Sensors/Data Acquisition

Short-Range Communication System

Applications range from hard disk drives and printers to robot-assisted surgery. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center has a suite of novel technologies for digital control of electronic machinery. NASA developed the technologies for autonomous assembly of modular space structures. The base technologies in the suite can improve gap sensors and absolute position sensors. They sense position and proximity, and can also wirelessly communicate the information to drive switching and stepper motor operations. Applications for these technologies span a broad range of industrial robotics topics, and they can be combined to perform a variety of functions. Other technologies in the suite can be incorporated into the base technologies to perform additional sensor functions, and serve as a short-range antenna and close proximity transmitter and receiver. The technologies are self-calibrating and have embedded integrity monitoring functions for assured position and proximity readings.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors

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Real-Time Radiation Monitoring Using Nanotechnology

NASA has patented a unique chemical sensor array leveraging nano-structures for monitoring the concentration of chemical species or gas molecules that is not damaged when exposed to protons and other high-energy particles over time. The nanotechnology-enabled chemical sensor array uses single walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs), metal catalyst-doped SWCNTs, and polymer-coated SWCNTs as the sensing media between a pair of interdigitated electrodes (IDE). By measuring the conductivity change of the SWCNT device, the concentration of the chemical species or gas molecules can be measured. These sensors have high sensitivity, low power requirements, and are robust and have a low manufacturing cost compared to other commercial chemical sensors for detection of trace amount of chemicals in gasses and liquids.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors

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Real-Time Oil Reservoir Evaluation Using Nanotechnology

This innovation is a method and system for evaluating the status and response of a mineral-producing field (e.g., oil and/or gas) by monitoring selected chemical and physical properties in or adjacent to a well site headspace. Nanotechnology sensors and other sensors are provided for one or more underground (fluid) mineral-producing well sites to determine the presence/absence of each of two or more target molecules in the fluid; relative humidity, temperature, and/or fluid pressure adjacent to the well site; and flow direction and flow velocity for the fluid. The nanosensor measures an electrical parameter value and estimates a corresponding environmental parameter value, such as water content or hydrocarbon content. The system is small enough to be located down-hole in each mineral-producing horizon for the well site.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors

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Using PXI to Build a High-Performance MEMS Microphone Testing System

The demand for increasing microphone signal quality from handheld mobile devices has led to the development of microphone signal processing technologies such as: HD audio, noise cancellation, active noise cancellation, beam forming, directional reception, stereo sound field reconstruction, and speech recognition. As well, devices incorporating multiple microphones are becoming more and more popular. Several newly released smart phones now integrate multiple MEMS (Micro Electrical-Mechanical System) microphones for improved background noise cancellation. All flagship smart phone models in introduced in 2015 featured three or more MEMS microphones to support HD audio, ambient noise cancellation, noise filtering, directional reception and speech recognition. Popularity of MEMS microphones is expected to grow.

Posted in: White Papers, Electronics, Data Acquisition, Sensors, Test & Measurement

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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.

Posted in: Articles, Sensors

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Microcontrollers

Toshiba America Electronic Components (San Jose, CA) has released a group of 30 microcontrollers (MCUs) based on the ARM® Cortex®-M3 core. The M3H MCUs are fabricated with an embedded flash memory process. Target applications include motor control, consumer electronics, office automation equipment, and housing and facility equipment.

Posted in: Products, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Sensors

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Multimeter

Fluke (Everett, WA) has announced the 279 FC TRMS Thermal Multimeter. The test tool integrates a digital multimeter (DMM) with a thermal camera. Using the 279 FC imager, technicians can check for hot spots in fuses, wires, insulators, connectors, splices, and switches; the DMM troubleshoots and analyzes issues.

Posted in: Products, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Sensors

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