February 2008

Articles : Electronics & Computers
Taking the Sting Out of Multiprocessor DSP Application Development

Systems engineers face a number of challenges when configuring and programming a complex, heterogeneous multiprocessor system of the type often used in digital signal processing applications. These include:

Articles : Electronics & Computers
Using CompactPCI to Build Rugged Embedded Systems

The task-specific nature of an embedded system application typically defines a narrow scope of performance requirements. But the range of options for achieving those requirements are broad — from multicore processors and rugged single board computers (SBCs) to I/O devices and the bus...

Application Briefs : Electronics & Computers
The Evolution of Storage

The embedded computing industry is being inundated with changes to storage products driven by technological advancements, market forces and environmental concerns. The precipitous drop in solid-state flash drive (SSD) prices has enabled designers, previously turned off by the cost, to now consider solid state as an...

Products : Electronics & Computers
Java Object-Oriented Embedded Database (ESC Booth 839)

McObject® (Issaquah, WA) has released Perst™, its all-Java object-oriented, open source embedded database that is compatible with the Android mobile device platform. Perst stores data directly in Java objects, eliminating the need for data-packing or unpacking code to map between...

Products : Electronics & Computers
PCB Design Software

Sunstone Circuits (Mulino, OR) has released PCB123™ version 3.0, a complete circuit board design solution for the electronics design industry. PCB123 version 3.0's enhancements include real-time, bi-directional views of layout and schematic; full customization via the new PCB123 Software Development Kit; generation and...

Products : Electronics & Computers

Pentek, Inc. (Upper Saddle River, NJ) has released its Model 4207 high-performance VME/VXS board for digital signal processing and data-acquisition systems. The new board employs Freescale's MPC8641D Dual Core PowerPC AltiVec™ Processor and a Xilinx Virtex-4 FX Series FPGA for custom programming and gigabit serial I/O. The...

Products : Electronics & Computers
8-bit Microcontrollers with Flash (ESC Booth 916)

Microchip Technology Inc. (Chandler, AZ) has announced two Baseline 8- bit Flash PIC® microcontrollers with non-volatile Flash Data Memory (FDM) in 8- and 14-pin packages. The microcontrollers have 41 bytes to 67 bytes of data RAM memory, an 8 MHz internal oscillator, a 1.125 ms Device Reset...

Products : Electronics & Computers
32-bit Flash Microcontrollers (ESC Booth 306)

STMicroelectronics (Mansfield, TX) has released the STM32 Family of 32- bit Flash microcontrollers based on ARM® Cortex™—M3 core. The STM32 is offered in the STM32F103 performance line, with 72 MHz clock frequency for 32- bit devices, and the STM32F101 Access line, with 36 MHz clock...

Products : Electronics & Computers
Video Application Processors (ESC Booth 3028)

Renesas Technology America, Inc. (San Jose, CA) has added two new application processors to the SH-Mobile series. The SH-MobileL3V2 offers additional video formats, high-resolution video capture, and enhanced functionality to control image quality. The smallpackage SH-MobileUL is suitable for use in...

Products : Electronics & Computers
Network Appliance Board (ESC Booth 2110)

VIA Technologies, Inc. (Taipei, Taiwan) has released the VIA NAB 7500 network appliance board for network security or gateway applications, including Firewall, VPN, UTM, Anti-Virus, and Intrusion Prevention System products.

NASA Tech Needs
Searching for Patents Related to Online Wagering & Video Games

The buyer is actively searching for patents to acquire in the online gaming and video console space.

The areas of interest are in player management and account management systems for online games portals. User interface patents and advertising/ecommerce inventions are also...

NASA Tech Needs
Looking to Acquire Audio-Video Technology Patents and Portfolios

The buyer is actively searching for individual patents or patent portfolios related to video and audio delivery and play-back on consoles, handsets and a wide range of consumer electronics devices.

Technologies of interest include data compression, video manipulation,...

