Tech Briefs

Remote Sensing and Information Technology for Large Farms

Timely data on spatial and temporal variations in fields help farmers manage crops. A method of applying remote sensing (RS) and information- management technology to help large farms produce at maximum efficiency is undergoing development. The novelty of the method does not lie in the concept of "precision agriculture," which involves variation of seeding, of application of chemicals, and of irrigation according to the spatially and temporally local variations in the growth stages and health of crops and in the chemical and physical conditions of soils. The novelty also does not lie in the use of RS data registered with other data in a geographic information system (GIS) to guide the use of precise agricultural techniques. Instead, the novelty lies in a systematic approach to overcoming obstacles that, heretofore, have impeded the timely distribution of reliable, relevant, and sufficient GIS data to support day-to-day, acre-to-acre decisions concerning the application of precise agricultural techniques to increase production and decrease cost.

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Developments at the Advanced Design Technologies Testbed

A report presents background and historical information, as of August 1998, on the Advanced Design Technologies Testbed (ADTT) at Ames Research Center. The ADTT is characterized as an activity initiated to facilitate improvements in aerospace design processes; provide a proving ground for product-development methods and computational software and hardware; develop "bridging" methods, software, and hardware that can facilitate integrated solutions to design problems; and disseminate lessons learned to the aerospace and information-technology communities.

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Acoustical Applications of the HHT Method

A document discusses applications of a method based on the Huang-Hilbert transform (HHT). The method was described, without the HHT name, in "Analyzing Time Series Using EMD and Hilbert Spectra" (GSC-13817), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 24, No. 10 (October 2000), page 63. To recapitulate: The method is especially suitable for analyzing time-series data that represent nonstationary and nonlinear physical phenomena. The method involves the empirical mode decomposition (EMD), in which a complicated signal is decomposed into a finite number of functions, called "intrinsic mode functions" (IMFs), that admit well-behaved Hilbert transforms. The HHT consists of the combination of EMD and Hilbert spectral analysis.

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Microstrip Antenna Arrays on Multilayer LCP Substrates

Antennas, feedlines, and switches are embedded in and on flexible sheets. A research and development effort now underway is directed toward satisfying requirements for a new type of relatively inexpensive, lightweight, microwave antenna array and associated circuitry packaged in a thin, flexible sheet that can readily be mounted on a curved or flat rigid or semi-rigid surface. A representative package of this type consists of microwave antenna circuitry embedded in and/or on a multilayer liquid- crystal polymer (LCP) substrate. The circuitry typically includes an array of printed metal microstrip patch antenna elements and their feedlines on one or more of the LCP layer(s). The circuitry can also include such components as electrostatically actuated microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) switches for connecting and disconnecting antenna elements and feedlines. In addition, the circuitry can include switchable phase shifters described below.

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Detecting Moving Targets by Use of Soliton Resonances

Faint targets moving uniformly would be distinguished from background clutter. A proposed method of detecting moving targets in scenes that include cluttered or noisy backgrounds is based on a soliton-resonance mathematical model. The model is derived from asymptotic solutions of the cubic Schroedinger equation for a one-dimensional system excited by a position-and-time- dependent externally applied potential. The cubic Schroedinger equation has general significance for time-dependent dispersive waves. It has been used to approximate several phenomena in classical as well as quantum physics, including modulated beams in nonlinear optics, and superfluids (in particular, Bose-Einstein condensates). In the proposed method, one would take advantage of resonant interactions between (1) a soliton excited by the position-and-time-dependent potential associated with a moving target and (2) "eigen-solitons," which represent dispersive waves and are solutions of the cubic Schroedinger equation for a time-independent potential.

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Finite-Element Methods for Real-Time Simulation of Surgery

Some accuracy is traded for computational speed. Two finite-element methods have been developed for mathematical modeling of the time-dependent behaviors of deformable objects and, more specifically, the mechanical responses of soft tissues and organs in contact with surgical tools. These methods may afford the computational efficiency needed to satisfy the requirement to obtain computational results in real time for simulating surgical procedures as described in "Simulation System for Training in Laparoscopic Surgery" (NPO-21192) on page 31 in this issue of NASA Tech Briefs.

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Cross-Compiler for Modeling Space-Flight Systems

Ripples is a computer program that makes it possible to specify arbitrarily complex space-flight systems in an easy-tolearn, high-level programming language and to have the specification automatically translated into LibSim, which is a textbased computing language in which such simulations are implemented. LibSim is a very powerful simulation language, but learning it takes considerable time, and it requires that models of systems and their components be described at a very low level of abstraction. To construct a model in LibSim, it is necessary to go through a time-consuming process that includes modeling each subsystem, including defining its fault-injection states, input and output conditions, and the topology of its connections to other subsystems. Ripples makes it possible to describe the same models at a much higher level of abstraction, thereby enabling the user to build models faster and with fewer errors. Ripples can be executed in a variety of computers and operating systems, and can be supplied in either source code or binary form. It must be run in conjunction with a Lisp compiler.

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