Sensors/Data Acquisition

Wireless Sensing System Using Open-Circuit, Electrically Conductive Spiral-Trace Sensor

This low-profile inductance-capacitance sensor is suitable for small packaging.

NASA Langley Research Center researchers have developed a wireless, low-profile sensor that uses a magnetic field response measurement acquisition system to provide power to the sensor and to acquire physical property measurements from it. Unique to this sensor is the shape of the electrical trace that eliminates the need for separate inductance, capacitance, and connection circuitry. This feature gives the sensor a smaller circuit footprint to enable a smaller, flexible, and easy-to-fabricate sensor package. The shape of the electrical trace can be readily modified to sense different physical properties. Also, arranging multiple low-profile sensors together can permit the wireless data acquisition system to read the responses from all the sensors by powering just one of them.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors, Semiconductor devices, Sensors and actuators, Wireless communication systems, Product development
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Variable Permeability Magnetometer Systems and Methods for Aerospace Applications

This technology exploits the varying permeability of a magnetic material with ambient magnetic fields.

NASA's Langley Research Center has developed a magnetometer that takes advantage of the unique variable permeability properties of Metglas 2714A magnetic material. By measuring directly the inductive reactance of a simple right circular cylindrical search coil through the application of current from a high-output-impedance current source driven with a 10-kHz sinusoidal voltage, a magnetic field sensor having a 700-Hz bandwidth, good linearity, and excellent noise performance with sensitivity at least as good as the 0.1 nTesla range was produced.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors, Sensors and actuators, Product development, Magnetic materials, Semiconductors
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Farzin Amzajerdian, Principal Investigator, Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA

Since 2003, Farzin Amzajerdian has worked on the Navigation Doppler Lidar (NDL), a sensor designed to support safe and precise vehicle landings on Mars and other destinations. The breadbox-sized NDL contains three lasers, a small electronics box, and lenses connected by fiber-optic cables. Amzajerdian will soon oversee the testing of the technology in California's Mojave Desert.

Posted in: Who's Who, Sensors
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Eddy Current System and Method for Crack Detection

This probe can identify outer surface damage from within the interior of installed hardware.

NASA's Langley Research Center has developed a new eddy current inspection device that probes for cracks in parts of metal structures that are often inaccessible without extensive disassembly. The probe is specially designed for insertion into the cavity of a part to inspect the surrounding structure in an outward direction. For example, the probe may be held inside a large, thick tube and pointed outward to inspect the outer diameter of the tube. NASA used the probe to test for stress corrosion cracking in the relief radius of Space Shuttle thrusters without having to dismantle the hardware, reducing inspection time while ensuring the health of the structure. NASA Langley is seeking organizations that would like to license the probe to test for cracks in rocket thrusters and other metallic structures with hard-to-reach inspection areas.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors, Sensors and actuators, Fatigue, Metals, Inspections
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Optical Fiber Sensors vs. Conventional Electrical Strain Gauges for Infrastructure Monitoring Applications

Public infrastructure, including bridges, pipelines, tunnels, foundations, roadways, dams, etc., is subject to factors that can degrade it or lead to malfunctions. These structural problems can be the result of deterioration, improper construction methods, seismic activity, nearby construction work, etc. Although electrical strain gauges have long been used for monitoring structural changes, they sometimes lack the durability and integrity necessary to provide accurate, actionable information over extended periods. The applications in this white paper demonstrate how optical fiber sensors can offer a variety of economic and performance advantages.

Posted in: White Papers, Fiber Optics, Optics, Sensors
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Radar Waveforms for A&D and Automotive Radar

There are many similarities between commercial radar and those used in defense electronics applications. The same technology used in high-end automobiles may be considered for autonomous vehicles and unmanned systems. However, one similarity that transcends the sensor application is choosing the right radar waveform.

Posted in: White Papers, Aerospace, Defense, Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Sensors
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Branimir Blagojevic, Technologist, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD

During his time with former employer Science and Engineering Services, LLC, Branimir Blagojevic helped build a remote-sensing device that detected biological agents. The technology, originally made for the Department of Defense (DoD), may soon find a place on Mars. Blagojevic currently leads the development of the Bio-Indicator Lidar Instrument (BILI), a device that could be used to spot organic molecules and signs of life on Mars.

Posted in: Who's Who, Detectors
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How To Substantially Reduce Encoder Cost While Gaining Functionality With Multi-Turn Rotary Position Sensors

Many applications require rotation counters that can measure angles greater than 360º. However the low-cost 10-turn potentiometers most design engineers are familiar with can’t always meet user requirements for resolution and reliability. As an alternative, optical absolute encoders are too expensive for many applications. These solutions require a continuous power supply or they will lose count when power is restored. Also, geared technology/rotation counters are subject to significant wear.

Posted in: White Papers, Motion Control, Automation, Robotics, Data Acquisition, Sensors
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Will the voice become a mainstream way to control our devices?

This year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas showcased many new consumer products featuring voice control. LG, for example, introduced a smart refrigerator equipped with Amazon's Alexa voice service. Other CES technologies with voice-recognition capabilities included televisions, home lighting systems, and vehicles. Last Tuesday, Shawn Dubravac, Chief Economist of the Consumer Technology Association, said vocal computing is replacing the traditional graphical user interface, and "the ability to infuse AI into small things at relatively low cost is present." What do you think? Will the voice become a mainstream way to control our devices?

Posted in: Question of the Week, Data Acquisition, Sensors
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Biomarker Sensor System and Method for Multi-Color Imaging and Processing of Single-Molecule Life Signatures

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory offers a method to manufacture biomarker sensor arrays with nanoscale resolution and active regions on the order of 1 micron by applying nanolithographic direct-write techniques to the fabrication of Silane chemistry sensors on a transparent substrate. This novel technology enables extremely fine patterns of detectors suitable for multicolor imaging of single-molecule samples at resolutions far below the diffraction limit. The extremely small size of these sensors allows for rapid, highly specific screening for hundreds of functionalities within a single, small, integrated microfluidics chip.

Posted in: Briefs, White Papers, Sensors, Integrated circuits, Sensors and actuators, Biological sciences, Fabrication, Biomaterials
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