February 2014

President Announces Manufacturing Innovation Competitions

A Detroit-area based consortium of 60 companies, nonprofits, and universities and a Chicago-based consortium of 73 companies, nonprofits, and universities are partnering with the federal government to launch two new manufacturing innovation hubs.

News : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Army Secures Critical Component for Artillery, Mortar Ammunition

The U.S. Army is nearing completion on a project to eliminate its dependency on foreign countries for a critical energetic component in artillery and mortar ammunition, officials said. Because of changes in the global cotton industry, the United States no longer has a domestic...

World War II-Era Equipment Gets Restored For Today's Research Needs

It sounds like the ultimate recycling project. The Naval Research Laboratory and the Office of Naval Research, through its INTOP Program, have taken a 96,000-pound piece of equipment that was used in the 1940s and are refurbishing it for use in research today. This World War...

News : Defense
Army Researchers Inspire Commercial Rifle Fire Control Systems

Researchers at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory go about their business every day working on projects to help better serve the military and its members who protect our country. Sometimes the research inspires commercial companies to do additional research and expand on certain...

News : Aerospace
NASA SPHERES Run Circles Around Ordinary Satellites

NASA’s free-flying satellites known as Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites (SPHERES) have been flying aboard the International Space Station since 2003. Powered by AA batteries, the satellites act as free-flying platforms that can accommodate various mounting...

System Enables Collaboration Among Fleets of Robots

Writing a program to control a single autonomous robot navigating an uncertain environment with an erratic communication link is hard. Writing one for multiple robots that may or may not have to work in tandem, depending on the task, is even harder.

Motion Capture Assists Skaters with Jumps

According to a recent poll, almost a fourth of Americans say figure skating is their favorite Olympic sport. But while most of us just sit back and enjoy the show Jim Richards zeroes in on the skaters’ air position. Richards, a Professor at the University of Delaware, knows that proper air position is...

Question of the Week
Will Retinal Displays Catch On?

The Glyph headset, from the Ann Arbor, MI-based Avegant, beams video into a user's eyes, without requiring a screen. To emulate the way the eye processes images, the technology uses a set of 2 million microscopic mirrors to reflect visuals, even 3D content, into the eye. The headset’s screen can be...

News : Nanotechnology
Transparent Display System Could Provide Heads-Up Data

Transparent displays have a variety of potential applications — such as the ability to see navigation or dashboard information while looking through the windshield of a car or plane, or to project video onto a window or a pair of eyeglasses. A number of technologies have been developed for...

Launching the Fastest Plane of the Future

It's a sci-fi concept that's at the center of a 25-year exploratory project: building a hypersonic aircraft that takes off from the runway and doesn't need a rest, inspection or repair after it lands – unlike the space shuttle – but can zip back around the world within an hour of landing. University...

News : Software
Virtual Reality Immerses Passengers in "See-Through" Cabin

In the VR-Hyperspace project, Fraunhofer IAO has teamed up with eight partners from six European countries to investigate how flight journeys can be made into a more pleasant experience using virtual reality. As part of the project, Fraunhofer IAO has employed state-of-the-art lighting...

News : Semiconductors & ICs
Head-Mounted Display Embeds an Augmented Reality Chip

Researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) developed K-Glass, a wearable, hands-free head-mounted display (HMD).

Unlike virtual reality which replaces the real world with a computer-simulated environment, augmented reality (AR) incorporates digital data...

Bats Inspire Micro Air Vehicles

By exploring how creatures in nature are able to fly by flapping their wings, Virginia Tech researchers hope to design "micro air vehicles.”

In Virginia Tech's study of fruit bat wings, the researchers used experimental measurements of the movements of the bats' wings in real flight, and then used analysis...

Carbon Nanotube Fibers Outperform Copper

Carbon nanotube-based fibers have greater capacity to carry electrical current than copper cables of the same mass, according to new research.

A series of tests at Rice University showed the wet-spun carbon nanotube fiber still handily beat copper, carrying up to four times as much current as a copper...

Robotic Construction Crew Self-Organizes

Inspired by the termites’ resilience and collective intelligence, a team of computer scientists and engineers at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University has created an autonomous robotic construction...

Question of the Week
Will Connected Eyewear Replace Traditional Glasses?

Google recently announced that it will add Google Glass options for prescription glasses. The search giant's wearable computer features an optical head-mounted display that presents information in a smartphone-like format. "We're going to reach some day, hopefully it will be soon, where people...

