Sensors/Data Acquisition

NASA, UCF Professor Send Sensor to Stratosphere

Planetary Atmospheres Minor Species Sensor (PAMSS) University of Central Florida Orlando, FL www.ucf.edu Using a high-altitude balloon, NASA and a team led by University of Central Florida physics professor Robert Peale sent an experimental sensor about 20 miles above the Earth. The flight demonstrated the sensor’s ability to function in the perilous conditions found in the stratosphere, where the temperature can plummet to -75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Sensors

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Glaucoma Sensor Monitors Eye Continuously

More than three million Americans are currently living with glaucoma, an eye disorder with few symptoms in its early stages. Globally, the number may increase to almost 80 million by 2020, according to the British Journal of Ophthalmology. Glaucoma eventually leads to damage of the optic nerve.

Posted in: Articles, Sensors

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New Control Possibilities for Wireless Switches

Wireless controls have been widely accepted and embraced in the industrial community. Widespread use of monitoring devices in the process industry, the deployment of RFID components in a variety of industry segments, and the demonstrated performance of a large, installed base of the technologies serve as evidence of their viability.

Posted in: Articles, Sensors

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The Strain Gauge Gets an Upgrade

The strain gauge, a device commonly used in the aerospace industry to detect stress and deformation, has its limitations. The three copper wires of the strain gauge often lead to labor-intensive efforts; a large, complicated structure requiring 100 strain measurements, for example, means 300 lead wires. As the implementation becomes more complex, the wire bundle itself gets bigger and heavier. Strain gauges are also susceptible to electronic magnetic interference, and the sensors must be spaced out at distant intervals.

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High-Shock Sensors

Diversified Technical Systems (Seal Beach, CA) has released the 6DX PRO, a high-shock sensor with six degrees of freedom. The three angular rate sensors (18000 or 50000 deg/sec) deliver position data, while the three accelerometers (2000 or 20000 g) are rated for high-impact environments. The 19 × 19 × 14.5-mm enclosure weighs 12 grams. The 6DX PRO is also sealed, IP67 rated, and compliant with NHTSA, FAA, ISO 6487, and SAE J211 practices.

Posted in: Products, Sensors

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Gas and Vapor Sensors on Paper

These sensors can be used wherever chemical or gas sensors are used, such as in mining, security, biomedical, food processing, and agriculture. Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California Sensors on paper have been proposed and fabricated to identify gas or vapors (chemicals). Traditional sensors are based on hard substrates such as silicon. Sensors fabricated on paper are cheaper, foldable, flexible, and bio - degradable. Paper electronics is an emerging area. Logic devices, memory, RFID (radio-frequency identification) tags, etc. have been demonstrated. Sensors on paper will be another building block to achieve complete, true paper electronics.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors

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Intelligent Flamefinder Detection and Alert System

This method detects and localizes both leaks and flames of hydrogen. Stennis Space Center, Mississippi While NASA facilities already use huge volumes of hydrogen as a propellant/fuel, many other federal and state programs across the country are looking at potentially expanding the use of hydrogen. There are, however, significant challenges associated with hydrogen use. These include a tendency to leak through seals (due to the very small size of the hydrogen atom) that ordinarily would efficiently stop most other materials, a very high diffusion rate, a huge explosive mixture range, and the fact that hydrogen burns with an invisible flame. Therefore, hydrogen leak detection is an important capability associated with a safe and operational work environment for NASA facilities, as well as at any other location/site that would potentially use this fuel. At the time of this reporting, there is not a technology that provides simple, inexpensive, and wide-coverage methods that enable large quantities of hydrogen to be monitored. Sensors that are available tend to be limited to either a very short range, or have no directionality. For instance, a standard hydrogen sensor detects an increase in hydrogen, but cannot determine if that increase is from a small leak nearby or a larger leak some distance upwind. A technology that is capable of alerting and providing emergency detection information about hydrogen leakage would be beneficial and increase overall safety.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors

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