November 2013

Question of the Week
Would You Use an All-In-One 'Coin?'

A San Francisco startup introduced an all-in-one card, called Coin, meant to store financial information from every other card carried in a wallet. The device, available for preorder, includes a magnetic strip that can change depending on what card one wants to use. What do you think? Would you use an...

Products : Electronics & Computers

AutomationDirect (Cumming, GA) has released the latest addition to its PLC offerings, the Do-more T1H Series PLC. Using the proven Terminator field I/O hardware as a platform, the Do-moreT1H PLC supports stackable base units, discrete and analog I/O modules. The T1H CPUs high processor speeds not only decrease program execution time, but...

Products : Electronics & Computers
Compact USB Oscilloscope

Saelig Company, Inc. (Fairport, NY) recently announced the availability of the new PicoScope 2000 series oscilloscopes, which are 80% smaller than their predecessors, similar in size to a passport but ¾" thick. Connected to a PC's USB port for power and communication, they offer bandwidths up to 200MHz. They feature a...

Products : Electronics & Computers
Power Management ICs

ON Semiconductor (Phoenix, AZ) has introduced two new AEC Qualified ICs optimized for automotive powertrain and in-cabin deployment. Running off a 2V to 44V input voltage, the NCV8876 non-synchronous boost controller with automatic wake up and shutdown functions is designed to supply a minimum output voltage during...

Question of the Week
Will You Talk and Text in the Air?

An in-flight service from Gogo allows travelers to text and talk as if they are on the ground. By using the company's air-to-ground connectivity, calls and texts are routed through the aircraft's wireless network rather than in-flight cell towers, or "picocells."

Briefs : Software
Visiting Vehicle Ground Trajectory Tool

The International Space Station (ISS) Visiting Vehicle Group needed a targeting tool for vehicles that rendezvous with the ISS. The Visiting Vehicle Ground Trajectory targeting tool provides the ability to perform both realtime and planning operations for the Visiting Vehicle Group. This tool provides a...

Briefs : Software
Mobile Thread Task Manager

The Mobile Thread Task Manager (MTTM) is being applied to parallelizing existing flight software to understand the benefits and to develop new techniques and architectural concepts for adapting software to multicore architectures. It allocates and load-balances tasks for a group of threads that migrate across...

Briefs : Software
Workflow-Based Software Development Environment

The Software Developer’s Assistant (SDA) helps software teams more efficiently and accurately conduct or execute software processes associated with NASA mission-critical software. SDA is a process enactment platform that guides software teams through project-specific standards, processes, and...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
GPS Estimates of Integrated Precipitable Water Aid Weather Forecasters

Global Positioning System (GPS) meteorology provides enhanced density, low-latency (30-min resolution), integrated precipitable water (IPW) estimates to NOAA NWS (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Weather Service) Weather Forecast Offices (WFOs) to...

Briefs : Information Technology
Spatial Statistical Data Fusion (SSDF)

As remote sensing for scientific purposes has transitioned from an experimental technology to an operational one, the selection of instruments has become more coordinated, so that the scientific community can exploit complementary measurements. However, technological and scientific heterogeneity across...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Cryogenic Liquid Sample Acquisition System for Remote Space Applications

There is a need to acquire autonomously cryogenic hydrocarbon liquid sample from remote planetary locations such as the lakes of Titan for instruments such as mass spectrometers. There are several problems that had to be solved relative to collecting the right amount of...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Integrating a Microwave Radiometer into Radar Hardware for Simultaneous Data Collection Between the Instruments

The conventional method for integrating a radiometer into radar hardware is to share the RF front end between the instruments, and to have separate IF receivers that take data at separate times. Alternatively, the radar and radiometer...

Briefs : Medical
Rapid Detection of Herpes Viruses for Clinical Applications

There are eight herpes viruses that infect humans, causing a wide range of diseases resulting in considerable morbidity and associated costs. Varicella zoster virus (VZV) is a human herpes virus that causes chickenpox in children and shingles in adults. Approximately 1,000,000 new cases...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
High-Speed Data Recorder for Space, Geodesy, and Other High-Speed Recording Applications

A high-speed data recorder and replay equipment has been developed for reliable high-data-rate recording to disk media. It solves problems with slow or faulty disks, multiple disk insertions, high-altitude operation, reliable performance using COTS hardware,...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Datacasting V3.0

Datacasting V3.0 provides an RSS-based feed mechanism for publishing the availability of Earth science data records in real time. It also provides a utility for subscribing to these feeds and sifting through all the items in an automatic manner to identify and download the data records that are required for a specific...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Stacked Transformer for Driver Gain and Receive Signal Splitting

