Articles

Inside NASA’s White Sands Test Facility: How High-Speed Cameras Support Hypervelocity Experiments

At NASA’s White Sands Test Facility, Donald Henderson and his team spend much of their days shooting projectiles at 15,700 miles per hour. Hypervelocity testing done at the Las Cruces, NM center simulates the impact of micrometeoroids and orbital debris on spacecraft shields.

Posted in: Articles, Cameras, Imaging, Photonics, Optics, Optics, Impact tests, Test equipment and instrumentation, Test facilities, Spacecraft
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2016 Create the Future Design Contest

The 2016 Create the Future Design Contest — sponsored by COMSOL, Mouser Electronics, and Tech Briefs Media Group (publishers of NASA Tech Briefs) — recognized innovation in product design in seven categories: Aerospace & Defense, Automotive/Transportation, Consumer Products, Electronics, Machinery/Automation/ Robotics, Med ical, and Sustainable Technologies. In this special section, you’ll meet the Grand Prize Winner, as well as the winners and Honorable Mentions in all seven categories, chosen from over 1,100 new product ideas submitted from a record 71 countries. To view all of the entries online, visit www.createthefuturecontest.com.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Automotive, Defense, Electronics, Alternative Fuels, Energy, Renewable Energy, Green Design & Manufacturing, Medical, Patient Monitoring, Automation, Robotics, Design processes, Collaboration and partnering
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2016 Create the Future Design Contest: Grand Prize Winner

HYLIION - HYBRID TECHNOLOGY FOR SEMI-TRAILERS AND THE TRUCKING INDUSTRY

Thomas Healy, RF Culbertson, AJ Emanuele, Morgan Culbertson, Wilson Sa, Pam Culbertson, Chad Saylor, Len Kulbacki, Eric Weber, Adam Faris, Kim Kasee, Roger Richter, Jared King, Phil Aufdencamp, and Tim Gehring

Hyliion, Pittsburgh, PA

Hyliion is bringing hybrid efficiency to the trucking industry by replacing a semi-trailer’s passive axle with the Intelligent Electric Drive Axle System. The system can decrease fuel consumption and reduce emissions by capturing wasted energy and storing it in a battery pack to help propel the trailer when needed. Currently, tractor-trailers get 6.5 miles per gallon, and on average use $48,000 of fuel annually (per tractor). The trucking industry in the U.S. spends $150B per year on fuel; 6.2% of all emissions in the U.S. comes from trucks.

Posted in: Articles, Automotive, Alternative Fuels, Energy, Energy Storage, Renewable Energy, Green Design & Manufacturing, Heavy trucks, Hybrid electric vehicles, Trailers
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2016 Create the Future Contest: Automotive & Transportation Category Winner

CASTROL REINVENTS THE OIL CHANGE WITH NEXCEL

Krishan Arora, Mike Baker, Glenn Barber, Peter Brett, Ross Dewhurst, Melvyn Dover, John Gamston, Steven Goodier, Annie Leeson, Vincent Panel, Ben Russell, Alessandra Scotese, Oliver Taylor, Julian Von Thungen-Reichenbach-Evans, Chris Wilks, John Ward-Zinski, and Roy Williamson

Castrol, Oxford, UK

Castrol’s NEXCEL system is a sealed oil cell that contains both the engine oil and the oil filter, so it can be easily removed and replaced by hand in about 90 seconds versus 20 minutes for a conventional oil change. The sealed cell ensures that used oil is collected and handled safely, facilitating enhanced recycling and reuse of the waste oil into high-quality lubricants through a dedicated re-refining process.

Posted in: Articles, Automotive, Thermal Management, Recycling Technologies, Design processes, Engine lubricants, Maintenance, Repair and Service Operations, Maintenance, repair, and service operations
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2016 Create the Future Contest: Aerospace & Defense Category Winner

FLASH® BAINITE — HIGH PERFORMANCE ARMOR

Gary Cola, Flash Bainite, Washington, MI

The Flash® Bainite Process is a rapid heat treating process for creating steel that is stronger than titanium, lighter than aluminum, and made at lower cost than traditional high-strength steel. Flash Bainite steel, which was originally developed for the armor industry, is migrating to civilian uses such as automotive applications (safer/lighter crash structure), building/bridge construction (stronger), and even lawn edger blades (longer life).