NASA Tests New Technologies for Refueling

Multiple NASA centers are currently conducting a remotely controlled test of new technologies that would empower future space robots to transfer satellite oxidizer into the propellant tanks of spacecraft in space today.

Building on the success of the International Space Station's landmark Robotic...

New Control System Enables Robot Collaboration

A new system combines simple control programs to enable fleets of robots — or other “multiagent systems” — to collaborate in unprecedented ways.

The technology factors in uncertainty — the odds, for instance, that a communication link will drop, or that a particular algorithm will...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Ultrasonic Intake Airflow Meter for Testbeds

An ultrasonic intake airflow meter for engine testbed applications was developed. An automotive intake airflow meter must fulfill a series of requirements differentiating it from typical ultrasonic flow meters. First, the data sampling rate of the device must be as high as possible to be able to...

Off-the-Shelf Materials Lead to Self-Healing Polymers

Look out, super glue and paint thinner. Thanks to new dynamic materials developed at the University of Illinois, removable paint and self-healing plastics soon could be household products.

The researchers use commercially available ingredients to create their polymer. By slightly...

Fire Ants Inspire New Energy Storage Process

U.S. Army-sponsored researchers at Georgia Tech have discovered a process for simultaneously storing and dissipating energy within structures that could lead to design rules for new types of active, reconfigurable materials for structural morphing, vibration attenuation and dynamic load...

Question of the Week
Will "Anticipatory Shipping" Catch on?

Amazon recently obtained a patent for "anticipatory shipping" — a system of delivering products to customers before they place an order. Using predictive analytics, such as previous searches and customer wish lists, the company could potentially ship items to a hub in the customer’s area ahead of time....

Researchers Discover Bio-Inspired Way to Grow Graphene for Electronic Devices

Graphene, a form of two-dimensional carbon, has many desirable properties that make it a promising material in many applications. However, its production, especially for high-end electronics such as touch screens, faces many challenges. This may soon change with a...

Computers Can Be Hacked Using High-Frequency Sound

Using the microphones and speakers that come standard in many of today's laptop computers and mobile devices, hackers can secretly transmit and receive data using high-frequency audio signals that are mostly inaudible to human ears. Two researchers at Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for...

Harnessing the Sun’s Energy for Use at Night

Solar energy has long been used as a clean alternative to fossil fuels such as coal and oil, but it could only be harnessed during the day when the sun’s rays were strongest. Researchers have built a system that converts the Sun’s energy not into electricity but hydrogen fuel and stores it for...

Superlens Extends the Range of Wireless Power Transfer

Duke University researchers have demonstrated the feasibility of wireless power transfer using low-frequency magnetic fields over distances much larger than the size of the transmitter and receiver. The team used metamaterials to create a “superlens” that focuses magnetic fields. The...

Environmentally Friendly Sugar Battery for Gadget Power

Virginia Tech researchers developed a battery that runs on sugar and has an unmatched energy density, a development that could replace conventional batteries with ones that are cheaper, refillable, and biodegradable. In as soon as three years, the new battery could be running some of the...

NASA 3D Manufacturing on the Rise

Given NASA's unique needs for highly customized spacecraft and instrument components, additive manufacturing, or 3-D printing, offers a compelling alternative to more traditional manufacturing approaches.

"We're not driving the additive manufacturing train; industry is," said Ted Swanson, the...

New Technology Searches Space Dust for Amino Acids

Michael Callahan and his team at Goddard's Astrobiology Analytical Laboratory have recently applied advanced technology to inspect extremely small meteorite samples for the components of life.

The team used a nanoflow liquid chromatography instrument to sort the molecules in the...

CROWS Second Screen Boosts Situational Awareness For Vehicle Crews

When Spc. Zachary Cline found himself in a Taliban ambush this summer, he was operating the .50 Cal M2 mounted on a Common Remotely Operated Weapons Station from the back of his commander's Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All- Terrain Vehicle. His unit instantly began to fight...

Researchers Develop World’s Highest Quantum Efficiency UV Photodetectors

Researchers from Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science have developed the world’s highest quantum efficiency ultraviolet (UV) photodetector, an advance in technology that could aid in the detection of missiles and chemical and...

Control System Automatically Brakes and Steers Cars

Scientists at Chalmers University in Sweden are working with Volvo to develop a vehicle control system that can take over steering and breaking when it detects an imminent collision. The system can make split-second decisions on behalf of the driver.

