Test & Measurement

Guarded Two-Dimensional Flat Plate Insulation Test Calorimeter with Attach Points

Consistent test results are obtained in a cost-effective, safe, reliable, and practical manner. John F. Kennedy Space Center, Florida Insulation systems usually do not operate on their own; they must work together with a structural system that is designed to support the article being insulated. Typically this structure penetrates the insulation, degrading it in some manner, and gives a pathway for the conduction of unwanted heat. High-performance insulation systems that use reflective foils are highly anisotropic (the heat flows more easily in one direction than the others), so disturbing the temperature gradients through the material can cause much greater effects than are due to the disturbances alone.

Posted in: Articles, Briefs, TSP, Data Acquisition, Sensors, Test & Measurement

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Test, Calibration, and Training Target for a Microwave Sensor

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California Human subjects are unsuitable for objective performance testing of victim detection radar because their heart and respiration rates are not controllable or repeatable. There are limitations on human targets from a safety standpoint as well. It is difficult to relate the ground truth to the measured data for a human target without needing additional equipment that must be attached to the human subject. Artificial targets using pneumatics do not provide sufficient fidelity of the radar return for development of identification algorithms.

Posted in: Articles, Briefs, TSP, Sensors, Test & Measurement

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Test it Like da Vinci

Timeless wisdom and new technologies are revolutionizing the world of testing, and bringing us from vision to finished product faster. Do you see product testing and checking as a necessary evil? Then take some time to change your mind. In the long process from vision to reality of a product, intelligent and efficient testing is indispensable. The latest metrological instruments help to begin developing a product when it only exists in our minds.

Posted in: Articles, Test & Measurement

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The Touch Screen Revolution

Touch screens are slowly but surely creeping into every aspect of our day-to-day lives. It’s not unlikely that you wake up to a cellphone alarm, adjust the room temperature on a thermostat, change the radio station in the car, and even start the washing machine using only a touch screen. A decade ago, we wouldn’t have used a touch screen for any of these tasks, but today it’s commonplace. To understand the impact of touch screens on test and measurement, you must first know the difference between resistive and capacitive touch screens, and the impact smartphones have had on touch screen implementations.

Posted in: Articles, Test & Measurement

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The Changing Face of Test

Many aspects of the test and measurement business are different from the way they were relatively few years ago. Perhaps the most obvious example is the people who are using test and measurement instrumentation. A recent industry study shows that 20 percent of electrical engineers now in the global workforce started their careers within the last decade.

Posted in: Articles, Test & Measurement

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Energy Harvesting Could Help Power Spacecraft of the Future

A consortium is working on a project to maximize energy harvesting on a spacecraft of the future. The initiative seeks to find energy-saving and -maximizing solutions to enable eco-friendly aircraft to stay in space for long periods of time without the need to return to Earth to re-fuel, or to avoid carrying vast amounts of heavy fuel on long-stay journeys.

Posted in: News, Aerospace, Aviation, Communications, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Energy Harvesting, Green Design & Manufacturing, Test & Measurement

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NASA Robot Explores Volcanoes

Carolyn Parcheta, a NASA postdoctoral fellow based at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and JPL robotics researcher Aaron Parness are developing robots that can explore volcanic fissures."We don't know exactly how volcanoes erupt. We have models but they are all very, very simplified. This project aims to help make those models more realistic," Parcheta said.Parcheta, Parness, and JPL co-advisor Karl Mitchell first explored this idea last year using a two-wheeled robot they call VolcanoBot 1, with a length of 12 inches (30 centimeters) and 6.7-inch (17-centimeter) wheels.VolcanoBot 2, smaller and lighter than its predecessor, will explore Hawaii's Kilauea volcano in March 2015. Parcheta's research endeavors were recently honored in National Geographic’s Expedition Granted campaign. SourceAlso: Learn about Autonomous Response for Targeting and Monitoring of Volcanic Activity.

Posted in: News, Machinery & Automation, Robotics, Measuring Instruments, Monitoring, Test & Measurement

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