Application Briefs

Deformable Mirrors Key to Advancement of Space Imaging Research

MEMS-based deformable mirrors Boston Micromachines Corp. Cambridge, MA 617-868-4178

Boston Micromachines has been selected by NASA's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program to integrate its MEMS-based deformable mirrors (DMs) into two Phase 1 space imaging research projects. For the first project, the company will collaborate with Boston University to develop a compact, ultra-low-power, high-voltage multiplexed driver suitable for integration with DMs in space-based wavefront control applications. This project will yield a driver that produces a minimum hundred-fold reduction in power consumption and a ten-fold reduction in size, but still maintains high precision and decreases cost interconnection complexity.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Imaging, Mirrors, Imaging and visualization, Microelectromechanical devices, Fabrication

Simulation Software Helps Phoenix Mission Interpret Data From Mars

ANSYS® fluid dynamics software ANSYS Canonsburg, PA 724-746-3304

ANSYS fluid dynamics software has helped researchers at the University of Alberta interpret weather data received from NASA’s Phoenix Mars lander. Using this software, researchers created a virtual environment of the planet’s atmospheric conditions, and discovered that under certain wind conditions, heat emitted from the lander could cause a temperature sensor to show higher-than-atmospheric values. The researchers also learned that other conditions such as obstacles upstream from velocity and pressure sensors could alter readings of wind magnitude and direction. Using these findings, the team specially calibrated the meteorological instruments through a large parametric study before the launch. After Phoenix touched down on Mars, the team carefully evaluated raw mission data by paying particular attention to the types of wind conditions that had produced tainted data in the simulations.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Simulation Software, Software, Computational fluid dynamics, Data management, Spacecraft

Rugged-Duty Actuator Enhances State-of-the-Art Pool/Spa Lift

The benefits of aquatic physical therapy and rehabilitation for those who have difficulty with weightbearing activities due to arthritis or injury, or those who are overweight, have long been known. There is also a significant population of wheelchairbound and disabled persons who use pools and spas for recreation or therapeutic purposes. A dilemma for these individuals is how to get in and out of the pool or spa safely.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Rehabilitation & Physical Therapy, Sensors and actuators, Medical, health, and wellness

Monitoring Carbon Composite Structures With Optical Fiber Sensors

Fiber reinforced polymer composites are revolutionizing the design of large, high-performance structures in the aerospace, marine and power generation industries due to their advantages in areas such as corrosion resistance, specific strength and tailorability. The use of carbon fiber reinforced composites, the most common and lightest of the “non-exotic” composite materials, is now very widespread. The maiden flight of The Boeing Company’s new 787 Dreamliner, the first commercial aircraft to use composites for most of its construction in December of 2009, is a stark example of just how far carbon fiber composite materials have come in the last 50 years: from hockey sticks, tennis rackets and R&D labs, to carrying us from here to there at 500+ mph.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Products, Fiber Optics, Optics, Sensors, Fiber optics, Sensors and actuators, Composite materials

Applying Embedded Form Factors to Wireless Systems

Wireless connectivity is merging with technological advancements in silicon, signaling, mass storage and software to meet the high-performance, ultra-low power requirements for next-generation wireless systems. Embedded form factors, seeking to utilize these developing technologies to the best advantage of system designers, continue to evolve by providing enhanced capabilities while simultaneously reducing form factor footprints. As wireless connectivity becomes increasingly ubiquitous, the volume of embedded systems that utilize wireless is expanding. This perpetuates the demand for higher processing power with minimal power draw and size.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Application Briefs

High-Flex Cable Assembly to Aid Robot Arm in Mars Exploration Program

High-Flex Cables Cicoil Corp. Valencia, CA 661-295-1295

Cicoil has provided a custom-formed high-flex cable to the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), scheduled to launch in 2011 as part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program. The program is a long-term robotic exploration of Mars that will assess whether Mars’ environment can support, or has supported, microbial life. The mission essentially seeks to determine the planet’s potential for habitability.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Robotics, Electric cables, Robotics, Spacecraft

Avionics Databus to Promote Systems Integration on Orion Vehicle

TTEthernet TTTech North America Carlsbad, CA 760-603-9393

TTEthernet, a high-bandwidth databus developed by TTTech and Honeywell, will be deployed on Orion, the Earth crew entry vehicle scheduled to make its first flights within the next few years, as part of NASA’s Constellation program to send human explorers back to the moon, Mars, and other destinations in the solar system. Orion, launched atop an Ares I rocket, will be capable of carrying crew and cargo to the International Space Station. The spacecraft will rendezvous with a lunar landing module and an Earth departure stage in low-Earth orbit to carry crews to the Moon using advanced technologies, including TTEthernet. The high-bandwidth avionic databus capability will allow it to support future technology insertion as the Constellation program progresses.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Aviation, Architecture, Avionics, Systems management, Spacecraft

Imaging System Enables Early Detection of Diabetic Retinopathy

People whose bodies cannot produce effective or sufficient insulin are said to have diabetes. This chronic disease has several serious long-term effects that are well documented: kidney failure, heart disease, foot disease that may require amputation, neuropathy (sensory loss), and blindness. Vision loss caused by diabetes is known as diabetic retinopathy. Retinopathy is define as non-inflammatory disorders in the retina. In diabetics, this condition manifests itself in the form of lesions, tears, or scratches on the retina. In the last few years, Montreal ophthalmologist Dr. Michael Flanders has noticed an increase in the number of patients with this condition. “There are more patients than before who are coming through my office and hospital clinics who have diabetic retinopathy,” he said.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Diagnosis, Diseases, Medical equipment and supplies

Greening the Golden Arches

By Gary Trott, Cree, Durham, NC

L ast July, Ric Richards — a fast-food franchisee — opened the first green McDonald’s in North Carolina, proving that it can be affordable and effective to build a sustainable fast-food restaurant. One of the key green elements to the Cary, NC-based McDonald’s is energy-saving, high-quality LED lighting.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Lighting

Bright and Economical LEDs Enable Mobile Projection

3M, St. Paul, MN

OSRAM Opto Semiconductors, Sunnyvale, CA

Micro projectors from 3M that can be connected to mobile phones and cameras include LEDs from OSRAM Opto Semi-conductors. The small, bright, energy-saving diodes were the key to developing the micro projectors, which could not be implemented with other light sources. Depending on lighting conditions, the LEDs project images of more than a meter.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Lighting

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