Vibrations Reveal State of Bridge Ropes

To guarantee safety of bridges, regular inspections are required. However, visual methods allow the damage to be detected in a rather advanced state only. Other methods such as ultrasound, radiography, or magnet-inductive testing are time-consuming and expensive. And, the bridges have to be closed to...

NASA Tests Orion Spacecraft Parachute

Engineers testing the parachute system for NASA's Orion spacecraft increased the complexity of their tests by adding the jettison of hardware designed to keep the capsule safe during flight.

Army Envisions Smarter Robots In Its Future

Unmanned robots have already proven their worth on the battlefield, neutralizing improvised explosive devices, and more capable ones are coming in the future, according to the commander of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command. While robots and unmanned platforms will continue to provide valuable...

Question of the Week : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Will 3D Printers Find a Place in the Home?

The 3D printing industry has new offerings today, specifically cheaper, easier-to-use hardware and online marketplaces filled with predesigned files. MakerBot, for example, recently announced a new one-button MakerBot Mini. Files can be sent directly to the compact printer from a mobile phone or...

New Heat-Resistant Materials Could Improve Solar Cell Efficiency

Scientists have created a heat-resistant thermal emitter, an element used in specialized solar cells, that could significantly improve the efficiency of the cells. The novel component is designed to convert heat from the sun into infrared light, which can then be absorbed by solar...

Plasmonic Crystal Alters To Match Light-Frequency Source

Gems are known for the beauty of the light that passes through them. But it is the fixed atomic arrangements of these crystals that determine which light frequencies are permitted passage. Now a Sandia-led team has created a plasmonic, or plasma-containing, crystal that is tunable. The...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Multispectral Sensors

PIXELTEQ (Largo, FL) has introduced its new PixelSensor™ multispectral sensors. PixelSensor multispectral sensors use on-chip filtering to pack eight wavelength-selective photodiodes onto an array measuring less than 1cm, enabling simpler and smaller OEM optical devices. PixelCam™ and SpectraCam™ spectral cameras...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Quadrant Photodiode

Opto Diode (Newbury Park, CA) has introduced the SXUVPS4C, a quadrant photodiode with a 5 mm2 active area in each quadrant. The new device is the first of two new SXUV multi-element photodiodes to be introduced. The TO-5 windowless package features a 5-pin header. With light responsivity from 1 to 1000 nm and a shunt...

Products : Photonics/Optics
250W CO2 Laser

Coherent, Inc. (Santa Clara, CA) has added the new DIAMOND E-250 to its E Series CO2 laser family. The power range for the Coherent E-Series product line extends from 150W to 1000W. The new DIAMOND E-250 is a fully sealed, pulsed CO2 laser offering 250W of average power and > 750W of peak pulse power. The DIAMOND E 250 has its...

IR Emitters

Laser Components (Hudson, NH) has introduced a new generation of diamond-like pulsable infrared emitters. The DLSxxxX2224 series has replaced its predecessors, 17-900 and 22-1000. Significant improvements include tighter process control, a longer life expectancy, and a broader hot spot. In particular at wavelengths above 4.5 μm the...

Laser Scientists Create Portable Sensor For Nitrous Oxide, Methane

Rice University scientists have created a highly sensitive portable sensor to test the air for the most damaging greenhouse gases. The device, created by Rice engineer and laser pioneer Frank Tittel and his group, uses a thumbnail- sized quantum cascade laser (QCL) as well as...

Biological Phenomenon Could Boost Electricity Generation In Solar Cells

Sunlight drives nearly all life on Earth, and scientists want to develop ways for it to power civilization as well. Now researchers suggest that a relatively simple, biologically inspired technique for harvesting sunlight could in principle convert the sun's rays to...

Briefs : Medical
Updated Facts on 2015 HCFC-225 Usage Ban

In 1974, Sherwood Rowland and Mario Molina discovered that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were depleting the ozone layer, and in 1995, they received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for this work. In response, the United Nations Environment Programme called an international conference to discuss the issue....

Briefs : Medical
Using Molded Foam Makes Assembly a Snap

Today, medical devices are made using a variety of plastic materials and manufacturing processes. Advances in plastic processing make it possible to obtain virtually any shape, form, or function. In addition, the vast assortment of plastics available allows designers to design for the optimal balance of...

Products : Software
Product of the Month: Geomagic Capture®

3D Systems, Morrisville, NC, has released Geomagic Capture®, a family of integrated desktop scanner and software tools for professional scan-based design and quality inspection. Geomagic Capture is available in six application-specific configurations, and each package includes a blue-light LED scanner...

