Articles

"Create the Future" Sustainable Technologies Category Winner

The 2008 NASA Tech Briefs "Create the Future Design Contest," presented by SolidWorks, recognized innovation in product design in six categories: Consumer Products, Machinery & Equipment, Medical, Safety & Security, Sustainable Technologies, and Transportation. Here is the winner of the Sustainable Technologies category, along with the two honorable mentions.

Posted in: Features, Articles, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Wind Power

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NASA Geostationary Coastal and Air Pollution Monitoring

The Geostationary Coastal and Air Pollution Events (GEO-CAPE) mission has been recommended for launch in the 2013-2016 time frame by the National Research Council. The mission’s purpose is to gather science that identifies human versus natural sources of aerosols and ozone precursors, tracks air pollution transport, and studies the dynamics of coastal ecosystems, river plumes, and tidal fronts.

Posted in: Pollution, Features, Articles, Environmental Monitoring

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Protecting Data Signals Through Isolation

Many of us believe that if we don’t have ground loops we don’t need to isolate analog I/O signals. Yet there are five very real – and very different – reasons to isolate every one of your analog signals! If you’ve had problems on past applications, chances are you experienced one of the following: Signal crosstalk Common-mode voltage DC common-mode rejection AC common-mode rejection Over-range and input protection issues. Isolating power sources and sensor signals is the most effective way to address these problems; understanding how measurement inputs become corrupted in the first place will illustrate this.

Posted in: Articles

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NASA Announces 2008 Inventions of the Year

Ames Research Center (Moffett Field, CA) and Langley Research Center (Hampton, VA) have won the 2008 NASA Government and Commercial Invention of the Year Awards, respectively. The Ames invention is a high-speed 3D laser scanner with real-time processing. Langley’s method for making highperformance resins for infusion and transfer molding processes is used in a high-temperature resin called PETI-330.

Posted in: Articles

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High-Performance Computing Tools in Neural Imaging

High-performance computing (HPC) has transformed science and engineering over the past 20 years, but some fields have yet to fully realize its benefits due to software limitations. This article discusses software approaches to increase productivity in the life science discipline of neural imaging. Like other imaging-based endeavors, neural imaging faces daunting quantities of raw data, proprietary image formats, lossy vs. non-lossy compression, detector noise, complex object segmentation, and visualization challenges.

Posted in: Imaging, Articles

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Machine Vision Guides Robot Motion

Machine vision can quickly and accurately determine the location of parts so they can be inspected, measured, or manipulated by a robot. An example is using machine vision to guide a robot unpacking one-gallon cans from a large pallet of cans. Machine vision components — cameras, vision processors, and software — were provided by DALSA, and Faber Industrial Technologies developed the can-picking robot and integrated the robot with the machine vision.

Posted in: Imaging, Articles

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Hermetic Feedthroughs Critical for Flywheel Energy Storage

Next-generation flywheels are made possible by advances in material science in rotor technology, as well as the application of magnetic bearings running in a vacuum environment. While the movement of the rotating flywheel into a vacuum eliminates parasitic drags, such as windage friction losses, mechanical bearings are not suited to operate in a vacuum or for the high speed requirements of the new designs.

Posted in: Features, Articles

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