In a high-speed signal transmission system that uses transformer coupling, there is a need to provide increased transmitted signal strength without adding active components. This invention uses additional transformers to achieve the needed gain. The prior art uses stronger drivers...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
An All-Solid-State, Room-Temperature, Heterodyne Receiver for Atmospheric Spectroscopy at 1.2 THz

Heterodyne receivers at submillimeter wavelengths have played a major role in astrophysics as well as Earth and planetary remote sensing. All-solid-state heterodyne receivers using both MMIC (monolithic microwave integrated circuit)...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Wireless Integrated Microelectronic Vacuum Sensor System

NASA Stennis Space Center’s (SSC’s) large rocket engine test facility requires the use of liquid propellants, including the use of cryogenic fluids like liquid hydrogen as fuel, and liquid oxygen as an oxidizer (gases which have been liquefied at very low temperatures). These fluids...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Fabrication Method for LOBSTER-Eye Optics in Silicon

Soft x-ray optics can use narrow slots to direct x-rays into a desirable pattern on a focal plane. While square-pack, square-pore, slumped optics exist for this purpose, they are costly. Silicon (Si) is being examined as a possible low-cost replacement. A fabrication method was developed for...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Compact Focal Plane Assembly for Planetary Science

A compact radiometric focal plane assembly (FPA) has been designed in which the filters are individually co-registered over compact thermopile pixels. This allows for construction of an ultralightweight and compact radiometric instrument. The FPA also incorporates micromachined baffles in order...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Fabrication Methods for Adaptive Deformable Mirrors

Previously, it was difficult to fabricate deformable mirrors made by piezoelectric actuators. This is because numerous actuators need to be precisely assembled to control the surface shape of the mirror. Two approaches have been developed. Both approaches begin by depositing a stack of...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
A Kinematic Calibration Process for Flight Robotic Arms

The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) robotic arm is ten times more massive than any Mars robotic arm before it, yet with similar accuracy and repeatability positioning requirements. In order to assess and validate these requirements, a higher-fidelity model and calibration processes were...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Magnetostrictive Alternator

This innovation replaces the linear alternator presently used in Stirling engines with a continuous-gradient, impedance-matched, oscillating magnetostrictive transducer that eliminates all moving parts via compression, maintains high efficiency, costs less to manufacture, reduces mass, and eliminates the need for a...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
High-Precision Encoders for GEO Space Applications

High-precision encoders are used by earth observation instruments and in mechanisms for laser communication terminals (LCTs). A micro-radian resolution encoder for the LCT was designed for precision pointing applications, especially in geosynchronous Earth orbit (GEO) environments with a 15-year...

Briefs : Materials
Non-Toxic, Anti-Corrosive, Crystalline Waterproofing Material

This product is an efficient concrete waterproofing solution. The crystalline, anti-corrosive material features a patented eka-molecular-sieve structure. The cement-based material works with the matrix of cement and water to create crystals that block the pores and capillaries in the...

Briefs : Materials
Film-Forming, Self- Crosslinking, Aqueous Superabsorbent Coating

Aqueous Superabsorbent Coating (ASC) technology is a liquid polymer solution that dries to form an absorbent film. It can absorb up to 40 g/g by weight of water, depending on the chemistry used, and can absorb water vapor from the air up to 70% by weight. Tests have demonstrated a...

Briefs : Materials
Bulk Metallic Glasses and Composites for Optical and Compliant Mechanisms

Mechanisms are used widely in engineering applications due to their ability to translate force and movement. They are found in kinematic pairs, gears, cams, linkages, and in flexure mechanisms (also known as compliant mechanisms). Mechanisms and flexures are used widely in...

Briefs : Medical
Detection of Only Viable Bacterial Spores Using a Live/Dead Indicator in Mixed Populations

This method uses a photoaffinity label that recognizes DNA and can be used to distinguish populations of bacterial cells from bacterial spores without the use of heat shocking during conventional culture, and live from dead bacterial spores using...

Briefs : Medical
Intravenous Fluid Generation System

The ability to stabilize and treat patients on exploration missions will depend on access to needed consumables. Intravenous (IV) fluids have been identified as required consumables. A review of the Space Medicine Exploration Medical Condition List (SMEMCL) lists over 400 medical conditions that could present...

Product of the Month: the SolidWorks® 2014 3D Software Portfolio

Dassault Systèmes, Paris, France, has introduced the SolidWorks® 2014 3D software portfolio that consists of 3D CAD, simulation, product data management, technical communication, and electrical design. Enhancements and workflow improvements include new Style Spline...