Articles : Motion Control
Moving Magnet Voice Coil Actuators Offer Controllable Movement for High-Duty-Cycle Applications

There are two types of voice coil actuators: moving coil and moving magnet. The materials of construction are similar, since they both use rare earth magnets, steel, copper wire, and basic insulation materials. There is a tendency to want to say one...

Application Briefs : Motion Control
Integrated Motion Solution Keeps Laser Marking Machine Costs Down

As the demands of traceability and compliance are put on manufacturers, using a laser provides permanent marking of a variety of information, including 2D bar codes, serial numbers, company information, and logos.

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Autonomous Robotic Manipulation (ARM)

Autonomous robotic manipulators have the potential to increase manufacturing efficiency, provide in-home care, and reduce the risk to humans in hazardous situations. The current challenge in autonomous robotic manipulation is to approach the capabilities of dedicated, one-off manipulators in known...

Briefs : Motion Control
Sliding Gait for ATHLETE Mobility

ATHLETE (All-Terrain Hex-Limbed Extra-Terrestrial Explorer) is a multipurpose mobility platform for planetary surfaces. It is a cross between a wheeled rover and a walking robot, and travels using powered wheels mounted on the end of each of six robotic limbs. Each limb is a fully articulated robotic manipulator...

Products : Motion Control
DC Motors and Gearheads

The DCX 10S and DCX 22L motors from maxon motor (Fall River, MA) are new additions to the DCX series of DC motors. Also available is the GPX 22 gearhead in a version with reduced noise level and with ceramic axes. The DCX 10S is a brushed DC motor with high power density and low vibration that exceeds the 1 mNm threshold...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Electric Cylinders

Tolomatic (Hamel, MN) offers ERD electric cylinders in six body sizes. The ERD is a rod-style electric actuator family designed as an alternative to pneumatic cylinders, and an option for automating manual processes. They are suitable for motion control applications such as washdown environments, product changeovers,...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Rotary Encoders

Nemicon Corp. (Tokyo, Japan) offers the 7S Series incremental rotary encoder that measures 7.2 mm (0.28346") in diameter, and features high resolution and high noise immunity. The encoders offer 3 signals: A, B, and Z (index signal), and three options for resolution from 100 to 400 pulses per rotation. Output type is open...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Slide Systems

The TOPBALL® slide products from NB Corp. (Hanover Park, IL) are self-aligning and feature a floating wiper seal. The floating load plate adjusts clearance. Tolerances are achieved by grinding, rather than stamping, the raceways and load plates. The slide products are available as total systems or as individual...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Stepper Motors and Drives

Bimba Manufacturing (University Park, IL) has released a suite of stepper motors and drives for use with its Original Line Electric®(OLE) actuators. The suite includes the IntelliMotor®, an integrated stepper motor, and AC and DC stepper motors and drives. The IntelliMotor provides the stepper...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Brushless Motors

Koford Engineering LLC (Winchester, OH) has introduced a line of 2.3"(60 mm) slotless brushless motors available with a variety of windings in either sensor- less or hall sensor configurations. Rated output is up to 800 Watts continuous power with no load speeds from 0.864 to 25,104 rpm. The slotless design provides cog-free...

Products : Motion Control
Incremental Encoders

The HS35 series through hollow shaft and OptoPulse EIL580 series solid and hollow shaft incremental encoders are available from Baumer (Southington, CT). They use an optical scanning principle that delivers less than 1 arc minute accuracy for applications such as speed and position control for robotics. The encoders’...

Products : Motion Control

Lenze Americas (Uxbridge, MA) has introduced the Smart Motor for applications ranging from material handling to packaging automation. The device combines a conventional AC motor with electronic drive control technology, and is fully programmable from a smartphone. Equipped with control intelligence in the terminal box, the motor...

Products : Motion Control
Brushless DC Pump

The 230 Series from Thomas Division (Sheboygan, WI) is a brushless DC WOB-L® air compressor designed for applications requiring a compact, lightweight pump with variable output. The pump measures 3.8 × 2.64 × 3.63" and weighs 1.2 pounds. It features variable output (1,000 – 3,000 RPM) utilizing a brushless DC motor, an...

Products : Motion Control
Servo Gearheads

DieQua Corp. (Bloomingdale, IL) offers the WATT Drive series of helical gearing servo gearheads with a variety of inline and right-angle helical, helical bevel, and helical worm designs. The gearheads provide torque capacities up to 14,000 Nm for general-purpose servo-controlled applications. They feature backlash as low as 5 arc...

