Tech Briefs

Dual Common Planes for Time Multiplexing of Dual-Color QWIPs

With external control, commercial single-color readout integrated circuits could be used.A proposed improved method of externally controlled time multiplexing of the readouts of focal plane arrays of pairs of stacked quantum well infrared photodetectors (QWIPs) that operate in different wavelength bands is based on a dual detector common plane circuit configuration. The method would be implemented in a QWIP integrated-circuit chip hybridized with a readout integrated circuit (ROIC) chip.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Semiconductors & ICs

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Implementing Access to Data Distributed on Many Processors

A reference architecture is defined for an object-oriented implementation of domains, arrays, and distributions written in the programming language Chapel.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Software

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2D/3D Visual Tracker for Rover Mast

A visual-tracker computer program controls an articulated mast on a Mars rover to keep a designated feature (a target) in view while the rover drives toward the target, avoiding obstacles. Several prior visual tracker programs have been tested on rover platforms; most require very small and well-estimated motion between consecutive image frames — a requirement that is not realistic for a rover on rough terrain. The present visual-tracker program is designed to handle large image motions that lead to significant changes in feature geometry and photometry between frames. When a point is selected in one of the images acquired from stereoscopic cameras on the mast, a stereo triangulation algorithm computes a three-dimensional (3D) location for the target. As the rover moves, its body-mounted cameras feed images to a visual-odometry algorithm, which tracks two-dimensional (2D) corner features and computes their old and new 3D locations. The algorithm rejects points, the 3D motions of which are inconsistent with a rigid-world constraint, and then computes the apparent change in the rover pose (i.e., translation and rotation). The mast pan and tilt angles needed to keep the target centered in the field-ofview of the cameras (thereby minimizing the area over which the 2D-tracking algorithm must operate) are computed from the estimated change in the rover pose, the 3D position of the target feature, and a model of kinematics of the mast. If the motion between the consecutive frames is still large (i.e., 3D tracking was unsuccessful), an adaptive view-based matching technique is applied to the new image. This technique uses correlation-based template matching, in which a feature template is scaled by the ratio between the depth in the original template and the depth of pixels in the new image. This is repeated over the entire search window and the best correlation results indicate the appropriate match. The program could be a core for building application programs for systems that require coordination of vision and robotic motion.

Posted in: Briefs, Software

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Measurement and Controls Data Acquisition System

Measurement and Controls Data Acquisition System (MCDAS) is an application program that integrates the functions of two stand-alone programs: one for acquisition of data, the other for controls.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Software

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Adding Hierarchical Objects to Relational Database General-Purpose XML-Based Information Managements

NETMARK is a flexible, high-throughput software system for managing, storing, and rapid searching of unstructured and semi-structured documents. NETMARK transforms such documents from their original highly complex, constantly changing, heterogeneous data formats into well structured, common data formats in using Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and/or Extensible Markup Language (XML). The software implements an object-relational database system that combines the best practices of the relational model utilizing Structured Query Language (SQL) with those of the object oriented, semantic database model for creating complex data. In particular, NETMARK takes advantage of the Oracle 8i object-relational database model using physical-address data types for very efficient keyword searches of records across both context and content. NETMARK also supports multiple international standards such as WEBDAV for drag-and-drop file management and SOAP for integrated information management using Web services. The document-organization and -searching capabilities afforded by NETMARK are likely to make this software attractive for use in disciplines as diverse as science, auditing, and law enforcement.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Software

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Implantable Wireless MEMS Sensors for Medical Uses

Sensors designed and fabricated according to the principles of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) are being developed for several medical applications in outer space and on Earth.The designs of these sensors are based on a core design family of pressure sensors, small enough to fit into the eye of a needle, that are fabricated by a “dissolved wafer” process. The sensors are expected to be implantable, battery-less, and wireless. They would be both powered and interrogated by hand-held radio transceivers from distances up to about 6 in. (about 15 cm). One type of sensor would be used to measure blood pressure, particularly for congestive heart failure. Another type would be used to monitor fluids in patients who have hydrocephalus (high brain pressure). Still other types would be used to detect errors in delivery of drugs and to help patients having congestive heart failure.

Posted in: Briefs, Bio-Medical, Medical

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Dehydrating and Sterilizing Wastes Using Supercritical CO2

A relatively low-temperature process for dehydrating and sterilizing biohazardous wastes in an enclosed life-support system exploits (1) the superior mass-transport properties of supercritical fluids in general and (2) the demonstrated sterilizing property of supercritical CO2 in particular. The wastes to be treated are placed in a chamber. Liquid CO2, drawn from storage at a pressure of 850 psi (˜5.9 MPa) and temperature of 0 °C, is compressed to pressure of 2 kpsi (˜14 MPa) and made to flow into the chamber. The compression raises the temperature to 10 °C. The chamber and its contents are then further heated to 40 °C, putting the CO2 into a supercritical state, in which it kills microorganisms in the chamber. Carrying dissolved water, the CO2 leaves the chamber through a back-pressure regulator, through which it is expanded back to the storage pressure. The expanded CO2 is refrigerated to extract the dissolved water as ice, and is then returned to the storage tank at 0 °C.

Posted in: Briefs, Bio-Medical, Medical

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