October 2007

Articles : Electronics & Computers
Virtual Memory

Software developers face constant challenges. Not only must their code be functionally correct, it must also be reliable. In addition, competition among software vendors has taken software quality to significantly higher levels. Producing high-quality code has become one of the core requirements in the software industry today as...

Articles : Electronics & Computers
Understanding the Unique Requirements of Portable Data Acquisition Systems

Portable data acquisition applications have to meet a number of stringent requirements not present in traditional laboratory systems. Environmental conditions such as extremes in temperature, humidity, shock and vibration, are all factors that must be considered when...

Articles : Electronics & Computers
Ultra-Wideband Recording Stretches to Keep Up With Digitizers

Systems designers are always pressing for faster and faster real-time performance, and data acquisition technology continues to evolve to meet that need. Currently available high-performance digitizers perform in the range of 2 to 5 GS/sec, and some new instruments are featuring 7...

Blog
Coming Attractions

This monthly review lets you "meet" the new advertisers appearing in NTB and its supplements. Here's a sneak peek at the products, services, and offers available from November's first-time advertisers.

AMPS Technologies (Pittsburgh, PA) develops Advanced Multi-Physics Simulation (AMPS) software, an advanced simulation...

Blog
Tech Needs of the Week

A company is looking for effective personal skincare products for niche applications where the efficacy can be clearly demonstrated. The products, product ranges, and/or brands should offer relief for common skin conditions. Products will preferably be topically applied. They should also be on the market and recognizable...

Blog
Utility Grid Batteries

Haunted by memories of blackouts and power reductions, utility and battery companies are stepping up efforts to upgrade their substations with larger batteries.

For instance, electric utility giant American Electric Power (Columbus, OH) has ordered three multimegawatt battery systems, with the goal of having 25...

Blog
Mole Rats

The naked mole rat has been labeled as being ugly, wrinkled, blind, and bucktoothed. But scientists conducting aging studies have found that the unglamorous creature may hold the key to longevity. One such scientist is Stan Braude, a lecturer in biology at Washington University in St. Louis. Braude has studied mole rats for over 25...

Blog
National Nano Engineering Conference

NASA Tech Briefs' 2007 National Nano Engineering Conference (NNEC), November 14-15 at the Marriott Boston Copley Place, is the premier event focused on current and future developments in engineering innovations at the nanoscale, as well as the commercialization of nanotechnology. The event also includes the...

Blog
Nanowire-Based Photovoltaics

Harvard University researchers have made solar cells that are a small fraction of the width of a human hair. The cells, each made from a single nanowire just 300 nanometers wide, could be useful for powering tiny sensors or robots for environmental monitoring or military applications. Moreover, the basic design of...

Blog
Techs of the Week

A patented, microprocessor-based, anti-collision deceleration warning technology has been developed for motor vehicles. Its simple design provides following drivers with up to 4 seconds of additional warning time of a braking, slowing, or stopping event. The warning system reportedly reduces the risk of rear-end collisions by...

Blog
From Killer Gas to Cure

Despite its deadly reputation, carbon monoxide (CO) could save lives and boost health in the future. Chemists at the University of Sheffield in the UK have discovered a way to use targeted small doses of CO to benefit patients who have undergone heart surgery or organ transplants, as well as people suffering from high...

Blog
NASA News

Researchers from NASA and Lockheed Martin have tested software for a robotic extension device that dramatically improves astronauts' ability to perform remote tasks under adverse conditions on the International Space Station (ISS). The method was developed for use with the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator, which works in...

Blog
Technology Business Briefs

Small Geometry Flash EEPROM & DRAM Memory Patents

These patents cover such topics as Flash EEPROM and DRAM device, high storage capacity, cell size, cell layout, product material, etching masking material, photolithography technique, narrower spacing between adjacent line patterns, high packing density of...

Blog
Light-Bending

Researchers from Princeton University have created an easy-to-produce material from semiconductors that has the rare ability to bend light in the opposite direction from all naturally occurring materials. This could lead to advances in high-speed communications, medical diagnostics, and detection of terrorist threats.

The...

Blog
Non-Stick Gum

About 600,000 metric tons of chewing gum are manufactured yearly. Inevitably, a large percentage ends up on streets and pavements and results in a pollution issue. London spends an estimated two million pounds - over four million dollars - every year to clean gum from subway trains and stations. A new gum created by the U.K.-based...

Blog
NASA Briefs

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has developed focal-plane arrays of semiconductor quantum-dot infrared photodetectors (QDIPs) as superior alternatives to prior infrared imagers. QDIPs are easier to fabricate and operate, and electron-beam lithography would be used to make the arrays sufficiently uniform. Get more info here.

Blog
Tech Needs of the Week

A company is looking for innovative or improved PVCu and composite products, systems, and manufacturing technologies for home exterior building and construction products and systems. Value, product performance, lifetime, and ease of installation are of interest. Wanted are new building materials, improved manufacturing...

Blog
Steel-Strength Plastic

University of Michigan researchers have created a composite plastic that's as strong as steel but lighter and transparent. The composite plastic is made of layers of clay nanosheets and a water-soluble, glue-like polymer. UM engineering professor Nicholas Kotov and others have solved a problem that has confounded engineers...

