Features

Robots are (Almost) People, Too

Biologically inspired robots have been an ongoing fascination in movies for years. We know that robots can’t cry, bleed, or feel like humans can, and that’s what makes them different. But what if they could think like humans? Biologically inspired robots are being realized by engineers and scientists all over the world. While much emphasis is placed on developing physical characteristics for robots such as human-like faces or artificial muscles, engineers in the Telerobotics Research and Applications Group at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, are among those working to program robots with forms of artificial intelligence similar to human thinking processes.

Posted in: Articles

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NASA Uses Analysis Software to Assess Orion Crew Module Heat Shield

HyperSizer® composite analysis and structural sizing software Collier Research Corp. Newport News, VA 757-825-0000 www.hypersizer.com Protected by the shell of its huge launch rocket during blastoff, NASA’s Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) must get back to Earth on its own at mission’s end. The flight plan for this next-generation craft includes a dramatic ocean splashdown reminiscent of the Apollo program that predated the Space Shuttle’s smooth runway landings.

Posted in: Application Briefs

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Satellite Data Monitors Nation’s Forests

Data obtained from NASA satellites helps scientists monitor damage caused by wildfires, drought, and other natural disturbances. Joe Spruce’s last name is a fitting one: Spruce is a research scientist at NASA’s Stennis Space Center working with the US Department of Agriculture Forest Service to monitor forests and other vegetation across the country using NASA satellite data.

Posted in: Articles, Spinoff

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The Next Mars Journey

The next rover NASA will send to Mars in 2020 will carry seven instruments to conduct unprecedented science and exploration technology investigations on the Red Planet. The instruments were selected recently from 58 proposals from researchers and engineers worldwide. The Mars 2020 mission will be based on the design of the Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity.

Posted in: UpFront

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Product of the Month: September 2014

Dewetron, Wakefield, RI, has introduced the TrendCorder series of instruments designed for basic data acquisition applications in industry. They feature intuitive, multi-touch operation, enabling them to be operated 100% by touch, including alphanumeric entry, channel setup, and display configuration. When the instrument is turned on, an app loads and shows incoming data immediately. The DejaVIEW™ feature enables a user to scroll back on the recorder graph to any place in the recording, and pinch/zoom on the graph to see any detail, no matter how far back in time, without interrupting current recording. This is designed for operators conducting long-term testing that cannot be interrupted. The instruments feature a 15.4" wide aspect multi-touch display, and data is streamed continuously to disk at rates up to 200 MB/s. The TrendCorder has four slots for TRION series plug-in modules. Three 6-channel modules are included in the TRC-18, with one slot free; the TRC-6 has one 6-channel module, with three slots free. The system weighs 18.7 pounds, including the input modules.

Posted in: Products

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Unique Camera Gauge System Controls Spring Manufacturing

Efficient and accurate operations are vital to the success of today’s manufacturer. Newcomb Spring, a manufacturer of custom springs, wire forms and stampings, is continually working to improve their production processes. The company has also seen an increasing number of requests for reports that detail the compliance of completed orders. Newcomb’s in-house Research and Development (R&D) Department is tasked with developing and building new technologies and equipment to solve unique challenges as well as improve overall operations and efficiency. Recently, Newcomb Spring introduced its own camera gauge system, developed by its R&D team, which was designed to provide high-speed manufacturing with automatic adjustments, extremely high levels of compliance, and reportable accuracy unmatched in the industry.

Posted in: Features, Photonics, Articles

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Securing and Validating Critical Vision Data

Manufacturing companies are placing increasing emphasis on data security throughout their operations to protect confidential data and to validate that their systems are protected against unauthorized and unwanted changes. The critical role that vision plays in many manufacturing processes makes it essential that system security be improved for vision applications. A new generation of vision-specific security tools offers improvements in access control, change tracking, auditing, and general network security to help ensure the integrity of vision applications while at the same time protecting data confidentiality.

Posted in: Applications, Photonics, Application Briefs

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