Tech Briefs

Ultrasonically Actuated Tools for Abrading Rock Surfaces

These offer the same advantages as do ultrasonically actuated drilling and coring tools. An ultrasonic rock-abrasion tool (URAT) was developed using the same principle of ultrasonic/sonic actuation as that of the tools described in two prior NASA Tech Briefs articles: “Ultrasonic/Sonic Drill/Corers With Integrated Sensors (), Vol. 25, No. 1 (January 2001), page 38 and “Ultrasonic/Sonic Mechanisms for Drilling and Coring” (), Vol. 27, No. 9 (September 2003), page 65. Hence, like those tools, the URAT offers the same advantages of low power demand, mechanical simplicity, compactness, and ability to function with very small axial loading (very small contact force between tool and rock).

Posted in: Mechanical Components, Briefs, TSP

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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: Software, Briefs, TSP

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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: Software, Briefs, TSP

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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: Software, Briefs

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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: Software, Briefs, TSP

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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: Semiconductors & ICs, Briefs, TSP

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MMIC Power Amplifier Puts Out >40 mW From 75 to 110 GHz

This amplifier operates over the full frequency band of the WR-10 waveguide. A three-stage monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) W-band amplifier has been constructed and tested in a continuing effort to develop amplifiers as well as oscillators, frequency multipliers, and mixers capable of operating over wide frequency bands that extend above 100 GHz. There are numerous potential uses for MMICs like these in scientific instruments, radar systems, communication systems, and test equipment operating in this frequency range. This amplifier can be characterized, in part, as a lower-frequency, narrower band, higher-gain version of the one described in “Power Amplifier With 9 to 13 dB of Gain from 65 to 146 GHz” (), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 25, No. 1 (January 2001), page 44. This amplifier includes four InP high-electron-mobility transistors (HEMTs), each having a gate periphery of 148 µm. In the third amplifier stage, two of the HEMTs are combined in parallel to maximize the output power. The amplifier draws a current of 250 mA at a supply potential of 2.5 V.

Posted in: Semiconductors & ICs, Briefs, TSP

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