February 2016

News : Data Acquisition
NASA Shakes Up Earthquake Warning Systems

The most important information that is immediately needed for earthquake disasters is the location, depth, and magnitude of the earthquake. The most common method of establishing an earthquake's magnitude is using seismic sensors on the ground that measure the shaking of the earth's crust. Authorities...

News : Imaging
Smartphone-Based System Could Speed Development of Driverless Cars

Two new systems for driverless cars can identify a user’s location and orientation in places where GPS does not function, and identify the various components of a road scene in real time on a regular camera or smartphone, performing the same job as sensors costing much more....

News : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Water-Impact Testing Will Protect Future Astronauts

When astronauts return to Earth in the Orion spacecraft, they will reenter on an extremely hot and fast journey through the atmosphere before splashing down in the Pacific Ocean. To protect the crew on landing, NASA will evaluate how the spacecraft may behave in parachute-assisted landings in...

Articles : Energy
A New Generation of Cooling

Energy efficiency is key to the total cost of ownership of enclosure climate control solutions, and electricity consumption is a major element of operating costs. Hybrid technology, developed and patented by Rittal, combines conventional compression cooling, similar to what has been used in traditional air...

News : Imaging
Help NASA Improve Robonaut's Vision

To improve a robot's ability to "see", the fix is in the code.

News : RF & Microwave Electronics
Micrchip Enables Palm-Sized Radar Camera

Scientists at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) have developed a chip that allows new radar cameras to fit into the palm of your hand.

News : Photonics/Optics
High-Precision Robot Installs Webb Telescope Mirrors

The James Webb Space Telescope team is installing telescope mirror segments using a high-precision robotic arm. To precisely install the segments, the robotic arm can move in six directions to maneuver over the telescope structure. While one team of engineers maneuvers the robotic arm, another...

News : Electronics & Computers
Soft Electronics Change the Way Robot Fingers Move

A new soft robotic gripper made out of rubber and stretchable electrodes can bend and pick up delicate objects like eggs and paper. It uses electroadhesion – flexible electrode flaps that act like a thumb-index gripper – to pick up fragile objects of arbitrary shape and stiffness, like an...

News : Software
Algorithm Analyzes Vibrations to Monitor Machinery Health

An artificial intelligence algorithm was developed that greatly increases accuracy in diagnosing the health of complex mechanical systems. Typical vibration analysis searches for anomalies in the vibration of machinery such as engines and gearboxes. These changes in vibration can signal...

Question of the Week
Do you want to be a "space tourist"?

This week's Question: After more than three years of construction, Virgin Galactic unveiled its new spaceship at the Mojave Air & Space Port in California. Physicist Stephen Hawking named the new vehicle Virgin Spaceship (VSS) Unity. Although the spacecraft faces an extensive testing period, the company...

News : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Robotic Drones to 'Print' Emergency Shelters

Researchers from the University of Bath, Imperial College, and University College London have developed robotic drones designed to "print" emergency shelters. The flying robots will autonomously assess and manufacture building structures to help areas suffering from natural disasters.

Who's Who
Dave McNally, Aerospace Engineer, Air Traffic Management, and Kapil Sheth, Aerospace Research Engineer, Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California

Convective weather, such as severe thunderstorm activity, is the leading cause of delay in the U.S. National Airspace System. Two NASA-developed tools – the Dynamic Weather Routes (DWR) tool...

Articles : Aerospace
40th Anniversary Reader Contest Winners

In the 1960s, the newly formed NASA began issuing single-sheet reports on the commercially significant technologies the agency was developing in the course of R&D being conducted for the space program – a mandate from Congress. In 1976, NASA turned those single-sheet reports into a magazine format...

News : Aerospace
NASA Uses Electric Propulsion in Experimental Plane

NASA is researching ideas that could lead to developing an electric propulsion-powered aircraft that would be quieter, more efficient, and more environmentally friendly than today's commuter aircraft. The proposed piloted experimental airplane is called Sceptor, short for the Scalable...

News : Aerospace
Graphene Composite Could Keep Wings Ice-Free

A thin coating of graphene nanoribbons in epoxy developed at Rice University has proven effective at melting ice on a helicopter blade. The lab melted centimeter-thick ice from a static helicopter rotor blade in a -4° F environment. When a small voltage was applied, the coating delivered...

Articles : Manufacturing & Prototyping
The Fourth Revolution in Manufacturing

The fourth industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0, is all about going digital. But the term – and the basic idea behind it – are not new. First used in 2011 at Hannover Fair in Germany, the term Industry 4.0 originates from a question posed by the German government to its country’s manufacturing...

Products : Aerospace
Spring-Loaded Screws

PEM® ReelFast® SMTPFLSM™ surfacemount, spring-loaded, captive panel screws from PennEngineering®, Danboro, PA, install permanently on printed circuit boards to provide secure attachment and allow for subsequent access whenever necessary. The all-metal assemblies mount in one piece on boards using the pick-and-place...

Question of the Week
Are wearable health devices effective?

This week's Question: The market for smartwatches and fitness bands is growing, but how effective are today's wearable health devices? A study from Lancaster University, the University of the West of England, and Nottingham Trent says that the technologies are marketed under the premise that they will help...

