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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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Electromagnetic Monitoring and Control of a Plurality of Nanosatellites

This is a low-cost propulsion, navigation, and power sharing technology. NASA has developed an innovative combination of a Magnetometer, low-powered ElectroMagnets, and Res onant Inductive Coupling (MEMRIC) to create and control relative positioning of nanosatellites within a cluster. This is a game-changing approach to enable distributed nanosatellite (nanosat) clusters. The focus is on low-cost propulsion, navigation, and power sharing. Each of these functions can share the same basic technology. With the combination of a magnetometer, low-power electromagnets, and resonant inductive coupling, several nanosats can be clustered without the need of propellant- based propulsion systems, or GPS for relative positioning. By separating distinct subsystems into their own nanosat and producing them as generic, off-the-shelf components, the mission-design process is simplified, enabling the selection of the number of subsystem components that is most beneficial to the mission. The cost savings in the design cycle will pay for the extra off-the-shelf power unit.

Posted in: Briefs, Machinery & Automation

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Elimination of Yaw Component of Gyroscope Propagation Error During Arm Activity in MSL

New approach reduces errors in remote sensing and arm placement. When updating attitude during arm motion, gyroscope propagation error soon becomes greater than the tilt being monitored. The solution is to add an accelerometer-only mode that can update attitude without using gyroscopes, and to add the ability to monitor pitch and roll separately. Accelerometer-only mode is used only when it is safe to assume that any vehicle shifting in yaw would also be accompanied by shifting in pitch and/or roll. For surface contact operations, it is important to monitor change in tilt of the vehicle resulting from arm motion.

Posted in: Briefs, Machinery & Automation

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Locomotion of Amorphous Surface Robots

The self-contained designs eliminate immobility risks associated with locked wheels or legs due to dust or sand accumulation. NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed multiple ways for amorphous robots to autonomously move across a surface without needing conventional wheels or legs. Amorphous robots are useful in dusty and sandy environments in which greater mobility, passive shape changing, and immunity to dust and contamination are important. This includes both surface and subsurface robotic exploration. Amorphous robots are also useful in emergency and industrial activities, such as search and rescue (e.g., exploring rubble following an earthquake), and inspection of oil pipelines or sewage systems.

Posted in: Briefs, Machinery & Automation

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A Soft Control Architecture: Breakthrough in Hard Real-Time Design for Complex Systems

How to cut costs, improve quality, and differentiate your products with a software-based approach to machine automation OEMs have long relied on expensive, cumbersome hardware like FPGAs and DSPs for precision motion control. But new advances in software-based machine automation are changing that paradigm, with huge potential benefits.

Posted in: White Papers, Electronics & Computers, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Motion Control, Machinery & Automation, Robotics, Semiconductors & ICs, Software

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5 Real-Time, Ethernet-Based Fieldbuses Compared

Ethernet-based fieldbus standards have changed the game for machine builders. But with so many protocols competing to be most valuable and viable, how should you decide which to use?

Posted in: White Papers, Electronics & Computers, Motion Control, Machinery & Automation, Robotics, Software

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Software vs Hardware Machine Control: Cost and Performance Compared

OEMs traditionally used DSP-based hardware, plugged into a PC, for motion control. But new software-based solutions have challenged this approach, claiming equal or better performance at lower cost.

Posted in: White Papers, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Motion Control, Machinery & Automation, Robotics

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Self-Latching Piezocomposite Actuator

Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a self-latching piezocomposite actuator. The self-latching nature of this invention allows for piezo actuators that do not require constant power draw. Among other applications, the invention is well suited for use in aerodynamic control surfaces and engine inlets. The technology is a self-latching piezoelectric actuator with power-off, set-and-hold capability. Integrated into an aerodynamic control surface or engine inlet, the self-latching piezocomposite actuator may function as a trim tab, variable camber airfoil, vortex generator, or winglet with adjustable shapes. Deflections could be made in-flight, and set and maintained (latched) without a constant power draw. Current piezo actuators require constant power to control and manage their electric fields. The control device leverages the shape memory behavior (specifically, the remnant stress-strain behavior) to create a morphing actuator that changes and holds the new shape with no applied control signal.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Machinery & Automation

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