Tech Briefs

Aircraft Deicing Decision Support Tool (DST)

Smooth and efficient operation of the National Airspace System depends on timely execution of flight-related events. Weather can severely disrupt the carefully planned flight schedules at a hub airport and impact travelers through out the country. In particular, a snowstorm may cause substantial perturbation in the departure of aircraft due to the need for deicing prior to takeoff. The additional time needed for an aircraft to be deiced, including time in queue, is highly nonlinear and difficult to predict.

Posted in: Briefs, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Aircraft deicing, Air transportation facilities

Artificial “Wrist” Enables Design of Wearable Blood Pressure Monitors

This wearable device monitors blood pressure continuously, 24 hours a day.

Unfortunately, blood pressure (BP) measurements currently require the use of a cuff that temporarily stops blood flow. A wearable BP “watch” using today’s technology would squeeze the wrist every few minutes, making it impractical to use. A better method might gauge subtle pressure changes at the surface of the skin above one of the main wrist arteries — the radial artery — without regularly cutting off circulation. But before this new technology can be developed, there is a need to understand what the pressure inside a blood vessel looks like on the surface of the skin. This requires a physical model that can be used to test wearable devices in a laboratory.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical, Sensors and actuators, Sensors and actuators, Body regions, Medical equipment and supplies, Physical examination, Product development, Anthropometric test devices

Digital-to-Analog Transformation and Reconstruction of ECG Data

This technology allows rapid, automated, second interpretation of 12-lead ECG data.

The innovators at NASA Johnson Space Center have developed a new method and device for specialized digital-to-analog conversion (DAC) and reconstruction of multichannel electrocardiograms (ECGs), including 12-lead ECGs. Current devices do not have the functionality that allows for the transmission of stored digital ECG data collected from one manufacturer’s ECG machine to another for an automated second opinion. With this technology, the physician has the opportunity to compare results by transferring the ECG data to another ECG machine — regardless of location — when a patient’s results are difficult to interpret for a second opinion. The technology also allows for the use of less expensive 12-lead ECG front ends or analog-to-digital conversion (ADC) hardware that is advantageous when in remote locations or with patients who are mobile during research studies. The digital-to-analog transformation and reconstruction of ECG data technology is available for licensing.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Data acquisition and handling, Data exchange, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Data acquisition and handling, Data exchange, Cardiovascular system, Medical equipment and supplies

Impedance Measurement Box

This tool provides single-point measurement of batteries.

The dependability of energy storage devices — particularly batteries — is becoming increasingly important to consumers, industry, and the military. As battery technology becomes more complex and users' expectations become more pronounced, there is a pressing need for highly accurate assessment techniques that can give state-of-health readings in conditions approaching real time.

Posted in: Briefs, Test & Measurement, Measurements, Energy storage systems, Energy storage systems, Electric power, Test equipment and instrumentation, Test procedures

Transducer-Actuator Systems for On-Machine Measurements and Automatic Part Alignment

These systems have applications in machine shops, and in automotive and aircraft parts and manufacturing.

When performing machine tool setup and maintenance operations, it is frequently necessary to use a position transducer to “sweep” a surface and establish its relationship to a machine. A machine operator or maintenance technician typically attaches a position indicator to one portion of a machine, and then sweeps the position transducer over the object of interest, while observing the indicator run-out. If necessary, multiple adjustments and re-checks are made to the position of the object to obtain the desired alignment condition.

Posted in: Briefs, Test & Measurement, Measurements, Sensors and actuators, Sensors and actuators, Automation, Manufacturing equipment and machinery, Parts

Bacteria-Powered Battery is Printed on a Single Sheet of Paper

This battery enables self-sustained, paper-based, point-of-care devices.

A bacteria-powered battery that can power disposable electronics has been created on a single sheet of paper. The manufacturing technique reduces fabrication time and cost, and the design could revolutionize the use of bio-batteries as a power source in remote, dangerous, and resource-limited areas.

Posted in: Briefs, Energy, Batteries, Batteries, Bacteria, Medical equipment and supplies, Fabrication, Biomaterials

Paper-Based Electrochemical Test Strip Detects Harmful Bacteria

This test could eliminate the need for more expensive follow-up tests.

Borrowing concepts from medical diagnostic devices, researchers have created a simple, inexpensive set of handheld tests that can detect the presence of many water- or food-borne pathogens. If applied in the field, such tests could greatly reduce the number of expensive follow-up tests needed to keep the food supply safe from fecal contamination.

Posted in: Briefs, Test & Measurement, Sensors and actuators, Sensors and actuators, Bacteria, Human factors

Internal Short Circuit (ISC) Device Helps Improve Lithium-Ion Battery Design

This tool helps manufacturers ensure the safety and reliability of electric vehicle batteries.

Battery safety is key to the acceptance and penetration of electric vehicles into the marketplace. When battery internal shorts occur, they tend to surface without warning, and usually after the cell has been in use for several months. While some failures simply result in the cell getting very hot, in extreme cases, cells go into thermal runaway, igniting the device in which they are installed. The most publicized failures involved burning laptop and cellphone batteries, and resulted in millions of recalls.

Posted in: Briefs, Energy, Lithium-ion batteries, Switches, Lithium-ion batteries, Switches, Thermodynamics, Thermodynamics, Reliability, Reliability, Fire, Electric vehicles

Center/TRACON Automation System Software Suite

The FAA has expressed great interest in early field tests and usage demonstrating reduced delays and operational errors.

Air traffic control within the US is getting more complicated as the number of aircraft increases. There is a great need to increase the efficiency of the system so that flight delays are minimized without having to build new airports or runways. At the same time, safety must be maintained so that increased traffic levels do not lead to air traffic control-related incidents.

Posted in: Briefs, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Automation, Air traffic control

Heavy Lift Wing in Ground (WIG) Cargo Flying Boat

The main commercial application is transoceanic cargo transport.

There are two commonly used options to transport large-volume and heavy cargo across the ocean: container ships and airline transport aircraft. Container ships take about 3 to 4 weeks to deliver goods, and airline transport aircraft take about 2 days. This innovation is a flying boat aircraft designed for heavy lift cargo utilizing wing in ground (WIG) effect. The wing in ground effect has many names, but it refers to the phenomenon where an aircraft flying close to the ground has increased lift and decreased induced drag. The induced drag of the aircraft is half of the induced drag compared to flying at altitude when the aircraft operates within 10% of its wingspan to the surface. The lift is double compared to flying at altitude when the aircraft is operating within 10% of its chord length to the surface.

Posted in: Briefs, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Wings, Drag, Freighter aircraft, Marine vehicles and equipment

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