Tech Briefs

Extended Testability Analysis (ETA) Tool V8.0

This tool provides fast, efficient, and effective diagnostic assessment reports.An assessment of a system’s safety requirements is required early in the design process when cost and time impacts are minimal. These requirements include fault detection, failure isolation, and failure recovery. Systems engineering groups at NASA have been exploring model-based products to better support verification of these safety requirements. One such product involves qualitative failure propagation modeling as a means to achieve early assessment of the system prior to the availability of higher fidelity information. These early development products lack the advanced reporting and analysis capabilities required to address the needs of system designers and domain experts. Therefore, post-processing tools need to be developed to support the interrogation of the model, and the structured reporting required by system engineers.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Information Sciences, Software

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Lunar Regolith Simulant Sample Collection Mechanism for Remote Operation in a Thermal Vacuum Chamber

The Sample Capture Mechanism (SCM) is a remotely actuated, spring-driven mechanism designed to remotely capture and seal a 15-mL sample in less than 1 second. It was used to capture a 10-g sample of simulated regolith dispensed from a drill in a thermal vacuum chamber with a minimum temperature of –100 ºC. The sample crucible temperature is controllable from ambient temperature to 70 ºC.

Posted in: Briefs, Machinery & Automation

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Sonar Inspection Robot System

The system surveys interior volume, interrogates structure integrity, and displays real-time video and sonar.NASA’s Johnson Space Center innovators have designed a Robotic Inspection System that is capable of surveying deep sea structures such as oil platform storage cells/tanks and pipelines in order to determine the volume of material remaining inside, interrogate structure integrity, and display real-time video and sonar. This inspection device and method could significantly reduce the cost of inspecting, and in the future, provide sampling of the structure contents. The technology is an all-in-one inspection device that includes cameras, sonar, and motion-sensing instruments with hardware and software components. This NASA-developed technology is available for licensing.

Posted in: Briefs, Machinery & Automation

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Robonaut 2: Industrial Opportunities

The robot handles factory tasks that are ergonomically difficult, fatiguing, or unsafe for humans. Robonaut 2 lifts a 20-lb. weight with one hand, demonstrating the robot’s strength and endurance. Researchers at the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC), in collaboration with General Motors (GM) and Oceaneering, have designed a state-of-the-art, highly dexterous, humanoid robot: Robonaut 2 (R2). R2’s nearly 50 patented and patent-pending technologies have the potential to be game-changers in many applications, such as industrial environments. For example, in a traditional robotic assembly line, there are multiple specialized robots that are tooled for a small set of unique tasks. R2 provides an alternative way to implement automated assembly using extraordinary task flexibility, dexterity, and rapid interchangeability with human processes and tools. This can lower automation infrastructure costs and increase manufacturing flexibility. R2 can serve as an assistant or work independently. R2’s dexterity is a key feature in industrial environments, as the robot can handle factory work that is ergonomically difficult, fatiguing, or even unsafe.

Posted in: Briefs, Machinery & Automation

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Vessel Sealing Device for Robotic Devices

Invasive surgical procedures are essential for addressing various medical conditions. When possible, minimally invasive procedures are preferred, but these technologies are often limited in scope and complexity. These limitations are due in part to mobility restrictions from the use of rigid tools in small openings, and limited visual feedback. The currently available robotic systems are restricted by the use of access ports, and have limited sensory and mobility capabilities.

Posted in: Briefs, Machinery & Automation

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Improved Two-Step Replication Process for Producing Precision Optical Mirrors

Production of precision optical mirrors by replication requires molds or mandrels of the complementary shape. For example, replicating a concave mirror requires a convex mandrel. Convex shapes are difficult to fabricate and test since they do not focus light. Convex mandrels are therefore costly when they are available. Their sizes are limited to 1-2 meters. Two-step or double replication is well known in the art. In the traditional method, a specific polymer resin system with fillers is used to replicate an existing concave mirror (designated as “mother”) to produce a convex intermediate designated as “daughter.” The same material is then used to replicate the daughter, creating a third-generation concave that is designated as “granddaughter.”

Posted in: Briefs, Optics

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System and Method for Generating a Frequency-Modulated Linear Laser Waveform

Applications include manufacturing equipment, robotics, surveillance and security, military imaging, and spectroscopy.NASA’s Langley Research Center has made a breakthrough improvement in laser frequency modulation. Frequency modulation technology has been used for surface mapping and measurement in sonar, radar, and time-of-flight laser technologies for decades. Although adequate, the accuracy of distance measurements made by these technologies can be improved by using a high-frequency triangular-waveform laser instead of a sine waveform or lower-frequency radio or microwaves. This new system generates a triangular modulation waveform with improved linearity that makes possible precision laser radar [light detection and ranging (lidar)] for a variety of applications.

Posted in: Briefs, Lasers & Laser Systems, Optics, Photonics

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