Blog
Drug Development Model

MIT researchers have developed a computer model that could improve a class of drugs based on antibodies. The model can predict structural changes in an antibody that will improve its effectiveness. The team already has used the model to create a new version of cetuximab, a drug commonly used to treat colorectal cancer,...

Blog
Say and Surf

While the Internet offers valuable information for people with disabilities, many of those people cannot use a handheld mouse to surf the Web. Researchers at the University of Washington have developed software that provides an alternative using the oldest mode of communication: the human voice. Vocal Joystick software is an...

Blog
Silicon-Based Light Detector

Researchers at chipmaker Intel Corp. have developed a silicon-based light detector that reportedly outperforms those made of more expensive materials. The device can detect light flashes at a rate of 40 gigabits per second. By comparison, detectors used in fiber-optic networks operate at 10 gigabits per...

Blog
Techs of the Week

A linear illumination system based on a highly reflective external enclosure improves light efficiency and brightness when utilizing fluorescent lamps, light emitting diodes (LED), laser diodes, organic LEDs, electroluminescent strips, or high-intensity discharge lamps as the light source. The system provides a critical...

Blog
Artificial Cornea

For an estimated 10 million people worldwide who are blind due to cornea damage or disease, there may be hope in the form of an innovative artificial cornea design that reportedly overcomes the limitations of existing artificial corneas.

Existing cornea implants need to be made larger to prevent excess corneal tissue...

Blog
Current Attractions

Spectrophotometers are more commonly used today by manufacturers to ensure first-time color quality and lot-to-lot consistency of products on the factory floor. These instruments, as a result, must meet some very demanding conditions, including uneven lighting, high humidity levels, varying temperatures, and shock and...

Blog
Technology Business Briefs

Portfolio of Clock Synchronization Patents Available for Sale

Two US-issued patents and a family of international counterparts are for sale. A hybrid-type clock synchronization tool includes analog and digital components, and optimizing clock skew.

Blog
Detecting TB

Technology developed for two European Space Agency (ESA) missions could soon be used to cost- effectively, rapidly, and accurately diagnose tuberculosis (TB). Scientists at The Open University and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) are developing a mass spectrometer capable of detecting TB in countries where...

Blog
National Nano Engineering Conference

NASA Tech Briefs' 2007 National Nano Engineering Conference (NNEC), November 14-15 at the Marriott Boston Copley Place, is the premier event focused on current and future developments in engineering innovations at the nanoscale, as well as the commercialization of nanotechnology. The event also includes the...

Blog
Pinpointing Venous Diseases

University of Cincinnati (UC) radiologists have developed a new technique for capturing images of chest veins that helps diagnose venous diseases. Multi-detector computed tomography (CT) scanners are currently used to create 3D images of arteries. Veins are more difficult to accurately image. The new technique allows...

Blog
Tech Needs of the Week

A company seeks to deactivate or otherwise interfere with the action of pectin methylesterase and polygalacturonase enzymes, which interfere with the processing of certain fruits by degrading fruit pectins. Release of the enzymes decreases the thickening power of the fruit solids, as they act on cell wall pectins. By...

Blog
Vascular System Mimic

Labs are currently working on growing synthetically engineered tissues such as muscle or cartilage needed for transplants. Towards that end, Cornell University engineers have developed a microvascular system that can nourish growing tissues. They have engineered tiny channels within a water-based gel that mimic a vascular...

Blog
Pushing Measurement to the Edge

Researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), IBM, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, have pushed the measurement of thin films to the edge to produce the first data on how the edges of metallic thin films contribute to their magnetic properties. The results may impact the...

Blog
Techs of the Week

A frictional properties test mechanism for an aircraft brake comprises a means for providing inertial rotary motion, a wheel element attached to the inertial rotary motion means, a means for effecting braking of the wheel element and including braking load receiving means, a means for creating oscillatory motion of the braking...

Blog
NASA News

Objects just a few millimeters across could pierce the thin aluminum skin of spacecraft such as the International Space Station orbiting 220 miles above Earth. And even a tiny hole can mean a leak of pressurized air. Dale Chimenti, an Iowa State University professor of aerospace engineering, is leading a team that has been contracted...

Blog
Last Chance to Design & Win!

Your unique invention could win you $20,000 or other great prizes in the 2007 Create the Future Design Contest, presented by SolidWorks Corp. and NASA Tech Briefs. Innovative design ideas are being accepted in six categories: Machinery, Equipment, and Component Technology; Consumer Products; Medical; Safety and...

Blog
Current Attractions

NASA's Inductive Monitoring System (IMS) is a new computer program that monitors gyroscopes that keep the International Space Station properly oriented in space. Engineers will add the new software to a group of existing tools to identify and track problems related to the gyroscopes. If the software detects warning signs, it...

Blog
Technology Business Briefs

Small Geometry Flash EEPROM & DRAM Memory Patents

These patents cover such topics as Flash EEPROM and DRAM device, high storage capacity, cell size, cell layout, product material, etching masking material, photolithography technique, narrower spacing between adjacent line patterns, high packing density of...

Blog
Unwarped at Warp Speed

Researchers at the University of Warwick in the UK have developed a way to identify partial, distorted, scratched, smudged, or otherwise warped fingerprints in a few seconds. Previous techniques have tried to identify a few key features on a fingerprint and match them against a database of templates. The new method...

