Features

Torque Sensors Provide Force Feedback for Robotic Applications

Torque sensing technology ATI Industrial Automation Apex, NC 919-772-0115 www.ati-ia.com ATI Industrial Automation is developing multi-axis, force/torque sensing technology to be used in space exploration, including future Mars missions. Currently under development, the new technology will enable fabrication of a force/torque sensor for the Mars rover’s robotic arm. Sensor feedback allows the arm to guide its coring tool into rocks, and then safely place the rock samples in the rover’s canisters.

Posted in: Application Briefs

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Heat Pipe Assembly Passes NASA Hypersonic Tests

Embedded heat pipe assembly Thermacore Lancaster, PA 717-569-6551 www.thermacore.com A Thermacore heat pipe assembly recently completed testing at the NASA Ames Arc Jet Complex, operating at very high temperatures in a hypersonic leading-edge simulation.

Posted in: Application Briefs

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Liquid Flow Sensor Launches into Space

LS16 liquid flow sensor Sensirion Westlake Village, CA 805-409-4900 www.sensirion.com A liquid flow sensor from Sensirion will measure the impact of microgravity on the effectiveness of liquid flow. Among other potential findings, the project aims to shed light on the effects of weightlessness on the circulatory system.

Posted in: Application Briefs

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Spacecraft Seat Standards Lead to Comfort in Your Car

NASA standards for optimum neutral body posture in spacecraft have led to ergonomic car seats. In the beginning, safety outweighed comfort in spacecraft designs for human space travel. Capsules like Gemini and Apollo were small, and most of the flight activities were performed while the crew was strapped to their seats. Later, NASA devoted more attention to understanding how a spacecraft could provide comfort as well as safety and function to astronauts. NASA examined the neutral body posture (NBP), or the posture the human body naturally assumes in microgravity.

Posted in: Articles, Spinoff

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May the Force (Shoes) Be With You

Maintaining astronaut bone and muscle health in microgravity is an ongoing concern for NASA. Last month, the ForceShoe, designed by XSENS, was flown to the International Space Station (ISS), where they will help NASA collect data for studying the force placed on crewmembers’ bodies during exercise on the ISS Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED).

Posted in: UpFront

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Bioplastic Made from Shrimp Shells Breaks Down in Compost

Researchers at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering have introduced a new bioplastic isolated from shrimp shells. It’s made from chitosan, a form of chitin — the second-most abundant organic material on Earth. Chitin, a tough polysaccharide, is the main ingredient in the hardy shells of crustaceans, the armorlike cuticles of insects, and even the flexible wings of butterflies.

Posted in: UpFront

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Extended-Wear Patches for Skin Hydration

Moisturizers and active ingredients must be held against human skin in a patch format. To enhance uptake, a new material needs to be designed for extended wear from 1-10 hours. Comfort and physical flexibility are two chief requirements. Ideally, the patch will also reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Proposed materials must cover large or small areas of skin, and conform to the shapes of those areas. Possible solution areas include natural and synthetic yarns or materials, wovens and nonwovens, and extruded or film materials. The materials may be held against the skin by a suitable adhesive.

Posted in: Tech Needs

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