Features

VPX-SC N-dimensional Supercomputing Architectures Come To The Critical Embedded Systems Market

From the first computers of the 1940s through the machines of the 1990s, all computer systems were CPUbound. In other words, the I/O interfaces could deliver more data than the CPU could process. In the 1990s Moore’s Law took over and clock speeds doubled every 18 months, along with the addition of multi-core processors. So, from 1990 through today, we have been I/O-bound, meaning CPUs can now process more data than the I/O links can deliver. Increases in CPU performance have been revolutionary while the increases in interconnect bandwidth have been incremental for many decades. However, bandwidth increases in RapidIO, InfiniBand, and Ethernet are breaking this bottleneck, giving us the ability to design incredibly powerful embedded supercomputing architectures for today’s dataintensive applications.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Embedded software, Architecture, Embedded software, Performance upgrades
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A Guide to Stereovision and 3D Imaging

3D imaging technology has come a long way from its roots in academic research labs, and thanks to innovations in sensors, decreasing cost of components, and the emergence of 3D functions in software libraries, 3D vision is now appearing in a variety of machine automation applications. From vision-guided robotic bin-picking to high-precision metrology, the latest generation of processors can now handle the immense data sets and sophisticated algorithms required to extract depth information and quickly make decisions.

Posted in: Articles, Imaging, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Sensors and actuators, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Sensors and actuators, Robotics
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NASA Technology Transfer: The Impact of Innovation

Over the course of its history, NASA has nurtured partnerships with the private sector to facilitate the transfer of NASA-developed technologies. The benefits of these partnerships have reached throughout the economy and around the globe. The resulting commercial products have contributed to the development of services and technologies in the fields of health and medicine, transportation, public safety, consumer goods, environmental resources, computer technology, and industry.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Research Lab, Collaboration and partnering, Globalization
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Do-It-Yourself Additives Recharge Auto Air Conditioning

NASA spinoff can help your car keep its cool.

Having your car’s air conditioner lose its cool on a hot day can make for an uncomfortable ride. A breakdown in thermal control in space is far more than a matter of comfort; on the Moon, for example, the temperatures can reach a scorching 260 °F during the day. In planning for future space missions, NASA aimed to improve the thermal control systems that keep astronauts comfortable and cool while inside a spacecraft.

Posted in: Articles, Automotive, Air conditioning, Passenger compartments, Air conditioning, Passenger compartments, Cooling, Spacecraft
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3D Visualization in Geospatial Analysis

The past decade has seen an explosion of observations from airborne and satellite-based multiand hyperspectral sensors, as well as from synthetic-aperture radar and LiDAR. Distilling useful information from this wealth of raw data is the domain of geospatial analysis, the collection of analytical, statistical, and heuristic methods for extracting information from georeferenced data. This information is important in serving the needs of a diverse set of industries including environmental conservation, oil and gas exploration, defense and intelligence, agriculture, coastal monitoring, forestry, and mining.

Posted in: Articles, Imaging, Cartography, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Cartography, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Data management
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Digital Imaging Systems for Ballistics Testing

Traditionally, the recording of ordnance proofing data has been split into two main areas: instrumentation and high speed photography. Instrumentation was more focused on the collection of analytical data from various instruments, e.g. Doppler radar, yaw screens (for pitch and yaw), and velocity traps (i.e. skyscreens or acoustic triggers), whereas high speed photography was more concerned with obtaining high quality images for later qualitative analysis. The photographic images were obtained using an assortment of high speed film cameras, often requiring a specialist photographic team to survey in, set up and align the camera, illuminate the subject, synchronise the camera to the firing system, process the film records and produce the final images for later manual analysis.

Posted in: Articles, Features, Photonics, Optics, Optics, Test equipment and instrumentation
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NASA Begins a New Journey of Exploration

“Tonight, on the planet Mars, the United States of America made history. The successful landing of Curiosity – the most sophisticated roving laboratory ever to land on another planet – marks an unprecedented feat of technology that will stand as a point of national pride far into the future. It proves that even the longest of odds are no match for our unique blend of ingenuity and determination. Tonight’s success reminds us that our preeminence – not just in space, but here on Earth – depends on continuing to invest wisely in the innovation, technology, and basic research that has always made our economy the envy of the world. I congratulate and thank all the men and women of NASA who made this remarkable accomplishment a reality – and I eagerly await what Curiosity has yet to discover.” - President Barack Obama, August 6, 2012

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Historical reference, Research and development, Entry, descent, and landing, Spacecraft
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Talking Mars

NASA Tech Briefs recently spoke with Doug McCuistion, Director of the Mars Exploration Program, and Michael Meyer, lead scientist for the Mars Exploration Program and Program Scientist for the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL). We talked about what NASA hopes to find, the technologies used onboard, and how the two-year mission is expected to progress.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Systems engineering, Technical reference, Technical review, Spacecraft
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The Technology of Curiosity

On April 14, 2004, NASA announced an opportunity for researchers to propose science investigations for the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission. Eight months later, the agency announced selection of eight investigations. In addition, Spain and Russia would each provide an investigation through international agreements. The instruments for these ten investigations make up the science payload on the Curiosity rover.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Globalization, Test equipment and instrumentation, Test procedures, Spacecraft
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An Ionic Twist on Hair Care

Nanomaterials developed by NASA play a big role in professional hairstyling tools.

Disinfecting can be dirty work. Typical cleaning agents, like chlorine and alcohol, release fumes that don’t go away when applied in the contained environment of a spacecraft. So NASA scientists developed an alternative method to keep surfaces disinfected, using a material whose antimicrobial properties have long been known: nanosilver.

Posted in: Articles, Nanotechnology, Bacteria, Human factors, Ceramics, Materials properties, Nanomaterials
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