March 2016

Question of the Week
Will self-cleaning laundry catch on?

This week's Question: Researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, have developed a cheap and efficient way to alter fabric so that stains disappear after a few minutes of sun exposure. When the nanostructures are placed in light, the materials receive an energy boost that creates "hot electrons."...

News : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Researchers Turn Carbon Dioxide into Concrete

A new system developed by UCLA researchers captures carbon from smokestacks and processes the C02 into a new building material that could replace concrete. The tiny cones of the "CO2NCRETE" material are fabricated using 3D printers.

A new flow battery technology is projected to cost 60 percent less than today's standard flow batteries. The lower cost is due to the battery's active materials being inexpensive organic...

News : Motion Control
New Ways to Construct Contactless Magnetic Gears

Magnetic gears transmit rotary motion like mechanical gears but instead of teeth they use magnetic attraction and repulsion between rotating magnets. Magnetic gears have several advantages over mechanical gears. The main one is the absence of direct contact between the parts.

News : Robotics, Automation & Control
Wall-Climbing Drone Flies and Sticks to Target

Researchers have developed the CAROS (Climbing Aerial RObot System) wall-climbing robot with higher mobility than existing wall-climbing robots because it can fly. It also can restore its pose after an accidental fall due to an unexpected disturbance. Since the robot can stick to the surface, it can...

Question of the Week
Do you feel safe in a "connected" car?

This week's Question: According to a public service announcement last week from The FBI, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the Department of Transportation, vehicles will be increasingly subject to cybersecurity risks as they become more automated and less controlled by drivers. In the...

News : Green Design & Manufacturing
Graphene-Based Device Improves Water Filtering

According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report, lack of access to safe, clean water is the biggest risk to society over the coming decade. A new graphene-based filter built by Monash University and the University of Kentucky allows water and other liquids to be filtered nine times...

Who's Who
Jim Heidmann, Project Manager for NASA’s Advanced Air Transport Technology Project, and Jason Welstead, Aerospace Engineer

Jim Heidmann of Glenn Research Center (Cleveland, OH) and Jason Welstead of Langley Research Center (Hampton, VA) have led NASA efforts to develop all-electric and hybrid-electric designs for large passenger aircraft....

News : Software
Algorithm Makes Hyperspectral Imaging Faster

Researchers from North Carolina State University and the University of Delaware have developed an algorithm that can quickly and accurately reconstruct hyperspectral images using less data. The images are created using instruments that capture hyperspectral information succinctly, and the combination...

News : Photonics/Optics
Electron-Beam Imaging Can See Elements ‘Invisible’ to Common Methods

Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have developed a new imaging technique, tested on samples of nanoscale gold and carbon, that greatly improves images of light elements using fewer electrons. The newly...

News : Medical
Combining Imaging Technologies Better Identifies Coronary Plaque

Combining optical coherence tomography (OCT) with near-infrared autofluorescence (NIRAF) imaging may more accurately identify coronary artery plaques that are most likely to rupture and cause a heart attack. OCT provides images of tissue microstructure but not of its chemical and...

News : Semiconductors & ICs
World's Thinnest Lens May Revolutionize Cameras

Scientists at the Australian National University (ANU) have created the world's thinnest lens, one two-thousandth the thickness of a human hair, opening the door to flexible computer displays and a revolution in miniature cameras. The discovery hinged on the remarkable potential of the molybdenum...

News : Sensors/Data Acquisition
New Probe Could Improve Sonic Boom Investigation

An air data probe intended to improve investigation of sonic booms is flying on the F-15B aircraft at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center. NASA's goal for sonic boom research is to find ways to control and lessen the noise from shockwaves so that federal regulators will allow commercial...

News : Materials
Flexible Skin Traps Radar Waves and Cloaks Objects

Iowa State University engineers developed a new flexible, stretchable, and tunable metamaterial skin that uses rows of small, liquid-metal devices to cloak an object from the sharp eyes of radar. By stretching and flexing the polymer meta-skin, it can be tuned to reduce the reflection of a wide...

News : Data Acquisition
Tests Show How Plastic Parts Deform During Flight

Scientists have conducted flights using a measurement configuration based on fiber optics to accurately verify the degree to which carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) parts deform during flight. With the help of fiber optic technology, optical measuring fibers detected even minimal...

News : Medical
Microfluidics is Key to Mass-Producing Nanomaterials

Nanoparticles can be found in everything from drug-delivery formulations to high-definition televisions. They’re also expensive and a pain to make. Researchers at USC have created a new way to manufacture nanoparticles that will transform the process from a painstaking, batch-by-batch...

News : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
NASA Satellite Marks First Space Use of 3D-Printed Part

NASA’s Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) will carry an electrostatically dissipative Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), or “strand-based,” 3D printed part made of polyetherketoneketone (PEKK), a material that has never been used in 3D manufacturing, let alone flown in...

News : Electronics & Computers
Manufacturing Optical Chips with Multiple Purposes

Researchers are at the forefront of a revolution in microwave photonics, developing the first all-purpose programmable optical chips. Optical chips or processors are used in everything from biomedical devices to telecommunications networks. As it stands, each chip has to be custom designed and...

Question of the Week
Should we establish a colony on the moon?

This week's Question: NASA astrobiologist Chris McKay recently edited a special issue in the journal New Space, publishing papers that came out of a 2014 meeting with scientists and space business professionals. The goal of the 2014 meeting was to explore and develop low-cost options for building a human...

