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Self-Healing Wire Insulation
Thermomechanical Methodology for Stabilizing Shape Memory Alloy (SMA) Response
Space Optical Communications Using Laser Beams
High Field Superconducting Magnets
Active Response Gravity Offload and Method
Strat-X
Sonar Inspection Robot System
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Introduction to Machine Vision Inspection

Product inspection with machine vision is vastly superior to manual inspection or using photoelectric sensors. With some basic knowledge and tools you can create a reliable, repeatable inspection process that will make your production line safer and more efficient. Download the whitepaper to learn how to dramatically improve production performance with easy-to-apply inspection applications.

Posted in: White Papers, Imaging, Machine Vision, Machinery & Automation, Robotics

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Force Sensors in Robotic Design

From the operating room to the manufacturing floor, the robotic industry continues to grow and mature. As demand for robotic devices increases, so do the technology requirements.

Posted in: White Papers, Machinery & Automation, Robotics, Data Acquisition, Sensors, Test & Measurement

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Residual Mode Filters

NASA has developed a unique control algorithm and synthesis method that uses a system’s output to modify control inputs to cause the system to track a reference model or a fixed value in the presence of unmodeled system dynamics, varying operating environments, and unpredictable disturbances. The unique feature of this algorithm is the ability to instantaneously adapt the system according to its output, rejecting persistent disturbances, and ultimately improving the system’s performance. This makes the controller ideally suited for applications where there are unknown modeling parameters or uncertain operating environments. Many aerospace systems must function in unknown or highly variable environments. This technology allows the system to achieve its objectives in these types of unpredictable environments. In comparison to current adaptive controller technologies, the addition of residual mode filters allows operation when flexible modes are present that could inhibit the controller. This is especially useful for systems where initial modeling is costly, or the fidelity of existing system models is low.

Posted in: Briefs, Machinery & Automation

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Probabilistic Surface Characterization for Safe Landing Hazard Detection and Avoidance (HDA)

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has developed a probabilistic algorithm for hazard detection and avoidance (HDA) that robustly handles sensor noise. Conventional surface characterization methods use fixed hazard thresholds to determine hazardous landing locations; these thresholds are set lower than lander tolerances to compensate for sensor noise, but this leads to excessive false alarms and significantly reduces the number of safe locations. JPL’s probabilistic method seamlessly combines the distance to nearest hazard and the local roughness, and incorporates the presence of navigation errors to determine the probability that a given location is a safe landing site. This innovative algorithm enables onboard hazard detection and avoidance to increase the probability of safe landing and allow landings in more scientifically interesting but challenging sites.

Posted in: Briefs, Machinery & Automation

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Robot for Controlled Deposition of Multilayer Thin Film Structures

During deposition of thin film layers using shadow masking techniques, thin film layer structure morphology changes with respect to the position of the thin film layer and the shadow of the mask. Morphology changes in the thin film result in refractive index and density changes that affect the performance of the thin film layer in and around the shadow mask.

Posted in: Briefs, Machinery & Automation

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Walk and Roll Robot

Applications include urban search and rescue, traversing harsh terrain for scientific exploration, and military reconnaissance and exploration. In smooth terrain, the most efficient motion to traverse the terrain is rolling. However, when a wheeled vehicle encounters obstacles, it must circumvent them if possible or choose an alternate path. Legged vehicles can traverse such obstacles by stepping over them, but are not energy efficient on smooth terrain. The Walk and Roll Robot combines walking and rolling capabilities for energy efficient motions. It utilizes a directed flux motor and epicyclical gear bearings to articulate the legs and wheels, which allows for a compact configuration and prevents gear backdrive. This compact design — where all of the components are contained within the body — allows the robot to be utilized for multiple applications, including those with harsh environments in which robots traditionally have difficulty with debris, moisture, or dust. Also, more efficient gaits utilizing walking and rolling have been developed using the Walk and Roll Robot.

Posted in: Briefs, Machinery & Automation

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Human Grasp Assist Device with Exoskeleton

The Robo-Glove can be used in construction, hazardous material handling, manufacturing, repetitive motion work, and oil and gas exploration. Researchers at the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC), in collaboration with General Motors (GM), have designed and developed Robo-Glove, a wearable human grasp assist device, to help reduce the grasping force needed by an individual to operate tools for an extended time or when performing tasks having repetitive mo tion. Robo-Glove has the potential to help workers, such as construction workers, hazardous material workers, or assembly line operators, whose job requires continuous grasping and ungrasping motion. The Robo-Glove also has potential applications in prosthetic devices, rehabilitation aids, and helping people with impaired or limited arm and hand muscle strength.

Posted in: Briefs, Machinery & Automation

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