Articles

2007 NASA Tech Briefs "Create the Future" Design Contest

Presented by SolidWorks Corp. This year’s sixth annual NASA Tech Briefs’ “Create the Future” design contest, presented by SolidWorks Corp., recognized innovation in product design in six categories: Consumer Products, Safety & Security, Machinery & Equipment, Medical, Sustainable Technologies, and Transportation. A record 973 entries were received from engineers worldwide. On the following pages, you’ll meet the Grand Winner, as well as the winners and honorable mentions in all six categories. Congratulations to this year’s winners, and thanks to all of the engineers who submitted their creative design ideas. To view the contest entries online: .

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Eye On Innovation

Dual-Use InnovationBy Dr. Udo Ungeheuer Chairman of the Board of Management SCHOTT Mainz, Germany Many people consider the printing press developed here in Mainz, Germany, near the headquarters of SCHOTT, the greatest invention of the last 1,000 years. Yet, many of the key technologies that made the development of the press possible were first developed for other, quite different applications. The screw press originally was developed to press grapes and olives for wine and olive oil. The new alloys that Gutenberg developed for moveable typeface were an outgrowth of weapons and armor metallurgy. The oil-based ink used by Gutenberg was developed for paintings, not books.

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Using CompactPCI to Build Rugged Embedded Systems

The task-specific nature of an embedded system application typically defines a narrow scope of performance requirements. But the range of options for achieving those requirements are broad — from multicore processors and rugged single board computers (SBCs) to I/O devices and the bus systems that tie everything together. And the choices to be made are critical in their impact on cost, on performance efficiency in computeintensive operations, and on the ability to function reliably in hot, cold, dusty or wet environments.

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Taking the Sting Out of Multiprocessor DSP Application Development

Systems engineers face a number of challenges when configuring and programming a complex, heterogeneous multiprocessor system of the type often used in digital signal processing applications. These include:

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Machine Vision and Smart Cameras: Powerful Tools for Machine Builders

Machine builders in this day and age are part of a fast-growing and rapidly changing industry sector. With vast improvements in commercial off-the-shelf products for measurement and control, as well as falling prices, machine builders can now take advantage of an assortment of powerful tools when implementing their designs, rather than rely on the age-old method of making a custom design for every application.

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Enhancing Image Clarity in the SWIR

A chromatic or color-corrected lenses for use in the visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum have been addressed in literature, textbooks, and industry journals as early as the 18th Century. Many of these accounts by scientists and optical designers detail a method of selecting two dissimilar materials to form an achromatic pair or doublet with the ability to greatly counter image blurring resulting from the dispersive nature of refractive optical elements. Whether these tried and true optical formulae produce equally successful results in wavelengths beyond the visible range warrants further examination.

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Static vs. Dynamic Detection of Bugs in Safety-Critical Code

In the never-ending quest to produce high-quality software, traditional dynamic testing plays a fundamental role. The weakness of dynamic testing is that it is only as good as the test cases. To be effective, a great deal of effort must go into writing or generating good test cases, and doing so can be very expensive.

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