April 2014

News : Sensors/Data Acquisition
New Biosensor Will Guard Water Supplies From Toxic Threats

Supported by a $953,958 grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), researchers at the University of California San Diego will develop a sophisticated new biosensor that can protect the nation's water supplies from a wide range of toxins, including heavy metals and...

News : Electronics & Computers
Scientists Create Effective Thermal Camouflage And Invisibility Device

Engineers and scientists have been trying to discover the ultimate “cloaking” device, not just to make things disappear magically, but for its applications in defense technology. A team from the National University of Singapore (NUS) Department of Electrical &...

News : Defense
Improved Howitzer Spindle Coating Will Improve Performance, Save Money

The efforts of U.S. Army engineers to implement an improved coating for howitzer breech spindles will provide several benefits, including easing the logistical burden on soldiers, reducing hazardous waste, and saving millions of dollars.

Rust, wear and corrosion...

News : Nanotechnology
Scientist Creates Three-Atom-Wide Nanowire

Junhao Lin, a Vanderbilt University Ph.D. student and visiting scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), has found a way to use a finely focused beam of electrons to create some of the smallest wires ever made. The flexible metallic wires are only three atoms wide: One thousandth the width of...

Question of the Week
Will ‘Contact-Lens Computing’ Become Mainstream Within Five Years?

A recent report from Skyscanner, a UK-based metasearch site, predicts that ”Wearable technology will evolve from the recently launched Google Glass to a mobile device so small that it will fit onto a contact lens and can provide immediate translations, breaking down...

News : Electronics & Computers
Big Ideas for Small Spaces

Over 24 hours from April 4 to 5, six top French design studios conceived and presented new product concepts for urban environments during the Small Spaces Design Hackathon, presented by Cut&Paste in partnership...

News : Automotive
Simulations Predict Impact of 1,000-MPH Supersonic Car

In 2015, the Bloodhound SSC (Supersonic Car) will make high-speed test runs of up to 800 mph, with the full 1,000-mph attempt scheduled for 2016. Simulations have looked at how the car will cope with the supersonic rolling ground, rotating wheels, and resulting shock waves. Computational...

News : Test & Measurement
Optical Inspection System Finds Defects in Ultra-High-Speed Manufacturing

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Physical Measurement Techniques IPM in Germany have developed an optical inspection system called WIRE-AOI that can detect defects in strip products such as pipes, rails, and wires in real time. The system detects micro-defects...

News : Robotics, Automation & Control
Robonaut 2 Gets its Space Legs

Thanks to a successful launch of the SpaceX-3 flight of the Falcon 9/Dragon capsule on Friday, April 18, the lower limbs for Robonaut 2 (R2) are aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Safely tucked inside the Dragon resupply vehicle, R2’s legs are to be attached by a station crew member to Robonaut’s...

News : Software
NASA Plane Simulates Rocket Maneuvers for New Launch System

NASA engineers used an F/A-18 aircraft to simulate a rocket in its early flight phase to test adaptive software for NASA's Space Launch System (SLS), the largest, most powerful launch vehicle for deep space missions.

News : Aerospace
Bird-Inspired Unmanned Aircraft Show Higher Efficiency and Endurance

RMIT University researchers in Melbourne, Australia, are developing bio-inspired unmanned aircraft capable of soaring like birds, boosting energy efficiency and endurance.

In collaboration with Australia's Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO), the research...

News : Materials
Aircraft Engine Coating Could Triple Service Life and Save Fuel

Researchers at University West in Sweden are using nanoparticles in the heat-insulating surface layer that protects aircraft engines from heat. In tests, this increased the service life of the coating by 300%. The hope is that motors with the new layers will be in production within...

News : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Pocket-Sized Anthrax Detector Aids Global Agriculture

A credit-card-sized anthrax detection cartridge developed at Sandia National Laboratories and recently licensed to a small business makes testing safer, easier, faster and cheaper.

Bacillus anthracis, the bacteria that causes anthrax, is commonly found in soils all over the world and can...

News : Materials
Versatile Adhesive Mimics Gecko Feet

A team of University of Massachusetts Amherst inventors created a new, more versatile version of their invention, Geckskin. The technology adheres strongly to a wider range of surfaces, yet releases easily, like a gecko’s feet.

“Imagine sticking your tablet on a wall to watch your favorite movie and...

