Special Coverage

Iodine-Compatible Hall Effect Thruster
Precision Assembly of Systems on Surfaces (PASS)
Development of a Novel Electrospinning System with Automated Positioning and Control Software
2016 Create The Future Design Contest Open For Entries
Clamshell Sampler
Shape Memory Alloy Rock Splitter
Deployable Extra-Vehicular Activity Platform (DEVAP) for Planetary Surfaces
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Model-Driven Innovation in Machine Design

This whitepaper discusses a Model-Driven Innovation process, an approach that makes a multidomain, system-level model the core of design activities, allowing engineers to see how individual subsystems work together. With this approach, problems can be fixed early without project delays, and designs can be validated with access to the underlying mathematics, allowing organizations seeking to mitigate system complexities to improve their ability to control costs, produce high-quality designs and move products to market more quickly. Using tools like MapleSim, the multidomain system modeling tool from Maplesoft, enables engineers to develop and test high-fidelity virtual prototypes of their complex dynamic systems.

Posted in: White Papers, Machinery & Automation, Robotics

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Limboid Reconfigurable Robots for In-Space Assembly

A Limboid workforce with access to a tool crib could staff robotic space factories. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California Figure 1. A laboratory prototype of a Limbi robot autonomously builds a modular structure. This process could repeat to build a large truss or spacecraft. As shown here, the modules are small, but a similar approach would work for large modules. Many future space vehicles, planetary bases, and mining operations will be too large and heavy to launch on a single rocket. Instead, component parts would need to be launched on multiple rockets and assembled in space. To enable versatile in-space assembly, a novel class of reconfigurable robots called Limboids has been conceptualized. Limboids are robotic limbs that attach and detach from each other to form a variety of useful configurations. These configurations might be as small as a single limb, which is best for dexterous manipulation of small parts, or as large as necessary for gross manipulation. As a modular system, Limboids could be supplemented with additional tools and limbs.

Posted in: Briefs, Machinery & Automation, Robotics

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Cam Hand

This robust gripper design has applicability to both robots and as a prosthetic for the physically challenged. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California A durable gripper tool was designed for use by RoboSimian robots intended for use in disaster scenarios that demand high-force, robust manipulation. The resulting Cam Hand fills a previously unaddressed niche that emphasizes grip strength and robustness over dexterity. The design uses a number of unique features to ensure high operational flexibility. While this gripper was created for use on a robot, its basic design could be refined for other applications; in particular, as a new class of prosthetic that would exist between the traditional hook and pinch models and the dexterous models currently under development.

Posted in: Briefs, Machinery & Automation, Robotics

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Save Your Assembly Space and Weight with Smalley Wave Springs

Smalley Wave Springs offer the unique advantage of space savings when used to replace coil springs. By reducing spring operating height, wave springs also produce a decrease in the spring cavity and assembly size.

Posted in: White Papers, Machinery & Automation, Robotics

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Light-Up Skin Stretches Robotic Boundaries

Cornell University researchers have developed an electroluminescent skin capable of stretching to nearly six times its original size while still emitting light.

Posted in: News, Machinery & Automation, Robotics

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Autonomous Flight Termination System Reference Design Hardware

John F. Kennedy Space Center, Florida The current range ground-based infrastructure is extremely costly to operate and maintain. NASA has developed an Autonomous Flight Termination System (AFTS) that is an independent, self-contained subsystem mounted onboard a launch vehicle. The AFTS reference system eliminates the need for a ground-based infrastructure by moving the flight termination function from the ground to the launch vehicle. It will allow multiple vehicles to be launched and tracked at the same time. AFTS is necessary to support vehicles that have multiple flyback boosters.

Posted in: Briefs, Machinery & Automation, Robotics

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RoboSimian: Software Algorithms for a Mobile Manipulation Quadruped Robot

This software system has been designed for semi-autonomous operation of the robot. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California RoboSimian, a statically stable quadrupedal robot capable of both dexterous manipulation and versatile mobility in difficult terrain, was built to compete in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Robotics Challenge, a competitive effort to develop hardware and software in the area of mobile manipulation platforms to assist humans in responding to natural and manmade disasters.

Posted in: Briefs, Machinery & Automation, Robotics

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