Sensors/Data Acquisition

Determining Detection and Classification Potential of Munitions Using Advanced EMI Sensors in the Underwater Environment

Electromagnetic induction could be used to locate and characterize potentially dangerous sunken metallic objects.

Hazardous ordnance items are present along coastlines and in rivers and lakes in waters shallow enough to cause concerns for human recreational and industrial activities. The presence of water makes it difficult to detect and remove these hazardous legacies induced from wars, military training and deliberate disposal. Various techniques have been proposed to detect and characterize Unexploded Ordnances (UXO) and discarded military munitions (DMM) in the underwater environment including acoustic waves, magnetometery, and electromagnetic induction (EMI).

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, TSP, Aerospace, Sensors
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Drones Spot Gas Leaks From the Sky

As part of a project to improve energy pipeline industry safety, a JPL-developed miniature methane sensor is flight tested on a small unmanned aerial system. (Credit: University of California, Merced)

Posted in: Articles, Optics, Sensors
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Compact Active Vibration Control System

This system provides active damping of flexible structures using a simple and compact actuator, sensor, and control system.

NASA Langley Research Center has developed a point sensor and piezoelectric actuator system to actively sense and reduce vibrations in flexible structures. The system uses a directional piezoelectric actuator that couples to an underlying structure like four point forces acting normal to the structure. Four miniature accelerometers are located coincident with the piezoelectric point forces to create a matched actuator/sensor pair. This matched pair enables feedback control to be implemented using simple, robust, negative feedback that requires no knowledge of the dynamics of the structure, and can be implemented using analog electronics. When attached to a flexible structure, this active damping system can reduce vibrations in a variety of applications. Compared to other systems, this approach offers good performance with a simple and compact control system.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors
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Self-Assembling, Reversible, Reagentless Biosensor

Applications include pathogen detection, industrial monitoring, chemical detection, and healthcare and drug discovery.

Recognition-based biosensors capable of specifically detecting chemicals, toxins, and bio-agents in their environment are of increasing importance. An important goal in biosensor evolution is production of nanoscale assemblies capable of continuously monitoring concentrations of target species in a simple, reliable manner. This is accomplished by designing sensor components to carry out analyte recognition and binding while simultaneously producing useful output signals via an integrated signal transduction system. Optically addressed biosensors of this type often employ fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) in signal transduction. FRET has been employed in carefully designed sensing systems for proteins, peptides, nucleic acids, and other small molecules.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors
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MEMS Move Wearables Beyond Touch Interfaces

We use touch, the dominant user interface for years, to tap keyboards on laptops and tablets, to communicate with our car’s portable GPS, and to text friends and take photos from our smartphones.

Posted in: Articles, MEMs, Sensors
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Chip-Based Power Measurement Sensor

These sensors could be deployed in bulk, both on land and in space.

Phone signals spend at least some time traveling over fiber-optic cables. To ensure that the information gets where it needs to go, and to help researchers find better ways to ferry this information around, it’s necessary to reliably measure radiation power through these fibers. In order to calibrate a radiation power meter, researchers currently have to use a bulky cryogenic system and transfer the measurements to at least one other intermediate system. Each of these transfers increases uncertainties in the measurements, and the cryogenic systems are relatively rare and expensive to use and maintain.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors
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Space Radiation Detector with Spherical Geometry

This technology enables in-situ studies of the impact of Galactic Cosmic Radiation ions on Earth and in space.

NASA’s Glenn Research Center has developed and patented the Compact Full-Field Ion Detector System (CFIDS), a radiation particle detection system that provides information on the kinetic energies, directions, and electric charges of subatomic particles. The integrated package consists of a spherical Cherenkov detector, a compact detector stack, and low-noise, large-area detectors based on silicon carbide. The detectors and configuration can be modified to suit specific applications. The technology is an improvement over more conventional gas ionization detectors because the higher density of the solid media provides higher sensitivity to radiation. Originally developed to measure the properties of cosmic rays in outer space, the technology could be adapted for use on Earth for radiation dosimetry aboard high-altitude aircraft and in proton radiation therapy for cancer treatment.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors
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Sensors’ Role Evolves as New Wearables Emerge

Microelectromechanical system (MEMS)-based components, such as sensors and actuators, began penetrating the wearable products market about a decade ago, when the first accelerometers replaced mechanical springs in pedometers and step counters.

Posted in: Articles, Sensors
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3D Printing Enables Customized Magnets

Polymer-bonded magnets are valuable for many sensor applications that require the production of unique and reproducible field profiles, not necessarily fields with the highest strength.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Sensors
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Wire Sensors Detect Dangerous Conditions in the Clouds

Sensors designed to keep aircraft safe are also helping in climate studies.

Spinoff is NASA's annual publication featuring successfully commercialized NASA technology. This commercialization has contributed to the development of products and services in the fields of health and medicine, consumer goods, transportation, public safety, computer technology, and environmental resources.

Posted in: Articles, Sensors
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