Special Coverage


Advanced Methodology for Precisely Simulating RTD Sensor Types

This technology has applications in plant process simulation, hardware-in-the loop testing of electronic control units in automobiles and avionics, and spacecraft and satellite systems testing. VTI Instruments Corporation, Irvine, California Resistance thermometers, also called resistance temperature detectors (RTDs), are very common sensors used for temperature measurement. Their reliability, ruggedness, wide range, and value make them popular in the process industry and research laboratories alike. A wide range of instruments, PLC I/O systems, data acquisition, and control systems are designed to interface with these sensors and perform actions based on their measured value. Testing of such systems requires a sensor to be simulated, where hardware-in-the-loop testing is mandatory. Often the validation of such systems will end up being a complex issue if not properly planned.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors


Sampling Mechanism for a Comet Sample Return Mission

A similar sampling mechanism could be deployed in dangerous situations on Earth. Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland Sample return missions have the ability to vastly increase scientific understanding of the origin, history, current status, and resource potential of solar system objects including asteroids, comets, Mars, and the Moon. However, to make further progress in understanding such bodies, detailed analyses of samples are needed from as many bodies as possible. A standoff sample collection system concept has been developed that would quickly obtain a sample from environments as varied as comets, asteroids, and permanently shadowed craters on the Moon, using vehicles ranging from traditional planetary spacecraft to platforms such as hovering rotorcraft or balloons on Mars, Venus, or Titan. The depth of penetration for this harpoon- based hollow collector was experimentally determined to be proportional to the momentum of the penetrator in agreement with earlier work on the penetration of solid projectiles. A release mechanism for the internal, removable sample cartridge was tested, as was an automatic closure system for the sample canister.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Machinery & Automation, Monitoring


Development of a Turnkey Clear Air Turbulence Detection System

Turbulence is determined via three infrasonic microphones. Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia Currently, the only available means of reporting clear air turbulence (CAT) is the pilot report (PIREP), whereby a pilot experiencing turbulence reports their location and associated data. In this report, a system is proposed that would allow the detection of CAT through infrasonic emissions.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Aviation, Detectors


Multivariate Time Series Search Capability to Identify Complex Patterns in Large Datasets

Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California There exist many datasets that can be viewed as multivariate time series, such as the daily high temperature at a locality, sensor recordings in diagnostic systems and scientific data, and music and video recordings. These time series reside in large repositories, and there is often a need to search for particular time series exhibiting certain types of behaviors. Many current approaches to time series search are too slow on large repositories, or constrain the range of possible queries.

Posted in: Briefs, Data Acquisition, Mathematical/Scientific Software


NGDCS Linux Application for Imaging-Spectrometer Data Acquisition and Display

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California A simple method of controlling recording and display of imaging spectrometer data in (airborne) flight was needed. Existing commercial packages were overly complicated, and sometimes difficult to operate in a bouncing plane. The software also was required to keep up with the imaging data rate, while still running on commodity hardware and a desktop operating system. Finally, the software needed to be as robust as possible — repeating a flight because of lost data is sometimes impossible, and always expensive.

Posted in: Briefs, Displays/Monitors/HMIs, Data Acquisition


Kepler Community Data Analysis Tools

A series of scripts stitch together existing open-source Python modules for the purpose of displaying, cleaning, and measuring photometric properties within public Kepler data. The intent of these tools is to provide convenience to the Kepler science community, and to increase cost efficiency for the project. With 500+ users in the community, an open-source development provides the best resource for sharing tools, while minimizing cost and duplicated effort.

Posted in: Briefs, Data Acquisition, Mathematical/Scientific Software


Detection of Carried and Dropped Objects in Surveillance Video

This software analyzes a video input stream and automatically detects carried and dropped objects in near-real-time. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California DARPA’s Mind’s Eye Program aims to develop a smart camera surveillance system that can autonomously monitor a scene and report back human-readable text descriptions of activities that occur in the video. An important aspect is whether objects are brought into the scene, exchanged between persons, left behind, picked up, etc. While some objects can be detected with an object-specific recognizer, many others are not well suited for this type of approach. For example, a carried object may be too small relative to the resolution of the camera to be easily identifiable, or an unusual object, such as an improvised explosive device, may be too rare or unique in its appearance to have a dedicated recognizer. Hence, a generic object detection capability, which can locate objects without a specific model of what to look for, is used. This approach can detect objects even when partially occluded or overlapping with humans in the scene.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Cameras, Electronics & Computers, Data Acquisition, Detectors


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