Blog
NASA Briefs

Johnson Space Center (Houston, TX) has invented photocatalytic/ magnetic composite particles as an improved method of photocatalysis for removing chemical and biological pollutants from air and water. Read more here.

Blog
Tech Needs of the Week

A company seeks an aerosol that can be easily launched using a pulsed jet fogger, has reflectivity or other optical properties, and is safe for human cutaneous and pulmonary contact. Visually reflective aerosols are sought with emitted or reflected light that can be manipulated using laser or other optical sources. Click...

Blog
Small Strength

Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed a new technique for identifying and repairing small, potentially dangerous cracks in aircraft wings and other structures made from polymer composites. By infusing a polymer with electrically conductive carbon nanotubes, and then monitoring the structure's electrical...

Blog
Current Attractions

Each month, NTB highlights tech briefs related to a particular area of technology in a special section called Technology Focus. Here are some of the technologies featured in the October issue focus on Sensors.

Wirelessly Interrogated Position or Displacement Sensors

Researchers at NASA's...

Blog
Techs of the Week

The Jettison D® is an ionizer that works in conjunction with a diesel engine's emission control system to decrease the amount of pollutants emitted while improving fuel economy, reducing maintenance, and enhancing engine performance. It changes unburned oil droplets and vapors emitted from the engine into light, burnable...

Blog
High-Tech Helmets

The University of Illinois (UI) at Urbana- Champaign and Unity High School in Tolono, IL, have teamed with Simbex, a research and product- development company in New Hampshire, to develop a system inside a football helmet that monitors head injuries. It works in tandem with helmets made by Riddell, and was first tested on the...

Blog
Coming Attractions

This monthly review lets you "meet" the new advertisers appearing in Defense Tech Briefs (DTB). Here's a sneak peek at the products, services, and offers available from October's first-time advertisers.

AVX Corp. (Myrtle Beach, SC) offers products for defense, aerospace, and space applications, including ceramic...

Articles : Electronics & Computers
Using Ethernet for Process Automation

The use of Ethernet communications in industrial applications is growing because it enables the real-time exchange of information between processing equipment and companies' Ethernet-based management systems. Some of the factors encouraging the use of Ethernet technology include:

the speed advantages...
Articles : Electronics & Computers
How PCI Express Is Changing Machine Vision

PCI Express is the peripheral bus now being adopted by next-generation PCs, servers, and industrial computers. It provides a scaleable, high-bandwidth, point-to-point pathway between peripheral cards and the computing core while retaining application software compatibility with previous generations. For...

Blog
Technology Business Briefs

Portfolio of Mobile Messaging Patents for Sale

Four U.S. patents, several U.S. applications and a family of international counterparts are available.

Reinforced Micromodule

This technology relates to a reinforced micromodule of the kind for supporting an integrated circuit adapted here for use in...

Blog
A Panoramic View

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, in collaboration with scientists at NASA's Ames Research Center, have built a low-cost robotic device that enables any digital camera to produce gigapixel (billions of pixels) panoramas called GigaPans. The device attaches to any digital camera and enables the public to shoot...

Blog
Innovate and Win!

Have you entered your unique invention in the 2007 Create the Future Design Contest, presented by SolidWorks Corp. and NASA Tech Briefs? If not, you only have until October 15 to submit your design idea. Entries are being accepted in six categories: Machinery, Equipment, and Component Technology; Consumer Products; Medical;...

Excerpts
Better Be Running! Tools to Drive Design Success (part 3)

This is the third in our series of excerpts from "Better Be Running! Tools to Drive Design Success" by Dr. Ronald Hollis, President, CEO, and Co-founder of Quickparts.com (Atlanta, GA). Written for business managers, the book focuses on manufacturing processes, tooling choices, and...

Application Briefs : Physical Sciences
NASA Advanced Life Support Systems Group Uses Water Reclamation Prototype
DynaJets® and DynaSwirl® cavitating jet technologies
DynaFlow
Jessup, MD
301-604-3688
www.dynaflow-inc.com

Water is a critical product of any life support system. An estimated 12,000 kg of expendables are required to sustain a single...

Application Briefs : Physical Sciences
Spectrometer Selected for NASA Mission to Search out Lunar Water
QE65000 spectrometer
Ocean Optics
Dunedin, FL
727-733-2447
www.oceanoptics.com

Scheduled to launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida in October of 2008, the LCROSS (Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite) mission will...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Wirelessly Interrogated Position or Displacement Sensors

Two simple position or displacement sensors based on inductance-capacitance resonant circuits have been conceived. These sensors are both powered and interrogated without use of wires and without making contact with other objects. Instead, excitation and interrogation are accomplished by...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Ka-Band Radar Terminal Descent Sensor

The terminal descent sensor (TDS) is a radar altimeter/velocimeter that improves the accuracy of velocity sensing by more than an order of magnitude when compared to existing sensors. The TDS is designed for the safe planetary landing of payloads, and may be used in helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Metal/Metal Oxide Differential Electrode pH Sensors

Solid-state electrochemical sensors for measuring the degrees of acidity or alkalinity (in terms of pH values) of liquid solutions are being developed. These sensors are intended to supplant older electrochemical pH sensors that include glass electrode structures and reference solutions. The...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Improved Sensing Coils for SQUIDs

An improvement in the design and fabrication of sensing coils of superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) magnetometers has been proposed to increase sensitivity. It has been estimated that, in some cases, it would be possible to increase sensitivity by about half or to reduce measurement time...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Inductive Linear-Position Sensor/Limit-Sensor Units

A new sensor (see figure) provides an absolute position measurement. The figure presents a schematic view of a motorized linear- translation stage that contains, at each end, an electronic unit that functions as both (1) a non-contact sensor that measures the absolute position of the stage and...