Articles : Materials
NASA-Inspired Shape-Sensing Fibers Enable Minimally Invasive Surgery

Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS) is a new class of surgical procedures in which the operation is performed with surgical instruments inserted through small incisions in the body. In contrast to open surgery, in which the organ or tissue is exposed through large incisions in the...

Application Briefs : Aerospace
Avionics Subsystem and Components Developed for NASA’s Ares I Launch Vehicle
Ares I First Stage Avionics Subsystem
Line-Replaceable Units
L-3 Communications, Cincinnati Electronics
Mason, OH

L-3 Communications’ Cincinnati Electronics subsidiary has been selected by Alliant...

Application Briefs : Electronics & Computers
NASA Deploys Supercomputer to Manage, Store, and Retrieve Data
SGI InfiniteStorage Data Migration Facility
Sunnyvale, CA

NASA researchers produce vast amounts of scientific and engineering data in spacecraft design, climate change studies, aeronautics analysis, and research into the...

DASYLab 10

Measurement Computing, Norton, MA, has released DASYLab 10 graphical programming software for test and measurement that is compatible with Microsoft's Vista® operating system. It is optimized for operation on multi-processor PCs. New features include a Diagram Module that can be configured as an enhanced Y/t chart, X/Y chart, or...

Who's Who
Dr. Keith Gendreau, Physicist, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD

While working on designing an X-ray navigation system for NASA's next-generation Black Hole Imager, Dr. Keith Gendreau, a physicist at the Goddard Space Flight Center, developed the world's first X-ray communication system.

Techs for License
All-Natural Preservative

White mustard essential oil (WMEO) is an all-natural extract from white mustard seeds that delivers broad antimicrobial efficacy against bacteria, yeast, and mold, providing a natural and effective alternative to synthetic or artificial preservatives. WMEO has broad application in beverages, meats, poultry, salads,...

Techs for License
Up to Ten-Fold Production Increase for Deep, Heavy-Oil Fields

In oil field tests over 18 months, Direct Current Electrical Stimulation has shown up to a 10X increase in oil production for deep, heavy oil. The predominant method for recovering heavy oil is steam, but steam is limited to depths of 2,500 feet. There are no inherent depth...

NASA Tech Needs
In-Process Detection of Defects During Welding

Technology is required to enable “in-process” or real-time detection of defects during the welding process. This could be achieved by a system that can monitor any combination of accessible parameters during the weld process and then by analyzing changes, ascertain the presence of a weld defect,...

NASA Tech Needs
New Analgesic Actives

A company is looking for the next generation in analgesics. There are several fine analgesics on the market, both by prescription and over the counter, that vary in dosage load, dosage form, molecular size, speed of effectiveness, and side effects or toxicity (if any). New actives in the realm of analgesia are sought, and...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Optical Measurement of Mass Flow of a Two-Phase Fluid

An optoelectronic system utilizes wavelength-dependent scattering of light for measuring the density and mass flow of a two-phase fluid in a pipe. The apparatus was invented for original use in measuring the mass flow of a twophase cryogenic fluid (e.g., liquid hydrogen containing bubbles of...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Piezoelectric Bolt Breakers and Bolt Fatigue Testers

A proposed family of devices for inducing fatigue in bolts in order to break the bolts would incorporate piezoelectric actuators into resonant fixtures as in ultrasonic/ sonic...

Briefs : Medical
Improved Measurement of B₂₂ of Macromolecules in a Flow Cell

An improved apparatus has been invented for use in determining the osmotic second virial coefficient of macromolecules in solution. In a typical intended application, the macromolecules would be, more specifically, protein molecules, and the protein solution would be pumped through...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Measurements by a Vector Network Analyzer at 325 to 508 GHz

Recent experiments were performed in which return loss and insertion loss of waveguide test assemblies in the frequency range from 325 to 508 GHz were measured by use of a swept-frequency two-port vector network analyzer (VNA) test set. The experiments were part of a continuing effort...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Selectable-Tip Corrosion-Testing Electrochemical Cell

The figure depicts aspects of an electrochemical cell for pitting-corrosion tests of material specimens. The cell is designed to generate a region of corrosion having a pit diameter determined by the diameter of a selectable tip. The average depth of corrosion is controlled by controlling the...