News : Energy
Researchers Develop Power-Generating Shoes

An energy-harvesting technology developed by University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers captures the energy of human motion to power mobile electronic devices. The footwear-embedded energy harvester could be especially useful for the military, as soldiers currently carry heavy batteries to power their...

Articles : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Thermal Cameras Reveal Materials’ Secrets

Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory are pioneering the use of infrared cameras to image additive manufacturing processes in hopes of better understanding how processing conditions affect the strength, residual stresses and microstructure of 3D-printed parts.

News : Energy
Researchers Turn Solar Energy into Electrical Power Using Photo-Bioelectrochemical Cells

A new paradigm for the development of photo-bioelectrochemical cells has been reported by researchers from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in Israel, and the University of Bochum, in Germany. The design of photo-bioelectrochemical cells based on native...

News : Photonics/Optics
NASA Engineers Tapped to Build First Integrated-Photonics Modem

A NASA team has been tapped to build a new type of communications modem that will employ an emerging, potentially revolutionary technology that could transform everything from telecommunications, medical imaging, and advanced manufacturing to national defense. The space agency’s...

News : Robotics, Automation & Control
'Cockroach' Robots Squeeze Through Cracks

UC Berkeley biologists have found robotic inspiration in the creepy ability of cockroaches to squeeze through even the tiniest crack.

Articles : Electronics & Computers
Unique Composite Film Could Become Hard Disc of the Future

A research group from ITMO University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have invented unique conductive magnetic films that will be applied to transparent data storage, flexible displays, as well as electromagnetic radiation protection. Not only can the new material be produced at...

Articles : Electronics & Computers
New Battery Shuts Down at High Temps, Restarts When Cool

Stanford researchers have developed the first lithium-ion battery that shuts down before overheating, then restarts immediately when the temperature cools. The new technology could prevent the kind of fires that have prompted recalls and bans on a wide range of battery-powered devices,...

Articles : Electronics & Computers
Scientists Work to Advance Conversational Computing

In an effort to help solve one of the grand challenges of artificial intelligence, the University of Michigan and IBM have launched a $4.5 million collaboration to develop a new class of conversational technologies that will enable people to interact more naturally and effectively with...

Products : Electronics & Computers
Production Code Generator

dSPACE’s (Wixom, MI) latest production code generator, TargetLink 4.1, supports the Functional Mock-up Interface (FMI) 2.0 and the latest version of the AUTOSAR standard, AUTOSAR 4.2. Moreover, MISRA C compliance and code efficiency have been increased further and modular, model-based development is even easier now....

Products : Electronics & Computers
5mm C-QFN Package

Barry Industries (Attleboro, MA) and Modelithics, Inc. have published a report detailing the broadband performance of Barry's 5mm high temperature co-fired ceramic (HTCC) quad-flat-no-leads (QFN) package to 40GHz. The report presents the accurate modeling of each of the 5mm QFNs 32 pins to 40GHz using a combination of Ansys...

Application Briefs : Electronics & Computers
ATX Motherboard

ADLINK Technology, Inc. (San Jose, CA) released its latest industrial ATX motherboard, the IMB-M43, powered by 6th Generation Intel® Core™ i7/i5/i3 processors and providing up to five PCIe slots. The PCIe slots can be assigned to four PCIe 3.0 x4 lanes plus one PCIe 3.0 x8 lane, two PCIe 3.0 x4 lanes plus two PCIe 3.0 x8...

Products : Electronics & Computers
Brightness Enhancement Film

American Polarizers Inc. (API) (Reading, PA) has expanded its product offering with 3M Vikuiti™ Brightness Enhancement Films (3M BEF). A single 3M BEF sheet increases the brightness of backlit LCD displays by up to 60%. Placing two sheets at right angles to one another results in up to a 120% brightness increase....

Products : Software
Product of the Month

MSC Software Corp., Newport Beach, CA, announced the release of Marc 2015 nonlinear and multiphysics simulation software. Enhancements include new material models to simulate complex dynamic behavior of elastomers, permanent deformation of thermoplastics, and anisotropic plastic deformation in metal forming. The software...

Question of the Week
Would you like to ride in a Hyperloop?

This week's Question: A Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) team took top honors this month at a competition to design the Hyperloop, a high-speed transportation concept from Tesla Motors and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. In the absence of air or surface friction, the Hyperloop design enables passenger pods...

News : Sensors/Data Acquisition
'Proximity Hat' Reveals Surroundings in Real Time

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) researchers have developed a "Proximity Hat" that uses head pressure to inform users about their surroundings. The ultrasonic sensors, batteries, and pressure pads can be worn like a hat or headband.

News : Test & Measurement
New 3D-Printed Part Allows NASA to Measure Sea Ice

Slated for launch in 2018, NASA’s Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) will carry a 3D-printed part made of polyetherketoneketone (PEKK), a material that has never been used in additive manufacturing, let alone flown in space.

News : Energy
Gigantic Blades Could Generate More Offshore Energy

A new design for gigantic blades longer than two football fields could help bring offshore 50-megawatt (MW) wind turbines to the United States and the world. Sandia National Laboratories designed a low-cost, offshore, 50-MW turbine requiring a rotor blade more than 650 feet long, two and a half...