Features : Photonics/Optics
High Speed Cameras for Non-Destructive Testing

In the “old” days when high speed cameras used film, there was a very definite period of time in which the event one wished to record had to occur. This was between the point at which the film had ramped up from a standing start to the desired frame rate, and before the film magazine (which held...

Articles : Photonics/Optics
Projected-Capacitive Touch Sensing Technology

Projected-capacitive (PCAP) touch sensing technology is rapidly evolving to meet the advanced user-interface needs of modern applications. Popular consumer products that use multitouch and gestures have fueled an increased demand for projected-capacitive touch solutions beyond these applications....

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Slowing Light Via Beam Coupling in Dye-Doped Chiral Nematics

Apart from the fundamental interest of discovering the physical effects that are behind the light-matter interaction processes that make it possible, slowing and storing light currently attracts a lot of attention because the ability to control the propagation speed of optical pulses,...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Full HD Autofocus 8MP USB 3.0 Camera

e-con Systems Inc. (St. Louis, MO) has launched the See3CAM_80, part of the See3CAM family of USB3.0 SuperSpeed cameras. The See3CAM_80 supports video streaming at resolutions of up to 1080p@30fps and includes an eight megapixel autofocus camera module, the e- CAM80_MI8825_MOD, with an OV8825 CMOS image...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Board-Level Camera

Equipped with the CMV300 VGA sensor from CMOSIS, Baumer’s (Southington, CT) new MXG03 board-level camera delivers very high frame rates up to 250 frames/s and can be integrated into extremely small spaces. The camera uses a flex print to connect the sensor and system board, which allows the camera to fit easily into almost...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Optical Triggers

Specialised Imaging Ltd. (Tring, UK) has been assigned the worldwide rights by SFW (El Cajon, CA, USA) to manufacture and market its new range of optical triggers. The already highly reliable OT-series trigger has been re-engineered by Specialised Imaging to reduce its size and improve robustness. The new OT3 optical trigger is...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Mid-IR Transport Fiber

NP Photonics Inc. (Tucson, AZ) has introduced a mid-infrared (IR) transport fiber that offers high transparency across the visible and mid-infrared (400 nm to 4500 nm) and has been designed to be mechanically robust. The fiber is packaged in armored cable and features SMA connectors and a broadband anti-reflection (AR)...

Products : Photonics/Optics
3D Weld Seam Inspection Software

New EyeVision 3.0 software from EVT Eye Vision Technology GmbH (Karlsruhe, Germany) performs automated 3D inspection of weld seams and stores the results for further processing. The following metrical properties are tested: seam position, seam height, seam volume, seam width and length, as well as weld-specific...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Vision System Frame Grabber

BitFlow, Inc. (Boston, MA) has introduced the Cyton™ CXP4 fourchannel frame grabber based on the CoaXPress standard. Key to its success is the incorporation of the Gen 2.0 x8 PCI Express bus interface on its back-end, an advancement that doubles the data rate of the Gen 1.0 bus for the ultimate high speed access to...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Sub-Nanosecond Solid-State Lasers

The new Helios series of sub-nanosecond solid-state lasers from Coherent, Inc. (Santa Clara, CA) offer a pulse repetition frequency of 50 kHz and a pulsewidth of <600 ps. Specific applications include scribing of both thin-film and c-Si solar cells (e.g. selective opening of anti-reflection or passivation...

Articles : Software
Ethernet in the Embedded Space

Networking originated from the need to share information. Many of us accomplish such a thing on a daily basis through conversation. For example, think about the typical office framework: you work side-by-side with your colleagues, but also have a manager who will check on the work being produced periodically. You...

Application Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Vision-Based Robot Design Wins NASA Test Course Challenge

As part of a NASA test course challenge, Teledyne DALSA engineered a winning Miniature Autonomous Roving Vehicle (MARV), earning the company a $350M contract with NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama.

Application Briefs : Energy
NASA-Funded Research Converts Waste Heat to Electricity

Scientists have long attempted to convert the enormous amounts of waste heat generated by power plants, data centers, and cars into electricity via thermoelectric power generators (TEPGs). Scientists know how to convert waste heat into electricity. The problem is how to do so in an...

Application Briefs : Software
Software Tool Analyzes C/C++ Code

GrammaTech, a software developer specializing in software assurance tools and cybersecurity technology, received an award from NASA to prototype a specification editing and discovery tool (SPEEDY) for C/C++ code analysis.

Articles : Software
Advisory Systems Save Time and Fuel for Airlines

In the 1990s, Heinz Erzberger led a team at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California to develop a suite of automated tools to reduce restrictions and improve the efficiency of air traffic control operations. Called Center-TRACON (Terminal Radar Approach Control) Automation System (CTAS), the...