Briefs : Medical
Using Light To Treat Mucositis and Help Wounds Heal

A continuing program of research and development is focusing on the use of controlled illumination by light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to treat mucositis and to accelerate healing of wounds. The basic idea is to illuminate the affected area of a patient with light of an intensity, duration, and...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Error-Detecting Counters for FPGA and ASIC State Machines

Error-detecting counters have been proposed as parts of fault-tolerant finite state machines that could be implemented in field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) and application-specific integrated circuits that perform sequential logic functions. The use of error-detecting counters would...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Dot-in-Well Quantum-Dot Infrared Photodetectors

Dot-in-well (DWELL) quantum-dot infrared photodetectors (QDIPs) [DWELL-QDIPs] are subjects of research as potentially superior alternatives to prior QDIPs. Heretofore, there has not existed a reliable method for fabricating quantum dots (QDs) having precise, repeatable dimensions. This lack has...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Integrated Microbatteries for Implantable Medical Devices

Integrated microbatteries have been proposed to satisfy an anticipated need for long-life, low-rate primary batteries, having volumes less than 1 mm3, to power electronic circuitry in implantable medical devices. In one contemplated application, such a battery would be...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Increasing Discharge Capacities of Li-(CF)n Cells

An electrolyte additive has shown promise as a means of increasing the sustainable rates of discharge and, hence, the discharge capacities, of lithium- poly (carbon monofluoride) electrochemical power cells. Lithium- poly (carbon monofluoride) [Li-(CF)n] cells and batteries offer very...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Creep Analysis of Lead-Free Solders Undergoing Thermal Loading

Lead and its compounds have been widely used for many years in the electronics industry. However, the global demand to reduce the use of hazardous materials has compelled electronics manufacturers to consider the use of lead-free materials in future products. This transition has...

Briefs : Software
Oxidation Behavior of Carbon Fiber-Reinforced Composites

OXIMAP is a numerical (FEA-based) solution tool capable of calculating the carbon fiber and fiber coating oxidation patterns within any arbitrarily shaped carbon silicon carbide composite structure as a function of time, temperature, and the environmental oxygen partial pressure. The...

Briefs : Software
GIDEP Batching Tool

This software provides internal, automated search mechanics of GIDEP (Government- Industry Data Exchange Program) Alert data imported from the GIDEP government Web site. The batching tool allows the import of a single parts list in tab-delimited text format into the local JPL GIDEP database. Delimiters from every part number...

Briefs : Software
Generic Spacecraft Model for Real-Time Simulation

"Generic Spacecraft" is the name of an evolving library of software that provides for simulation of a generic spacecraft that can orbit the Earth and land on the Moon (and, eventually, on Mars). This library is incorporated into the Langley Standard Realtime Simulation in C++ (LaSRS++) software...

Briefs : Software
Parallel-Processing Software for Creating Mosaic Images

A computer program implements parallel processing for nearly real-time creation of panoramic mosaics of images of terrain acquired by video cameras on an exploratory robotic vehicle (e.g., a Mars rover). Because the original images are typically acquired at various camera positions and...

Briefs : Software
Software for Verifying Image-Correlation Tie Points

A computer program enables assessment of the quality of tie points in the image-correlation processes of the software described in the immediately preceding article. Tie points are computed in mappings between corresponding pixels in the left and right images of a stereoscopic pair. The...

Briefs : Software
Flexcam Image Capture Viewing and Spot Tracking

Flexcam software was designed to allow continuous monitoring of the mechanical deformation of the telescope structure at Palomar Observatory. Flexcam allows the user to watch the motion of a star with a low-cost astronomical camera, to measure the motion of the star on the image plane, and to feed...