News : Test & Measurement
NASA Spacecraft Breaks Solar Power Distance Record

NASA's Juno mission to Jupiter broke the record to become humanity's most distant solar-powered emissary when Juno was about 493 million miles from the Sun. Launched in 2011, Juno is the first solar-powered spacecraft designed to operate at such a great distance from the Sun. That's why the...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Development of a Multi-User Modem for Space Telecommunications

Efficient support of planetary surface missions typically requires an orbiting asset that acts as a relay point to/from Earth. Orbital relay passes are normally 5 to 15 minutes in duration over any specific landed site. When multiple landed assets are co-located or near-located in...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Wire Bonding to Pads in Tilted Planes

Scientific imaging arrays need to have their individual imaging elements arranged in a close-spaced mosaic. The typical single imaging element is a silicon chip mounted on a larger support frame. This excess area of the support frame takes away valuable imaging space from the mosaic. This appears as a grid...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
cFE/CFS Evolution for Multicore Platforms

This effort ports the Core Flight Executive (cFE)/Core Flight System (CFS) flight software architecture to multicore processor platforms, and provides mission developers with a common, flightready, flexible software environment that supports single, multi-processor, and multicore systems. Currently the...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Hermetic Feedthroughs for Mission-Critical Electronics

One of the most common causes of electronics failure is moisture. Because water and electronics do not mix well, several strategies exist to protect mission-critical components from moisture and condensation. One of the most successful methods involves hermetically sealed electronics...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Advanced Spacecraft Navigation and Timing Using Celestial Gamma-Ray Sources

The Advanced Spacecraft Navigation and Timing using Celestial Gamma-Ray Sources concept is a novel relative navigation technology for deep-space exploration using measurements of celestial gamma-ray sources. This new Gamma-ray source Localization-Induced Navigation and...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Generating a Laser Linear Frequency Modulation Waveform for Application in Coherent Doppler Lidar

Frequency modulation of a single-frequency laser with a linear triangular waveform is of great interest to many laser remote sensing and interferometry applications. Linear frequency modulation of a continuous-wave (CW) laser beam can make target...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Outlier Detection Via Estimating Clusters

The Outlier Detection Via Estimating Clusters (ODVEC) software provides an efficient method for real-time or offline analysis of multivariate sensor data for use in anomaly detection, fault detection, and system health monitoring. ODVEC uses models automatically derived from archived system data to...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Wideband Single-Crystal Transducer for Bone Characterization

The microgravity conditions of space travel create unique physiological demands on the astronauts’ skeletal structures, resulting in a reduction in bone strength from restructuring of the micro-architecture and loss of key minerals. An ultrasound system was developed that is capable...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Method for Fabricating Metallic Panels with Deep Stiffener Sections

This innovation integrates existing highperformance metallic materials and manufacturing technologies (all of which are now certified and used to produce thinner stiffened panels for launch vehicle structures) in a novel manner to allow fabrication of more structurally efficient...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Robust, High-Temperature Containment Cartridges for Microgravity

Robust, high-temperature containment cartridges are needed for processing materials science experiments in microgravity. In general, the refractory metals (Nb, Ta, Mo, W, Re) possess the chemical inertness and high melting temperatures desired. Of these materials, niobium and...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Method for Insertion of Carbon Fiber Through the Thickness of Dense Dry Fiber Preform

Creation of a structural joint for a heat shield for extreme entry environments requires structural fibers penetrating through the thickness of the shield at joint locations. The structural fibers must be made of carbon to withstand extremely high temperatures,...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Edge-Bonded Shims

Precision shims are used as compensators to absorb tolerances between mating components. They significantly reduce manufacturing costs by eliminating the need for each component to be precision-machined in order to achieve the proper fit and function of the total assembly. During the assembly process, shims provide adjustment...

Briefs : Materials
Processing and Damage Tolerance of Continuous Carbon Fiber Composites Containing Puncture-Self-Healing Thermoplastic Matrix

The initiation and propagation of damage ultimately results in failure of aircraft structural components. Often, impact damage is difficult to identify in-service, and hence design of continuous carbon fiber reinforced...

Briefs : Materials
Advanced Supported Liquid Membranes for CO‚2 Control in EVA Applications

NASA has a clear need to develop new technology in support of its future goals, including missions beyond low-Earth orbit, the possible development of lunar outposts, and the eventual exploration of Mars. As these missions develop, it is anticipated that crew members will...

Briefs : Materials
Low-Density Titanium-Based Bulk Metallic Glasses with High Glass-Forming Ability

Ti-based bulk metallic glasses (BMGs) and matrix composites (BMGMCs) are a subset of the class of materials known synonymously as amorphous metals, liquid metals, and glassy metals, described by their majority element (in atomic percent) being that of titanium. BMGs...

Briefs : Materials
Thermal Management Coating (TMC)

An experimental study was conducted in conjunction with the research and development program at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) on thermal protection systems (TPS) for aerospace applications, a new concept for reusable TPS material. The new system uses a micro-encapsulated phase-change material...

