Sensors/Data Acquisition

Making Sense from Sensors: How to Build a Sensor Fusion Engine

The presence of more than 1 billion sensor-rich smartphones and the intense interest surrounding the Internet of Things has drawn wide attention to all the potential and possibilities of sensor fusion engines. Availability of context data and general real-world data in digital format opens up many opportunities.

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NASA Proxy Maps Reveal Earthquake Damage

On April 25, 2015, a magnitude - 7 . 8 earthquake caused widespread building damage in central Nepal. The Italian Space Agency’s COSMO-SkyMed Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite acquired data over Kathmandu – a 50 x 50 km area – four days after the earthquake. Using the SAR information, Sang-Ho Yun and other researchers of the Advanced Rapid Imaging and Analysis (ARIA) team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and California Institute of Technology produced a damage proxy map showing areas of potential building damage.

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Inertial Sensors Get in the Driver’s Seat

Tiny devices improve safety, comfort in ADAS Two decades have passed since automotive manufacturers began using the first microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) accelerometer to measure strong acceleration and trigger the deployment of airbags (see Figure 1). The inaugural inertial sensor paved the way for more widespread use of accelerometers in today’s advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).

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Vibration Sensors Add New Touch to Prosthetics

The sense of touch is complex, and an instructor at the University of California – Santa Barbara (UCSB) has the technology to prove it. Yon Visell, assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and his students designed an apparatus that captures the unique vibration patterns associated with touch-specific actions, from gripping a coffee mug to tapping on a flat surface. The findings could support new applications in prosthetics, robotics, and virtual reality.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Sensors

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Airborne Elastic Backscatter and Raman Polychromator for Ash Detection

Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama Volcanic ash is a significant hazard to aircraft engine and electronics. It has caused damage to unwary aircraft and disrupted air travel for thousands of travelers, costing millions of dollars. The small, jagged fragments of rocks, minerals, and volcanic glass that constitute volcanic ash are about the size of sand and silt. Volcanic ash is hard, does not dissolve in water, is extremely abrasive and corrosive, and conducts electricity when wet. The upper winds transport the particles away to eventual dispersal in an ash cloud. Ash clouds typically form above 20,000 feet, but the lower limit of the initial cloud depends on both the height of the volcanic vent and the vigor with which material is ejected from it.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors

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Intelligent Displacement Sensor Deployment Using MTConnect Protocol over Ethernet

The protocol interfaces to an intelligent sensor and provides data gathering using a PC application. Stennis Space Center, Mississippi Quality measurements for design validation and certification requirements sometimes require hundreds or thousands of sensors and actuators. Maintaining such a complex system is difficult, especially over an extended time period and inevitable personnel changes. Many hours are spent tracking down sensor problems related to the sensor, associated cables, mounting hardware, or some part of the data acquisition system. These are expensive, labor-intensive hours that consume valuable technical resources.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors

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Active Remote-Sensing Radiometer

This technology can be used for security screening and security imaging, as well as automotive navigation in dust and fog conditions where machine vision performs poorly. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California Millimeter-wave (mm-wave) imaging techniques are already a popular solution for imaging through dust and fog. While mm-wave offers excellent penetration to dust when compared with infrared or optical sensing, the longer wavelengths create many problems associated with the specular response of surfaces at mm-wave. Generally, at mm-wave, the geometry and orientation of the target object has a larger influence on captured contrast than material properties by several orders of magnitude. While these effects can be somewhat mitigated with a radar imager, there is still a large contrast dependence on beam-target angle, and images are still entirely derived from geometry instead of material compositions.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors

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