March 2008

Articles : Automotive
From NASA to NASCAR: Space-Age Technology Finds Its Way into Auto Racing

Although it may not be obvious to the untrained eye, a number of technical innovations developed for aerospace and defense applications have found their way into the sport of auto racing. Take thermal barriers and driver “cool suits,” for example. Heat coming from the...

Application Briefs : Aerospace
Instrument Unit Avionics Selected for NASA’s Ares I Crew Launch Vehicle
Instrument unit avionics
The Boeing Company
Chicago, IL

The Boeing Company has been awarded a NASA contract valued at approximately $265 million to produce the Ares I crew launch vehicle’s instrument unit...

Application Briefs : Imaging
Head-Worn Display Technology Developed for Emerging Air Transportation System
IS-1200 inertial-optical motion tracker InterSense
Bedford, MA

NASA’s Langley Research Center has awarded InterSense a follow-on Phase III Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract to deliver a...

6-GHz NI USB-5680

National Instruments, Austin, TX, has introduced the 6-GHz NI USB-5680 USB-controlled RMS RF power meter for automated test, measurement, and monitoring in a small footprint. Powered solely from the USB cable, the meter consumes 100 mA of current without an external power supply. The meter combines both the sensor and the A/D...

Who's Who
Edward Austin, SOFIA Science Systems Project Manager

SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy) is a joint venture between NASA and the German space agency, DLR, involving the use of a modified Boeing 747SP aircraft as an airborne astronomical observatory. Edward Austin is the SOFIA Science and Mission Operation Project...

Techs for License
Detecting Your Level of Hydration

HydroSmart is a new way to determine if you are adequately hydrated at any given time. It is a handheld, portable, simple- to-use device that requires a stream of urine, and the results are given almost instantaneously via a color-changing reagent. A color change corresponds to the specific gravity of the urine...

Techs for License
High-Production Suction Head for Mud, Sludge, and Sewerage Dredging

This technology features a uniquely designed suction head that eliminates problems typically experienced in alluvial diamond mining, mud, sewerage pumping, or dredging operations. This patented system offers a proven solution where no divers are required, and which can be...

NASA Tech Needs
Topical Delivery for Analgesic Medications

A company seeks new non-oral delivery mechanisms for analgesics. Non-oral methods avoid the stomach and the intestine. These new mechanisms might be topical; that is, in contact with the outer layer of the skin. However, other nonoral mechanisms are open for consideration. Non-oral administration...

NASA Tech Needs
Heating Different Zones of Food in a Microwave Oven

An organization seeks technology to enable foods to become crispy when heated in a home microwave oven. The outer surface should heat and become (or remain) crispy, while the interior body of the food should heat only as appropriate. The organization seeks materials, ingredients, or other...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
WRATS Integrated Data Acquisition System

The Wing and Rotor Aeroelastic Test System (WRATS) data acquisition system (DAS) is a 64-channel data acquisition display and analysis system specifically designed for use with the WRATS 1/5-scale V-22 tiltrotor model of the Bell Osprey. It is the primary data acquisition system for experimental...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Breadboard Signal Processor for Arraying DSN Antennas

A recently developed breadboard version of an advanced signal processor for arraying many antennas in NASA's Deep Space Network (DSN) can accept inputs in a 500-MHz-wide frequency band from six antennas. The next breadboard version is expected to accept inputs from 16 antennas, and a...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Digital Receiver Phase Meter

The software of a commercially available digital radio receiver has been modified to make the receiver function as a two-channel low-noise phase meter. This phase meter is a prototype in the continuing development of a phase meter for a system in which radio-frequency (RF) signals in the two channels would be outputs...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Split-Block Waveguide Polarization Twist for 220 to 325 GHz

Figure 1. A Channel Having Asymmetric Steps is cut into the lower block.An identical channel is cut into the upper block. Then with the help ofalignment pins, the blocks are assembled so that the two channels mergeinto one channel that makes a transition between two orthogonal...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Nano-Multiplication-Region Avalanche Photodiodes and Arrays

Nano- multiplication- region avalanche photodiodes (NAPDs), and imaging arrays of NAPDs integrated with complementary metal oxide/semiconductor (CMOS) active-pixel-sensor integrated circuitry, are being developed for applications in which there are requirements for high-sensitivity...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Disabling CNT Electronic Devices by Use of Electron Beams

Bombardment with tightly focused electron beams has been suggested as a means of electrically disabling selected individual carbon-nanotubes (CNTs) in electronic devices. Evidence in support of the suggestion was obtained in an experiment in which a CNT field-effect transistor was...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Tailored Asymmetry for Enhanced Coupling to WGM Resonators

Coupling of light into and out of whispering- gallery-mode (WGM) optical resonators can be enhanced by designing and fabricating the resonators to have certain non- axisymmetric shapes (see figure). Such WGM resonators also exhibit the same ultrahigh values of the resonance quality...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Ski Binding Prototype Designed and Tested with FEA Software
Ski Binding Prototype Designed and Tested with FEA Software

G3 Genuine Guide Gear (G3) of North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, is a specialized manufacturer of backcountry ski and safety equipment — including telemark bindings and...