Products : Motion Control

Beckhoff Automation (Savage, MN) offers the AM8500 series servomotors that are suitable for applications with larger external mass inertias such as CNC applications in machine tools. The motors are available in four sizes and three lengths with standstill torques from 1.38 to 29 Nm. One Cable Technology (OCT) enables the power and...

Products : Motion Control
Angle Sensors

TURCK (Minneapolis, MN) has announced inductive angle sensors for rotary actuators. Operating with the inductive resonant circuit measuring principle, the sensors provide valve monitoring on rotary actuators. The sensors are designed with an open face design, providing analog or discrete outputs and various mounting options. The...

Products : Motion Control

Measurement Specialties (Hampton, VA) offers the Model 8101 compact accelerometer designed for general-purpose vibration measurement. The plug-and-play piezoelectric linear accelerometer is available in two dynamic ranges (±40 g and ±160 g), as well as two measurement directions (X- or Z-axis configuration). The accelerometer...

Products : Motion Control
Stepper Motor Pre-Driver

Texas Instruments (Dallas, TX) has introduced the DRV8711 integrated stepper motor pre-driver that is configurable with an on-chip microstepping indexer, as well as stall detection and current regulation that tunes any motor. External MOSFETs control the stepper motor to provide minimum heat dissipation. The pre-driver...

Products : Motion Control
MEMS Accelerometers

Murata (Hoofddorp, Netherlands) has announced the SCA720 series of analog MEMS accelerometers for electrically controlled suspension and engine anti-vibration applications. Measuring 7.0 x 8.6 x 3.3 mm and constructed from a single crystal silicon, the accelerometer’s 3D structure employs capacitive sensing techniques....

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Torque Inserts

TI-300 Series torque inserts from Reell Precision Manufacturing (St. Paul, MN) provide positioning and pivoting, enabling precise, controlled positioning of equipment and components for a range of hinging applications. They feature a rated service life of 50,000 cycles and incorporate ReellTorq® clip technology, which eliminates...

Products : Motion Control
Linear Actuators

Exlar Corp., a Curtiss-Wright company (Chanhassen, MN), has announced the Tritex II integrated linear actuator with a 75-mm frame size. With forces to 1035 lbf continuous and 2075 lbf peak, the AC powered actuator features a 1.5kW servo amplifier. The actuators combine a brushless servomotor with an AC or DC powered servo drive,...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Linear Motors

ETEL (Schaumburg, IL) offers the LMS ironcore linear motor series. Featuring a patented anti-cogging design, the motors are suited for thermal-drift-sensitive precision machines, and other motion control applications such as high-end automation. The motors can be used in any machines where a high power density is required with a...

Products : Motion Control
Customized Motors

Applimotion (Loomis, CA) provides brushless direct drive motor kits for complex motion assemblies in automation, semiconductor equipment, medical device, and satellite communication systems. Complete assemblies with motor kits inside are available. The ULT, UTH, and UTS motor kits can be integrated into a customized assembly...

Products : Motion Control
Customized Motors

Applimotion (Loomis, CA) provides brushless direct drive motor kits for complex motion assemblies in automation, semiconductor equipment, medical device, and satellite communication systems. Complete assemblies with motor kits inside are available. The ULT, UTH, and UTS motor kits can be integrated into a customized assembly...

Products : Motion Control
Piston Pump

HAWE Hydraulics (Charlotte, NC) has introduced the V60N axial piston pump with displacement of up to 130 cm3/rev and peak pressures of up to 450 bar. It is suited for load-sensing systems working at operating pressures of up to 400 bar, and supplying hydraulic users with different pressure levels and/or variable volume...

Products : Motion Control
DC Drives

IronHorse GSD1 series DC drives from AutomationDirect (Cumming, GA) are Pulse-Width-Modulated (PWM) controllers for 12- to 36-Volt battery/solar-powered equipment. Design features include adjustable maximum/minimum speed, current limit, I.R. compensation, and acceleration. The adjustable current-limit feature protects the control,...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Motion Controller

Trio Motion (Tewkesbury, UK) offers the MC4N-Mini EtherCAT master for its Motion Coordinator series motion and machine controllers. The EtherCAT-dedicated controller can handle up to 32 axes of servo or stepper drives, and 1,024 machine I/O points. A built-in, expandable library of EtherCAT digital drives and I/O modules allows...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control

Meggitt Sensing Systems (Irvine, CA) has introduced the Endevco model 7284 series of lightly damped, high-g, triaxial piezoresistive shock accelerometers. The rugged sensors are available in 20,000 g and 60,000 g ranges. The accelerometers make high-g shock measurements across three mutually perpendicular axes. With a frequency...

