Tech Briefs

Detection of Carried and Dropped Objects in Surveillance Video

This software analyzes a video input stream and automatically detects carried and dropped objects in near-real-time. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California DARPA’s Mind’s Eye Program aims to develop a smart camera surveillance system that can autonomously monitor a scene and report back human-readable text descriptions of activities that occur in the video. An important aspect is whether objects are brought into the scene, exchanged between persons, left behind, picked up, etc. While some objects can be detected with an object-specific recognizer, many others are not well suited for this type of approach. For example, a carried object may be too small relative to the resolution of the camera to be easily identifiable, or an unusual object, such as an improvised explosive device, may be too rare or unique in its appearance to have a dedicated recognizer. Hence, a generic object detection capability, which can locate objects without a specific model of what to look for, is used. This approach can detect objects even when partially occluded or overlapping with humans in the scene.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Cameras, Electronics & Computers, Data Acquisition, Detectors


Signal Processing Software for Remote Vital Sign Monitoring

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California This software provides the processing for a non-contact system that remotely estimates the heart rate and respiration rate of individuals as they carry on daily activities, and also enables detection of heart and respiration rate through walls.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Patient Monitoring, Data Acquisition


Visualization of fMRI Network Data

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California Functional connections within the brain can be revealed through functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which shows simultaneous activations of blood flow in the brain during response tests. However, fMRI specialists currently do not have a tool for visualizing the complex data that comes from fMRI scans. They work with correlation matrices that table what functional region connections exist, but they have no corresponding visualization.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Visualization Software, Electronics & Computers, Data Acquisition


Self-Diagnostic Accelerometer Field Programmable Gate Array

The system could be utilized as a portable and temporarily installed diagnostic system. John H. Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio The development of the self-diagnostic accelerometer (SDA) is important to both reducing the in-flight shutdowns (IFSD) rate — and hence reducing the rate at which this component failure type can put an aircraft in jeopardy — and also as a critical enabling technology for future automated malfunction diagnostic systems. Critical sensors, such as engine sensors, are inaccessible to the operator during typical operation due to safety concerns and enclosed environment. The SDA can diagnose the sensor in-flight and remotely with minimal interference with the typical operation of the sensor. The SDA system utilizes programmed health algorithms that can automatically determine the health, therefore increasing the precision in diagnosing sensor faults by removing the erroneous perspective and opinions of a human operator. The health of the sensor could also be determined immediately, which would remove its erroneous effect on a system that depends on the sensor.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Power Supplies, Thermal Management, Sensors


Capacitively Coupled, High-Voltage Current Sensing for Extreme Environments

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California Wide-temperature and extreme-environment electronics are crucial to future missions. These missions will not have the weight and power budget for heavy harnesses and large, inefficient warm boxes. In addition, extreme-environment electronics, by their inherent nature, allow operation next to sensors in the ambient environment, reducing noise and improving precision over the warm-box-based systems employed today.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronic Components, Power Supplies, Thermal Management, Sensors


E-Textile Interconnect

Devices constructed from e-textiles have applications in law enforcement, by first-responders, and in wireless communications and computing. Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas E-textiles have shown great promise within the microwave and antenna community to provide a low-mass, highly conformal option that integrates extremely well with fabric-based microwave devices and antenna platforms, but often not as well with more conventional devices.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Antennas


Pumped Subsea Energy Storage

This technique would be applicable to offshore oil platforms and energy storage for public utilities. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California A local energy source is desired for near-shore and offshore applications. Gas generators, diesel generators, and long-length submerged power cables tend to be expensive. A proposed solution is to use offshore wind with some type of energy storage mechanism for up to 1 GW-h. Energy storage in batteries is too expensive and massive, and subsea compressed air energy storage (CAES) has not been proven for very deep depths. Furthermore, CAES involves very great temperature changes that result in large inefficiencies.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Energy Efficiency, Energy Storage, Solar Power, Wind Power