Articles

Making Sense from Sensors: How to Build a Sensor Fusion Engine

The presence of more than 1 billion sensor-rich smartphones and the intense interest surrounding the Internet of Things has drawn wide attention to all the potential and possibilities of sensor fusion engines. Availability of context data and general real-world data in digital format opens up many opportunities.

Posted in: Articles, Sensors, Mathematical models, Computer software and hardware, Sensors and actuators
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NASA's Game-Changing Robotics

“Over the years, I’ve asked people, ‘If you had a robot, what would you want it to do for you?’” said Rob Ambrose, principal investigator for NASA’s Game Changing Development Program and chief of the Software, Robotics, and Simulation Division at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. When he asks astronauts, they usually tell him they want the robot to do chores.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Robotics, Maintenance, repair, and service operations, Product development, Robotics, Spacecraft
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Primer Stops Corrosion Without Requiring Rust Removal

Coating used on launch pads protects bridges, condominiums, and other structures from corrosion.

In the mid-1990s, Surtreat Holding LLC, based in Pittsburgh, PA, developed two corrosion inhibitors that worked by chemical means, and were designed to be applied to the surface of concrete, where they would migrate to the steel rebar inside. By 1996, the formulas still had not been formally tested and validated.

Posted in: Articles, Coatings & Adhesives, Air transportation facilities, Coatings, colorants, and finishes, Corrosion, Iron
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NASA’s Infrared Sensor Spots Near-Earth Asteroids

The Near-Earth Object Camera (NEOCam) is part of a proposed NASA mission to find potentially hazardous asteroids. In a Q&A with Photonics & Imaging Technology, NEOCam principal investigator Amy Mainzer ex plains how the NEOCam chip, a stamp-sized mega pixel infrared sensor, detects the faint heat emitted by near-Earth objects circling the Sun.

Posted in: Articles, Features, Imaging, Photonics, Imaging and visualization, Sensors and actuators, Spacecraft
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Advanced Digital Microscopes Providing Simple Solutions to Common Microscopy Issues

Thanks to a combination of high-quality optics and advanced digital imaging technology, today’s newest digital microscopes provide efficient solutions to a variety of common microscope challenges faced by users of conventional optical and digital microscopes. The following represent 10 conventional microscope issues and 10 solutions made possible with current digital microscope technology.

Posted in: Articles, Features, Imaging, Photonics, Microscopy
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Advances in Coating Technology Take Shape at NASA Goddard

The Contamination and Coatings Engineering Branch at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD, provides system-level support in contamination engineering and thermal coatings engineering from concept to mission end of life. This includes development, implementation, and management of instrument and spacecraft contamination control programs, technical consultation on contamination and coatings issues, thermal coatings applications, material property characterization, and coatings flight qualification.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Product development, Coatings, colorants, and finishes, Materials properties, Spacecraft
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Recycling Technology Converts Plastic Waste to Energy

NASA’s expertise in rocket engine improvement helps optimize plastic recycling process equipment.

As good as it feels to throw plastic items into the recycling bin, the fact is most of that plastic goes unrecycled, according to Jim Garrett, a veteran of the oil and gas industry. “It’s a dirty little secret in America that 90 percent of our plastic ends up [in landfills], if not in our oceans.”

Posted in: Articles, Spinoff, Aerospace, Recycling, Plastics
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Simplified Machine Design Approach for Optimal Servomotor Control

An often asked question from industrial machine builders or integrators is how they can effectively design or implement the conversion of a machine with servo technology to meet performance expectations. This is a specialized task filled with layers of complexity that can prove difficult to execute, even when the scope of work is fully understood.

Posted in: Articles, Motion Control, Design processes, Sensors and actuators, Industrial vehicles and equipment
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NASA Proxy Maps Reveal Earthquake Damage

On April 25, 2015, a magnitude - 7 . 8 earthquake caused widespread building damage in central Nepal. The Italian Space Agency’s COSMO-SkyMed Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite acquired data over Kathmandu – a 50 x 50 km area – four days after the earthquake. Using the SAR information, Sang-Ho Yun and other researchers of the Advanced Rapid Imaging and Analysis (ARIA) team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and California Institute of Technology produced a damage proxy map showing areas of potential building damage.

Posted in: Articles, Sensors, Radar, Disaster and emergency management, Emergency management, Satellites
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Inertial Sensors Get in the Driver’s Seat

Tiny devices improve safety, comfort in ADAS

Two decades have passed since automotive manufacturers began using the first microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) accelerometer to measure strong acceleration and trigger the deployment of airbags (see Figure 1). The inaugural inertial sensor paved the way for more widespread use of accelerometers in today’s advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).

Posted in: Articles, Sensors, Driver Assistance systems, Microelectromechanical devices, Airbag systems
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