Question of the Week
Will Jetpacks Take Flight?

The New Zealand-based Martin Aircraft Company has developed a commercially viable jetpack. The Martin Jetpack contains two cylinders with propulsion fans attached to a carbon-fiber frame. A strapped-in pilot uses two joysticks to control the wingless pack. The company aims to have the jetpack available for commercial...

News : Electronics & Computers
Nanomaterial Extends Lithium-Sulfur Battery Lifespan

A new nanomaterial could extend the lifespan of lithium-sulfur batteries, and therefore the driving range of electric vehicles.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory researchers added the powder to the battery's cathode to capture problematic polysulfides that usually cause lithium-sulfur...

News : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Engineers Develop 'Simple' Robotic Swarms

University of Sheffield engineers have developed a way of making hundreds — or even thousands — of tiny robots cluster to carry out tasks. The robots do not require memory or processing power.

Each robot uses just one sensor that indicates the presence of another nearby robot. Based on the...

Question of the Week
Will "Flying Cars" Become a Reality?

A Boston-based aerospace company Terrafugia announced last year that it began work on its TF-6, a four-seat hybrid electric car that can do vertical take-offs and landings. The vehicle has foldable wings, cruises at 100 miles per hour, fits inside a single-car garage, and drives at highway speeds. With the...

Products : Electronics & Computers
ESD Devices

TE Connectivity's Circuit Protection business unit (Menlo Park, CA) has introduced a new family of silicon ESD (SESD) devices. Exhibiting ±20kV and ±22kV air discharge ratings — which go well beyond the IEC's 8kV contact and 15kV air discharge standards — these devices help designers solve the pervasive protection challenge...

Products : Electronics & Computers
40G AdvancedTCA® Switch Blade

ADLINK Technology, Inc. (San Jose, CA) has introduced its new 40G AdvancedTCA(R) (ATCA) switch blade, the aTCA-3710, featuring a Broadcom BCM56846 10/40 GbE Fabric Interface Switch, Broadcom BCM56334 24-port GbE Base Interface Switch and Freescale QorIQ P2041 quad-core Local Management Processor. The aTCA-3710...

Products : Electronics & Computers
OpenVPX 40 Gigabit Switch Fabric Module

Mercury Systems, Inc. (Chelmsford, MA) recently announced the new Ensemble(R) SFM6104 Switch Fabric Module with enhanced InfiniBand® and 40 Gigabit Ethernet capability for embedded, state-of-the-art sensor chain compute solutions. Designed to work seamlessly with Mercury's advanced I/O, processing and...

Products : Electronics & Computers
CMOS DDR2 Synchronous DRAMs

Alliance Memory (San Carlos, CA) recently introduced a new line of high-speed CMOS double data rate 2 synchronous DRAMs (DDR2 SDRAM) with densities of 512 Mb (AS4C32M16D2) and 1 Gb (AS4C64M16D2, AS4C128M8D2) in 60-ball 8-mm by 10-mm by 1.2-mm and 84-ball 8-mm by 12.5-mm by 1.2-mm FBGA packages. The AS4C32M16D2 is...

News : Physical Sciences
Magnetically Stimulated Flow Patterns Could Solve Heat Transfer Problems

Sandia National Laboratories researchers Jim Martin and Kyle Solis have discovered a way to harness magnetic fields to create vigorous, organized fluid flows in particle suspensions. The magnetically stimulated flows offer an alternative when heat transfer is difficult...

News : Electronics & Computers
Silicon-Germanium Chip Sets New Speed Record

A research collaboration consisting of IHP-Innovations for High Performance Microelectronics in Germany and the Georgia Institute of Technology has demonstrated the world's fastest silicon-based device to date. The investigators operated a silicon-germanium (SiGe) transistor at 798 gigahertz (GHz)...

News : Materials
Switchable Material Absorbs and Stores Sun's Energy

A team at MIT and Harvard University has created a material that absorbs the sun’s heat and stores that energy in chemical form, ready to be released again on demand.

The technology provides an opportunity for the expansion of solar power into new realms, specifically applications where...

Question of the Week
In The Near Future, Will 3D Printers Be Used To Create Human Organs?

3D printers, an emerging technology, use computer-created digital models to produce a variety of objects, including toys, mechanical components, and even food. There is hope now, too, that 3D printers could someday create much-needed organs for transplants. Printing human...