Posted in: Articles, Defense, Steel, Protective equipment, Protective structures, Military vehicles and equipment
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2016 Create the Future Design Contest: Electronics Category Winner

1,000X BETTER DATA COMPRESSION AND REAL-TIME DECODING OF HIGH-RESOLUTION MAPS

Shaun McWherter, Mark Skoog, and Jamie Willhite, NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center, Edwards, CA; and Loyd Hook, University of Tulsa, OK

This NASA-developed data-compression technology is capable of encoding massive amounts of data into a package more than 1,000 times smaller than with standard compression, which can transform the use of digital terrain maps (DTMs) in restricted environments such as tablets, smartphones, and embedded systems. Created at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center, the software system integrates innovative encoding and decoding algorithms to provide a 5,000:1 compression ratio and rapid/continuous decompression in constrained computing situations. It enables users to access and create customized DTMs from a variety of data sources using a single graphical user interface.

Posted in: Articles, Electronics, Cartography, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Cartography, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Data management
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2016 Create the Future Design Contest: Machinery/Automation/Robotics Category Winner

SHAPE MEMORY ALLOY BASED SAFETY LATCH

Nicholas W. Pinto, Suresh Gopalakrishnan, Chandra S. Namuduri, Nancy L. Johnson, and Mark Vann General Motors, Warren, MI

General Motors has invented a device that indicates when an unsafe level of energy remains in an electrical panel box after the main power has been disconnected. Possible sources of this energy may be incorrect wiring, external device add-ons, and the presence of residual charge from capacitors. The device works by engaging a safety latch mechanism built with shape memory alloy (SMA) technology along with an audio or visual alarm.

Posted in: Articles, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Implants & Prosthetics, Medical, Automation, Robotics, Alloys, Smart materials, Hardware, Restraint systems
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2016 Create the Future Design Contest: Medical Category Winner

CONTINUOUS WEARABLE BLOOD PRESSURE MONITOR

Sean Connell, Kyle Miller, Jay Pandit, and Jung-En Wu Bold Diagnostics, Evanston, IL

Bold Diagnostics has developed a blood pressure monitoring system that is comfortable for patients and seamlessly integrates into their everyday lives. The low-cost monitor includes a set of wearable wristbands that uses optical biosensors to continuously measure blood pressure, and a smartphone application that uploads a report into the patient’s medical record for clinician review. The solution provides accurate measurements with greater frequency, enabling doctors to positively impact clinical outcomes with proper blood pressure management.

Posted in: Articles, Medical, Patient Monitoring, Design processes, Sensors and actuators, Sensors and actuators, Cardiovascular system, Medical equipment and supplies
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2016 Create the Future Design Contest: Consumer Products Category Winner

MIFOLD

Jon Sumroy, Carfoldio, Ltd., Ra’anana, Israel

The mifold Grab-and-Go booster seat for children aged 4-12 is more than ten times smaller than a regular booster seat and just as safe. A regular booster seat works by lifting a child up to the position of an adult. mifold does the opposite, securing the seatbelt in the correct position on the hips and shoulder by holding the seatbelt down at three points.

Posted in: Articles, Automotive, Consumer Product Manufacturing, Imaging, Medical, Design processes, Children, Seats and seating, Seats and seating, Child restraint systems
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2016 Create the Future Design Contest: Sustainable Technologies Category Winner

DESOLENATOR — WATER FROM SUNSHINE

William Janssen, Desolenator, London, UK

The Desolenator is a water-purification technology that decontaminates water from any source using only solar energy. The technology is a very affordable ($0.005/L) “at-source” method of water purification. It offers a combination of features and capabilities that makes it extremely well suited for household use. It is GSM-mobile enabled and is data-driven through sensors, enabling service through micro mobile payment. It is eco-friendly, has a lifespan of up to 20 years, doesn’t require filters/ membranes, doesn’t drain the main’s electricity, and doesn’t expel toxic waste into the ocean. The long-term goal is to prevent the worsening of the water crisis.

Posted in: Articles, Renewable Energy, Solar Power, Green Design & Manufacturing, Greenhouse Gases, Design processes, Sun and solar, Sustainable development, Water reclamation
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