Briefs : Materials
AeroHeating Tools (AHT) Suite

This suite of computer programs, called “tools,” is used to calculate local flow angles over damage sites in the Shuttle Orbiter Thermal Protection System (TPS). It provides a quick and easy way to compute cross flow angles over points of interest on the Shuttle Orbiter TPS.

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
NEO Hunter Seeker Micro-Spacecraft and Mission Concept

The area of research known as “Planetary Defense” is largely concerned with identifying and tracking asteroids that could impact Earth. The vast majority of asteroids that pose such a risk are known as “Near Earth Asteroids/Objects” or NEAs and NEOs. Some of them are unknown,...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Multipath, Multistage, Erosion-Resistive Valve for Downhole Flow Control

Multipath, multistage, erosion-resistant flow control valves have been developed that can sustain the extremely high pressure of deep oil wells. Fitting in the restricted available space and operating using limited power with a long lifetime are challenges for choke valves...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Passive Close-Off Feature for Sample Acquisition and Retention

The current coring bit and percussive drilling style works very well for strong rocks; however, when coring into weak, crumbling rock, the core tends to break apart and simply fall out of the bit. These rocks, powder, and other debris can have useful information that is lost when...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Piezoelectric-Actuated Cryogenic Thermodynamic Vent Valve

Cryogenic fluid control valves require actuation that controls the geometric position of the orifice in a thermally stable manner. Traditional actuator devices may have various materials used in their construction that have varying CTEs (coefficients of thermal expansion) and therefore...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Amine Swingbed Payload

The amine swingbed was in development for incorporation into Orion’s environmental control and life support system to remove metabolic carbon dioxide and humidity from the crew atmosphere. The compact, low-power swingbed uses space vacuum to regenerate itself. Direction was given by NASA to develop it for a payload...

Briefs : Medical
Bayesian Sleep Fusion

To ensure mission success, astronauts must maintain a high level of performance, even when work-rest schedules result in chronic sleep restriction and circadian misalignment, both of which can contribute to fatigue and performance deficits unless effective countermeasures are used. The overarching goal of this project is to...

Briefs : Medical
Technique for Reversible Permeabilization of Live Cells for Intracellular Delivery of Quantum Dots

Nanomaterials are comparable in size to various biomolecules (1 to 100 nm), and have unique properties such as enhanced electrical conductivity, increased chemical reactivity, and novel optical properties that make them attractive candidates for...

Briefs : Medical
Introduction of Structural Affinity Handles as a Tool in Selective Nucleic Separations

This invention relates to the general field of bio-chemical separations. Current methods for separating nucleic acids either lack sufficient selectivity or large-capacity production as required for gene therapy or DNA vaccines or other applications. There is a...

Briefs : Medical
Functionalized Patterning of Tissue Engineering Substrates

Tissue engineering (TE) is an emerging field for tissue repair and regeneration compared to conventional techniques including autograft and allograft, through engineering functional implants created from living cells. TE is a highly interdisciplinary research area where material science,...

Briefs : Medical
Hearing Test System Suitable for Self-Administered Hearing Assessment

Astronauts have developed hearing loss in space, so the goal of this project was to provide a robust, self-administered, accurate noise-tolerance hearing test system for astronauts. The device includes Bekesy-like threshold audiometry, distortion product otoacoustic emission...

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...

Briefs : Information Technology
The Advanced Data Analytics Platform (ADAPT): Concept, Design, Architecture, and Operation

NASA scientists are uniquely positioned to research and understand the processes affecting the Earth’s climate. To study these important processes, scientists must address the Big Data challenges posed by working with massive amounts of observational and...

News : Imaging
NASA Maps Support Earthquake Relief Efforts

During natural disasters like high-magnitude earthquakes, areas most in need of assistance must be located as fast as possible. Researchers, led by Sang-Ho Yun at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, have developed a way to make maps of damage using the remote sensing technology of...

Question of the Week
Will "Antipodes" take off?

This week's Question: Canadian industrial designer Charles Bombardier has developed an aircraft concept that, in theory, could send passengers from London to New York in 11 minutes. The "Antipode" would have a scramjet engine and wings fitted with rocket boosters, propelling the aircraft to 40,000 feet and enabling the...

Briefs : Information Technology
Orion Heat Shield Thermal Mapping Tool

The Orion Heat Shield Mapping Tool collects data from a set of output files from various re-entry thermal response codes, interpolates the data, and maps the analysis code data onto a finely meshed finite element model.

Briefs : Information Technology
Distributed User Interface Management System for Interactive Collaborative Environments

The Ground Systems Development and Operations (GSDO) Smart Firing Room Project aims to create a firing room using cutting-edge technologies of today that are expected to be the state-of-the-art for the 2020s. One aspect of this project is providing a seamless...

Briefs : Information Technology
Design Reference Mission Tool for Exoplanet Starshade Mission Study

The Design Reference Mission (DRM) tool was developed to support the Exo-Starshade (Exo-S) Science and Technology Definition Team for modeling both the Dedicated (30-m starshade, 1.1-m telescope) and Rendezvous (34-m starshade, 2.4-m telescope) missions. The DRM describes the...

Briefs : Information Technology
Data Parallel Line Relaxation Code (DPLR) Version 3.05

The Reacting Flow Environments branch at NASA ARC is interested in characterizing the aerothermal environment of three main classes of problem: planetary entry vehicles, reusable launch vehicles (RLVs), and arc-jet (or other ground test) flow simulations. Each of these problem classes has...