Global farmers could get better decision-making help as refinements are made to North Alabama soil moisture modeling research being done by an atmospheric science doctoral student at The...

News : Test & Measurement
NASA Radar Demonstrates Ability to Predict Sinkholes

New analyses of NASA airborne radar data collected in 2012 reveal that radar detected indications of a huge sinkhole before it collapsed and forced evacuations in Louisiana that year. The findings suggest such radar data, if collected routinely from airborne systems or satellites, could at...

News : RF & Microwave Electronics
NASA Model Provides 3-D View of L.A. Earthquake

On March 28, residents of Greater Los Angeles experienced the largest earthquake to strike the region since 2008. The magnitude 5.1 quake was centered near La Habra in northwestern Orange County about 21 miles (33 kilometers) east-southeast of Los Angeles, and was widely felt throughout Southern...

News : Energy
Researchers Use Sun to Produce Solar-Energy Materials

In a recent advance in solar energy, researchers have discovered a way to tap the sun not only as a source of power, but also to directly produce solar energy materials.

This breakthrough by chemical engineers at Oregon State University could soon reduce the cost of solar energy, speed...

News : Green Design & Manufacturing
Transient Electronics Dissolve When Triggered

An Iowa State research team led by Reza Montazami is developing "transient materials" and "transient electronics" that can quickly and completely melt away when a trigger is activated. The development could mean that one day you might be able to send out a signal to destroy a lost credit card.


News : Communications
Wireless Device Senses Chemical Vapors

A research team at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) has developed a small electronic sensing device that can alert users wirelessly to the presence of chemical vapors in the atmosphere. The technology, which could be manufactured using familiar aerosol-jet printing techniques, is aimed at myriad...

News : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Mini Science Lab Detects Multiple Bio Agents

It can cost hundreds of dollars and days to scan biological materials for important biomarkers that signal diseases such as diabetes or cancer using industry standard equipment. Researchers face enormous time constraints and financial hurdles from having to run these analyses on a regular basis. A...

Articles : Motion Control
Designing a Multi-Segmented Robot for Hull Climbing

The Multi-segmented Magnetic Ro bot (MSMR) project addresses a capability gap in the intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance needs of the U.S. Navy visit, board, search, and seizure (VBSS); Navy SEALs; and Marine Force Reconnaissance teams. A segmented robotic platform with magnetic...

Application Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Embedded Servo Drive Boosts Speed of Packaging Lines

Pfankuch Machinery, based in Ahrensburg, Germany, is a leading manufacturer of friction feeder systems for inserting leaflets and products into sales packaging. An embedded smart servo drive from Metronix (part of the Apex Tool Group in Sparks, MD) has allowed Pfankuch to increase the speed of...

Products : Motion Control
Linear Motion Platform

The SIMO® Series linear motion platform from PBC Linear (Rockford, IL) offers low-profile rail heights for tight spaces, or a tall version for greater structural integrity. Each aluminum base rail is qualified with the SIMO (Simultaneous Integral Milling Operation) option for less bow and twist, and better...

Products : Motion Control
Bearings and Wear Rings

Graphite Metallizing Corp. (Yonkers, NY) offers self-lubricating, non-galling GRAPHALLOY® bearings and wear rings for pumping problems caused by low-viscosity, light hydrocarbon liquids such as Natural Gas Liquids (NGL), LNGs, and CO2. The bearings are used in horizontal and vertical pumps to eliminate...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Wireless Coupling Devices

Pepperl+Fuchs (Twinsburg, OH) has added flat-pack-style transmitter coupling devices to the WIS (short-range wireless inductive coupling system) product family. The new devices allow power and signal coupling to be transferred across an air gap of up to 20 mm. These wireless devices allow sensors to be connected to...

Products : Motion Control
Automated Laser Scanner

NVision (Coppell, TX) has introduced the RoboScanner, a lightweight, turnkey laser scanning system that offers fully automated scanning with 3D analysis for measuring components in a production environment. The scanner weighs 50 pounds and is touch-sensitive, eliminating the need for a safety cage required by large,...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Pneumatic Torque Wrenches

Snap-on Industrial (Kenosha, WI) offers pneumatic torque wrenches for applying torque to fasteners using a dual-speed gearbox and pneumatic technology that controls input air pressure. This design provides a rundown gear with speeds up to 100 RPM for fast rundown of fasteners, and a torque gear with a much slower RPM...

