Test & Measurement

Beat-to-Beat Blood Pressure Monitor

This invention is applicable to all segments of the blood pressure monitoring market, including ambulatory, home-based, and high-acuity monitoring. This device provides non-invasive beat-to-beat blood pressure measurements and can be worn over the upper arm for prolonged durations. Phase and waveform analyses are performed on filtered proximal and distal photoplethysmographic (PPG) waveforms obtained from the brachial artery. The phase analysis is used primarily for the computation of the mean arterial pressure, while the waveform analysis is used primarily to obtain the pulse pressure. Realtime compliance estimate is used to refine both the mean arterial and pulse pressures to provide the beat-to-beat blood pressure measurement.

Posted in: Bio-Medical, Test & Measurement, Briefs, Patient Monitoring, Measuring Instruments, Monitoring


Magnetic Testing Technique Helps Ensure Reliability of PV Cells

Making use of the force generated by magnetic repulsion, Georgia Tech researchers have developed a new technique for measuring the adhesion strength between thin films of materials used in microelectronic devices, photovoltaic cells, and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS).

Posted in: News, News, Renewable Energy, Solar Power


New 3D Designs Double Solar Power

A team of MIT researchers is building cubes or towers that extend solar cells upward in three-dimensional configurations. The results from the structures they’ve tested show power output ranging from double to more than 20 times that of fixed flat panels with the same base area.

Posted in: News, News, Computers, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Solar Power


PDC Drill Bits Open Up Options for Geothermal Energy

Nearly two-thirds of the oil we use comes from wells drilled using polycrystalline diamond compact (PDC) bits, originally developed 30 years ago to lower the cost of geothermal drilling. Sandia National Laboratories and the U.S. Navy recently brought the technology full circle, showing how geothermal drillers might use it.

Posted in: News, News, Geothermal Power, Renewable Energy, Machinery & Automation


Automated Lab-on-a-Chip Electrophoresis System

Robotic analysis in defense or security operations that require sample handling or dilution can utilize this technology. Capillary electrophoresis is an analytical technique that can be used to detect and quantify extremely small amounts of various biological molecules. In the search for biochemical traces of life on other planets, part of this search involves an examination of amino acids, which are the building blocks of life on Earth. The most sensitive method for detecting amino acids is the use of laser induced fluorescence. However, since amino acids do not, in general, fluoresce, they first must be reacted with a fluorescent dye label prior to analysis. After this process is completed, the liquid sample then must be transported into the electrophoresis system. If the system is to be reused multiple times, samples must be added and removed each time. In typical laboratories, this process is performed manually by skilled human operators using standard laboratory equipment. This level of human intervention is not possible if this technology is to be implemented on extraterrestrial targets.

Posted in: Test & Measurement, Briefs


Voltage Increases Observed in Closely Packed Nanowires

Unexpected voltage increases of up to 25 percent in two barely separated nanowires have been observed at Sandia National Laboratories. Designers of next-generation devices using nanowires to deliver electric currents — including batteries and certain solar arrays — may need to make allowances for such surprise boosts.

Posted in: News, News, Batteries, Energy Efficiency, Solar Power


A Mass-Spectrometer System for Detecting Gas Leaks

This versatile, expandable system can be controlled from a safe remote location. The Hydrogen Umbilical Mass Spectrometer (HUMS) consists of an integrated sample delivery system, a commercial mass-spectrometer- based gas analyzer, and a set of calibration gas mixtures traceable to NIST (National Institute for Standards and Technology). The system, except for the calibration gas mixtures and the remote operator display, fits into a standard 24-in. wide, 6-ft high, 36-in. deep (0.61 by 1.83 by 0.91 m, respectively) equipment rack and is powered by 120-Vac, 30-A, 60-Hz source. It was designed to perform leak detection and measurement of cryogenic propellants (oxygen and hydrogen) from a remote location during shuttle-launch countdown. It is used specifically to sample the background gas surrounding the 17-in. (0.43-m) Orbiter-ET disconnect, looking for leakage of gaseous hydrogen. The capability to monitor shuttle purge gases and cryogenic hydrogen fill and drain line T-0 disconnect helium purge gas is incorporated into the shuttle installation on each Mobile Launch Platform (MLP).

Posted in: Test & Measurement, Briefs, TSP