Ski Binding Prototype Designed and Tested with FEA Software
Briefs : Materials
LiCoPO₄ Cathode Layers for Thin-Film Batteries

LiCoPO4 has been found to be a promising active cathode material for high-energy-density, thin-film, rechargeable electrochemical power cells. The potential of the charge/discharge plateau of a cell containing an LiCoPO4 cathode is 4.8 V — a value that compares favorably...

Briefs : Materials
High-Temperature SMAs for Actuator Applications

Work output is comparable to conventional SMA alloys but with transition temperatures significantly exceeding those of conventional materials.

Compositions and production processes have been developed for making NiTi-based shape-memory alloys (SMAs) that can be tailored for use as actuator...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Integrated Force Method for Indeterminate Structures

Two methods of solving indeterminate structural-mechanics problems have been developed as products of research on the theory of strain compatibility. In these methods, stresses are considered to be the primary unknowns (in contrast to strains and displacements being considered as the primary...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Conical Bearingless Motor/Generators

Motor/generators based on conical magnetic bearings have been invented as an improved alternative to prior such machines based, variously, on radial and/or axial magnetic bearings. Both the present and prior machines are members of the class of so-called "bearingless" or "self bearing" (in the sense of not...

Briefs : Medical
Carbon-Nanotube-Based Electrodes for Biomedical Applications

A nanotube array based on vertically aligned nanotubes or carbon nanofibers has been invented for use in localized electrical stimulation and recording of electrical responses in selected regions of an animal body, especially including the brain. There are numerous established,...

Briefs : Medical
Using Hyperspectral Imagery To Identify Turfgrass Stresses

The use of a form of remote sensing to aid in the management of large turfgrass fields (e.g. golf courses) has been proposed. A turfgrass field of interest would be surveyed in sunlight by use of an airborne hyperspectral imaging system, then the raw observational data would be...

Briefs : Medical
Compact Directional Microwave Antenna for Localized Heating

A directional, catheter-sized cylindrical antenna has been developed for localized delivery of microwave radiation for heating (and thus killing) diseased tissue without excessively heating nearby healthy tissue. By “localized” is meant that the antenna radiates much more in a...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Shaping Diffraction-Grating Grooves To Optimize Efficiency

A method of shaping diffraction-grating grooves to optimize the spectral efficiency, spectral range, and image quality of a spectral imaging instrument is under development. The method is based on the use of an advanced design algorithm to determine the possibly complex shape of grooves...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Low-Light-Shift Cesium Fountain Without Mechanical Shutters

A new technique for reducing errors in a laser-cooled cesium fountain frequency standard provides for strong suppression of the light shift without need for mechanical shutters. Because mechanical shutters are typically susceptible to failure after operating times of the order of...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Model of Image Artifacts From Dust Particles

A mathematical model of image artifacts produced by dust particles on lenses has been derived. Machinevision systems often have to work with camera lenses that become dusty during use. Dust particles on the front surface of a lens produce image artifacts that can potentially affect the performance of...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Nanostructures Exploit Hybrid-Polariton Resonances

Nanostructured devices that exploit the hybrid-polariton resonances arising from coupling among photons, phonons, and plasmons are subjects of research directed toward the development of infrared-spectroscopic sensors for measuring extremely small quantities of molecules of interest. The...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Microfluidics, Chromatography, and Atomic-Force Microscopy

A Raman-and-atomic-force microscope (RAFM) has been shown to be capable of performing several liquid-transfer and sensory functions essential for the operation of a microfluidic "laboratory on a chip" that would be used to perform rapid, sensitive chromatographic and spectro-chemical...

Briefs : Information Technology
Pattern-Recognition System for Approaching a Known Target

A closed-loop pattern-recognition system is designed to provide guidance for maneuvering a small exploratory robotic vehicle (rover) on Mars to return to a landed spacecraft to deliver soil and rock samples that the spacecraft would subsequently bring back to Earth. The system could be...

Briefs : Information Technology
Orchestrator Telemetry Processing Pipeline

Orchestrator is a software application infrastructure for telemetry monitoring, logging, processing, and distribution. The architecture has been applied to support operations of a variety of planetary rovers. Built in Java with the Eclipse Rich Client Platform, Orchestrator can run on most commonly used...

Briefs : Information Technology
Scheme for Quantum Computing Immune to Decoherence

A constructive scheme has been devised to enable mapping of any quantum computation into a spintronic circuit in which the computation is encoded in a basis that is, in principle, immune to quantum decoherence. The scheme is implemented by an algorithm that utilizes multiple physical spins to...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Spin-Stabilized Microsatellites With Solar Concentrators

A document proposes the development of spin-stabilized microsatellites powered by solar photovoltaic cells aided by solar concentrators. Each such satellite would have a cylindrical or other axisymmetric main body with solar cells mounted in a circumferential beltlike array on its exterior...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Phase Calibration of Antenna Arrays Aimed at Spacecraft

A document describes a method of calibrating phase differences among ground antennas in an array so that the maximumintensity direction of the far-field interference pattern of the array coincides with the direction for aiming the antennas to enable radio communication with a distant...