Briefs : Materials
Strong, Lightweight, Porous Materials

A new class of strong, lightweight, porous materials has been invented as an outgrowth of an effort to develop reinforced silica aerogels. The new material, called X-Aerogel is less hygroscopic, but no less porous and of similar density to the corresponding unmodified aerogels. However, the property that...

Briefs : Materials
Nanowicks

Nanowicks are dense mats of nanoscale fibers that are expected to enable the development of a variety of novel capillary pumps, filters, and fluidic control devices. Nanowicks make it possible obtain a variety of novel effects, including capillary pressures orders of magnitude greater than those afforded by microscale and conventional...

Briefs : Materials
Lightweight Thermal Protection System for Atmospheric Entry

TUFROC (Toughened Uni-piece Fibrous Reinforced Oxidation- resistant Composite) has been developed as a new thermal protection system (TPS) material for wing leading edge and nose cap applications. The composite withstands temperatures up to 1,970 K, and consists of a toughened,...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Rapid and Quiet Drill

The figure depicts selected aspects of the rapid and quiet drill (RAQD), which is a prototype apparatus for drilling concrete or bricks. The design and basic principle of operation of the RAQD overlap, in several respects, with those of ultrasonic/sonic drilling and coring apparatuses described in a number of previous NASA...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Hydrogen Peroxide Concentrator

A relatively simple and economical process and apparatus for concentrating hydrogen peroxide from aqueous solution at the point of use have been invented. The need for this or a similar invention arises for the following reasons:

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
MMIC Amplifiers for 90 to 130 GHz

The figure shows two monolithic microwave integrated-circuit (MMIC) amplifier chips optimized to function in the frequency range of 90 to 130 GHz, covering nearly all of F-band (90 – 140 GHz). These amplifiers were designed specifically for local-oscillator units in astronomical radio telescopes such as the...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Hilbert-Curve Fractal Antenna With Radiation-Pattern Diversity

A printed, folded, Hilbert-curve fractal microwave antenna has been designed and built to offer advantages of compactness and low mass, relative to other antennas designed for the same operating frequencies. The primary feature of the antenna is that it offers the advantage of...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Single-Camera Panoramic-Imaging Systems

Panoramic detection systems (PDSs) are developmental video monitoring and image-data processing systems that, as their name indicates, acquire panoramic views. More specifically, a PDS acquires images from an approximately cylindrical field of view that surrounds an observation platform. In example of a...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Interface Electronic Circuitry for an Electronic Tongue

Electronic circuitry has been developed to serve as an interface between an electronic tongue and digital input/output boards in a laptop computer that is used to control the tongue and process its readings. Electronic tongues were described in two prior NASA Tech Briefs articles:...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Inexpensive Clock for Displaying Planetary or Sidereal Time

An inexpensive wall clock has been devised for displaying solar time or sidereal time as it would be perceived on a planet other than the Earth, or for displaying sidereal time on the Earth. The concept of a wall clock synchronized to a period other than the terrestrial mean solar day...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Efficient Switching Arrangement for (N + 1)/N Redundancy

An efficient arrangement of four switches has been conceived for coupling, to four output ports, the output powers of any subset of four devices that are members of a redundant set of five devices. In normal operation, the output power of each of four of the devices would be coupled to one...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Lightweight Reflectarray Antenna for 7.115 and 32 GHz

A lightweight reflectarray antenna that would enable simultaneous operation at frequencies near 7.115 GHz and frequencies near 32 GHz is undergoing development. More precisely, what is being developed is a combination of two reflectarray antennas — one for each frequency band —...

Briefs : Information Technology
C Namelist Facility

C Namelist Facility (CNL) is a package of software that supports the development of data-driven programs that utilize relatively free-form input files (e.g., text files) to control complex operations. The only comparable prior namelist facility is built into Fortran and does not support arrays or records. Newer computing...

Briefs : Information Technology
Software Framework for Peer Data-Management Services

Object Oriented Data Technology (OODT) is a software framework for creating a Web-based system for exchange of scientific data that are stored in diverse formats on computers at different sites under the management of scientific peers. OODT software consists of a set of cooperating,...

Briefs : Information Technology
Autogen Version 2.0

Version 2.0 of the autogen software has been released. "Autogen" (automated sequence generation) signifies both a process and software used to implement the process of automated generation of sequences of commands in a standard format for uplink to spacecraft. Autogen requires fewer workers than are needed for older manual...

Briefs : Information Technology
Efficient Mosaicking of Spitzer Space Telescope Images

A parallel version of the MOPEX software, which generates mosaics of infrared astronomical images acquired by the Spitzer Space Telescope, extends the capabilities of the prior serial version. In the parallel version, both the input image space and the output mosaic space are divided among...

