Sensors/Data Acquisition

Low-Cost RFID Torque and Tension Sensing Tag System

The system has applications in shipbuilding, aerospace engine construction, and other high-tech equipment.

This technology is a low-cost RFID-based torque and tension sensor for high-performance fasteners, such as bolts, that are used in sophisticated high-tech equipment and systems. It offers the ability to remotely and quickly verify that a given fastener is torqued properly, resulting in potential cost-savings over the life of the fastener and its host system. The technology is also extremely low-cost compared to current torque sensing wrenches and comparable technologies. This asset management tool offers performance and safety improvements as well. The motivation behind this invention was the catastrophic event in which a NOAA satellite sustained heavy damage after falling from a Turn-Over-Cart (TOC). The root cause was a configuration change in which 24 bolts had not been secured properly to the TOC. With this NASA invention, the quality assurance, tension monitoring, and configuration management associated with proper torqueing of fasteners will be largely automated, therefore providing a higher degree of safety.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors, Remote sensing, Radio-frequency identification, Fasteners
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SpinDx™ Lab on a Disk

Currently, when a patient arrives at the hospital or doctor's office feeling ill, they are first examined by the doctor, sent to a blood lab where vials of blood are taken, and then sent home to wait for results. This approach often means patients must wait days or weeks to get results. During that waiting period, they are not receiving treatment, which can be a critical factor for cancer, heart attack, or stroke patients.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors, Computer software and hardware, Diagnosis, Medical equipment and supplies, Test equipment and instrumentation
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Low-Power, Special-Purpose Chip for Speech Recognition in Electronics

Automatic speech recognition is on the verge of becoming the chief means of interacting with computing devices. To address this, MIT researchers have built a low-power chip specialized for automatic speech recognition. Whereas a cellphone running speech recognition software might require about 1 Watt of power, the new chip requires between 0.2 and 10 milliwatts, depending on the number of words it has to recognize. That probably translates to a power savings of 90 to 99 percent, which could make voice control practical for relatively simple electronic devices, including power-constrained devices that harvest energy from their environments, or go months between battery charges.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors, Integrated circuits, Human machine interface (HMI), Sound quality
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Method Improves Accuracy of Imaging Data

Research by the University of Chicago provides scientists looking at single molecules or into deep space a more accurate way to analyze imaging data captured by microscopes, telescopes, and other devices. The method, known as single-pixel interior filling function (SPIFF), detects and corrects systematic errors in data and image analysis used in many areas of science and engineering.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors, Imaging and visualization, Data management, Research and development
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Automation System Manages Critical Gas Distribution Process

Part of the TDK group of companies, Headway Technologies (Milpitas, CA) is a semiconductor manufacturer of memory and drive head technologies, and designs and manufactures recording heads for high-performance hard disk drives.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors, Semiconductor devices, Automation, Gases
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Floating Ultrasonic Transducer Inspection System and Method for Nondestructive Evaluation

The design allows a probe to easily move over surfaces being inspected without using a liquid couplant.

NASA's Langley Research Center has developed a Floating Ultrasonic System for improved nondestructive testing. Most ultrasonic scanners require an external liquid coupling agent (e.g., water, gel, oil) to make a good contact between the probe and the surface being scanned; however, some surfaces are sensitive to moisture and/or contamination created by these agents. NASA created the Floating Ultrasonic System to address this issue. NASA's technology is based on a momentary touching scheme where a vibrating probe comes in contact with the structure for fractions of a second while performing measurements, giving the probe the appearance of floating across a surface. The design allows for the easy movement of the probe over surfaces being inspected without the use of a liquid couplant between the probe and the surface. Initial test results have also shown NASA's system to have performance comparable to that of liquid-couplant-based ultrasonic scanners.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors, Vibration, Inspections, Non-destructive tests, Test equipment and instrumentation
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Will UAVs improve how we monitor the environment?

This week's Question: Last week's TechBriefs.com story from the SPIE Defense + Commercial Sensing 2017 conference in Anaheim revealed new ways of detecting leaks in natural gas pipelines. Panelists from industry, academia, and government demonstrated how miniaturized sensing platforms, and the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) hosting them, can improve the detection of hazardous gas leakage. What do you think? Will UAVs improve how we monitor the environment?

Posted in: Question of the Week, Aerospace, Aviation, Fiber Optics, Lasers & Laser Systems, Optical Components, Optics, Photonics, Data Acquisition, Sensors
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Is Your Data Acquisition System Prepared for Big Data?

Data acquisition systems are producing more analog data than ever before. This opportunity to uncover new insights comes at the risk of spending more time searching for and analyzing multiple data sets. Without proper data management, it is easy for important results to go unnoticed, causing repeated tests due to lost or undocumented data. Learn how proper metadata documentation, custom triggering, and implementing the right analysis technique help to save only the data you need to make informed decisions.

Posted in: On-Demand Webinars, Data Acquisition
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Report from SPIE 2017: Drones Spot Gas Leaks from the Sky

ANAHEIM, CA. During last week’s SPIE Defense + Commercial Sensing 2017 conference, panelists from industry, academia, and government demonstrated how miniaturized sensing platforms, and the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) hosting them, can improve the detection of hazardous gas leakage.

Posted in: News, News, Aerospace, Aviation, Detectors, Sensors
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Controlled Deposition and Alignment of Carbon Nanotubes

CNTs are manipulated into specific orientations to create small, powerful, and flexible sensors.

NASA Langley Research Center researchers are experts at producing carbon nanotube (CNT)-based sensors for structural health monitoring (SHM). The sensors can be embedded in structures of all geometries to monitor conditions both inside and at the surface of the structure to continuously sense changes. Having accumulated a body of knowledge on how to deposit and align CNTs, NASA is adept at manipulating the CNTs into specific orientations to create small, powerful, and flexible sensors. One of the sensors created by NASA is a highly flexible sensor for crack growth detection and strain field mapping that features a very dense and highly ordered array of single-walled CNTs. NASA is seeking companies that are interested in licensing technology or engaging NASA in joint research in the area of CNT sensors.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors, On-board diagnostics, On-board diagnostics (OBD), Sensors and actuators, Product development, Fabrication, Nanotechnology
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