Test & Measurement

Improved Detection of Kidney Stones Using S-mode Ultrasound

Steps were developed to improve kidney stone detection relative to surrounding tissue. Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas Ultrasound has been a useful tool in the detection of kidney stones. It is a low-cost solution that does not require ionizing radiation that would be harmful to vulnerable populations such as children and recurrent stone formers. However, it suffers from a broad range of sensitivity (78 to 96%) and specificity (31 to 100%) in the detection of stones.

Posted in: Briefs

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Vector Network Analyzer Calibration for Quasi-Optical Dual Ports

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland It is desirable to measure the electromagnetic properties of devices and materials in the millimeter part of the spectrum. For guided wave-based devices and materials (waveguides, coaxial devices), a vector network analyzer (VNA) is an excellent tool for this purpose since it provides full reflection and transmission characterization at high precision.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

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Measurement of the Mechanical Properties of Thin Film Polymers at Cryogenic Temperatures

A new apparatus uses pressurized liquid nitrogen to measure deformation. John F. Kennedy Space Center, Florida The measurement of structural properties of materials at cryogenic temperatures is a daunting task. The measurement of thin films at low temperatures is even harder. Current practices of immersing the material in a cryogenic fluid and then removing and testing it does not work due to the rapid warming of the low-mass thin film. Similarly, exposing it to a cold vapor environment, unless well controlled procedurally, does not yield data at a known temperature (the temperature of the material is unknown). Thus, gathering basic material properties of thin film materials at low temperature requires a new approach.

Posted in: Briefs

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Estimation of Algae Growth Stage, Growth Rate, and Lipid Content

Applications include diesel fuel production, renewable energy, biofuels, and pharmaceuticals. Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California This invention provides a method using light of different wavelengths to estimate freshwater and marine algae growth stage and algae growth rates as well as lipid content in standard media. Light absorption by the algae is measured for a specified light intensity in each of two or more narrow wavelength ranges, correcting for absorption in the medium without algae. The net light absorption is compared with a reference set of absorption values for the algae at different growth stages.

Posted in: Briefs

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Isotopic Biomarkers for Rapid Assessment of Bone Mineral Balance in Biomedical Applications

Advanced isotope tracer techniques are explored. Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas Development of new treatments for metabolic bone disease, and evaluation of the effectiveness of existing therapies in individual patients, are severely hampered by the lack of any reliable tool for quickly measuring changes in bone mineral balance in response to treatment. A new tracerless calcium isotope biomarker of bone mineral balance fills this need. When properly applied, the calcium isotope biomarker reveals changes in bone mineral balance with unprecedented speed and detail, and has the potential to dramatically improve the treatment for diseases such as osteoporosis. A complementary strontium isotope biomarker provides, with equal rapidity, information on the speed of exchange of calcium between soft tissue and mineralized compartments.

Posted in: Briefs

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Optically Modulated Miniature Magnetometer

This instrument may replace two separate instruments that are often needed together to study magnetic fields. Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland The optically modulated miniature magnetometer (OMMM) is intended to replace two separate instruments (each with their respective mass and power allotments) that are commonly needed together for scientific studies of magnetic fields — a triaxial fluxgate vector magnetometer and an optically pumped alkali vapor scalar magnetometer. For all vector instruments, the scalar data is necessary for calibrating the vector data.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

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Assisting An Aging Population: Designing Medical Devices With Force Sensing Technology

With the geriatric population on the rise, design engineers are challenged with designing responsive, noninvasive, user-friendly medical devices that cater to the needs of an older generation. Patients are looking for cost-effective, easy to use assistive tools that help them regain independence and confidence in their everyday life. Force feedback is a key feature for many of these devices that provide the user and doctor with great insight that ultimately results in better quality of life for the patient. Medical devices with force feedback allow design engineers to create innovative products that differentiate them from the competition. 

Posted in: White Papers, White Papers, Electronics

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