Application Briefs : Aerospace
Modular Cleanroom Boosts Lunar Mission

Simplex Isolation Systems developed a modular softwall cleanroom for the LADEE (Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer) mission, launched in September 2013 from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

Application Briefs : Electronics & Computers
VoIP Technology Enables Flight Center Upgrade

Quintron Systems will upgrade NASA Dryden Flight Research Center (DFRC) technology as it expands to IPbased mission command voice. To prevent expensive and difficult reconfiguration of the mission control room consoles, a new user station design allows direct-fit replacement of the existing, older...

Application Briefs : Aerospace
Pre-Launch Processing Enables Advanced Climate Warnings

NASA has awarded Astrotech Corp. and its Astrotech Space Operations (ASO) subsidiary a contract to provide facilities and pre-launch processing services for the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) mission, set to launch later this year.

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Reworked CCGA-624 Interconnect Package Reliability for Extreme Thermal Environments

During the past two decades, large, high-density, high-input/output (I/O) electronic interconnect SMT (surface mount technology) packages such as ceramic column grid arrays (CCGAs) have increased usage in avionics hardware of NASA projects. The test boards built...

Briefs : Materials
Bulk Metallic Glasses and Matrix Composites as Spacecraft Shielding

Spacecraft shielding is defined as the outer layer of a satellite or spacecraft that protects it against micrometeorite and orbital debris (MMOD), radiation damage, and re-entry temperatures. There are several problems with the design and implementation of shields, particularly...

Products : Motion Control

ServoTek Products (Newell, WV), a member of the Bellofram Group of Companies, has announced the TachSyn Series that can be used as either a brushless DC tachometer or brushless DC motor commutator for monitoring the rotational speed of brushless industrial DC motors. The design consists of a primary magnetic sensing device,...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Emergency Stop Switches

IDEC Corp. (Sunnyvale, CA) offers the XW 22-mm emergency stop switches with a ridgeless button that prevents dust buildup. Each operator features both push-turn and push-pull action. The potential energy level of the latched status is lower than that of the normal status, which is known as a Reverse Energy Structure. If...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Brushless Motor

Johnson Electric (Hong Kong) has announced the Compact ECTM E8 brushless technology motor for handheld powered tools. The motor is a design platform that provides high power for battery operated power tools. The motor, based on Compact EC technology, is suitable for grinders, paint sprayers, hammer drills, and power...

Briefs : Lighting
New Approach To Growing InGaN Crystals For Diodes Could Also Improve Solar Cell Efficiency

Crystals form the basis for the penetrating icy blue glare of car headlights and now they could be fundamental to the future in solar energy technology? Crystals are at the heart of diodes. Not the kind you might find in quartz, formed naturally, but...

Briefs : Lighting
New Plastic-Like Polymer Could Lead To White Organic LEDs

By inserting platinum atoms into an organic semiconductor, University of Utah physicists were able to “tune” the plastic-like polymer to emit light of different colors – a step toward more efficient, less expensive and truly white organic LEDs for light bulbs of the future.

Application Briefs : Lighting
LED Panels Illuminate Stained Glass Window

The newly-renovated Church of the Covenant in Cleveland, Ohio, has a large, ornate rose stained-glass window that faces the Seidman Cancer Center at the University Hospitals Case Medical Center across Euclid Avenue. In a joint partnership project between the church and hospital entitled, “Hands Across...

Application Briefs : Lighting
LED Manufacturer Switches Over To LED Lighting

Global Lighting Technologies, a manufacturer of LED-based, edge-lit light guide solutions for general illumination applications, recently retrofitted its North American sales & engineering headquarters with LED ceiling lights.

Articles : Lighting
State-of-the-Art LED Cooling Technology

The story behind LED development—only the 4th lighting technology developed in human history— is remarkable. The potential ahead of LED lighting to deliver real and measurable advantages— to save energy, last years longer, significantly lower bottom-line costs—is limitless. That said the LED...

Briefs : Medical
Diagnosing Wrist Problems in Motion with MRI

Moving images could be invaluable when it comes to diagnosing wrist problems say a group of researchers at University of California-Davis. The multi-disciplinary team of radiologists, medical physicists, and orthopaedic surgeons say that they have found a way to create “movies” of the wrist in...