Briefs : Information Technology
Tracking-Data-Conversion Tool

A computer program denoted Tracking Data Delivery Software Orbit Data File (TDDSODF) converts deep- space- radiocommunication spacecraft-tracking data from a currently used file format known in the art as "TRK-2-34" to a legacy format denoted "TRK-2-18." TDDSODF reads standard formatted data units (SFDUs) of several...

Briefs : Information Technology
NASA Enterprise Visual Analysis

NASA Enterprise Visual Analysis (NEVA) is a computer program undergoing development as a successor to Launch Services Analysis Tool (LSAT), formerly known as Payload Carrier Analysis Tool (PCAT). NEVA facilitates analyses of proposed configurations of payloads and packing fixtures (e.g. pallets) in a spaceshuttle...

Briefs : Information Technology
Advanced Reference Counting Pointers for Better Performance

A computer program implements reference counting pointers (RCPs) that are lock-free, thread-safe, async-safe, and operational on a multiprocessor computer. RCPs are powerful and convenient means of managing heap memory in C++ software. Most prior RCP programs use locks to ensure thread...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Robot Would Climb Steep Terrain

The figure depicts the steep terrain access robot (STAR) — a walking robot that has been proposed for exploring steep terrain on remote planets. Robots based on the STAR concept could also be used on steep terrain on Earth for diverse purposes that could include not only scientific exploration but also...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Measuring Dynamic Transfer Functions of Cavitating Pumps

A water-flow test facility has been built to enable measurement of dynamic transfer functions (DTFs) of cavitating pumps and of inducers in such pumps. Originally, the facility was intended for use in an investigation of the effects of cavitation in a rocket-engine low-pressure oxygen...

Briefs : Medical
Advanced Resistive Exercise Device

The advanced resistive exercise device (ARED), now at the prototype stage of development, is a versatile machine that can be used to perform different customized exercises for which, heretofore, it has been necessary to use different machines. Conceived as a means of helping astronauts and others to maintain...

Briefs : Medical
Rapid Engineering of Three-Dimensional, Multicellular Tissues With Polymeric Scaffolds

A process has been developed for the rapid tissue engineering of multicellular- tissue-equivalent assemblies by the controlled enzymatic degradation of polymeric beads in a low-fluid- shear bioreactor. In this process, the porous polymeric beads serve as...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Enhancing Spin Filters by Use of Bulk Inversion Asymmetry

Theoretical calculations have shown that the degrees of spin polarization in proposed nonmagnetic semiconductor resonant tunneling spin filters could be increased through exploitation of bulk inversion asymmetry (BIA). These enhancements would be effected through suitable orientation of...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Resonant Tunneling Spin Pump

The resonant tunneling spin pump is a proposed semiconductor device that would generate spin-polarized electron currents. The resonant tunneling spin pump would be a purely electrical device in the sense that it would not contain any magnetic material and would not rely on an applied magnetic field. Also, unlike...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
CO₂-Reduction Primary Cell for Use on Venus

A document proposes a CO2-reduction primary electrochemical cell as a building block of batteries to supply electric power on the surface of Venus. The basic principle of the proposed cell is similar to that of terrestrial Zn-air batteries, the major differences being that (1) the anode...

Briefs : Information Technology
POD Model Reconstruction for Gray-Box Fault Detection

Proper orthogonal decomposition (POD) is the mathematical basis of a method of constructing low-order mathematical models for the "gray-box" fault- detection algorithm that is a component of a diagnostic system known as beaconbased exception analysis for multimissions (BEAM). POD has been...

Briefs : Information Technology
System for Estimating Horizontal Velocity During Descent

The descent image motion estimation system (DIMES) is a system of hardware and software, designed for original use in estimating the horizontal velocity of a spacecraft descending toward a landing on Mars. The estimated horizontal velocity is used in generating rocket-firing commands to...

Articles : Nanotechnology
National Nano Engineering Conference Preview

The 2007 NASA Tech Briefs National Nano Engineering Conference (NNEC), to be held November 14-15 at the Boston Marriott Copley Place, is produced for design engineers who want to know what’s real, what’s close, and what might be coming in the world of nanotechnology. The NNEC will help you keep...

Articles : Research Lab
Eye On Innovation
By Mike Santori
National Instruments
Business & Technology Fellow
National Instruments
Austin, TX

High-tech companies live and die by their ability to innovate. Creating new products and technologies is essential to gaining new customers as well as keeping current customers. We often...

Products
LPC-350-PCI Little PC

Stealth Computer Corp., Woodbridge, ON, Canada, has introduced the LPC- 350PCI Little PC, a mini personal computer that can fit in the palm of your hand. The anodized aluminum chassis measures about 2" tall, and has the overall footprint the size of a hardcover book, measuring 10 × 5.87 × 2.75", and...

Who's Who
David Iverson, Computer Scientist, NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA

The Inductive Monitoring System (IMS) is a new computer program that monitors gyroscopes that keep the International Space Station properly oriented in space. IMS detects warning signs that precede a gyroscope's failure. Engineers will add the new software to a...