Articles : Medical
2013 Create the Future Design: Grand Prize Winner


Alydaar Rangwala, Nikhil Mehandru,
Aaron Perez, and Brandon Sim
Theratech, Loudonville, NY

The world is facing a global cancer crisis. In 2011, 13.7 million new cancer cases and 8.6 million cancer deaths occurred worldwide. More than half of the new...

Articles : Aerospace
2013 Create the Future Design: Aerospace & Defense Category Winner

Microwave Extraction of Water for Space Propellant

Edwin Ethridge, Ph.D.
NASA (retired),
Huntsville, AL

Space exploration is extremely expensive because very large rockets are required to put small payloads into space. Large reductions in launch...

Articles : Green Design & Manufacturing
2013 Create the Future Design: Consumer Products Category Winner

Plant Air Purifier

James Schaeffer, Bill Wolverton, Wayne Schaeffer, and Bernarr Schaeffer
U.S. Health Equipment Co.,
Kingston, NY

The Plant Air Purifier is a new air-cleaning appliance that utilizes the recently discovered air-cleaning capacity of...

Articles : Electronics & Computers
2013 Create the Future Design: Electronics Category Winner

iPecs Pro Clinical Prosthetic Alignment and Assessment Tool

Michael Leydet, Richard Harrington, Alan Hutchenreuther, Vinay Bharadwaj,
Chuck Krapf, Michael Link, Megan Toscas, Steven Hoover,
Chris Nowak, Aaron Taszreak, Douglas Briggs, and Frank Fedel
Articles : Medical
2013 Create the Future Design: Medical Category Winner


James Dieffenderfer, Mike Brown, and Leigh Johnson
North Carolina State University,
Apex, NC

Over 25 million Americans have been diagnosed with asthma, and of those, 16 million are between the ages of 18-64. Over 60% of asthmatics own a peak flow meter...

Articles : Sensors/Data Acquisition
2013 Create the Future Design: Safety & Security Category Winner

Power Fingerprinting Monitor: Protecting Critical Infrastructure from Cyber Attack

Carlos R. Aguayo Gonzalez, Jeffrey H. Reed, and Steven Chen
Power Fingerprinting, Inc.,
Blacksburg, VA

A cyber attack to a critical infrastructure can have devastating...

Articles : Energy
2013 Create the Future Design: Sustainable Technologies Category Winner
2013 Create the Future Design: Sustainable Technologies Category Winner

The Paradigm Shift in Wind Turbine Technology

Glen Lux
Lux Wind Power Ltd., Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

Imagine a renewable energy source...

2013 Create the Future Design: Sustainable Technologies Category Winner
Articles : Automotive
2013 Create the Future Design: Transportation & Automotive Category Winner

Swift Tram: High Speed Automated People Mover

Carl Lawrence, Becky English,
Graham Hill, John Murino,
Elaine Thorndike, Gaby Aweida,
Carl Talkington, Rob Kammerling,
Kim Hedberg, Nancy Balch,
Ilse Gayl and Ron Gremban
Articles : Robotics, Automation & Control
2013 Create the Future Design: Machinery & Equipment Category Winner

Fuel Flexible, Ultra-Portable Microturbine Generator

Erik Herold, Jason Ethier, and Ivan Wang
Dynamo Micropower,
Boston, MA

A large unmet need in the oil and gas industry is a portable power generation system that is reliable, requires little...

Articles : Robotics, Automation & Control
2013 Create the Future Design Contest

The 2013 Create the Future Design Contest — sponsored by COMSOL, SAE International, and Tech Briefs Media Group (publishers of NASA Tech Briefs) — recognized innovation in product design in eight categories: Aerospace & Defense (new this year), Consumer Products, Electronics, Machinery &...

Techs for License
Time-Based Tracker Boosts Solar Energy Production

Solar panels are normally positioned at a fixed position. If a panel uses a tracking system to follow the movement of the Sun, however, more solar energy can be collected. Instead of having light sensors that are often disturbed in cloudy environments, a new time-signal-based system uses a...

Techs for License
Low-Cost Technology Detects Bad Breath

Most individuals experience bad breath (malodor or halitosis) occasionally, but few people can selfdiagnose when it occurs. Proto - types and initial human trial clinical tests have been completed on a low-cost bad-breath detection device. The detector changes color when the user blows through a tube.

Tech Needs
Natural Food Actives for Positive Mood Enhancement

The overall consumer experience of foods is impacted by various sensory factors including taste, texture, and smell, as well as by ingredients that occur naturally in various foods, which can directly impact one’s mood. Food additives also affect various mood neuro-actives, such as serotonin,...

