Tech Briefs

Advanced Tool Drive System (ATDS) Camera Positioning Mechanism (CPM)

Robotic servicing of a satellite in low earth orbit (LEO) or geosynchronous Earth orbit (GEO) requires advanced systems capable of meeting the harsh environments of space. To support this effort, the Goddard Space Flight Center Satellite Servicing Capabilities Office (SSCO) has developed a camera positioning mechanism that will be capable of viewing features on a client satellite. Application of the CPM technology would be in multiple areas of spaceflight requiring robotic servicing including space exploration, planetary science, Earth science, and manned spaceflight.

Posted in: Briefs, Automation
Read More >>

Linear Rope Brake System for Aerial Delivery

This system helps reduce loss of any supplies that are lowered to the ground.

There are instances when items (e.g., supplies) need to be lowered from an aerial vehicle to the ground. For example, the United States military often lowers supplies from a rotary winged aircraft (e.g., a helicopter) to ground troops. In some instances, there is even a need to deliver mission essential supplies to ground troops engaged in enemy combat. Rotary wing aircraft are typically the transport platform for these supplies. Many times, the aircraft cannot land, and supplies are free-dropped from as high as 150 feet above the ground. Losses of badly needed supplies such as medicine, ammunition, water, and food are high due to the free drop.

Posted in: Briefs, Automation
Read More >>

Origami-Inspired Robot Fits in Tight Spaces

The folding robot can ride aboard a rover to help explore rough terrains.

Researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) were inspired by origami when they developed the Pop-Up Flat Folding Explorer Robot (PUFFER). Its lightweight design — which can hitch a ride aboard a rover — can flatten itself, tucking in its wheels and crawling into places that larger robots can't fit. Over the past year and a half, PUFFER has been tested in a range of rugged terrains, from the Mojave Desert in California to the snowy hills of Antarctica. The idea is to explore areas that might be too risky for a full-fledged rover to go, such as steep slopes or behind sand dunes.

Posted in: Briefs, Automation
Read More >>

Software Interface Simplifies Robot Control

A point-and-click method increases efficiency while decreasing errors.

The traditional interface for remotely operating robots works well for roboticists. They use a computer screen and mouse to independently control six degrees of freedom, turning three virtual rings and adjusting arrows to get the robot into position to grab items or perform a specific task. But for someone who isn't an expert, the ring-and-arrow system is cumbersome and error-prone. It's not ideal, for example, for older people trying to control assistive robots at home.

Posted in: Briefs, Automation
Read More >>

Composite C-Channel Incrementally Adjustable Fluid Control System

The system can be disassembled for relocation without much difficulty.

The ability to selectively adjust levels and flow rates in fluid control systems is a fundamental aspect of dredged material and fluid management, and necessary to numerous farm and industrial processes. Historically, fluid management structures such as gates and weirs offer limited options for controlling levels and volume. Installation is generally permanent, with modifications being difficult and expensive. Critical flow rate adjustments can be severely limited, and maintaining antiquated systems requires hazardous maneuvers dependent on extensive manpower.

Posted in: Briefs, Automation
Read More >>

Imaging Detonations of Explosives

Using high-speed camera pyrometers to measure and map fireball/shock expansion velocities.

An effort has been made within the US Army Research Laboratory (ARL) to extract quantitative information on explosive performance from high-speed imaging of explosions. Explosive fireball surface temperatures are measured using imaging pyrometry (2-color 2-camera imaging pyrometer; full-color single-camera imaging pyrometer). Framing cameras are synchronized with pulsed laser illumination to measure fireball/shock expansion velocities, enabling calculation of peak air-shock pressures. Multicamera filtering at different wavelengths enables visualization of light emission by some reactant species participating in energy release during an explosion. Measurement of incident and reflected shock velocities is used to calculate shock energy on a target.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, TSP, Aerospace, Imaging
Read More >>

Laser Integration on Silicon Photonic Circuits Through Transfer Printing

New fabrication approach allows the massively parallel transfer of III-V coupons to a silicon photonic target wafer.

The purpose of this project was to develop a transfer printing process for the massively parallel integration of III-V lasers on silicon photonic integrated circuits. Silicon has long offered promise as the ultimate platform for realizing compact photonic integrated circuits (PICs). That promise stems in part from the material's properties: the high refractive-index contrast of silicon allows strong confinement of the optical field, increasing light-matter interaction in a compact space—a particularly important attribute for realizing efficient modulators and high-speed detectors.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, TSP, Aerospace, Photonics
Read More >>

Determining Detection and Classification Potential of Munitions Using Advanced EMI Sensors in the Underwater Environment

Electromagnetic induction could be used to locate and characterize potentially dangerous sunken metallic objects.

Hazardous ordnance items are present along coastlines and in rivers and lakes in waters shallow enough to cause concerns for human recreational and industrial activities. The presence of water makes it difficult to detect and remove these hazardous legacies induced from wars, military training and deliberate disposal. Various techniques have been proposed to detect and characterize Unexploded Ordnances (UXO) and discarded military munitions (DMM) in the underwater environment including acoustic waves, magnetometery, and electromagnetic induction (EMI).

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, TSP, Aerospace, Sensors
Read More >>

High Energy Computed Tomographic Inspection of Munitions

Inspection system provides additional level of quality assurance for R&D, reverse engineering, and malfunction investigations.

An advance computed tomography (CT) system was recently built for the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, Picatinny Arsenal, NJ, for the inspection of munitions. The system is a charged coupled device (CCD) camera based CT system designated with the name “experimental Imaging Media” (XIM). The design incorporated shielding for use up to 4MeV x-ray photons and integrated two separate cameras into one single field of view (FOV). Other major distinguishing characteristics include its processing functions to digitally piece the two cameras together, use of advanced artifact reduction principles, performing reconstruction simultaneously during acquisition, and its development in accurate beam hardening corrections through digital means.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, TSP, Aerospace, Photonics
Read More >>

Terahertz (THz) Radar: A Solution For Degraded Visibility Environments (DVE)

Operating at higher frequencies than other types of radar produces tighter beams and finer resolution.

An accurate view of the physical world is frequently vital. For example, rotary wing aircraft pilots must have knowledge of the terrain in order to safely fly their aircraft. Therefore, systems capable of generating images of the environment of sufficient quality to facilitate the decision process are necessary. The product of such a system is illustrated in Figure 1.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, TSP, Aerospace, Imaging
Read More >>

The U.S. Government does not endorse any commercial product, process, or activity identified on this web site.