Special Coverage

Soft Robot “Walks” on Any Terrain
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Using Microwaves to Produce High-Quality Graphene
Transducer-Actuator Systems for On-Machine Measurements and Automatic Part Alignment
Wide-Area Surveillance Using HD LWIR Uncooled Sensors
Heavy Lift Wing in Ground (WIG) Cargo Flying Boat
Technique Provides Security for Multi-Robot Systems
Bringing New Vision to Laser Material Processing Systems
NASA Tests Lasers’ Ability to Transmit Data from Space
Converting from Hydraulic Cylinders to Electric Actuators
Automating Optimization and Design Tasks Across Disciplines

Top Ten Most Popular Entries

Visitors to the Create the Future Design Contest Web site were invited to vote on their favorite entries. Here are the top ten most popular entries, winners of a SpaceMouse Pro 3D mouse from 3Dconnexion.

Evacuated Tube Transport Technologies (ET3)™ Daryl Oster, ET3 Global Alliance

This global transportation system is silent, low-cost, fast, secure, safe, and environmentally friendly. It uses car-sized magnetically levitated capsules that carry 6 people or 800 pounds of cargo.

Posted in: Articles, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Design processes, Product development, Technical reference, Technical review
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Lightening the Load of Recovery

A unique treadmill, invented by a NASA scientist, supports people trying to get back on their feet.

Ask the Denver attorney whose legs were smashed in a car accident. Ask the veterans rehabilitating from injuries sustained while defending the nation. Ask NBA star Blake Griffin, or NFL safety Jim Leonhard, both of whom endured leg injuries playing their sports. Ask U.S. soccer pro Charlie Davies, who returned to the field only a month after suffering life-threatening trauma in a car crash. All will tell you about the benefits of NASA-derived technology.

Posted in: Articles, Medical, Rehabilitation & Physical Therapy, Medical equipment and supplies, Product development, Biomechanics, Injuries, Aerodynamics
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Determining Key Isotopic Ratios In The Field

On August 6th, 2012 the automatic Mars Science Laboratory rover named Curiosity landed on Mars. One of the scientific instruments on board is ChemCam, which has a pulsed laser capable of ablating a focused spot on a remote sample to create a glowing plasma plume of target material. Light from plasma is collected by rover’s telescope on a mast, and the optical spectra are then analyzed by an internal spectrometer. ChemCam can take thousands of spectra per day from a distance of about 7 meters, thus making chemical analyses on the surface of Mars with unprecedented speed. Operationally, the ChemCam data facilitates decisions of where the rover should be driven.

Posted in: Articles, Features, Photonics, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Remote sensing, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Remote sensing, Chemicals, Gases, Spacecraft
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LED Sensors and Controls Technology

It’s common knowledge that one of the easiest ways to save energy is to shut off lights when they are not in use. Even so, the lighting controls market accounts for a fraction of the overall lighting industry. The market is small, despite the benefits of control technology, because in the past energy consumption was not a high priority. In addition, frequently turning lights on and off reduces the lifetime of light bulbs by as much as three times. LED lighting eliminates traditional lifetime issues and is aligned to enable a rapid growth in the lighting controls market.

Posted in: Articles, Lighting, Light emitting diodes (LEDs), Sensors and actuators, Light emitting diodes (LEDs), Sensors and actuators
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Testing LEDs in a Climate Controlled Environment

Though they are a relative latecomer to the world of lighting technology, light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are quickly making up for lost time. Since their invention in 1962, LEDs have been applied in a wide range of lighting applications, including traffic signals, automotive panel lighting, aviation lighting, remote controls, DVD players and other household appliances, just to name a few. LEDs’ functionality and longevity have led to a substantial and growing market share. In fact, a recent study presented at the University of Chicago says that LEDs will capture 60 percent of the global lighting market over the next decade. However, in order to reach that market share, LED lighting devices are subject to an important technical challenge – consistency in the brightness and quality of the light emitted from LED bulbs.

Posted in: Articles, Lighting, Light emitting diodes (LEDs), Light emitting diodes (LEDs), Reliability, Reliability, Performance tests
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Simulation of Fluid-Structure Interaction in Hydraulic Pump Design

Axial pumps with cam-driven commutation units — so-called PWK pumps — emerged as a result of a research project conducted in the Department of Hydraulics and Pneumatics at the Gdansk University of Technology. As for all axial hydraulic piston pumps, several cylinder chambers are positioned around the rotating shaft of an axial pump with cam-driven commutation units — called PWK pumps. The rotation of the shaft and the attached swash plate leads to movement of the pistons that alternately decreases and increases the fluid volume of the chambers. A window — which is part of the control sleeve or commutating bushing — connects the chamber between the pistons with the low-pressure and highpressure intake and outtake channels.

Posted in: Articles, Motion Control, Computational fluid dynamics, Pumps, Cams, Hydraulic equipment, Pistons
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Using Laser Direct Structuring (LDS) to Create Robust Hardware Security Devices

Awide range of devices are designed to handle, convey and store sensitive information that requires varying degrees of security from protecting low level administrative to classified and top secret information. In addition, the information and data can reside in an equally wide range of locations and environments from protected and guarded facilities to unsecure desks and offices and over a wide range of environmental conditions including temperature, humidity, shock and vibration.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Cryptography, Cyber security, Lasers, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Cryptography, Cyber security, Lasers, Humidity, Vibration, Vibration
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VPX-SC N-dimensional Supercomputing Architectures Come To The Critical Embedded Systems Market

From the first computers of the 1940s through the machines of the 1990s, all computer systems were CPUbound. In other words, the I/O interfaces could deliver more data than the CPU could process. In the 1990s Moore’s Law took over and clock speeds doubled every 18 months, along with the addition of multi-core processors. So, from 1990 through today, we have been I/O-bound, meaning CPUs can now process more data than the I/O links can deliver. Increases in CPU performance have been revolutionary while the increases in interconnect bandwidth have been incremental for many decades. However, bandwidth increases in RapidIO, InfiniBand, and Ethernet are breaking this bottleneck, giving us the ability to design incredibly powerful embedded supercomputing architectures for today’s dataintensive applications.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Embedded software, Architecture, Embedded software, Performance upgrades
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A Guide to Stereovision and 3D Imaging

3D imaging technology has come a long way from its roots in academic research labs, and thanks to innovations in sensors, decreasing cost of components, and the emergence of 3D functions in software libraries, 3D vision is now appearing in a variety of machine automation applications. From vision-guided robotic bin-picking to high-precision metrology, the latest generation of processors can now handle the immense data sets and sophisticated algorithms required to extract depth information and quickly make decisions.

Posted in: Articles, Imaging, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Sensors and actuators, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Sensors and actuators, Robotics
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NASA Technology Transfer: The Impact of Innovation

Over the course of its history, NASA has nurtured partnerships with the private sector to facilitate the transfer of NASA-developed technologies. The benefits of these partnerships have reached throughout the economy and around the globe. The resulting commercial products have contributed to the development of services and technologies in the fields of health and medicine, transportation, public safety, consumer goods, environmental resources, computer technology, and industry.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Research Lab, Collaboration and partnering, Globalization
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