Techs for License
Laser Drilling of Ceramic Composites to Form Smooth-Walled Holes

Attempts to mechanically drill high-temperature ceramic components can doom them to failure. Even laser drilling can compromise the surface oxidation layer that protects the composite part in high- temperature service.

Techs for License
Molecular Vaccine for Prophylaxis and Treatment of Listeriosis

Biomedical Center in Moscow has developed a peptide formulation that induces activation and proliferation of the cytotoxic lymphocyte’s (CTL) clones and enables them to recognize and selectively kill Listeria infected cells. As the lifetime of CTL clones is 3 to 7 years or more the...

NASA Tech Needs
Rapid DC Magnetron Sputtering

DC magnetron sputtering provides a very durable and stable coating that has many high-energy laser (HEL) and industrial applications, especially in producing coatings for high-reflectivity (HR) mirrors and anti-reflection (AR) coated windows. However, the DC magnetron sputtering deposition process is extremely slow....

NASA Tech Needs
Low VOC Binder/Resin System

Technology is required to reduce volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in binder/resins while maintaining or enhancing existing product properties. Potential solutions could include the addition of a compound or additive that reduces VOC demand, a new crosslinking system for polymers to enhance molecular network...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Optical Magnetometer Incorporating Photonic Crystals

According to a proposal, photonic crystals would be used to greatly increase the sensitivities of optical magnetometers that are already regarded as ultrasensitive. The proposal applies, more specifically, to a state-of-the-art type of quantum coherent magnetometer that exploits the...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Raman-Suppressing Coupling for Optical Parametric Oscillator

A Raman- scattering- suppressing input/ output coupling scheme has been devised for a whispering-gallery- mode optical resonator that is used as a fourwave- mixing device to effect an all-optical parametric oscillator. Raman scattering is undesired in such a device because (1) it is a...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
WGM-Resonator/Tapered-Waveguide White-Light Sensor Optics

Theoretical and experimental investigations have demonstrated the feasibility of compact white-light sensor optics consisting of unitary combinations of (1) low-profile whisperinggallery- mode (WGM) resonators and (2) tapered rod optical waveguides. These sensors are highly...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Cold Atom Source Containing Multiple Magneto-Optical Traps

An apparatus that serves as a source of a cold beam of atoms contains multiple two-dimensional (2D) magneto-optical traps (MOTs). (Cold beams of atoms are used in atomic clocks and in diverse scientific experiments and applications.) The multiple-2D-MOT design of this cold atom source...

Briefs : Information Technology
Opto-Electronic Oscillator Using Suppressed Phase Modulation

A proposed opto- electronic oscillator (OEO) would generate a microwave signal having degrees of frequency stability and spectral purity greater than those achieved in prior OEOs. The design of this system provides for reduction of noise levels (including the level of phase noise in...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Alternative Controller for a Fiber-Optic Switch

The figure is a simplified diagram of a relatively inexpensive controller for a DiCon VX (or equivalent) fiber-optic switch — an electromechanically actuated switch for optically connecting one or two input optical fibers to any of a number of output optical fibers. DiCon VX fiber-optic...

Articles : Photonics/Optics
LED-Equipped Spectrophotometers Find Their Way to the Factory Floor

Companies that manufacture products ultimately used by consumers — interior trim for cars, vinyl siding for homes, decorative stone for landscaping, interior wall paints, etc. — are often discovering that they need to use precise spectrophotometers to ensure first-time color...

Application Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Improving Lens Performance With Transmitted Wavefront Error Testing

During design and manufacturing, optical systems and lenses are toleranced and tested to ensure the smallest possible performance error. Matching most optics manufacturing companies’ capabilities, lenses are traditionally toleranced with individual surface specifications —...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Optical Magnetometer Incorporating Photonic Crystals

According to a proposal, photonic crystals would be used to greatly increase the sensitivities of optical magnetometers that are already regarded as ultrasensitive. The proposal applies, more specifically, to a state-of-the-art type of quantum coherent magnetometer that exploits the...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Raman-Suppressing Coupling for Optical Parametric Oscillator

A Raman-scattering-suppressing input/output coupling scheme has been devised for a whispering-gallery-mode optical resonator that is used as a four-wave-mixing device to effect an all-optical parametric oscillator. Raman scattering is undesired in such a device because (1) it is a...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
WGM-Resonator/Tapered-Waveguide White-Light Sensor Optics

Theoretical and experimental investigations have demonstrated the feasibility of compact white-light sensor optics consisting of unitary combinations of (1) low-profile whispering-gallery-mode (WGM) resonators and (2) tapered rod optical waveguides. These sensors are highly...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Cold Atom Source Containing Multiple Magneto-Optical Traps

An apparatus that serves as a source of a cold beam of atoms contains multiple two-dimensional (2D) magneto-optical traps (MOTs). (Cold beams of atoms are used in atomic clocks and in diverse scientific experiments and applications.) The multiple-2D-MOT design of this cold atom source...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Opto-Electronic Oscillator Using Suppressed Phase Modulation

A proposed opto-electronic oscillator (OEO) would generate a microwave signal having degrees of frequency stability and spectral purity greater than those achieved in prior OEOs. The design of this system provides for reduction of noise levels (including the level of phase noise in the...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Alternative Controller for a Fiber-Optic Switch

The figure is a simplified diagram of a relatively inexpensive controller for a DiCon VX (or equivalent) fiber-optic switch — an electromechanically actuated switch for optically connecting one or two input optical fibers to any of a number of output optical fibers. DiCon VX fiber-optic switches...