Briefs : Information Technology
Front End Data System (FEDS) Version 10.0

In traditional missions at NASA, ground systems were normally custom-built for each project. Additionally, there would be separate ground systems for each part of the spacecraft as well as a totally separate ground system for mission operations. Each of these generally interfaced through non-standard...

Briefs : Information Technology
Link Complexity Scheduling Algorithm

NASA’s Deep Space Network (DSN) provides communication and other services for planetary exploration for both NASA and international users. The DSN operates antennas at three complexes in California, Spain, and Australia, with the longitudinal distribution of the complexes enabling full sky coverage and...

Briefs : Information Technology
BUMPER-CEV Micrometeoroid and Orbital Debris Risk Assessment Code Rev. A

BUMPER-CEV Version 1.71 is used to perform micrometeoroid/orbital debris (MMOD) risk assessments for the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) spacecraft. BUMPER is the primary risk analysis program used by NASA to provide for reliable and safe operations of spacecraft...

Briefs : Software
Advanced Numerical Integration Techniques for High-Fidelity SDE Spacecraft Simulation

Simulation study is an integral part of the validation of navigation algorithms for spacecraft. While it is possible to come up with an estimate of a navigation algorithm’s performance with a low-fidelity system model, the mathematical analysis is intractable...

Briefs : Information Technology
Launch Environment Water Flow Simulations Using Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics

One of the crucial ground structures employed at the launch pad during the Space Shuttle program is the rainbird nozzle system, whose primary objective is to suppress acoustic energy generated by the launch vehicle during pad abort and nominal operations. It is...

Briefs : Information Technology
Seismometer Simulation Software

Seismometer Simulation Software (SEISim) is written to provide a simulation for the seismometer instrument in the Insight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy, and Heat Transport) mission so that flight software developers can use it to develop and test their software applications. It can...

Briefs : Software
The Space Station Modulator: A Configurable Surface Mesh Geometry Model for Aeroscience Analyses

Numerical simulations of plume impingement heating to the International Space Station (ISS) and its visiting vehicles require a specific way to represent the space station geometry in 3D. The tools that are used for plume impingement analyses at...

Briefs : Software
Submersible Phase Change Float Sizing

This software allows sizing of submersibles powered by hydraulic generators that are pressurized by ocean thermal gradients at various depths. The software allows the operator to input the fixed size of the vessels containing the phase change material (PCM). The effective expansion of the PCM is also input,...

Briefs : Software
Method for Evaluating the Pneumatic Hammer Stability of a Fluid-Film Bearing Using CFD

This invention relates to a fluid film bearing and a process for evaluating pneumatic hammer instability. Based on the stability criteria, a method was developed using 3D CFD (computational fluid dynamics) evaluation dynamics to evaluate the onset of pneumatic...

Briefs : Software
DAWN: a Simulation Model for Evaluating Costs and Tradeoffs of Big Data Science Architectures

Data science is emerging as a critical area of research and technology to advance scientific discovery, knowledge, and decision-making through systematic computational approaches to analyzing massive data sets. The sheer volume of data increase, coupled...

Briefs : Information Technology
Auxiliary Payload Sensor System Simulation Software

Auxiliary Payload Sensor System Simulation Software (APSSim) provides a simulation of the seismometer used in the Insight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy, and Heat Transport) mission. The software takes recorded or simulated APSS data as an input, preprocesses the...

Briefs : Information Technology
Multiphysics Piezoelectric Finite Element Modeling for Designing a Piezoelectric Damping Treatment for Vibration Control of Rotating Blades

The requirements for advanced aircraft engine components lead to designs that are more lightweight and efficient, yet more susceptible to excessive vibration, complex dynamic behavior, and uncertain...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Decelerator System Simulation (DSS)

The Crew Exploration Vehicle Parachute Assembly System (CPAS) project conducts computer simulations to verify that requirements on flight performance, parachute loads, and terminal rate of descent are met. The objective of this work was to obtain a high-fidelity simulation of Orion crew capsule flight test...

Briefs : Materials
EXOS Software

An improved version of EXOS software allows for the modeling of fabrics, mixtures, and porous materials, and also provides the ability to accept hex mesh geometries. The code employs a novel numerical method, a hybrid particle finite element approach, as well as particles and elements in tandem, each modeling distinct aspects of...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Wireless Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotube Microwave Heater System Using RFID-Based Temperature Feedback

This innovation has two main parts — a wireless, flexible film heater containing multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) to convert radiated microwave energy into heat, and a radio frequency identification (RFID) temperature sensor to provide...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Sub-Audible Speech Recognition Based on Electromyographic (EMG) Signals

Sub-audible speech is a new form of human communication that uses tiny neural impulses (EMG signals) in the human vocal tract instead of audible sounds. These EMG signals arise from commands sent by the brain’s speech center to tongue and larynx muscles that enable...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Precision Detector Conductance Definition via Ballistic Thermal Transport

The characteristics of a thermal detector, such as sensitivity, response time, and saturation power (or energy resolution), are functions of the thermal conductance of the detector to its cryogenic environment. The thermal conductance is specified to achieve a tradeoff...

