Features

30 Years of Communications Technology

In celebration of the 30th Anniversary of NASA Tech Briefs, our features in 2006 highlight a different technology category each month, tracing the past 30 years of the technology, and continuing with a glimpse into the future of where the technology is headed. Along the way, we include insights from industry leaders on the past, present, and future of each technology. This month, we take a look at the past 30 years of Communications Technology.

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30 Years of Computer Technology

Throughout 2006, we’ve been celebrating the 30th anniversary of NASA Tech Briefs with special feature articles highlighting the past 30 years of a different technology category each month. This month, we conclude our anniversary coverage by tracing 30 years of computer technology.

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3D Navigation Devices

3Dconnexion(r), a Logitech company, San Jose, CA, has released two new 3D navigation devices, SpaceNavigator and SpaceExplorer, that provide designers with intuitive 3D computer navigation control. SpaceNavigator is an entry-level device that lets users move naturally and fluidly in 3D environments without making repetitive mouse movements or having to type multiple keyboard commands. It features six optical sensors that communicate multiple threads of navigation data to 3D applications. It is used as a companion to a mouse, in the alternate hand, and lets users simultaneously pan, zoom, and rotate 3D objects. A small, heavy steel base holds the device to the desktop and supports a controller cap that flexes in all directions. The SpaceExplorer is a mid-range device that features a key console and 15 pre-configured function keys within comfortable reach of the controller cap. It comes with 3DxSoftware, which offers support for Autodesk Design Reviewer and DWF Viewer, and Google Earth and SketchUp. For Free Info Visit http://info.hotims.com/10960-120

Posted in: Products

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Bill Sheredy, Project Manager for SAME (Smoke Aerosol Measurement Experiment)

NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, OH Bill SheredyFire is deadly and unpredictable on Earth; in an enclosed space vehicle in orbit, its presence takes on even more serious implications. To prevent the threat of smoke and fire on missions, NASA conducted the Smoke Aerosol Measurement Experiment (SAME), designed to create devices that will adequately detect combustion in a zero-gravity environment. Heading SAME is NASA researcher Bill Sheredy.

Posted in: Who's Who

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Product of the Month: Infrared Emitters & Sensors

O P T E K Technology (Carrollton, TX) offers the OP280 series of infrared emitters, and the OP580 series of matching silicon photo sensors. The OP280 emitter series consists of three standard devices: the OP180 940-nm infrared emitter, the OP280 880-nm infrared emitter, and the OP280K 890-nm infrared emitter; and the OP280PS 850-nm point source infrared emitter and the OP280V 850-nm vertical cavity surface emitting laser (VCSEL) device. The OP580 series of sensors consists of the OP580 phototransistor, the OP580PR silicon photodarlington, and the OP580RB silicon phototransistor with an integrated base-emitter resistor. The emitters and sensors are housed in standard PLCC-2 surface mount packaging, and are suitable for applications in industrial automation control, optical encoder equipment, and bar code readers.

Posted in: Products, Products

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Digital Servos, Software Chart New Directions in Optical Scanning

Optical scanners, or servo-controlled, limited-rotation motors with laser-beam steering mirrors, were first introduced 40 years ago by General Scanning. Since then, they have become the enabling technology behind many innovative products across many different industries, including medical imaging, industrial machining, product identification, biomedical research, automotive manufacturing, and many more.

Posted in: Articles, Features, ptb catchall, Photonics

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Design Software Bridges Optical/Mechanical Gap for Life Sciences

The inherently interdisciplinary nature of developing instrumentation for life sciences requires a high level of collaboration between scientists and engineers across the fields of analytical or clinical chemistry, optics, mechanics, material science, and microbiology. Moreover, product development teams are competing for first-tomarket benefits that are driven by intellectual property lifetimes and insuring an installed base quickly to realize recurring consumable sales. Concurrently, product designers need to comply with current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP). System-level modeling enables adherence to the methodical design process without the cost and time associated with iterative hardware prototyping and laboratory and clinical testing.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Applications, ptb catchall, Photonics

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