News : Electronics & Computers
Researchers Create Super-Thin Lens

Scientists at Australian National University have created a lens that measures one two-thousandth the thickness of human hair. The technology will support the development of flexible computer displays and miniature cameras.

Product of the Month: March 2016

Paul N. Gardner Co., Pompano Beach, FL, announced the SmarTest coating thickness measurement system that consists of an app and a wireless sensor for measuring coating thickness with the help of a smartphone or tablet. The system uses Sensor-integrated Digital Signal Processing (SIDSP®) sensors combined with...

Articles : Software
Celebrate Pi Day with NASA Goddard and Discover Pi-Sat

The Innovative Technology Partnerships Office (ITPO) at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (Goddard) in Greenbelt, MD, invites you to celebrate Pi Day on March 14 and discover Pi-Sat. Current technology trends indicate a shift in satellite architectures from large, single satellite...

News : Robotics, Automation & Control
Light-Up Skin Stretches Robotic Boundaries

Cornell University researchers have developed an electroluminescent skin capable of stretching to nearly six times its original size while still emitting light.

News : Medical
Self-Test Kit Warns Soldiers of Biological Exposure

The U.S. Army’s newly developed biological self-test kit can quickly identify the presence of a pathogen of concern such as ricin, anthrax, or plague, and automatically send the result to a soldier and his commander. Known as SmartCAR, the device uses a colorimetric assay, much like a home...

News : Aerospace
NASA Tests Life-Detection Drill in Earth’s Driest Place

The Atacama Rover Astrobiology Drilling Studies (ARADS) project completed its first deployment after one month of field work in the hyper-arid core of the Atacama Desert in Chile, the “driest place on Earth.” More than 20 scientists from the United States, Chile, Spain, and France...

News : Test & Measurement
App Turns Smartphones into Earthquake Detection Network

UC Berkeley scientists released a free Android app that taps a smartphone’s ability to record ground shaking from an earthquake, with the goal of creating a worldwide seismic detection network that could eventually warn users of impending jolts from nearby quakes. The app, called MyShake,...

Question of the Week
Will commercial supersonic planes become a viable way to travel?

This week's Question: NASA announced last week that it was resurrecting a supersonic aircraft called the Quiet SST (“QueSST”). The space agency believes that the traditional sonic boom can be mitigated into a soft thump, or “heartbeat.” Supersonic planes could potentially...

News : Energy
Ultra-Thin Solar Cells Rest on a Soap Bubble

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have demonstrated a solar cell so light and thin that it can rest atop a soap bubble.

Though it may take years before the device is developed into a commercial product, the laboratory proof-of-concept shows a new approach to...

Articles : Electronics & Computers
Neural Network Chip Can Perform Powerful Artificial-Intelligence Tasks

In recent years, some of the most exciting advances in artificial intelligence have come courtesy of convolutional neural networks, large virtual networks of simple information-processing units, which are loosely modeled on the anatomy of the human brain. Neural networks are...

Articles : Electronics & Computers
Iron Studded BNNTs Could Replace Semiconductors in Wearable Tech

The road to more versatile wearable technology is dotted with iron. Specifically, quantum dots of iron arranged on boron nitride nanotubes (BNNTs). The new material is the subject of a study conducted by Yoke Khin Yap, a professor of physics at Michigan Technological University....

Articles : Electronics & Computers
Stable "Superoxide" Opens the Door to a New Class of Batteries

While lithium-ion batteries have transformed our everyday lives, researchers are currently trying to find new chemistries that could offer even better energy possibilities. One of these chemistries, lithium-air, could promise greater energy density but has certain drawbacks as well....

Products : Electronics & Computers
Device-Level Software Platform

The new Wubby (Palo Alto, CA) platform simplifies the development of IoT and Smart Home devices by providing a programming environment that supports Python code execution in the microcontroller of the device. At the core of the Wubby (pronounced Wha-bee) platform is the Wubby VM, accompanied by Wubby IDE, a...

Products : Electronics & Computers
Board Mount AC-DC Power Supplies

TDK Corporation (National City, CA) has announced the introduction of the TDK-Lambda KWS-A board mount AC-DC power supplies. Capable of starting up at -40°C, the convection cooled units will operate in ambient temperatures of up to 85oC and are rated for full load over a -10 to 45/55°C range (model dependent)....

Products : Electronics & Computers
Compact Broadband Amplifiers

Rohde & Schwarz (Munich, Germany) has expanded its R&S BBA150 broadband amplifier family with the D series to cover the frequency range from 690 MHz to 3.2 GHz and power levels up to 800 W. Both frequency bands, from 1.2 GHz to 1.4 GHz and 2.7 GHz to 3.2 GHz, as are necessary for automotive radar pulse tests...

Products : Electronics & Computers
PC/104 Single Board Computers

Sundance Multiprocessor Technology Ltd. (Chesham, UK) announced that it has integrated Xilinx’s new SDSoC development environment on to its EMC2-Z7030 single board computer (SBC). Sundance’s EMC2 range is a family of industrial-grade and deployment-ready SBC’s that feature a Xilinx Zynq SoC with integrated...

Question of the Week
Will driverless cars increase road reliance?

This week's Question: Autonomous vehicles have been touted as a way to combat roadway accidents and reduce energy expenditure and greenhouse gas emissions. A new study from University of Leeds, University of Washington, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, however, claims that the actual impact may be...