Briefs : Materials
Low-Pt-Content Anode Catalyst for Direct Methanol Fuel Cells

Combinatorial experiments have led to the discovery that a nanophase alloy of Pt, Ru, Ni, and Zr is effective as an anode catalyst material for direct methanol fuel cells. This discovery has practical significance in that the electronic current densities achievable by use of this alloy...

Briefs : Materials
Atomized BaF₂-CaF₂ for Better-Flowing Plasma-Spray Feedstock

Atomization of a molten mixture of BaF2 and CaF2 has been found to be superior to crushing of bulk solid BaF2- CaF2 as a means of producing eutectic BaF2-CaF2 powder for use as an ingredient of the powder feedstock...

Briefs : Materials
Nanophase Nickel-Zirconium Alloys for Fuel Cells

Nanophase nickel- zirconium alloys have been investigated for use as electrically conductive coatings and catalyst supports in fuel cells. Heretofore, noble metals have been used because they resist corrosion in the harsh, acidic fuel-cell interior environments. However, the high cost of noble...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Vacuum Packaging of MEMS With Multiple Internal Seal Rings

A proposed method of design and fabrication of vacuum-packaged microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and of individual microelectromechanical devices involves the use of multiple internal seal rings (MISRs) in conjunction with vias (through holes plated with metal for electrical...

Briefs : Information Technology
Fault-Tolerant Coding for State Machines

Two reliable fault-tolerant coding schemes have been proposed for state machines that are used in field-programmable gate arrays and application-specific integrated circuits to implement sequential logic functions. The schemes apply to strings of bits in state registers, which are typically implemented in...

Articles : Electronics & Computers
How a Supercomputing Innovation Accelerated a Business
Larry Lukis
Founder and CTO
Proto Labs, Inc.
Maple Plain, MN

Proto Labs is a quick-response custom manufacturer that provides design engineers with prototypes of plastic parts faster than anyone in the world. Our Protomold division produces prototypes (and short...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Compact Two-Dimensional Spectrometer Optics

The figure is a simplified depiction of a proposed spectrometer optical unit that would be suitable for incorporation into a remote-sensing instrumentation system. Relative to prior spectrometer optical assemblies, this unit would be compact and simple, largely by virtue of its predominantly...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Graphite/Cyanate Ester Face Sheets for Adaptive Optics

It has been proposed that thin face sheets of wide-aperture deformable mirrors in adaptive-optics systems be made from a composite material consisting of cyanate ester filled with graphite. This composite material appears to offer an attractive alternative to low-thermal-expansion glasses...

Articles : Motion Control
Protecting AC Motors From Destructive Shaft Currents

The use of variable-frequency drives (VFDs) to control AC motors has increased dramatically in recent years. In addition to low operating cost and high performance, they save energy. Today, the challenge facing system designers and engineers is to minimize damage to AC motors from shaft...

Articles : Motion Control
Getting on the Right Motion Bus

As modern machines have become more advanced, the complexity involved in motion control has escalated. Today, servos have replaced cams and gears on machines and multiple axis of synchronized motion control have become commonplace. Distributed motion control requires busses able to handle rigid jitter and timing...

Articles : Motion Control
Integrated Motor Control Meets Aviation Needs

The trend in aircraft design is toward more efficient brushless DC motors. A integrated motor drive module for brushless DC motors from International Rectifier (El Segundo, CA) reduces the effort of programming the motor control and simplifies certification. Because the device is configured for...

Application Briefs : Motion Control
Custom inserts solve reel torque problems

As a leading supplier of fishing equipment and accessories, Penn Fishing Tackle Manufacturing Co. provides customers with high-quality, competitively priced, cutting edge products that meet the highest possible industry standards.

Application Briefs : Motion Control
Configurable Components Ease Sourcing For Machine Company

ABCO Automation, Greensboro, NC, has consistently decreased costs and increased profits by looking for new ways to source custom components used in machine builds.

