Special Coverage

High Field Superconducting Magnets
Active Response Gravity Offload and Method
Sonar Inspection Robot System
Lightweight Internal Device to Measure Tension in Hollow- Braided Cordage
System, Apparatus, and Method for Pedal Control
Dust Tolerant Connectors

Introduction to Machine Vision

A guide to automating process & quality improvements Get the basics of how machine vision technology works and why it's the right choice for automating process and quality improvements. The Introduction to Machine Vision whitepaper is the first step to understanding, what is machine vision, what kind of problems does it solve, what components do you need to build a vision system, how to get the most out of your vision system, and more. Read this whitepaper to see why automated inspection is vastly superior to manual techniques.

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


Boosting Machine Vision with Built-in FPGA Image Preprocessing

Since imaging processing tasks can consume major CPU resources in machine vision applications, increasing processing performance within size constraints is, accordingly, a common challenge for solution providers. The following discusses the efficacy of FPGA in addressing such performance shortcomings, presents the image processing tasks most suitable for FPGA, and compares the capabilities of CPU and FPGA in operation. A built -in FPGA image preprocessing solution supporting machine vision app lications is then presented.

Posted in: White Papers, Imaging, Optics, Photonics, Machinery & Automation, Robotics


NASA's Game-Changing Robotics

“Over the years, I’ve asked people, ‘If you had a robot, what would you want it to do for you?’” said Rob Ambrose, principal investigator for NASA’s Game Changing Development Program and chief of the Software, Robotics, and Simulation Division at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. When he asks astronauts, they usually tell him they want the robot to do chores.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Robotics


Walk and Roll Robot

A CAD model of the Walk and Roll Robot. To traverse smooth terrain, the most efficient motion is rolling; however, when a wheeled vehicle encounters obstacles, it has to avoid them, if possible, or choose an alternate path. Legged vehicles can traverse these obstacles by stepping over them, but are not energy-efficient on smooth terrain. The Walk and Roll Robot, developed at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, combines walking and rolling for energy- efficient motions. The robot has a compact design in which all of the components are contained within the body, allowing it to be used for applications in harsh environments where robots traditionally have difficulty with debris, moisture, or dust. Other applications include urban search and rescue missions, and military reconnaissance and exploration. Visit http://technology.nasa.gov/patent/TB2016/GSC-TOPS-43

Posted in: UpFront, Aerospace, Robotics


Testing a Robotic Miner

Resource Prospector sits in the vacuum chamber that simulates the thermal environment and low atmospheric pressure and density the rover will experience on the Moon. The Resource Prospector (RP) rover could be the first robot to mine for resources on another world. Targeted for launch in the early 2020s, RP will search for and characterize sub-surface water, hydrogen, and other volatiles on the Moon. But first, NASA needs to test its resilience to the harsh environments of deep space and extremely cold temperatures on the Moon. During testing in a thermal vacuum chamber at Johnson Space Center, NASA simulated the thermal environment and extremely low atmospheric pressure and density that RP would experience. Learn more about Resource Prospector in the feature article HERE.

Posted in: UpFront, Aerospace, Robotics


Dust Tolerant Connectors

The ruggedized housing for electrical or fluid connectors is designed to withstand harsh environments and rough handling. John F. Kennedy Space Center, Florida NASA’s Kennedy Space Center has developed a novel ruggedized housing for an electrical or fluid umbilical connector that prevents intrusion of dust, sand, dirt, mud, and moisture during field use under harsh conditions. The technology consists of a pair of hand-sized protective umbilical interface housings, each containing a connector with an integrated end cap. When the end cap covers the connector, the connector is protected. Each housing has a unique lever assembly connected to the end cap that, when squeezed, flips the end cap up to expose the connector. When in the up position, the two end caps face each other. To mate the connectors, the levers on both housings are squeezed, raising the end caps, and the two umbilicals are joined and twisted to couple them. Once the connectors are mated, the levers on both housings are released. This simultaneously seals both the umbilicals and the end caps. When dealing with cryogenic connectors, a purge can be applied to the housings to prevent icing when the connectors are demated.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Fluid Handling, Machinery & Automation


Systems, Methods, and Apparatus of a Low-Conductance Silicon Micro-Leak for Mass Spectrometer Inlet

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland Mass spectrometers on atmospheric entry probes require a method for introducing gas from high-pressure ambient regions to the vacuum of the mass spectrometer interior.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Machinery & Automation


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