News : Test & Measurement
Researchers Charge Up ‘Water Batteries’

Researchers from TU Graz and the Wetsus research center in The Netherlands have produced electrically charged water by means of a floating water bridge. The electric charge of the "water battery" can be stored for a short time.

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Autonomous Flight Termination System Reference Design Hardware

The current range ground-based infrastructure is extremely costly to operate and maintain. NASA has developed an Autonomous Flight Termination System (AFTS) that is an independent, self-contained subsystem mounted onboard a launch vehicle. The AFTS reference system eliminates the...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
RoboSimian: Software Algorithms for a Mobile Manipulation Quadruped Robot

RoboSimian, a statically stable quadrupedal robot capable of both dexterous manipulation and versatile mobility in difficult terrain, was built to compete in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Robotics Challenge, a competitive effort to develop hardware...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Robot Task Commander with Extensible Programming Environment

As robotic systems are expected to perform complex tasks, system developers require tools for application programming that are more advanced than the current state of the art. Robot application programs need to allow the system to respond to different, and possibly unforeseen,...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Multi-Spacecraft Autonomous Positioning System/Network-Based Navigation

Current deep spacecraft rely heavily on ground-based navigation and tracking for state measurement. The requirement for long ground navigation passes, coupled with analysis support, produces a large latency for updating a vehicle’s state. As the current infrastructure...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Heading Versus Tilt Chart for Assessing HGA Occlusion and Flop Risk in MSL Operations

The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) high-gain antenna (HGA) sits low on the deck, leaving the sky occluded in many directions by other parts of the rover. Each drive must end with the rover at a heading where the Earth will be unoccluded during the next HGA...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Rapid Forest Triage by Sub-Canopy Micro Air Vehicles

Today, tree distribution maps can only be generated manually in a very time-consuming process, and real-time microclimate mapping of a large 3D volume under tree canopy is not possible. A prototype small quadrotor unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) system was developed that is able to maneuver in...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Insertable, Miniature, In-Vivo Surgical Robot with Embedded Control

This innovation is a miniature, in-vivo surgical robot that is able to be inserted into the peritoneal cavity under insufflation. It is designed to perform Laparoendoscopic Single-Site Surgery (LESS). This robotic device is capable of direct visualization of the surgical...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
CMOS-Compatible Ohmic Contact RF MEMS Switch

Radio frequency (RF) microelectromechanical system (MEMS) switches have advantages over their solid-state counterparts. However, ohmic contact MEMS devices face several significant limitations, preventing entry into the mass market. These limitations are cost, reliability, packaging, and...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Miller-Jogging for Synthesizer Lock Algorithm Extension

The University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) has developed a wide range of CMOS (complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor) phase lock loop (PLL) chips with self-healing/self-calibration capabilities, allowing them to adapt, on the fly, to changes in temperature and other environment...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Deployable Antenna Circuit Board Material Design and Fabrication Process

The Integrated Solar Array and Reflectarray (ISARA) antenna requires a rugged circuit board material that will meet the following requirements: (1) remains sufficiently flat over the required operating temperature range with solar cells mounted, and under full solar...

Briefs : Communications
Mini-Stamp as a Micro-Display for At-a-Glance Subsystem Information for DSN Links

Operators of the Deep Space Network (DSN) attend to numerous tasks with the overall goal of providing continuous support for the world’s deep space missions. This high-stakes operations environment requires operators to understand the state of the DSN and predict...

Briefs : Communications
Command and Data Handling for the Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission

The Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission is the fourth mission of the Solar Terrestrial Probes (STP) program. The MMS mission, consisting of four identically instrumented spacecraft, will use Earth’s magnetosphere as a laboratory to study magnetic reconnection, a...

Briefs : Communications
Ka-Band Parabolic Deployable Antenna (KaPDA)

CubeSats provide the ability to conduct relatively inexpensive space missions. Over the past several years, technology and launch opportunities for CubeSats have exploded, enabling a wide variety of missions. However, as instruments become more complex and CubeSats travel deeper into space, data...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Pyrotechnically Actuated Gas Generator Using Aqueous Methanol

The largest supersonic parachute ever developed is one of the test articles on the Supersonic Flight Dynamics Test (SFDT) vehicle of the Low Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) project. The typical method for deploying a supersonic parachute from an entry vehicle, by firing it from...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Deployable Perimeter Truss with Blade Reel Deployment Mechanism

Solar sail technology depends heavily on the total surface area of the sail. In other words, minimizing mass and volume of its support structure is the main objective, particularly when it comes to launch configuration, i.e. mass, volume constraints, etc. There is a need to develop...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Cantera Integration with T-MATS

The Toolbox for the Modeling and Analysis of Thermodynamic Systems (TMATS) software package is a library of building blocks that can be assembled to represent any thermodynamic system in the Simulink® (MathWorks, Inc.) environment. These elements, along with a Newton Raphson solver (also provided as part of the...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Rocket Sled Parachute Design Verification

Historically, parachutes have been load-tested by various methods including release from an aircraft, deploying in a wind tunnel, dragging through water, and shooting out of an air cannon. Each type of testing has its own advantages and drawbacks. Due to the loading mechanics particular to parachutes...

Briefs : Propulsion
Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes Integration for Shock Noise (RISN)

Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) Integration for Shock- Noise (RISN) is a computer program that evaluates acoustic analogies to predict jet noise. Jet noise is due to turbulence from the chaotic flow within the exhaust of a rocket or air-breathing jet engine. The source of...

