Tech Briefs

Team Game and Simulation Control

Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia This technology is an offshoot of LaRC-developed technologies using physiological measures for assessing pilot stress, sustained attention, engagement, and awareness in a laboratory flight simulation environment. The technology allows modulation of player inputs to a video game or simulation from a user interface device based on the player’s psychophysiological state. It exploits current wireless motion-sensing technologies to utilize physiological signals for input modulation. These signals include, but are not limited to, heart rate, muscle tension, and brain wave activity. The invention is a technology for training teams to maintain functional states that are conducive to effective performance of manual tasks such as flight control, by physiologically modulating operator input devices to simulations. The invention also permits individuals who are physically challenged to participate in electronic game play by collaborating with a player who is able to manipulate controls that the challenged player cannot, and enables individuals with different skill sets and interests (physiological self-control vs. physical performance skills) to join together in rewarding game play. Besides gaming, this technology has application in athletic training and mind-body medicine.

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CRP Aptamers to Bone-Specific Alkaline Phosphatase (BAP)

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas In order to detect and quantify bone-specific alkaline phosphatase (BAP) in a human biological sample, a binding agent (molecule) that specifically recognizes BAP in a sample is typically required. This binding agent can then be used in numerous assays/instruments to enable the detection and quantification of BAP.

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VCSEL Laser Array for Communications

Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California Optical communications in terrestrial and space environments require transmitted signals on the order of 40 GHz and higher, because of the uncertain and changing transmission environments. A robust communications system is needed that will provide these frequencies and substantial discrimination between different signals, which permit switching times on the order of 0.25 ps, and that permit the use of two or more distinct signals.

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Providing a Real-Time Audible Message to a Pilot

This real-time weather and environmental data reporting approach is useful for commercial airlines. Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California An aircraft pilot would prefer to receive information on weather patterns, obstructions, and other conditions that may interfere with a flight plan, formal or informal, as the pilot’s flight proceeds, with a latency of no more than a few minutes. Learning of, and reacting to, a changing environment within minutes after the change is first observed and reported is not possible with pilot’s reports (PIREPs), as presently provided. Instead, receipt of a pilot’s report (PIREP) often occurs offline, before a pilot’s own flight has begun, and with an associated latency of one to six hours. The present invention, described as an audio twitter approach, removes most of the latency associated with a PIREP and allows expansion of, and selective filtering of, information that is directly useful to the recipient pilot (RP).

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Pass Plan Formatter (PPF) for Earth Sciences Ground Support System

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland The TRMM (Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission) and Terra ESMO (Earth Science Mission Operations) Ground Systems needed a method of passing scheduling data through the Goddard Mission Services Evolution Center (GMSEC) bus to other subsystems without modifying the Planning and Scheduling systems and their planning data output. The original output data is used by other subsystems and not just for automation with GMSEC.

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Integrated Tool Archives, Extracts, and Analyzes Spacecraft Housekeeping Telemetry Data (GMSEC R3.0)

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland The Integrated Trending and Plotting System (ITPS) is a comprehensive tool for storage, extraction, analysis, and plots of spacecraft housekeeping telemetry data (GMSEC R3.0 — Goddard Mission Services Evolution Center). ITPS reports information to engineers, ground controllers, and scientists regarding status and health of spacecraft and instruments. This innovation was developed to support and advance GMSEC new technology in control center development that enables the interoperability of MOC (Mission Operations Center) software components via a middleware messaging system.

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Low-Noise Analog APDs with Impact Ionization Engineering and Negative Feedback

The technology can be used in active remote sensing optical instruments. Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland Silicon avalanche photodiodes (Si APDs) have low dark current and low excess noise factor, and are currently used in many of NASA’s missions. Noise equivalent power (NEP) of 40 to 50 fW/(Hz)1/2 over 140-MHz bandwidth has been demonstrated for Si APDs. Si APDs have very low responsivity for wavelengths longer than 1.1 mm, and cannot be used in future NASA lidar missions that require low noise and large-area photodetectors operated in the shortwave infrared (SWIR) region. The need for high-performance fiber optic communications receivers has provided the impetus for substantial progress during the last two decades in the understanding and performance of InP-based APDs that exhibit high responsivity in the wavelength range from 0.9 to 1.7 mm.

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