Tech Briefs

Split-Resonator, Integrated-Post Vibratory Microgyroscope

This design is better suited to mass production. An improved design for a capacitive sensing, rocking-mode vibratory microgyroscope is more amenable to mass production, relative to a prior design. Both the improved design and the prior design call for a central post that is part of a resonator that partly resembles a cloverleaf or a flower. The prior design is such that the post has to be fabricated as a separate piece, then bonded to the rest of the resonator in the correct position and orientation. The improved design provides for fabrication of the post as an integral part of the resonator and, in so doing, makes it possible to produce a waferful of microgyroscopes, without need to fabricate, position, and attach posts.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Mechanical Components

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Fast Laser Shutters With Low Vibratory Disturbances

Opposing cantilevered piezoelectric bending actuators balance each other to minimize vibration. The figure shows a prototype vacuum-compatible, fast-acting, long-life shutter unit that generates very little vibratory disturbance during switching. This is one of a number of shutters designed to satisfy requirements specific to an experiment, to be performed aboard a spacecraft in flight, in which laser beams must be blocked rapidly and completely, without generating a vibratory disturbance large enough to adversely affect the power and frequency stability of the lasers. Commercial off-the-shelf laboratory shutter units — typically containing electromagnetcoil-driven mechanisms — were found not to satisfy the requirements because they are not vacuum-compatible, their actuators engage in uncompensated motions that generate significant vibrations, and their operational lifetimes are too short. Going beyond the initial outerspace application, the present vacuum compatible, fast-acting, long-life shutter units could also be used in terrestrial settings in which there are requirements for their special characteristics.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Mechanical Components

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Generating Animated Displays of Spacecraft Orbits

Tool for Interactive Plotting, Sonification, and 3D Orbit Display (TIPSOD) is a computer program for generating interactive, animated, four-dimensional (space and time) displays of spacecraft orbits.

Posted in: Briefs, Software

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Three-Dimensional Audio Client Library

The Three-Dimensional Audio Client Library (3DAudio library) is a group of software routines written to facilitate development of both stand-alone (audio only) and immersive virtual-reality application programs that utilize three-dimensional audio displays.

Posted in: Briefs, Software

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Single-Command Approach and Instrument Placement by a Robot on a Target

AUTOAPPROACH is a computer program that enables a mobile robot to approach a target autonomously, starting from a distance of as much as 10 m, in response to a single command. AUTOAPPROACH is used in conjunction with (1) software that analyzes images acquired by stereoscopic cameras aboard the robot and (2) navigation and path-planning software that utilizes odometer readings along with the output of the image-analysis software.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Software

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APGEN Version 5.0

Activity Plan Generator (APGEN), now at version 5.0, is a computer program that assists in generating an integrated plan of activities for a spacecraft mission that does not oversubscribe spacecraft and ground resources.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Software

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Training Software in Artificial-Intelligence Computing Techniques

The Artificial Intelligence (AI) Toolkit is a computer program for training scientists, engineers, and university students in three soft-computing techniques (fuzzy logic, neural networks, and genetic algorithms) used in artificial-intelligence applications. The program promotes an easily understandable tutorial interface, including an interactive graphical component through which the user can gain hands-on experience in soft-computing techniques applied to realistic example problems. The tutorial provides step-bystep instructions on the workings of softcomputing technology, whereas the hands-on examples allow interaction and reinforcement of the techniques explained throughout the tutorial. In the fuzzy-logic example, a user can interact with a robot and an obstacle course to verify how fuzzy logic is used to command a rover traverse from an arbitrary start to the goal location. For the genetic algorithm example, the problem is to determine the minimum-length path for visiting a user-chosen set of planets in the solar system. For the neural-network example, the problem is to decide, on the basis of input data on physical characteristics, whether a person is a man, woman, or child. The AI Toolkit is compatible with the Windows 95,98, ME, NT 4.0, 2000, and XP operating systems. A computer having a processor speed of at least 300 MHz, and random-access memory of at least 56MB is recommended for optimal performance. The program can be run on a slower computer having less memory, but some functions may not be executed properly.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Software

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