Briefs : Propulsion
Regeneratively Cooled Porous Media Jacket

A non-toxic nitrous oxide fuel blend (NOFB) monopropellant with a high adiabatic flame temperature reaching and probably exceeding 3,450 K and a very high thermal decomposition limit (>390 °C) is under development. To design an optimal rocket engine that can handle the high adiabatic temperature...

Briefs : Propulsion
Multi-Pulse Motor (MPM) Designed for Use with Electric Solid Propellants

The multi-pulse motor is a solid-propellant rocket motor that is able to produce a number of pulses for various thrust levels (5 to 30 pulses and thrusts between 0.25 and 1.5 N, depending on electric power delivery system) and can be turned on and off through the...

Briefs : Propulsion
Adaptive Augmenting Control

Adaptive augmenting control (AAC) is a forward gain, multiplicative adaptive algorithm for launch vehicle flight control that meets three summary-level design objectives: Do no harm — return to baseline control design when not needed; respond to errors in the ability of the vehicle to track commands to increase...

Briefs : Aerospace
Daily Mesoscale Sea Surface Salinity from Evaporation and Precipitation

Quantification of salinity is hampered by the lack of time and space resolution of existing measurements and models. At present, skin salinity measurements are available every few days with limited spatial resolution. Daily skin salinity products are full of gaps, which some...

Briefs : Green Design & Manufacturing
Software for Inferring the Aerosol Water and Soot Fractions from Remote Sensing Measurements

Aerosol water content and soot concentrations are important components of aerosol forcing. Aerosols contain varying amounts of water depending upon their aerosol hygroscopicity, and anthropogenic aerosols are among the most hygroscopic aerosols; hence,...

Briefs : Aerospace
Algae Photobioreactor Using Floating Enclosures With Semi-Permeable Membranes

Various species of algae are known to produce valuable products ranging from food to fertilizer to biofuels. Methods have been developed for producing biofuels by processing algae and other micro-organisms that grow in aquatic environments, but the largescale...

Briefs : Green Design & Manufacturing
Parallelization of Snowflake Growth Simulation

Gravner and Griffeath have developed a serial numerical model that simulates the growth of snowflakes in three dimensions under the assumptions of 24-fold symmetry. To allow for much larger and asymmetric snowflakes as well as to reduce simulation time, their model was re-implemented using...

Briefs : Green Design & Manufacturing
Soil Remediation with Plant-Fungal Combinations

This work applies to remediation and restoration of soil contaminated by fuel, polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) wastes, etc. While there can be a beneficial effect of microbial communities, individual plant-fungus combinations can vary in their efficacy in removing pollutants from the environment....

Briefs : Information Technology
Rigorous Antenna Noise Temperature Calculation Method for International Space Station Visiting Spacecraft

The temperature of the orbiting space station’s Sun-facing side could be up to 250 °F (≈120 °C) and will be a significant antenna noise temperature contributor for visiting spacecraft communication and tracking systems during...

Briefs : Software
Recurring Anomaly Detection System (ReADS)

NASA Engineering & Safety Center (NESC) subject matter experts analyze records in various International Space Station and shuttle databases to identify recurring anomalies. The key problems these experts face in analyzing such database records are:

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Method for Automatic Optimization of Yaw Maneuvers for Orbiting Space Vehicles

A new method for optimizing yaw attitude maneuvers on the International Space Station (ISS) was developed. Docking and undocking operations often require 180° yaw rotations, which are the most common large maneuvers on the ISS. When optimized, some large maneuvers,...

Briefs : Software
Architecture Framework for Fault Management Assessment and Design

Modern spacecraft, aircraft, and surface vehicles support complex science missions in harsh environments. These spacecraft and vehicles provide diverse functionality that is deployed on increasingly complex and heterogeneous hardware and mechanical systems, with stringent...

Briefs : Software
Spacecraft Parameter Database Tool

The GOES-R Program has requirements to maintain knowledge of the GOES-R satellite onboard memory contents, including managing general satellite operations tables; processor memory dumps for memory verification; creating command loads, memory (table) loads, and command sequences to operate the satellite;...

Briefs : Software
Eliminating the Need for Payload-Specific Coupled Loads Analyses Without Mission Risk

Amore efficient structural verification process for small satellites has been demonstrated. This new process eliminates the need for payload-specific coupled loads analysis (CLA) and simplifies structural testing while not increasing mission risk. The process...

Briefs : Information Technology
Moon Tours Android

This Android app provides a native interface to the Lunar Mapping and Modeling Portal’s (LMMP) lunar data archive and analysis tools. It complements the iOS app previously released, incorporating a very similar feature set. Both apps contain a subset of the functionality available in the desktop/Web version. Compared to the...

Briefs : Green Design & Manufacturing
Continental-Scale Mapping of Adélie Penguin Colonies from Landsat Imagery

The Adélie penguin has a circum-Antarctic distribution and is widely considered a useful indicator of status and change in the Antarctic and Southern Ocean ecosystems. Breeding distribution of the Adélie penguin was surveyed with Landsat-7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Photogrammetric-Based Pose Initialization and Propagation for Inertial Navigation Systems

The purpose of the Pose Initialization and Propagation (PIP) system is to provide an absolute navigational solution (position, velocity, and attitude) to a moving vehicle without using GPS. This was developed as a navigation system for rocket launches in a...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Multi-Channel Laser Absorption Spectrometer for Combustion Product Monitoring

Tunable laser absorption spectrometer (TLAS) sensors enable gas monitoring with high accuracy and gas specificity, and can be optimized for continuous, maintenance-free operation on long-duration manned spacecraft missions. This innovation is a portable, five-channel...

