. Thermoelectric devices (TECs) have been used in the optoelectronics industry for thermal management, but have not found wide-spread acceptance in electronic product design. Thermal management solutions implemented with these active devices, however, offer a broad potential for implementation including the following:

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NASA Satellite Data Interpreted for Medical and Public Health Use

Laboratory for Global Health Observation University of Alabama at Birmingham, School of Public Health Birmingham, AL 205-934-4993 www.regardsstudy.org A partnership between NASA’s National Space Science and Technology Center (NSSTC) and the School of Public Health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is using NASA satellite imagery and data to determine how environmental factors influence diseases such as malaria and childhood asthma.

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Miniature Control Chip Drives James Webb Telescope Signal

SIDECAR ASIC microprocessor-controlled chip Teledyne Imaging Sensors Camarillo, CA 805-373-4545 www.teledyne-si.com The electronics that will convert analog signals to digital signals on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), being built by Northrop Grumman and managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, have been miniaturized to take up less space and to weigh less. The electronics also will provide better images of objects in space when they are sent back to scientists on Earth.

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Wireless Electronic Patches Improve Medical Data and Patient Mobility

Non-invasive and ambulatory monitoring of body parameters is receiving much interest from the medical, sports and entertainment world. Possible applications are the monitoring of brain waves to detect epilepsy, monitoring of muscle activity during an athlete’s training, and monitoring of heart rate during gaming. The idea is to develop small, low-power, autonomous biomedical monitoring systems that collect and process data from human body sensors and wirelessly transmit the data to a central monitoring system.

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