Articles : Aerospace
Products of Tomorrow: February 2016

The technologies NASA develops don’t just blast off into space. They also improve our lives here on Earth. Life-saving search-and-rescue tools, implantable medical devices, advances in commercial aircraft safety, increased accuracy in weather forecasting, and the miniature cameras in our cellphones are just...

Articles : Aerospace
FAA and Drone Control

Since the early 1990s, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) have operated on a limited basis in the National Airspace System (NAS). Until recently, UAS mainly supported public operations, such as military and border security operations. The list of potential uses is now expanding rapidly to encompass a broad range of other...

Articles : Aerospace
CO2 Recovery System Puts Bubbles into Beer

Technology used to capture carbon dioxide in the Martian atmosphere can save brewers money.

Building on work he and his companies did with Johnson Space Center’s In Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) team, Robert Zubrin has developed and commercialized technologies that could prove...

Application Briefs : Aerospace
CAD-Based Process Analyzes Lidar Interferometer Instrument
Comet software
Comet Solutions
Cincinnati, OH

A Structural-Thermal-Optical-Performance (STOP) analysis is an interdisciplinary analysis used to verify optical requirements. It is performed to identify and solve design...

Application Briefs : Aerospace
Plasma Etching System Expands Device Processing Capability at JPL
Apex SLR ICP etch system
Advanced Vacuum, a Plasma-Therm Co.
Saint Petersburg, FL

An Advanced Vacuum inductively coupled plasma etch system recently was installed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in...

Articles : Robotics, Automation & Control
Optimizing Drive Systems for Energy Savings

Energy savings are an extremely important topic in virtually every segment of industry today. In general, the largest consumer of power in a converting line or machine is the drive system. As energy costs continue to increase and energy conservation becomes a greater priority, are there technologies or...

Application Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Automation System Retrofit Transforms 175-Ton Hydraulic Forming Press

Southern Manufacturing Group (SMG) of Morrison, TN, makes automotive components and industrial valves. In 2012, the automation system for its 175-ton hydraulic forming press received electrical damage resulting from a lightning strike (Figure 1). Purchasing a new hydraulic...

Articles : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Graphene Supports NASA-Developed Nanosensors

NASA Technologist Mahmooda Sultana has been leading the development of tiny graphene sensors. Because of the material’s extreme sensitivity, graphene-based sensors have a wide range of possible space applications, including the detection of strain in composite materials and the discovery of trace...

Articles : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Energy Harvesting and the IoT: A New Bull Market

The romantic notion of grizzled ranchers out riding the range on horseback to shepherd their herd of cattle may soon be a distant memory, as cloud-based sensor technology now permits real-time animal tracking from the comfort of home or office, or by smartphone.

Articles : Sensors/Data Acquisition
When Sensors Mesh: How Sensor Networks Improve Performance

Innovations in communications and computing hardware and software have made it easier than ever to collect minute details regarding just about any topic of interest. For technology and manufacturing interests, small, low-powered sensors can be embedded in almost any machine for data...

Application Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Researchers Prepare RoboSimian for Tasks Beyond Disaster Response

RoboSimian, a limbed robot developed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), is designed to operate in environments too dangerous or difficult for human intervention, such as disaster areas and oil leak sites. After years of engineering in the lab, JPL’s researchers are...

Application Briefs : Energy
Energy Harvester Uses RF Waves to Power Air Pollution Sensors

As more connected devices enter the market and see wider adoption by an ever increasing number of industries, the Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly expanding.

Products : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Integrated Circuits

The Standard Power Series from Honeywell (Fort Mill, SC) includes four new sensor ICs. The integrated circuits offer a sensitivity of 11 Gauss max., allowing design engineers to use larger air gaps between the sensor IC and the magnet. The Standard Power Series Sensor ICs also feature a solid-state, non-contact, no-glass...

Products : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Wireless Remote Sensing

SignalFire Wireless Telemetry (Hudson, MA) has added capabilities to its Field Setup and Diagnostic ToolKit. Interfacing with sensors, thermocouples, load cells, pots, and turbine meters, the Signal Fire Wireless Remote Sensing Systems (SFRSS) support long-distance wireless communications across devices in large-scale...

Products : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Wireless Router

The CirrusSense™ wireless router from Transducers Direct (Cincinnati, OH) provides remote pressure readings, diagnostics, and immediate email/text alarm alerts transmitted by CirrusSense™ pressure transducers. The device provides Internet connectivity for Bluetooth-enabled CirrusSense pressure sensors attached to refrigerant,...

Products : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Optical Sensors

Micro-Epsilon (Raleigh, NC) offers optoNCDT 1320 and 1420 optical smart sensors. Electronics for signal processing are housed in each sensor body. Weighing 60 g, the devices are suitable for dynamic acceleration applications, including machine axes and robot arms. Measuring ranges of 10, 25, or 50 mm are currently available.

Products : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Gas Sensor Modules

The new Komfy™ Switch with camera by D-Link features the iAQcore indoor air quality module from ams (Cupertino, CA). The iAQcore, a miniaturized, low-power gas sensor, uses a MEMS-based VOC component. The device provides an output of ppb TVOC and ppm CO2 equivalent units via an I2C interface.