Briefs : Imaging
Disturbance-Free, High-Resolution Imaging from Space

All imaging systems from space are affected by disturbances originating in the spacecraft in the form of mechanical noise from thruster and reaction/momentum wheels, and sensor noise. A drag-free system is truly unaffected by any disturbances, as it is in pure freefall. Hence, leveraging...

Briefs : Imaging
Hollow-Core Fiber Lamp for Mercury Ion Clocks and Micro-Plasma Studies

The mercury linear ion trap frequency standard (LITS) at JPL has been demonstrated to have multiple potential applications in NASA deep space missions. An increase of the deep ultraviolet (DUV)/vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) light output from the plasma discharge lamp light source...

Briefs : Software
3D Imaging Technology and System

All current cameras and imaging systems have the same classical problem in practical applications. To complete the observation task, a large amount of data is captured, processed, and transmitted; then most of the data is discarded because it is not essential for the given observation task. The problem comes from...

Briefs : Imaging
Virtual Windows to Supplement Conventional Spacecraft Windows

Legacy NASA spacecraft windows suffer from specialized costs and operational constraints associated with embedding optically transparent apertures within structures that are designed to maximize strength, safety, and environmental integrity. A new approach to the legacy window...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
SCaN Optical Link Assessment Tool Version 2

In response to the requirements of the Space-Based Relay Study (SBRS) undertaken by NASA in 2013, as well as the Integrated Radio and Optical Communications (iROC) project being conducted by NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) beginning in 2012, a calculation procedure was required to rapidly assess the...

Briefs : Software
Optical Correlation Receiver

Precise distance, time, and pulse width measurements are required for many areas of science and engineering. Time-of-flight methods are often used to measure remote distances. Optical signals are attractive because the small wavelength allows small transmit and receive telescopes. Short pulsed lasers are attractive...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Exploration Visualization Environment

The Exploration Visualization Environment (EVE) is a simulation, visualization, and analysis system designed to integrate engineering data with a virtual environment in support of the design and planning of space-based missions. Through the integration of time-dependent data with detailed graphical models...

Briefs : Medical
Ultrasound Competence Test Metrics

Diagnostic medical ultrasound requires psychomotor skill in image acquisition and cognitive skill in image interpretation. There is a lack of an objective, quantitative, and standardized method to assess psychomotor skill. In traditional radiology and cardiology training programs, physicians are certified based...

Articles : Aerospace
Products of Tomorrow: March 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...

Application Briefs : Aerospace
Simulation Software is Key to Orion’s Heat-Shield Success
Tecplot 360 EX data visualization and analysis software
Tecplot, Inc.
Bellevue, WA

NASA chose Tecplot 360 EX for use in the design of the heat shield for the Orion spacecraft. Orion’s heat shield, a protective blanket built...

Application Briefs : Aerospace
Cryogenic Seal for Space Launch System Handles Extreme Pressure Conditions
OmniSeal® RACO™ Spring-Energized Seals
Saint-Gobain Seals
Garden Grove, CA

Saint-Gobain Seals produced a cryogenic seal measuring more than six feet wide for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS)...

Articles : Aerospace
NASA-Developed Platform Integrates Sensors with Smartphones

Carbon-nanotube-based gas detectors paved the way for interchangeable smartphone-savvy sensors.

In 2007, when the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a call for a sensor that could equip a smartphone with the ability to detect dangerous gases and chemicals, NASA Ames...

Articles : Photonics/Optics
Defining and Measuring “LOOSE TIGHT BUFFER” in Fiber Optic Cables

As the optical fiber and cable industry unfolded, several terms were coined to describe specific properties that were new and different from conventional wire processing. One of those that stayed around was the term “Loose Tight Buffer.”

Jim Heidmann, Project Manager for NASA’s Advanced Air Transport Technology Project, and Jason Welstead, Aerospace Engineer

Jim Heidmann of Glenn Research Center (Cleveland, OH) and Jason Welstead of Langley Research Center (Hampton, VA) have led NASA efforts to develop all-electric and hybrid-electric designs for large passenger aircraft....

Articles : Aerospace
Tech Briefs 40th Anniversary: Executive Perspectives

We asked executives to offer perspectives on milestones in their industry or technology area that occurred during the past 40 years. Did their industry exist 40 years ago, and if not, what brought about its creation? Maybe it experienced its greatest growth during that time. And what are their...

Articles : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Executive Perspectives: Data Acquisition & Sensing
President and CEO
Dewetron, Inc.
Wakefield, RI

In 40 years, data acquisition products have evolved from paper-based chart recorders and analog tape machines, to computer-based instruments. As a result, the relatively slow pace...

Articles : Software
Executive Perspectives: Software
President and CEO
MSC Software Corporation
Newport Beach, CA

The foundation stones of CAE were laid in the 1960s during the race for space. Because of the obvious defense implications, this was a national imperative. It was a time of virtually...

Articles : Aerospace
Executive Perspectives: Software
President and CEO
Burlington, MA

With the birth some 50 years ago of computers based on integrated circuits and semiconductors, engineers had a tool that could potentially produce numerical solutions to differential equations based on...