Briefs : Medical
Assessment of Microbial Bioburden Within Aerogel Matrices

A makeshift apparatus has been designed composed of a sealed, hydrophobic 2-propanol/SiO2 aerogel component to filter outside air particles. Following verification and assessment, the apparatus was crafted with a Buchner funnel. Aerogel matrices were tightly fitted into filter...

Who's Who
Tom Flatley, Computer Engineer, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD

Tom Flatley, computer engineer and current head of the Science Data Processing Branch at Goddard Space Flight Center, leads a group of engineers and programmers in their development of flight and ground-based science data processing systems and applications, including...

Articles : Software
Industry Roundtable: Design and PLM Software

As traditional Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software expands with more simulation capabilities and wider enterprise data management, software vendors are meeting customers’ demands with solutions that encompass the entire product development process, from initial design through end of life. In our...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Convex Hull-Based Plume and Anomaly Detection

A number of deep space missions have imaged plumes at Io, Enceladus, and other smaller bodies. These phenomena provide valuable information regarding these bodies. To date, this imagery has been captured fortuitously. The ability to utilize onboard processing to conduct campaigns capturing large...

Briefs : Software
Software for Non-Contact Measurement of an Individual’s Heart Rate Using a Common Camera

A software application detects the heart rate of an individual by using a real-time video stream from a common camera connected to their computer. This involves no contact between the user and the camera, or calibration between individual users. NASA’s...

Articles : Lighting
Manufacturing LED Modules and Components

Technical Challenges

Several technical challenges exist when manufacturing solid state lighting (SSL) modules and components. The greatest challenge is in keeping up with the changes in LED technology. LED components, such as LED packages and chips, are improving in lumen output, luminous...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Rapid Infrared Pixel Grating Response Testbed

A test array has been developed to measure the response of pixel-integrated infrared gratings over a wavelength range from 3 to 13 μm for multiple grating geometries. This array allows for testing and for determining the performance of an infrared focal plane array camera before resources have been...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
JWST Integrated Simulation and Test (JIST) Core

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) Integrated Simulation and Test (JIST) environment is a software-only system simulator that provides an environment to exercise JWST flight software subsystems and interfaces. JIST is capable of executing the unmodified flight software binaries in an operational...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
JWST IV&V Simulation and Test (JIST) Solid State Recorder (SSR) Simulator

As described in “JWST Integrated Simulation and Test (JIST) Core” (GSC-16739-1) on page 25, the JIST system is a software-based simulator that uses the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) operational ground system, ground system command/telemetry databases, simulated...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Temperature Measurement and Stabilization in a Birefringent Whispering Gallery Resonator

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) res- onators have been suggested for use as reference cavities for laser stabilization. Because of their unique properties (small size, high stability, narrow line width), such application appears to hold great promise. It is...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Automation in Display Testing

Display devices play a vital role as the man-machine interface in most embedded domains. Display systems provide information regarding the health of safety-critical subsystems and the general status of the machine. Accuracy and precision of the information displayed is a key factor in proper machine operation....

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Development of a Precision Thermal Doubler for Deep Space

Thermal requirements and a need for a very flat mechanical interface led to the development of a copper doubler for the titanium vault on the Juno Spacecraft. The vault is designed to contain the science instruments on the spacecraft, protecting them from damage due to the extreme...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Improving Friction Stir Welds Using Laser Peening

Friction stir welding (FSW) has emerged as a promising solid-state process with encouraging results, particularly when used on high-strength aerospace aluminum alloys that are generally difficult to weld. Laser peening has been applied to the mechanical and fatigue properties of welded joints....

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Methodology of Evaluating Margins of Safety in Critical Brazed Joints

This methodology provides a guide consisting of design, testing, and structural analysis steps developed to assure positive strength margins of safety (MS) in critical brazed joints used for assembly of flight and non-flight structures.

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Current-Controlled Output Driver for Directly Coupled Loads

Driving loads such as electric motors, relay coils, and solenoids requires a relatively large initial pull-in or start-up current from a driver in order to initiate operation of the load. To maintain continuous operation, the hold or running operating current required for a load may be...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Interactive Inventory Monitoring

The invention is a radio frequency identity detector (RFID)-based system that assists a user in location of an item, in response to an electronic query for the status of the item. The item(s) being sought may be a book on a library shelf, an item from a store inventory, a legal or financial document, a medical...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Sensor for Spatial Detection of Single- Event Effects in Semiconductor-Based Electronics

Ionizing radiation has a detrimental effect on digital electronics that need to operate in extraterrestrial environments. As space missions become longer and more complex, there is a need for flight computers that can withstand harsh radiation environments...

