Features

2006 Product of the Year Awards and Design Contest Winners

The 2006 NASA Tech Briefs (NTB) and Photonics Tech Briefs (PTB) Readers’ Choice Product of the Year Awards were presented recently by the editors of NTB and PTB at an awards dinner in New York City. The event honored the top three products of 2006 as chosen by each magazine’s readers. Also honored at the event were the Grand-Prize and First-Prize winners of the Emhart Teknologies “Create the Future” Design Contest.

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The Power of Data Acquisition Technology Convergence

Modern digital technology and a little imagination have led to today’s most popular devices, like the MP3 player — a tiny digital music player that you can carry in your shirt pocket, and yet which can hold countless songs, TV shows, and movies. And they have led to cell phones that are serving as cameras and PDAs. Thankfully, this same technology “push” from the last 10 years has had its effect on the data acquisition system, albeit in a slightly more serious way.

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NASA Announces 2006 Invention of the Year

A team from Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA, has been awarded the 2006 NASA Government Invention of the Year for an actuator and sensor system that is more durable than a piezoelectric system, and provides increased unidirectional control. In addition to being used in a number of NASA programs, the technology can be used in military, automotive, medical, and consumer product applications. The Invention of the Year is selected by NASA’s General Counsel, with the support of the Inventions and Contributions Board (ICB). For more information on the awards and this year’s winner and finalists, visit http://icb.nasa.gov/03-07-board/IOY2006/ index.htm.

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Clustered Storage System Enables Image Geoprocessing of Earth’s Surface

Isilon IQ Clustered Storage System Isilon Systems Seattle, WA 206-315-7500 www.isilon.com NASA World Wind is an open-source, virtual globe software enabling users to zoom from satellite altitude into any place on Earth, providing an eye-level view of the Earth’s surface. World Wind works with i-cubed, a geoprocessing service organization in Colorado that performs the geoprocessing required to convert raw satellite data into high-resolution imagery of the Earth’s terrain. The data is then returned to World Wind for integration into Microsoft.NET-based application, staging, and online delivery.

Posted in: Application Briefs

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Multi-Bit-Rate Switcher Is Part of High-Definition Upgrade at NASA

HANABI HVS-3800HS Multi-Bit Rate Switcher FOR-A Waltham, MA 714-867-3311 www.for-a.com NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) in Greenbelt, MD, manages the Hubble Space Telescope that has, since its launch in 1990, recorded more than 700,000 images in its quest to explore the solar system. Recently, NASA announced plans for a fifth servicing mission to the Hubble in which the FOR-A HANABI switcher was used in a live press conference to produce and record the news in high-definition (HD). The images were then converted for distribution to the public via NASA-TV. “Given that the Hubble is so important, we wanted to be able to announce this in HD for historical purposes,” said Patrick Kennedy, GSFC’s TV production manager.

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CAD/Finite Element Analysis (FEA) Modeling Environment

ALGOR, Inc., Pittsburgh, PA, has released ALGOR V20, an integrated CAD/finite element analysis (FEA) modeling environment for working with imported CAD models or building original models. New features include design scenarios that let a single FEA model contain numerous analyses; a software wizard for creating bolts and fasteners; design studies and size optimization, which provide automated tools for achieving optimal designs based on user-supplied criteria; and improved meshing capabilities. Other new features are a k-epsilon turbulence model for fluid flow analysis, which allows specification of wall roughness, and a reinforced (rebar) concrete element and material model for realistic simulation of concrete structures. The software also supports multiple rotating frames of reference for 3D modeling of complex fans and similar systems, and the capability to define results-based load curves for Mechanical Event Simulation. Enhanced multiphysics analysis includes coupled unsteady fluid flow and transient heat with buoyancy effects.

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NASA-Funded Project Investigates Deep-Sea Life

The Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) in Moss Landing, CA, is using funding from organizations including NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to develop the Environmental Sample Processor (ESP), an electromechanical/ fluidic instrument that collects discrete water samples from the ocean subsurface. It concentrates microorganisms (particulates), and automates application of molecular probes to identify microorganisms and their gene products. The ESP also archives samples so that further analyses may be done after the instrument is recovered. NASA is considering how elements of the ESP might be useful in looking for life on other planets.

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