Tech Needs
New Systemic Chemical Insecticides

A client seeks new synthetic (chemical-based) control agents for insects such as aphids and spider mites. The piercing and sucking insects damage plants by inserting their mouthpart into plant tissues and feeding on the juices. Heavily infested plants become yellow, wilted, deformed, or stunted, and may...

Who's Who
Butler Hine, Project Manager, LADEE, Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA

Dr. Butler Hine is the project manager of the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft. The vehicle, successfully launched in September, will characterize the dust environment of the moon.

NASA Tech Briefs: What is the Lunar Atmosphere...

Briefs : Lighting
Device Captures Signatures with Tiny Piezo-Phototronic LEDs

Using thousands of nanometer-scale wires, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a sensor device that converts mechanical pressure – from a signature or a fingerprint – directly into light signals that can be captured and processed optically. The sensor...

Briefs : Lighting
New Kind of Ultraviolet LED Could Lead to Portable, Low-Cost Devices

Commercial uses for ultraviolet (UV) light are growing, and now a new kind of LED under development at The Ohio State University could lead to more portable and low-cost uses of the technology. The patent-pending LED creates a more precise wavelength of UV light than today’s...

News : Lighting
LRC Evaluates Safety Impacts of Advanced Car Headlight Systems

Crash risks while driving at night are higher than during the daytime, but most roadways in the U.S. do not have roadway lighting. In fact, many state and local governments find it difficult to pay for installing, operating and maintaining roadway lighting. Despite these concerns,...

News : Lighting
Researchers Build A Better Device to Detect Ultraviolet Light

Researchers in Japan have developed a new type of photodiode that can detect in just milliseconds a certain type of high-energy ultraviolet light, called UVC, which is powerful enough to break the bonds of DNA and harm living creatures. Although this radiation doesn't normally reach...

News : Lighting
Silicon Nanocrystals Could Be Safe For Deep-Tissue Imaging

Tiny silicon crystals caused no health problems in monkeys three months after large doses were injected, marking a step forward in the quest to bring such materials into clinics as biomedical imaging agents, according to a recent study. The findings suggest that the silicon nanocrystals,...

News : Lighting
LED Fixtures Brighten Up Allentown Parking Authority

Green Tech Energy Services, working in conjunction with its client, the Allentown Parking Authority, needed lighting fixtures in a multi-level parking garage in Allentown, Pennsylvania. They were looking for fixtures that offered a great appearance, price and quantity. Additionally, they...

Application Briefs : Lighting
LED Lighting Masters the Art of In-Flight Calm

Aboard a state-of-the-art aircraft might be the last place you would think of yourself enjoying a warm “candlelit” dinner, followed by a good night’s sleep under a starry night sky. The truth is, the latest aircraft cabins seek to provide just that – a revolutionary in-flight experience...

Articles : Lighting
High Performance Thermal Management Solutions for LEDs

When it comes to highpower lighting applications in the military and harsh industrial environments, reliability and efficiency are key features to consider. To maximize both of these qualities, lightemitting diode (LED) technology is coming into play with brighter, more flexible lighting...

Articles : Lighting
Understanding Today’s Energy - Efficient Lighting Certification Programs & Initiatives

The Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 and its subsequent amendments established minimum efficiency standards for lighting products. While the DOE’s mandatory energy efficiency standards and recently-heightened surveillance efforts are designed to...

Products : Lighting
40W Waterproof LED Drivers

Phihong USA (Fremont, CA) recently introduced a new series of waterproof LED drivers for use in a broad range of residential and commercial applications. Designated the PDA040 series, the LED power supplies are available in constant-current outputs of 700, 1050 and 1400mA at a nominal input voltage rating of 120-277...

Products : Lighting
LED Drivers

Dialog Semiconductor plc (Kirchheim/Teck, Germany) has announced a new solid state lighting (SSL) LED driver that integrates boost and flyback converters into a single IC. The iW3623 offers a universal 100 VAC to 277 VAC input range and output power up to 45W. Dialog’s patented Flickerless™ design achieves a near-zero 100 to...

Products : Lighting
LED Direct Replacement Bulb

The Verde Series LED GU24 direct replacement lamp by American Illumination (Los Angeles, CA) is one of the few GU24 direct replacement light bulbs available, and is the only one compatible with the GU24 locking ring for simple transitions from CFL to LED. The Verde GU24 bulb replaces the 13W CFL, consuming only 8.5W...

Butler Hine, Project Manager, LADEE, Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA

Dr. Butler Hine is the project manager of the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft. The vehicle, successfully launched in September, will characterize the dust environment of the moon.

Question of the Week
Would You Ride in a Flying Car?