Features

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.

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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.

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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.

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Motion Control Advancements Ease Medical Procedures

Whether performing an intricate surgery, positioning a patient, or taking a tissue sample, today’s biomedical devices are taking advantage of advanced motion control devices to ensure accurate control and movement in biomedical applications. Robots are making it possible to perform surgical procedures not only with higher precision than before, but in less time and with less pain and suffering for the patient. Moreover, improvements in the design and packaging of motors and other control components are making it possible to shrink biomedical devices and make it easier to perform procedures in tight, confined spaces.

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Treating Retinal Disease with FPGA Controlled Lasers

More than 50 percent of Americans diagnosed with diabetes are at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, a retinal disease that can lead to blindness. The condition is a result of diabetes affecting the circulatory system of the retina and causing abnormal new blood vessel growth. It has become the leading cause of new blindness among U.S. adults.

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Software Development for Low Power Designs

The increasing emphasis on green technologies has focused more attention on low power design. Microcontroller vendors are responding by increasing their offerings of ultra low power devices that consume as little as 350 uA/MHz and have sub-uA sleep modes.

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