Articles : Information Technology
Executive Perspectives: Internet of Things
Senior Vice President, Supplier
Management and Business Development
Avnet Electronics Marketing Americas
Phoenix, AZ

In a 1926 interview, inventor Nikola Tesla stated: “When wireless [technology] is perfectly applied, the whole Earth...

Articles : Test & Measurement
Executive Perspectives: Test & Measurement
President, CEO, and Co-Founder
National Instruments
Austin, TX

The world of technology has moved to software — it started in the PC industry, but quickly manifested in the smartphone industry with operating systems like iOS and Android. We...

Articles : Robotics, Automation & Control
Executive Perspectives: Robotics
Senior Director of Technology Innovation
Yaskawa America, Motoman Robotics Division
Miamisburg, OH

Programmable machines are increasingly joining the ranks of the workforce. Ironically, these machines have been around for 40 years. I call them...

Articles : Aerospace
Executive Perspectives: Software
Founder and Chairman of the Board
Cambridge, MA

Over the past four decades, I’ve watched CAD grow to become a vital part of the way virtually all products are designed and manufactured. In 1981, when I was a student at MIT’s CAD research...

Articles : Robotics, Automation & Control
Executive Perspectives: Robotics
Chief Product and Marketing Officer
Rethink Robotics
Boston, MA

In 1961, Unimate — the first large-scale industrial robot — transformed the assembly lines at General Motors. Reading the headlines today, it seems we’re on the precipice of a...

Articles : Test & Measurement
Executive Perspectives: Test & Measurement
Chief Technology Officer
Keysight Technologies, Inc.
Santa Rosa, CA

To travel back 40 years in test and measurement, I reached for the paper equivalent of Doc Brown’s DeLorean: the 1976 Hewlett-Packard Electronic Instruments and Systems...

Articles : Photonics/Optics
Advanced Infrared Camera Maps Methane "Hot Spots"

Methane often appears in the atmosphere at an irregular rate, puzzling researchers challenged with the task of tracking the gas’s sources in the landscape. An advanced infrared camera developed by Linköping University and Stockholm University researchers, in collaboration with the infrared...

Application Briefs : Imaging
Cambridge Researchers Take Computer Vision for Test Drive

Google's driverless car, like many autonomous vehicles in development, is packed with sensors, radars, lasers, and cameras. To lighten the load of sensing devices in self-driving autos, researchers at Cambridge University have hit the streets with a system that uses only computer...

Application Briefs : Imaging
Using Optical Imaging to Combat Counterfeit Components

Counterfeit parts and materials pose a serious threat to the United States defense supply chain. The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2012 (Section 818) laid out strict guidelines for DoD prime contractors for detection and avoidance of counterfeit electronic parts1....

Products : Imaging
Miniature Single-Axis Mirror Positioning System

New Scale Technologies, Inc. (Victor, NY) has announced a new developer’s kit in its M3 micro-mechatronic product line. The DK-M3-RS-U-1M-20 is a complete piezoelectric mirror positioning system with a familiar galvo-scanner form factor, but a drastically smaller size – only 12 mm diameter...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Medical-Grade Video Cameras

The IK-HD5UM HD video camera from Toshiba Imaging Systems Division (Irvine, CA) meets IEC 60601-1 medical design standards for surgical imaging applications. The 3- CMOS high-definition camera has a 1920 × 1080 pixel format, with both DVI-D and USB 3.0 outputs. Other features include C-mount lens mount, remote...

Products : Imaging
Radiation Hard Lens for Color Sensors

The new Model 346 non-browning lens from Resolve Optics Ltd. (Chesham, UK) has been designed to operate with color sensors in areas subject to radiation. For any camera lens to survive even quite low levels of radiation, without degradation, they should be produced from non-browning ceriumdoped glass....

Products : Imaging
High-Speed Infrared Cameras

FLIR Systems (Wilsonville, OR) has added the FLIR RS8300 to its RS-Series of long-range infrared camera systems. The new FLIR RS8300 couples a proprietary highspeed HD MWIR detector with a 10x continuous zoom lens in a sealed, ruggedized enclosure. The FLIR RS8300 delivers infrared imagery at up to 200 megapixels per...

Products : Photonics/Optics
OTDR Modules

Anritsu Company (Richardson, TX) has introduced OTDR modules for its Network Master™ Pro MT1000A all-in-one transport tester. The new OTDR modules can operate standalone or be simultaneously installed with available multi-rate transport modules to create a rugged, handheld solution that field technicians can use to ensure the...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Smart Cameras

Cognex Corporation (Natick, MA) has introduced In-Sight® Micro 8000 series smart cameras. The Power over Ethernet In-Sight Micro 8000 series measures 31 × 31 × 63 mm. The minimizing of cabling supports integration into tight spaces on robots and hard-to-reach machinery. PatMax RedLine™ pattern-matching capabilities supplement...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Frame Grabbers

Using a half-size PCIe mini slot, the PIXCI® EB1miniH frame grabber from EPIX (Buffalo Grove, IL) can be mounted in an embedded computer chassis. Flexible cables run from the Base Camera Link connector. XCLIB and PXIPL developer libraries provide services for OEM imaging applications. The XCAP program’s Capture & Adjust...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Back-Illuminated CCD Camera

Andor Technology (Belfast, Northern Ireland), an Oxford Instruments company, has launched the new, enhanced iKon-M 912 back-illuminated CCD camera, offering high dynamic range and low noise performance. The 512 × 512 CCD array with 24 megapixels has been optimized for extremely high well depth and maximum photon...