Briefs : Materials
Li-Ion Electrolytes Containing Flame-Retardant Additives

In order to improve the safety and performance of lithium- ion cells, especially over a wide operating temperature range, a number of Li-ion electrolytes have been developed that contain flame-retardant additives in conjunction with fluorinated co-solvents to provide a safe,...

Briefs : Materials
Touch Temperature Coating for Electrical Equipment on Spacecraft

A coating has been developed that can be applied to spacecraft equipment to significantly increase the allowable touch temperature limit, while only marginally degrading the heat transfer to the environment.

Briefs : Software

This software reduces the workload of the mission manager by distributing selected aircraft data to the various investigators onboard the aircraft so they do not have to continuously request the data updates. This system will then send the investigator’s comments and observations that were previously written in notebooks to a server...

Briefs : Software
Affordability Comparison Tool — ACT

ACT is able to provide insight into acquisition, operational, and life-cycle affordability early in program formulation prior to a commitment of architecture, or anytime during the program to change systems or subsystems. ACT analyzes different systems or architecture configurations for affordability that...

Briefs : Software
“Ascent — Commemorating Shuttle” for iPad

A feature-added, interactive version of the video release entitled “Ascent” was developed. The software version contains the full HD (high definition) movie along with extra scenes, still imagery, a movie trailer, and producer notes. The software has been packed as an iOS app, intended for use...

Briefs : Software
Cassini Mission App

This iPhone/iPad application allows the general public to access information about the Cassini mission. It enables viewing of the latest images released by the mission, allows access to images that describe the present position of the spacecraft, and provides flyby countdowns for each targeted flyby.

Briefs : Software
Light-Weight Workflow Engine: A Server for Executing Generic Workflows

(LWWE) is a cross-platform server that provides support for automation and orchestration of task execution.

Briefs : Software
Model for System Engineering of the CheMin Instrument

A computer program implements a model of the performance of the CheMin (Chemistry and Mineralogy) instrument — a miniaturized instrument that simultaneously performs x-ray diffraction (XRD) and x-ray fluorescence (XRF) measurements on small material samples. The CheMin instrument is being...

Briefs : Software
Platform Perspective Toolkit

This software specializes in discovering the location and intrinsic parameters of an imaging camera when such information was not recorded in the metadata of an image. It provides a simple command line interface for specifying the input and output for the two camera perspectives.

Briefs : Software
Pre-Filtration of GOSAT Data Using Only Level 1 Data and an Intelligent Filter to Remove Low Clouds

Software has been developed that mitigates anomalously low CO2 retrieval values, due to low-lying clouds, for improved CO2 sensing accuracy. Using machine learning techniques, hand-labeled data was used to train intelligently a...

Briefs : Information Technology
Timeline Central Concepts

The notion of Timeline has been used informally in spacecraft operations software for some time, but it has not heretofore been formalized and unified either syntactically or semantically. In this work, the Timeline has been formalized and unified so that the commonality can be exploited to reduce the cost of developing...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Particle Filter Simulation and Analysis Enabling Non-Traditional Navigation

Particle filters (PFs) offer the possibility of addressing many unsolved problems in orbit determination and prediction. This work builds on an existing GSRP (Graduate Student Researchers Project) effort to incorporate a particle filter into GSFC’s (Goddard Space...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
The Subgrid-Scale Scalar Variance Under Supercritical Pressure Conditions

A quantity called “the conserved scalar” is very important in the modeling of turbulent reactive flows in large eddy simulations because, if it can be defined, it numerically simplifies the solution of the conservation equations by confining the reaction term to a...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Quasi-Terminator Orbits for Mapping Small Primitive Bodies

A common objective for primitive body missions (i.e., those to asteroids, comets, and small planetary moons) is to map the target body surface as completely as possible. Ideally, this map is constructed from a large collection of images containing multiple views of every point on the...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Parallel Particle Filter Toolkit

Research on using inexpensive and personal-level parallel computing architectures to speed up the implementations of the class of particle filters has been conducted. This study leverages NVIDIA Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) and multi-core CPUs (central processing units) that are quickly becoming commonly...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Automated Generation of Adaptive Filter Using a Genetic Algorithm and Cyclic Rule Reduction

Modern datasets consisting of retrievals from space-based missions have target results, but often are accompanied by hundreds or thousands of other retrieved parameters or facts regarding a particular retrieval (e.g., pressure, temperature, spectral...

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