Products : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Image Sensors

OmniVision Technologies (Santa Clara, CA) has released the OV16860, a 16-megapixel PureCel® Plus-S image sensor. A 1.3-micron pixel architecture enables full resolution recording at 45 frames per second. The sensor also supports high dynamic range (HDR), phase detection autofocus (PDAF), and slow-motion video recording....

Products : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Pressure Sensors

TE Connectivity (Berwyn, PA) has announced the 86BC, a 16-mm piezoresistive silicon pressure sensor packaged in a 316L stainless steel housing. O-ring mounting supports integration into industrial applications. The header-less unit utilizes silicon oil to transfer pressure from the steel diaphragm to the sensing element. A...

Products : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Harsh-Environment Sensors

WAGO Corp. (Germantown, WI) has added 3-Phase Power Measurement Modules to its XTR line of harsh environment (-40 °C to 70 °C extreme temperature and 5g vibration resistance) I/O. Varying communication interfaces include Ethernet, RS-232/RS-485, CAN, CANopen, and PROFIBUS-DP-Slave interfaces. DNP3, IEC 61850, and IEC...

Products : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Cable Extension Sensors

The POSIWIRE® WS21 cable extension sensor from ASM (Elmhurst, IL) is equipped with a non-contact, magnetic multi-turn-encoder that enables long measuring lengths up to 20,000 mm. Typical applications include linear measurements for crane booms.

Products : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Temperature Sensors

Exergen Corp. (Watertown, MA) has announced the Extreme IRt/c non-contact temperature sensor. A custom-designed housing protects the sensor from extreme vibrations, shifts in pressure, and other acute ambient changes. The sensor was originally developed for a defense contractor whose client needed to measure the temperature...

Products : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Submersible Position Sensors

Macro Sensors (Pennsauken, NJ) has introduced submersible LVDT Position Sensors for use as part of subsea measurement systems. The SSIR 937 Series Submersible LVDT Position Sensors withstand deep sea environments with external pressures to 5000 psi. Designed for use in either pressure-balanced, oil-filled containers...

Products : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Capacitive Force Sensor

Pressure Profile Systems (Los Angeles, CA) has released the SingleTact, a miniature capacitive force sensor. The ultra-thin, single-element device quantifies forces in analog or digital configuration. The SingleTact interface board can be customized for an engineer’s specific application. A choice of six sensor...

Products : Aerospace
Product of the Month: February 2016

MSC Software Corp., Newport Beach, CA, announced the release of Marc 2015 nonlinear and multiphysics simulation software. Enhancements include new material models to simulate complex dynamic behavior of elastomers, permanent deformation of thermoplastics, and anisotropic plastic deformation in metal forming....

Products : Aerospace
Power Supply

North Atlantic Industries, Bohemia, NY, announced the VPX57- 31 3U rugged power product that provides up to 400 watts of power with six outputs. It is compliant with MIL-STD-704F, and features current share, remote error sensing, and a built-in EMI filter compliant with MIL-STD-461, CE-102. It has VITA 62-compatible outputs and...

Products : Aerospace
DC Power Load

Intepro Systems, Tustin, CA, introduced the ELR9000 Series of electronic DC loads that features an integral, grid-synchronized inverter designed to return up to 94% of the load test energy back to the grid. The rack-mounted unit is available with output ratings of 3.5 kW, 7 kW, and 10.5 kW. Four regulation modes are offered:...

Products : Aerospace
Battery Monitor

The ISL94203 3-to-8 cell battery pack monitor from Intersil Corp., Milpitas, CA, supports lithium-ion and other battery chemistries. The device monitors, protects, and cell-balances rechargeable battery packs to maximize battery life, and ensure safe charging and system operation. The monitor’s internal state machine has five...

Products : Aerospace
ESD Protection

Littelfuse, Chicago, IL, offers the SPxx-01WTG-C-HV Series generalpurpose electrostatic discharge (ESD) protection TVS diode arrays (SPA® Diodes). The 0201-size components safeguard data lines on larger touchscreen modules used in large-format tablets and notebooks from damage due to ESD and other overvoltage transients. The...

Products : Aerospace
Power Supplies

Protek Power North America, Hudson, MA, introduced the PUB200/250/300/400 Series of AC/DC switching power supplies that delivers 200-400 Watts of continuous power at convection cooling. The units are housed in a perforated metal case for cooling, and feature a terminal strip connection for installation. They have an input range of...

Products : Aerospace
DC-DC Converters

TDK-Lambda Americas, National City, CA, announced the 12-Ampere iCH series of POL (Point of Load) non-isolated DC-DC converters. Accepting an input range of 4.5 to 14Vdc, the series can operate from either a 5Vdc or 12Vdc bus. The converters provide output voltages from 0.7 to 8.5V, and deliver 12A output current, without forced...

Products : Aerospace
Temperature Control System

OMEGA Engineering, Stamford, CT, offers the PLATINUM™ Series PT-DEMO PID controller that provides an integrated temperature control system suitable as a platform to investigate the use of closed loop (PID) and simple on/off temperature control in heating and cooling applications. The system features intuitive...

