Special Coverage


An Operationally Based Vision Assessment Simulator for Domes

Applications include remote visualization, flight simulation, virtual environments, and planetariums. Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California The work described here is part of the U.S. Air Force-sponsored Operational Based Vision Assessment (OBVA) program that has been tasked with developing a high-fidelity flight simulation laboratory to determine the relationship between human vision and performance in simulated operationally relevant tasks. The OBVA simulator was designed and built to provide the Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine (USAFSAM) with a scientific testing laboratory to study human vision and testing standards.

Posted in: Briefs, Computers, Simulation Software


Editor’s Choice

For 20 years, I’ve been interacting with engineers in all different industries as the Editorial Director of NASA Tech Briefs. I’ve talked with our readers about their work and the products they use. Many of them are CAD users, and many of them are unhappy with some aspect of their CAD software.

Posted in: UpFront, Consumer Product Manufacturing, Computer-Aided Design (CAD)


Product of the Month: April 2015

Onshape, Inc., Cambridge, MA, introduced Onshape, the first full-cloud 3D CAD system with built-in data collaboration and management that lets all members of a design team work together using any Web browser, phone, or tablet. Using parametric and direct modeling techniques, the CAD system and data live in the cloud and are not copied, so everyone works on the same master at all times, eliminating checkouts, file copies, and overwriting. The product also eliminates installations, license codes and servers, service packs, and add-on PDM systems. Each user works on the same version of Onshape, so teams can access the same documents simultaneously. Access is controlled by the document owner, so each user sees visual indicators when others are working within the same document. Onshape allows users to perform all CAD work — not just view and markup — from a mobile device. The mobile apps are optimized for phones and tablets, allowing flexibility to access, collaborate, and edit CAD data anytime, anywhere, on any device. Both Free and Professional plans are available, with both providing access to full functionality. For Free Info Visit http://info.hotims.com/55588-120

Posted in: Products, Computer-Aided Design (CAD)


Lunar Cold Trap Contamination by Landing Vehicles

Software and methods are developed to assess the magnitude and distribution of lunar surface contamination caused by the engine exhaust of a landing vehicle. John F. Kennedy Space Center, Florida The emerging interest in lunar mining poses a threat of contamination to pristine craters at the lunar poles, which act as cold traps for water, and may harbor other valuable minerals. Lunar Prospector type missions will be looking for volatile (molecular) compounds that may be masked by the exhaust gases from landing vehicle engines. The possible self-contamination of the landing site could negate the scientific value of the soil samples taken in the vicinity of the landing site. Self-contamination may also lead to false-positive readings of resources available on the lunar surface. This innovation addresses the software and methods needed to assess the magnitude and distribution of lunar surface contamination caused by the engine exhaust of landing vehicles on known or planned descent trajectories.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP


Visualization of Terascale Datasets with Imposters

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland The interactive visualization of large astrophysical datasets is a formidable challenge. Cosmological simulations performed on current terascale facilities typically generate datasets up to 100 gigabytes in size. In order to understand the complex three-dimensional structure within these simulations, interactive visualization with rapid rotation and zooming is required, but handling this much data is well beyond the capability of even current high-end graphics workstations. Rendering can be performed on a parallel computer, but the user typically is using such facilities remotely. Both the latency and bandwidth between the user’s workstation and the parallel machine preclude the possibility of interactive rendering.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Mathematical/Scientific Software


Transforming DAVE-ML Models to Executable C/C++

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas DMLtoC.xsl is an XSLT (Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations) transform that converts a vehicle model described in DAVE-ML (an XML markup language) into a “C” language version of the same model. DAVE-ML is a markup language for describing aerodynamic vehicle models. A DAVE-ML representation of an aero-model is composed of elements and sub-elements that describe variables, variable initialization, mathematical expressions for calculating variable values, interpolation functions, and break-point values. The DMLtoC.xsl XSLT transform transforms a DAVE-ML description of an aerodynamic model into executable C code by transforming each of the model elements, as appropriate, into C/C++ variable declarations, variable initializers, assignment statements, function calls, and interpolation data structures while preserving the corresponding relationships between these elements.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP


Context-Based Configuration Management System

Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California This invention provides a visual and textual system, including a set of intuitive icons representing different activities, for indicating status of and/or change in a document or documents and/or in project operations, using the icons to indicate the presence of different classes of changes that have been introduced in the version displayed. Three distinct classes of status/changes are indicated, each class using one of several visually distinguishable icons to indicate the class and including additional textual information associated with the icon. Icons from different classes of activities have different shapes to allow for easier distinction between the classes.

Posted in: Briefs