Products : Imaging
LN2-Cooled InGaAs Camera

Princeton Instruments (Trenton, NJ) has introduced the NIRvana:640LN, a high-performance scientific-grade camera for near-infrared and short-wavelength infrared (NIR/SWIR) applications. This new addition to the NIRvana® line features a specially designed InGaAs focal plane array (FPA) that has extremely low readout and...

Products : Imaging
High-Speed Cameras

Basler (Ahrensburg, Germany/Exton, PA) offers two new ace model cameras. Equipped with ON Semiconductor’s PYTHON sensors and Sony’s IMX174 and IMX249 devices, the twelve cameras provide resolutions from VGA to 1.3 megapixels, and frame rates of up to 750 fps. The ace models have a resolution of 2.3 megapixels and frame...

Products : Imaging
Laser Diode Modules

LASOS (Jena, Germany) has released its latest generation of laser diode modules. Product options include both free-space and singlemode fiber beam delivery, direct modulation to 300 MHz and wavelengths from 375 to 830 nm at power levels up to 250 mW. Units can be specified with Spectral Width of < 1 nm, enhanced M2 value...

Products : Photonics/Optics
SWIR Cameras

SWIR Cameras Princeton Infrared Technologies, Inc. (PIRT) (Monmouth Junction, NJ) has released the 1280SCICAM shortwave infrared (SWIR) camera. The lattice- matched indium gallium arsenide (InGaAs) sensor features 1280 × 1024 resolution at frame rates greater than 95 frames per second. The camera operates in the visible to...

Products : Imaging
Bandpass Filters

Omega Optical’s (Brattleboro, VT) newly-launched RapidBand stock program provides fast delivery for hundreds of bandpass filter combinations in a standard 25 mm diameter ring that is only 3.5 mm thick. RapidBand filters are constructed by combining longpass and shortpass edges produced at 10 nm increments from 400 nm to 700...

Products : Photonics/Optics
System-on-Chip (SoC)

Ambarella (Santa Clara, CA) has announced the H2 and H12 camera System-on-Chips (SoCs) for sports and flying cameras. H2 offers 4K Ultra HD H.265/HEVC video at 60 frames per second and 4K AVC video at 120 frames per second. The H2’s 10-bit High Dynamic Range (HDR) video processing handles high-contrast scenes. H12 targets...

Products : Imaging
GigE Cameras

Point Grey Research (Richmond, BC, Canada) has added a new 1.3 megapixel Sharp CCD model to its Blackfly family of GigE Vision™ cameras. The Blackfly BFLY-PGE-13H2 cameras, based on the Sharp RJ33J4CA3DE (mono) and RJ33J3CA3DE (color) 1/3" global shutter CCD sensors, stream 1288 × 964 resolution images at 30 fps. The Blackfly...

Products : Photonics/Optics
USB 3.0 Microscope Cameras

ZEISS (Oberkochen, Germany) offers two new digital microscope cameras: ZEISS Axiocam 702 mono and ZEISS Axiocam 512 color. The ZEISS Axiocam 702 mono’s 1/1.2" (13.3-mm diagonal) sensor has a resolution of 2.3 megapixels. ZEISS Axiocam 512 color, featuring a 12-megapixel CCD sensor, acquires large sample areas in one...

Products : Imaging
Industrial Cameras

New LX VisualApplets cameras from Baumer Group (Frauenfeld, Switzerland/Southington, CT) feature integrated, application-specific image preprocessing directly in the camera’s FPGA. FPGA programming is done with VisualApplets, the graphical development environment by Silicon Software. The new LX VisualApplets cameras...

Products : Imaging
Single Mode Fiber Coupler

A new opto-mechanical tool for coupling light into single-mode fiber optics from Siskiyou Corporation (Grants Pass, OR) offers a combination of high precision adjustment in a very compact package. Specifically, Siskiyou single-mode fiber couplers incorporate optics for focusing laser light into a FC connectorized...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Laser Power Detector

greenTEG (Zurich, Switzerland) has further miniaturized its laser power sensing technology for OEM applications. The gRAY B0.5-SC measures up to 500 mW on a surface of only 2x2 mm2. The detector is available as bare die component or mounted on a PCB for OEM system integration. With its small dimensions, the...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Laser Micro-Machining Heads

Quantum Composers (Bozeman, MT) announced the addition of a full line of complete laser micromachining heads for semiconductor applications. These systems will feature an integrated DPSS Jewel ND:Yag laser, a uni-body all-in-one form factor, and a robust mechanical and optical design for manufacturing and repair...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Area-Scan Cameras

Teledyne DALSA (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada) has introduced nine new Genie Nano area cameras. Built around ON Semiconductor’s Python CMOS image sensors, the cameras include two inputs, two opto-coupled outputs, and a temperature range of -20 to 60°C. The 44 × 29 × 21 mm devices are available in three resolutions: 640 × 480...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Voice Coil Actuator

Voice Coil Actuator BEI Kimco (Vista, CA) has introduced a family of linear unhoused Voice Coil Actuators (VCAs) with aperture sizes of 15 mm, 20 mm, and 24.9 mm. The through-hole design allows an OEM assembly to pass directly through the middle of the actuator, resulting in reduced weight, fewer parts, and a more compact...