Products : Aerospace
Electronics Enclosures

OKW Enclosures, Bridgeville, PA, offers CONNECT enclosures for wired or USB electronics for applications where the unit is connected to a cable, sits between cables, or where the units are joined with USB connectors. The enclosures consist of two pieces with convex and flattened case shell sections. The flattened section...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Severe-Environment Motors

Marathon Motors (Wausau, WI) introduced totally enclosed air-over (TEAO) cooling tower motors with Bearing Current Protection (BCP) using AEGIS® Shaft Grounding Rings. The NEMA Premium Severe-Duty motors feature BlueChip® cast iron construction for rigidity and reduced vibration. With internal and external epoxy...

Products : Motion Control
High-Torque Drives

Schneider Electric Motion USA (Marlborough, CT) offers Lexium MDrive NEMA size 23 drives with high-torque stepper motors as an alternative to standard motors. Closed loop performance of the drives eliminates possible motor stalling, and delivers continuous torque at low speeds. It eliminates tuning, and reduces heat and energy...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Rotary Tables

EXSYS Tool (San Antonio, FL) offers pL LEHMANN 500 series ultra-high-precision rotary tables. The modular, multi-axis rotary tables allow users to upgrade a vertical machining center without incurring the expense of a new machine. Adaptable to almost any workpiece or production situation, the tables are available in four basic...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Actuator Control

The DCH Series actuator control from American Control Electronics (South Beloit, IL) combines an AC-to-DC switching power supply with a regenerative PWM drive to create an all-in-one solution. The control is suited for applications requiring control of 12 or 24 VDC motors when only 115 or 230 VAC power is available. With an...

Products : Motion Control
Motor Controllers

PITTMAN® Motors, a business unit of AMETEK Precision Motion Control (Harleysville, PA), announced IDEATM PBL4850E programmable 3-phase brushless motor controllers that let users create distributed standalone motion profiles without the need for additional motion control components such as programmable logic controllers or...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Magnetic Encoder

The Model 30M low-profile, 30-mm-diameter magnetic encoder module from Encoder Products (Sagle, ID) provides incremental feedback by means of advanced sensing and signal processing technology. It combines a Hall-effect sensor, signal processing circuitry, and a small magnetic target that can be affixed to a rotating shaft via an...

Products : Motion Control
Roller Chain

U.S. Tsubaki Power Transmission (Wheeling, IL) introduced Titan Series roller chain for high-speed and harsh environments. The ANSI chain utilizes a “Titan specific” chain construction that includes coated pins and pin links, black oxide roller link plates, G7 Solid Bushings, and ringcoined connecting links. The chain is...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Spindle Gear

maxon precision motors (Fall River, MA) announced the GP 6 S spindle for a variety of linear drive solutions. The maximum feed velocity is 15 mm/s, at a force of 10 N. Integrated ball bearings ensure that the drive stands up to high axial loads. The gear combines with the maxon DC brushed motor (RE 6) and DC brushless motor (EC...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Z-Theta System

Catalyst Motion Group™, a Haydon Kerk Motion System integrator (Waterbury, CT), offers a Z-Theta system capability that provides a compact package to achieve a rotary axis and a linear axis in a single unit. When operated in coordinated motion, the system can effectively create a helical motion path. The Kerk brand ScrewRail®...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Motion Controller

Soft Servo Systems (Waltham, MA) offers the WMX general motion controller that simultaneously controls up to 64 axes and 64 channels with control functions on the EtherCAT platform. It can run as an EtherCAT master on a commercially available PC with a LAN (Ethernet) port and no specialized interface board. Compatible with...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Rail Brakes

Profile Guide rail brakes from Nexen Group (Vadnais Heights, MN) are available in a range of sizes from 15 to 45, and provide engagement at 0.049 to 0.080 seconds. They provide static holding force to 2,600 N (585 lbs.), and can be combined to provide higher holding forces. The brake is suited for holding a load in position while...

Products : Aerospace
Delta Robot and Controller

The RCP-DELTA robot and control system from Aerotech (Piitsburgh, PA) is available in four models that support payloads up to 3 kg, with X/Y operating ranges of 500/800/1100/1300 mm, and an optional continuous rotation about the Z axis (yaw). The robot can sustain 200 pick-and-place operations per minute with peak...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Slide System

Velmex (Bloomfield, NY) offers the Parallel-Coupled BiSlide System for long traverses and larger loads. The system features two identical BiSlide assemblies coupled with a timing belt to drive synchronous operation. It can handle loads to 600 pounds and is available in standard lengths up to 80 inches. The assembly is available in...

Products : Motion Control
Positioning Stage

LinTech (Monrovia, CA) offers the 610 series totally enclosed positioning stage in stroke lengths from 6 to 60 inches (150 to 1520 mm). The screwdriven linear positioning systems use a low-friction, preloaded, recirculating linear ball bearing system that rides on precision ground linear rail guides. The linear rails are...

Dave McNally, Aerospace Engineer, Air Traffic Management, and Kapil Sheth, Aerospace Research Engineer, Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA

Two NASA-developed tools — the Dynamic Weather Routes (DWR) tool and a national implementation of DWR called the National Airspace System Constraint Evaluation and Notification Tool (NASCENT) — will...

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