Features

Vote for Product of the Year

Voting is officially open for the 2011 NASA Tech Briefs Readers’ Choice Product of the Year awards. You can cast your vote for one of 12 nominees featured this year as Products of the Month.

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Beyond 'Smart': The PC Camera Arrives

Machine vision systems have three basic components: a camera to acquire images; software to extract actionable information about the objects in the images; and a computer to run the image processing software. In the 1990s, the machine vision industry placed all three components into a single housing and called it a “smart camera” to reduce the cost and size of the vision system, and improve its usability for manufacturing process controls and quality inspection.

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Going ‘Digital’ Simplifies Medical Device Inspection

At various times throughout the manufacturing process, medical device and orthopaedic implant manufacturers need to carry out a wide range of inspections and measurements of the parts that they produce. Operators in the orthopaedic industry, for example, may check hip stems against a template many times during the grinding and polishing process. Like many manufacturers across a wide range of industries, they have traditionally used optical comparators to check parts directly on the shop floor.

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Reducing Design Time for Linear Motion Systems

Design time can be reduced while ensuring durability and high performance. Reducing design time is critical in engineering because the result is lower costs and faster time to market. Design time often includes a number of non-value-added activities such as re-design, over-design, or scope creep that can be minimized by thoroughly understanding all of the application criteria and verifying calculations and analysis via parametric testing of components, modules, and full assemblies with data acquisition equipment, and proving out projected performance results with testing.

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Expanding the Use of Smart Operator Panels

The evolution of operator interfaces has moved quite far beyond the pushbutton. Once, the intelligence resided in the operator’s brain, and considerable experience and training were required to operate any complex piece of machinery or process. The evolution of the operator panel is actually two parallel evolutionary tracks. First is the movement of that intelligence from the operator’s brain into the operator panel itself. So, we now refer to them as “smart operator panels.” The other track is how the evolution of the operator panel tracks Moore’s Law, making them more powerful and less expensive.

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John H. Glenn Research Center

Innovators at NASA’s Glenn Research Center design game-changing spaceflight technologies that advance exploration of our solar system. They have also established themselves as global leaders in aeronautics by building safer, quieter, more fuel-efficient, and environmentally responsible aircraft.

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Vote for NASA Tech Briefs’ 17th Annual Readers’ Choice Awards

It’s that time of year when we ask NASA Tech Briefs readers to vote for the annual Readers’ Choice Product of the Year Awards.

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