Tech Briefs

Minimally Obstructed Communication via Acoustic Modems in Fluid-Filled Pipes

This technology can be used in the oil industry, as well as in various underwater operations. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California An acoustic modem that uses a separate phased-array transmitter and receiver has been conceived that allows the communication of high-frequency acoustic waves sideways to the transducer along the fluid-filled pipe. The transducer allows directing waves between the transmitter and the receiver with potentially minimal interferences with the piping walls. In addition, another method of directly sending communication signals up- and down-hole has been conceived that uses angled piezoelectric ring transducers.

Posted in: Electronics & Computers, Briefs

Read More >>

Biofeedback System for Optimal Athletic Performance

Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia ZONE (Zeroing Out Negative Effects) is a method of biofeedback training for optimal athletic performance. ZONE is designed to improve athletes’ responses to stress, anxiety, and loss of concentration during competition. In the training environment, when the user successfully attains an optimal target state of psychophysiological functioning, the technology informs and/or rewards the user through real-time physical changes in the athletic equipment. For example, in the training setting, a golfer can work toward optimal concentration in the act of putting, leading to improved performance in real situations.

Posted in: Electronics & Computers, Briefs

Read More >>

Methods for Clock and Reset Synchronization in a CMOS Integrated Circuit

These methods ensure fault-free operation in high-integrity systems. Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas In high-integrity systems, a method of assuring integrity called a self-checking pair is employed. A self-checking pair is a logical grouping of two of the same devices performing the same operation and cross-checking each other to ensure correct operation. In this manner, a single fault on one will be detected by its partner, and the appropriate action can be taken to both recover the fault and ensure the fault does not propagate.

Posted in: Electronics & Computers, Briefs

Read More >>

Wideband MMIC Distributed Amplifier-Based Microwave Power Module

The solid-state module operates as a radar, communication, or navigation system. John H. Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio This innovation is a wideband, high-power, high-efficiency, all-solid-state microwave power module (SSMPM) or amplifier for a multifunction spacecraft payload that operates, depending on the need, as a radar system, communication system, or navigation system. The construction of the module is based on a wideband multi-stage amplifier design. The low-power stage is a high-efficiency GaAs pHEMT-based MMIC (monolithic microwave integrated circuit) distributed amplifier. The medium-power stage is either a high-efficiency GaAs pHEMT (high-electron-mobility transistor) or GaN HEMT-based MMIC distributed amplifier. The high-power stage is a high-efficiency GaN HEMT-based MMIC distributed amplifier.

Posted in: Electronics & Computers, Briefs

Read More >>

Communication Monitoring System for Enhanced Situational Awareness

A number of innovations are used to increase situational awareness and reduce operator fatigue. Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California The system and method of reconfigurable Auditory-Visual Display creates a multi-mode communications environment with the express intent of increasing situational awareness for the operator (controller), and for reducing operator fatigue. Situational awareness is increased by a number of innovations, such as spatially separating each voice communication channel and allowing a single voice channel to be prioritized, while still allowing other channels to be monitored. The controller can see real-time video from each of the controlled individuals, and sensor data from these individuals can be collected electronically rather than being presented over a voice channel. It also provides the controlling individual an interface to record and transmit event data.

Posted in: Electronics & Computers, Briefs

Read More >>

Durable Joining Technology for Uniformly-Curved Composite Sandwich Structures

An insert improves distribution of load through the joint, increasing safety. Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia NASA’s next-generation launch vehicles will be enabled by high-performance composite materials and innovative manufacturing methods. As such, NASA uses adhesively bonded joints where possible instead of mechanically fastened (bolted) joints to design and manufacture structures. The adhesive joints typically are lighter and distribute loads more efficiently across an interface, while mechanically fastened joints are prone to stress concentrations around the bolts.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs

Read More >>

Ohmic Contact to N- and P-Type Silicon Carbide

Ohmic contact can be formed in one process step. John H. Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio Electrical ohmic contacts can be simultaneously formed on silicon carbide (SiC) semiconductors having donor and acceptor impurities (n- and p-type doping, respectively). This implies that such contacts can be formed on SiC layers in one process step during the fabrication of the semiconductor device. This also means that the multiple process steps for fabricating contacts onto n- and p-type surfaces, which is characteristic of the prior art, will be greatly reduced, thereby reducing time and cost, and increasing yield (more process steps and complexity increases chances for lower yields). Another significance of this invention is that this scheme can serve as a non-discriminatory, universal ohmic contact to both n- and p-type SiC, without compromising the reliability of the specific contact resistivity when operated at temperatures in excess of 600 °C.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs

Read More >>