Products
LED Fiberscope

OPTIM Inc. (Sturbridge, MA) introduces the FreedomView™ LED Fiberscope, a handheld, portable inspection device that combines a high intensity LED light source with a flexible insertion shaft that can be fully immersed in water, gasoline, and diesel fuel. The fiberscope provides fast and accurate remote imaging, enabling visual...

Products
Light Pipe Homogenizing Rods

Edmund Optics (Barrington, NJ) announces the release of the TechSpec™ family of light pipe homogenizing rods for OEM illumination needs. The rods use total internal reflection to turn a non-uniform light source into uniform illumination and deliver it to the target site. These rods are ideal for applications where...

Products
5 Megapixel Cameras

EPIX, Inc. (Buffalo Grove, IL) introduces the SV5C10 12-bit color and the SV5M10 12-bit monochrome 5 megapixel 10 fps cameras. These camera systems, which are based on the MT9P001 sensor from Micron, offer both an Electronic Rolling Shutter for maximum frame rates, and a Global Reset Release Shutter for improved sharpness....

Products
Line Scan Camera

DALSA Corporation (Waterloo, Ontario) has introduced its Spyder 3 CL line scan camera with Camera Link interface. It has broadband responsivity up to 408 DN/(nJ/cm2) enabling low-light applications, and up to 68 kHz line rate for high speed and productivity. High or low speeds of 40 or 80 megapixels per second...

Products
Ball Lenses

Antireflection (AR) coated ball lenses from Deposition Sciences, Inc. (Santa Rosa, CA) are available in a variety of glass indexes and sizes from 200 microns up to 10.0 mm diameter. They feature transmission values of greater than 99.5 percent in indexes of up to nd 2.0 @ 550 nm. The AR-coated ball lenses are stable over...

Products
Twyman-Green Interferometer

The PhaseCam™ 5030 from 4D Technology (Tucson, AZ) is a high-performance, Twyman-Green interferometer developed specifically to measure meter-class optics for terrestrial and space-based telescopes. Unlike traditional phase-shifting interferometers, the PhaseCam utilizes Dynamic Interferometry® to acquire all...

Products
Wide Angle Zoom Adapter

The 287-000 Series Wide Angle Zoom Adapter from Resolve Optics Ltd. (Chesham, UK) provides a true 0.5x field of view and maintains minimal distortion and high resolution throughout the zoom range of a camera. Each production lens is individually collimated to maintain the full focus range of the prime lens. Incorporating...

Products
Digital Line Scan NIR/SWIR Camera

Sensors Unlimited, Inc. (Princeton, NJ) introduces the SU-LDH digital line scan shortwave infrared (SWIR) camera for spectroscopy and machine vision applications. The near infrared (NIR) indium gallium arsenide (InGaAs) camera increases line rates for 1024 pixels to over 40,000 lines per second, making it...

Products
Optical Inspection Device

The Super Optical Device 3 from Moritex (San Jose, CA) is a unit optimized for vision and inspection applications that require mounted lens and lighting. Available in three different versions, the Super Optical Device 3 (SOD-III) series includes an optical body that uses coaxial episcopic illumination to image flat...

Products
Optical Channel Monitor

AMS Technologies (Martinsried, Germany) has introduced the Optical Channel Monitor, which provides critical data on optical transmission signals present in DWDM networks with a scan time of less than 100msec. The Optical Channel Monitor includes a fixed fiber grating and a high resolution detector array, resulting in an...

Products
Reflective Semiconductor Optical Amplifier

The new reflective semiconductor optical amplifier (RSOA) component from CIP (Ipswich, UK) provides high-speed transmission capability for wavelength division multiplexing passive optical networks (WDM-PON) by reflecting and modulating a “seed” light that is transmitted throughout the network. The...

Products
LED Indicator Light

DDP (El Segundo, CA) has designed a solid-state LED indicator light called the P81 that features a snap-in installation to a ½" panel opening. The P81 can be modified to include a shunt resistor and metal oxide varistor to protect against circuit noise and transient voltage spikes in critical monitoring and harsh environment...

Products
High Definition Color Video Camera

Wilco Imaging, Inc. (San Diego, CA) offers the remote head IK-HD1, a 3-CCD prism block high definition color video camera from Toshiba. The camera is suitable for tasks that require low weight and reduced package size, such as broadcast, aviation, and inspection. Easy to integrate with multiple video outputs...

Products
Design Software

Liekki (Lohja, Finland) introduces their Liekki Application Designer (LAD) v4.0. LAD provides a platform for simulating and optimizing fiber amplifiers, and amplifying spontaneous emission sources and fiber laser systems. LAD v4.0 includes wizards that allow for creating designs and running simulations through a step-by-step...

Articles : Motion Control
Using Motion Control to Guide Augmented Reality Manufacturing Systems

Assembly is a complicated, sometimes tedious process that often unfolds sequentially along a series of stations. In the manufacture of complex equipment such as jet engines and automobiles, technicians are guided through their work by referring to printed manuals, which...

