Application Briefs

Immersive Display System Enables Virtual Reality in NASA Lab

Immersive CAVE™ display system Mechdyne Corp. Marshalltown, IA 641-754-4649 www.mechdyne.com Mechdyne Corporation has installed a CAVE™ display system in the Fossett Laboratory for Virtual Planetary Exploration at Washington University St. Louis (WUSTL). WUSTL is home to the Geosciences Node of the NASA Planetary Data System, with responsibility for managing data related to the study of surfaces and interiors of terrestrial planetary bodies. The Laboratory will provide 3D imaging capability for visualization of data collected by national and international space exploration programs, including the ongoing Mars Exploration Program.

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Biomedical Imaging Using Ultrashort Laser Pulses

The field of optical microscopy experienced significant gains in resolution and speed following the introduction of lasers. Unfortunately, these gains came at the expense of sample degradation caused by the continuous flux of intense light. Taking advantage of the two-photon absorption process, Webb and Denk implemented a microscope based on the use of near-IR light pulses capable of causing simultaneous multiple fluorophore excitation. Two-photon microscopy is now widely applied in the biomedical imaging field due to the absence of out-of-focus photobleaching and reduced photodamage and fluorescence scattering. These advantages are brought about collectively by the inherent instantaneous peak intensity and narrow focal plane of excitation. Given that peak intensity increases with decreasing laser pulse duration, one would expect extensive use of available ultrashort (sub-10 fs) pulse laser systems in the field of biomedical imaging. However, most two-photon microscopes still use the same pulse duration that Webb and Denk used in 1990 (≈150 fs).

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The Virtual Becomes Reality at Iowa State University

The colonel has a problem. He has eight unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) flying over the outskirts of Baghdad, looking for potential insurgent activity. Are those people he sees moving through the streets insurgents or are they a US infantry patrol? If he alters the flight path of one UAV to loiter over the suspicious activity, how should he deploy the other seven UAVs to pick up the first’s original mission? How does he keep track of the positions of the eight UAVs, what they are seeing, and the locations of nearby US troops, all in real-time?

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Simulated Models Test Design of Space Shuttles and Rocket Engines

Finite element modeling and analysis Dynamic Concepts Huntsville, AL 256-922-9888 www.dynamic-concepts.com NASA tasked Dynamic Concepts (DCI) with assessing the structural dynamics of the rollout process, whereby the space shuttle orbiter, external tank, and solid rocket booster assembly is moved via a crawler transporter from the Vertical Assembly Building to the launch pad. DCI used Femap finiteelement modeling software from Siemens PLM Software (Plano, TX) to create an integrated model of all the shuttle components, and used Siemens’ NX Nastran to analyze the simulated vibration environment. The analysis helped NASA resolve issues with support structures and determine target rollout speeds that minimized potentially damaging vibration.

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Advanced Position Sensors to Aid NASA in Future Spaceflight

Silicon carbide-based position sensors INPROX Technology Corp. Boston, MA 617-573-5158 www.inproxtechnology.com INPROX Technology Corp. (ITC) has entered into a Space Act Agreement (SAA) with NASA’s John H. Glenn Research Center in Ohio to develop advanced silicon carbide (SiC)- based position sensors aimed at potential uses in future spaceflight, turbine engine controls, and automotive engine applications. Under this SAA, high-temperature SiC electronics from NASA will be prototyped into ITC’s proprietary linear position sensor technology platform.

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Software Improves Access to Data at NASA Wind Tunnel Facility

Adept document management software Synergis Software Quakertown, PA 800-836-5440 www.synergis-adept.com NASA Ames Research Center’s Unitary Plan Wind Tunnels (UPWT) in Mountain View, CA, is a leader in aeronautics and aerospace wind tunnel testing for NASA, industry, the Department of Defense, and other government agencies. The Unitary Plan Wind Tunnels has deployed Synergis Software’s Adept document management software to improve efficiency and management of their design and engineering documents.

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Rugged, Flight-Ready Data Storage Selected for NASA Aircraft Project

ToughDisk® 3500 SATA Rugged Hard Disk Formation, Inc. Moorestown, NJ 856-234-5020 www.formation.com Formation’s ToughDisk® 3500 SATA Rugged Hard Disk has been selected by Conduant Corp. to be used in data recorders for a NASA technology demonstration project. Conduant is integrating 25 terabytes of TD3500 SATA storage into its Big River LTX2 high-speed data recorders, which will collect data on NASA’s WB-57 aircraft, a mid-wing, long-range airplane capable of operating for extended periods of time at altitudes ranging from sea level to over 60,000 feet.

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