Products : Imaging
XUV Spectrometer

McPherson’s (Chelmsford, MA) grazing incidence wavelength dispersive optical spectrometer allows rapid analysis of spectral light in the ~1 to 300 nm wavelength region (4 to 1200 eV). Beside high-harmonic laser generation experiments, the Model 248/310 is also useful for measuring ion- or discharge light sources and...

Products : Imaging
CCD Color Line Scan Camera

Chromasens (Constance, Germany) has announced the allPIXA™ pro color line scan CCD camera for high-speed machine vision applications. The allPIXA pro, with line rates up to 92 kHz in standard models and up to 156 kHz in special OEM configurations, allows for a maximum 300% increase in speed compared to conventional...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Spectrum Analyzer

Siglent Technologies (Solon, OH) has introduced a new line of digital spectrum analyzers. The SSA3000X Series includes two new models with frequency ranges from 9 kHz to 2.1 GHz and 9 kHz to 3.2 GHz. These new spectrum analyzers incorporate all-digital Intermediate Frequency (IF) technology for higher measurement accuracy and...

Products : Photonics/Optics
3D AOI Inspection System

Saki Corporation (San Jose, CA) has debuted its 3rd-generation 3D automated optical inspection (AOI) line that accommodates dual lanes, XXL sizes, and increases throughput by 15%. Saki’s new BF- 3Di-D (dual lane) and BF-3Di-Z (extra-large platform) 3D AOI equipment provides measurements of components with a height...

Products : Aerospace
Product of the Month: March 2016

Paul N. Gardner Co., Pompano Beach, FL, announced the SmarTest coating thickness measurement system that consists of an app and a wireless sensor for measuring coating thickness with the help of a smartphone or tablet. The system uses Sensor-integrated Digital Signal Processing (SIDSP®) sensors combined with...

Products : Software
Product Lifecycle Management

Teamcenter® 11 product lifecycle management (PLM) software from Siemens PLM Software, Plano, TX, features enhanced functionality of its Active Workspace interface, new integration tools, and the ability to manage software design processes as an integral part of the overall product lifecycle. The software seamlessly...

Products : Aerospace
Data Analysis and Visualization

Tecplot, Bellevue, WA, offers Tecplot 360 EX 2016 Release 1 data visualization and analysis software that features better support for polyhedral data, improved animation methods, and a new macro debugger. Users can visualize and analyze larger data sets, and several animation methods have been reintroduced for...

Products : Software
3D Modeling

ANSYS, Pittsburgh, PA, has introduced ANSYS SpaceClaim 2016 3D modeling software that enables users to create, edit, and repair geometry regardless of the underlying technology or where the original model came from. The release features the Skin Surface Tool that allows reverse engineering of highly organic shapes. The new Shrinkwrap...

Electric Machine Design

CD-adapco, Melville, NY, released SPEED™ v10.06 electric machine design software that enables users to leverage HEEDS® MDO process automation and optimization software from CD-adapco subsidiary Red Cedar Technology. SPEED v10.06 provides users with a library that links SPEED and HEEDS MDO for seamless electric machine...

Products : Aerospace
Data Acquisition Software

HBM, Marlborough, MA, has released Version 6.60 of its Perception software for high-speed data acquisition applications. The software is designed for processing large amounts of data — 100 GB within 10 seconds. The software’s “eDrive” application lets users make measurements on electric inverters and drive...

Products : Aerospace
Vehicle Communication Simulation

With Release 2015-B, dSPACE, Wixom, MI, has launched the V2X Solution through a dedicated blockset directly within the Simulink® environment. The V2X solution gives users access to Vehicle-to-X (V2X) WLAN ad-hoc communication during model-in-the-loop (MIL), software- in-the-loop (SIL), and hardware- in-the-loop...

Products : Aerospace
Handheld VOC Meter

The OMEGA® HHAQ-107 meter from Omega Engineering, Stamford, CT, measures mixed gas volatile organic compound (VOC) levels. It can detect ammonia, toluene, ethanol, hydrogen sulfide, and cigarette smoke in indoor air. Features include 32,000 data logging points, free data logging software, and an adjustable...

Products : Aerospace
Custom Battery Packs

Custom-engineered large-format battery packs for robotics and mobility product OEMs are available from Aved Electronics, North Billerica, MA. The battery packs provide clean voltage with a typical <10% deviation, 1,000+ cycles, high pulse up to 100 A, and capacities from 24 V to 200 V and up to 4 kW. The battery chemistry...

Products : Aerospace
Low-Noise Amplifier

The SKY67159-396LF single-stage, GaAs pHEMT, ultra-broadband low-noise amplifier from Skyworks Solutions, Woburn, MA, is designed for high-performance cellular infrastructure, small cells, tower-mounted amplifiers, remote radio units, repeaters, base stations, and military LNA applications. Ondie active bias design ensures...

Products : Aerospace
Airflow Scanner

Advanced Thermal Solutions, Norwood, MA, introduced the ATVS- 2020 scanner that measures airflow temperature and velocity inside electronic devices. The scanner accommodates up to 32 sensors for multi-point field mapping of test domains, including housings and PCB surfaces. The scanner connects to any PC for operation, and data...

Products : Aerospace
Coupling and Spring Prototypes

Helical Products Co., Santa Maria, CA, announced a new prototype cell for providing new prototype coupling, u-joint, and machined spring designs for test and evaluation. Customers from virtually any industry can use the prototype cell to develop their own design or work with a Helical applications engineer to...


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