Application Briefs : Motion Control
Brake System Development Accelerated With 3D Modeling

Tractair Ltd., based in Brough, UK, designs, manufactures and installs air and hydraulic brake systems for special applications. The company works closely with the design engineers of major international tractor manufacturers and other OEMs to ensure that the braking systems are fully...

Application Briefs : Motion Control
Motor System Enables Elevators to Ride Smoothly

Many factors have contributed to the fact that in the past five years, home elevator sales have doubled. These include the aging of the affluent baby-boom generation. In the next five years, an estimated 70 million people will be of retirement age; many of them will be looking at retaining their...

Products
Motion Control System

The MDrive 14Plus Motion Control system from Intelligent Motion Systems (Marlborough, CT) combines the motor, driver, controller, and encoder in one system using a NEMA size 14 brushless 1.8° motor. It measures 1.9 × 1.4 × 2.0" and includes a programmable controller and programming instruction set. Communication is via...

Products : Electronics & Computers
Motor Control Integrated Circuit

iC-Haus Corp. USA (Naperville, IL) introduces the iC-MH, a system-on-chip solution for magnetic sensor applications. The iC-MH’s 5 x 5 mm QFN28 package contains integrated Hall sensors with signal amplifier and gain control, two A/D converters for incremental and commutation signals, integrated RS-422 line...

Products
Vibrating Micro Motors

SANYO DC Micro Motor Division, Bensenville, IL, has developed the BSY-3089 vibrating micro motor suitable for applications requiring a small footprint on surface-mount circuit boards. The motor measures 11 mm in length, with a 4.4-mm-wide body × 3.4 mm height off the mounting surface. Typical speed is 14,000 rpm with a...

Products
Digital Signal Controllers

Microchip Technology, Chandler, AZ, has announced the dsPIC33FJ12MC family of motor control digital signal controllers. Hardware features include a motor control PWM with two independent clock sources for motor control algorithms — such as field-oriented control — and active power factor correction using a DSC and...

Products
Bearings

AST Bearings, Montville, NJ, offers a variety of bearings, bushings, spherical plain bearings, rod ends, linear bearing and slides, miniature and instrument bearings, and tapered roller bearings for rotary motion applications. The company also offers modified dimensional bearings in inch and metric sizes in materials such as chrome and...

Products
Linear Slides

Fabco-Air (Gainesville, FL) has introduced block-style linear slides in 12-, 20-, and 32-mm bores with strokes from 1/2" to 10" and guide shafts from 3/8" to 3/4" diameters. An anodized aluminum body has a built-in repairable air cylinder and a combination of mounting holes to facilitate rigid mounting in tight spaces;...

Products
Linear Positioning Stages

The SR linear positioning stages from H2W Technologies (Valencia, CA) are compact, lightweight, and have a small footprint. They offer speed of 6 m/sec, acceleration up to 12 g’s, zero cogging, high resolution to 0.1 μm, repeatability to ±1 μm, and load capacity to 25 Kg. The non-contact, three-phase brushless...

Products
Motion Controller

PI L.P. (Auburn, MA) introduced the E-755 NEXLINE® ultra-high-resolution motion controller that is designed to drive NEXLINE® linear motor actuators, enabling the combination of long travel ranges and picometer resolution. The E-755 features 32-bit digital filters, 24-bit DAC resolution, integrated piezo amplifiers, fully...

Products
Single-Axis Controller

The microMAXR from Agile Systems (Waterloo, ON, Canada) is a single-axis controller that integrates motion control, servo amplifier, networking capabilities, and user I/O in a compact package. The microMAXR allows users to incorporate multiple controllers using a traditional connector or a backplane version that plugs into...

Products
Encoder Protocol

The BiSS™ Model C encoder protocol from Dynapar (Gurnee, IL) provides bidirectional communication between an encoder and a motor drive controller. Secondary data such as temperature, acceleration, alarm description, and safety information can be communicated without the need to stop collecting position data. The protocol can...

Products
DC Servo Motor

The PITTMAN® Series 6000™ from AMETEK Technical & Industrial Products (Kent, OH) is a 22-mm-diameter, brush-commutated DC servo motor that has a skewed 5-slot armature design and bonded neodymium iron boron magnets. Depending on the model, the Series 6000™ motors can generate maximum peak torques up to 10.2 oz-in and nominal...

Blog
NASA Briefs

Glenn Research Center (Cleveland, OH) has designed a power supply for a cordless drill in which ultracapacitors, rather than batteries, are used to store energy. Whereas charging of batteries usually takes hours, ultracapacitors can be charged in seconds. Read more here.

Webcasts

On-Demand Webinars: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Heavy-Duty Engine Design for a Transitioning Market

Upcoming Webinars: Photonics/Optics

High-Powered Directed Energy Laser Projects: Destroy the Target,...

Upcoming Webinars: Photonics/Optics

Optical Coating Design

Upcoming Webinars: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Rapid Decompression and Sealed Containers: Why Choose Magnet...

Upcoming Webinars: Motion Control

Advantages of Smart Servo Steppers vs. Smart Brushless Servos

Upcoming Webinars: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Large Cable, Large Problems: Considerations for Innovation