Briefs : Information Technology
Ring Bus Architecture for a Solid-State Recorder

A document concisely describes a ring bus architecture for a proposed solid-state recorder (SSR) that would serve as buffer of data to be transmitted from a spacecraft to Earth. This architecture would afford fault tolerance needed for reliable operation in an anticipated high-radiation...

Briefs : Information Technology
Image Compression Algorithm Altered To Improve Stereo Ranging

A report discusses a modification of the ICER image-data-compression algorithm to increase the accuracy of ranging computations performed on compressed stereoscopic image pairs captured by cameras aboard the Mars Exploration Rovers. (ICER and variants thereof were discussed in several...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Magnetic Compensation for Second-Order Doppler Shift in LITS

The uncertainty in the frequency of a linear- ion-trap frequency standard (LITS) can be reduced substantially by use of a very small magnetic inhomogeneity tailored to compensate for the residual second-order Doppler shift. An effect associated with the relativistic time dilatation,...

Articles : Electronics & Computers
Static vs. Dynamic Detection of Bugs in Safety-Critical Code

In the never-ending quest to produce high-quality software, traditional dynamic testing plays a fundamental role. The weakness of dynamic testing is that it is only as good as the test cases. To be effective, a great deal of effort must go into writing or generating good test cases,...

Articles : Imaging
Machine Vision and Smart Cameras: Powerful Tools for Machine Builders

Machine builders in this day and age are part of a fast-growing and rapidly changing industry sector. With vast improvements in commercial off-the-shelf products for measurement and control, as well as falling prices, machine builders can now take advantage of an assortment of...

Articles : Imaging
Enhancing Image Clarity in the SWIR

A chromatic or color-corrected lenses for use in the visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum have been addressed in literature, textbooks, and industry journals as early as the 18th Century. Many of these accounts by scientists and optical designers detail a method of selecting two dissimilar materials...

Application Briefs : Imaging
Medical X-Ray Imaging System Improves Patient Diagnosis

For more than 40 years, Italray srl (Florence, Italy) has manufactured radiological equipment for traditional and digital medical applications, as well as computer-assisted systems dedicated to radiological purposes. The company’s solutions — which range from simple mobile x-ray...

Application Briefs : Imaging
Off-the-shelf Components Upgrade Analog X-ray Equipment

The discovery of X-rays was first reported at the end of 1895 when Wilhelm Conrad Rontgen was conducting experiments with electrostatic charges and cathode ray tubes. In 2008, we have such medical imaging technology as computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or positron...

Products : Imaging
TFT LCD Display

AZ Displays, Aliso Viejo, CA, has released the PD057VT1, a 5.7-inch digital active matrix TFT panel display. The PD057VT1 display is compatible with computer screen formats and has full Video Graphics Array/VGA (640 × 480 dot) resolution. The display has a “stripe” pixel configuration, a TTL interface, and 262, 144 colors....

Products : Imaging
DGy Codecs

RGB Spectrum, Alameda, CA, introduces the DGy® 201x and 301x codecs, ideal digital recording and streaming solutions for demanding, mission critical missions. DGy codecs record, transmit, and stream high scan rate images at up to 1600 × 1200 pixel resolution. Both models offer multicast streaming with bandwidth-efficient...

Products : Imaging
Vision-Based Wafer Pre-Aligner

Cognex Corporation, Natick, MA, offers the In-Sight® 1820 vision-based wafer pre-aligner. Utilizing proprietary Cognex Notch-MaxTM alignment technology, the 1820 vision system provides precise non-contact measurement of wafer position and orientation in less than half a second. Mechanical...

Products : Imaging
Inspection Zoom Lens

Edmund Optics®, Barrington, NJ, has released the VZMTM 100i series parafocal zoom lens systems for video cameras. Ideal for inspection systems needing to handle many objects without changing working distance, the VZM 100i features a compact 28mm diameter removable mount with optional zoom lock adapter,...

Products : Imaging
Sunlight-Readable TFT Modules

Phoenix Display International (PDI), Tempe, AZ, has introduced a line of sunlight-readable 5.7-inch TFTs with QVGA (320 x 240) resolution. The modules have improved contrast, color saturation, and response time over CSTN products. PDI offers the 5.7" QVGA as a standard transmissive module with or without a...

Products : Imaging
1.4 Megapixel Area Camera

DALSA Corporation, Waterloo, ON, has released its Falcon 1.4M100, a 1.4 megapixel area camera that delivers 100 frames per second at full resolution in an ultra-compact body measuring 44 mm × 44 mm × 44 mm. Applications include traffic management, metrology, robotics inspection, PCB-AOI and electronics inspection,...


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Collaborative Robot Applications in the Automotive Industry

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Tech Talks: Medical

New Developments in Catheter Shaft Components – Part 2