Motor Control Chip

The Magellan programmable motion processor chip from Performance Motion Devices (Lincoln, MA) controls any combination of DC brush, brushless DC, microstepping, or pulse and direction motors. Each controlled axis supports profile generation, servo loop closure, PLC-style signal manipulation, and motor signal generation....

Piezoelectric Stage

The P-737 PiFOC Piezo-Z stage from Physik Instrumente L.P. (Auburn, MA) uses deconvolution and 3D imaging techniques. It provides up to 250 micrometers of travel, millisecond response, and nanometer precision motion under closed-loop control. The stage achieves 10 to 50 times faster response than conventional stepper motor...

Rotary Seal

American High Performance Seals (Pittsburgh, PA) has announced its Rotaflon rotary seal which minimizes shaft damage and reduces power consumption. The seal accommodates changing operating conditions, low breakout force, and provides superior chemical resistance. It accommodates surface speeds to 5900 ft/min and temperatures from -58...

Stepper Drive

Applied Motion Products’ (Watsonville, CA) ST10-Si stepper drive delivers 24 to 80 Vdc with peak outputs to 10 A. The drive is protected against overvoltage, undervoltage, overtemperatures, and external output shorts. Upon start-up, the drive measures motor parameters including resistance and inductance, and uses this information...

Wire Thread Insert

The Spiralock Drive Notch wire thread insert from Spiralock Corp. (Madison Heights, MI) exhibits no tension loss after 24 hours of continuous vibration testing and no fatigue indication. The inserts are simply threaded into any STI tapped hole, with no tangs to break off, retrieve, or account for. The insert resists shock,...

Integrated Motor/Controller

The I2 integrated motor and controller from Specialty Motors (Valencia, CA) combines a brushless DC servomotor with built-in drivers, controllers, and feedback devices. Applications software provides motor control, requiring the engineer only to select velocity or position control mode.

Articles : Photonics/Optics
Fiber Optic Communications Systems

Communications and, more recently telecommunications, are needs deeply engrained in human history. These needs have significantly evolved over time enabling today’s content-rich (text, music, images and video, etc), real-time and multi-location exchanges through electrical, optical or, more broadly,...

Application Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Designing Converged Optical Ethernet Networks

Transport networks have witnessed two significant trends over the past half-decade or so. The first has been an explosion in the bandwidth these networks can support and the distances over which they can support it. This is due to the advent of cost-effective wavelength division multiplexing (WDM)...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Compact Two-Dimensional Spectrometer Optics

The figure is a simplified depiction of a proposed spectrometer optical unit that would be suitable for incorporation into a remote-sensing instrumentation system. Relative to prior spectrometer optical assemblies, this unit would be compact and simple, largely by virtue of its predominantly...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Graphite/Cyanate Ester Face Sheets for Adaptive Optics

It has been proposed that thin face sheets of wide-aperture deformable mirrors in adaptive-optics systems be made from a composite material consisting of cyanate ester filled with graphite. This composite material appears to offer an attractive alternative to low-thermal-expansion glasses...

Product of the Month: Biochemical Sensing Unit

Stratophase (Romsey, UK) introduces the Spectrosens sensing unit for biochemial detection of toxins, viruses, and bacteria in real-time. Based on an optical silicon micro-chip with an integral Bragg grating, Spectrosens uses a fiber optic cable to transmit a conditioned beam of light to the chip....

Machine Vision Software

EyeSpector Version 1.5 software from Vision Components GmbH (Ettlingen, Germany) is suitable for a variety of gauging, inspection, orientation, color inspection, and recognition tasks. The Eye-Spector works with VC4xxx Series real-time and network ready Smart Camera series. The software now offers support for Robot...

Laser Diode Modules

Photonic Products (Hertfordshire, UK) introduces the PM-NEOLD 635nm photon laser diode modules with an integral “Near End of Life Detection” feature that alerts users when a laser diode approaches the end of its operational life. The laser modules have optical output powers from 0.9 mW to 18 mW at a lasing wavelength of...

Technology Leaders