Products : Motion Control
Linear Encoder

The LC 200 linear encoder from Heidenhain (Schaumburg, IL) is designed for linear measurement on long machine tool axes. Available with a Mitsubishi interface, the encoder is an absolute-type encoder that measures lengths of up to 28 meters. It ensures that the absolute position value is available immediately upon switch-on. It is...

Products : Motion Control
Positioning System

Parker Hannifin Corp. (Highlands Ranch, CO) and Flexibility Engineering (Loveland, CO) have introduced the patented Anysize™ pneumatic-based positioning system. The Compact Anysize™ is designed specifically to fit into tighter spaces for conventional mechanical conveyors. Users need only input a desired guide rail width,...

Products : Motion Control
Drive Rack

The Npaq® 6U from Aerotech (Pittsburgh, PA) is a high-power drive rack that uses plug-in amplifiers supporting both linear and PWM topologies to control brushless, DC brush, or stepper motors. PWM amps offer up to 320 VDC operating voltage and 30 A peak current capability. Linear amplifiers provide up to 80 V and 20 A peak...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Integrated Motors

Schneider Electric Motion USA (Marlborough, CT) offers Lexium MDrive® LMD42 integrated motors. The NEMA 17 integrated motors are available in four communication versions for a range of motion applications. They integrate a high-torque NEMA 17 stepper motor with 12- to 48-VDC drive, controller, and I/O, and an...

Products : Motion Control
Force Control Software

ABB Robotics (Auburn Hills, MI) has introduced Integrated Force Control, a consolidation of the discrete software features that were available separately in either the machining or assembly Force Control offerings into a single base module. Force control technology makes robots more intelligent and able to handle process...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Speed Reducers

Emerson Industrial Automation (Florence, KY) offers Morse Raider Plus speed reducers that use finishing techniques, additional bearings, and special seals to arm them for leak-free performance. For use with conveyors, mixers, and bucket elevators, the device’s computerized gear centering optimizes the gear mesh for reduced heat...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Drive-Motor Systems

Elmo Motion Control (Nashua, NH) has released the Gold Duet drive-motor system that integrates a servomotor with an intelligent Gold servo drive, making it suitable for use in compact lab machines and medical devices. The EtherCAT-based system is available in a range of flange sizes (40, 60, 80, and 130) and power ranges (30...

Products : Motion Control
Hydraulic Cylinder

Bosch Rexroth Corp. (Bethlehem, PA) offers the CDL2 mill-type cylinder for pressure ranges of 160 and 250 bars. They are designed for two million load cycles. Design engineers can calculate the cylinder’s lifecycle for each application, and determine the price/performance ratio. The cylinder features four different mounting...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Electric Cylinders

SMAC (Carlsbad, CA) has released the CBL series of electric cylinders that feature a “snap-together” design that controls tight tolerance stack-up. The CBL35 cylinder has a 35-mm diameter and stroke lengths of 10 mm and 25 mm. The cylinders offer cycle rates of over 100 million cycles. Features include carriage-free design...

Products : Motion Control
Shaft Collars

Amacoil/Uhing (Aston, PA) has introduced Easylock shaft collars that hold reels, spools, and other objects in place on shafts. Objects are held between two pintles, one of which has a clamping force control. The clamping control permits adjustment of the holding force from 90 to 1,124 pounds. A conical point mounted to each pintle...

Products : Motion Control
AC Drives

Vacon (Vaasa, Finland) has introduced the VACON® NXP System Drives, a line of standardized AC drives that is based on the VACON NXP and VACON Common DC bus products, which include a variety of modules in a wide power range. The system drive product range is available in various IP ratings, and CE and UL certifications...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Automation Software

Kollmorgen (Radford, VA) has announced Kollmorgen Automation Suite IDE Version 2.7, which includes new runtime features and IDE enhancements that accelerate machine integration for OEMs. The software is used to program and refine most automated functions, including line shafting, gearing, and camming. The software is also...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Glass-Handling Robots

QComp Technologies (Greenville, WI) offers robotic glass-handling systems and conveyors for the flat glass industry. Using precision conveyors and robotics, the systems provide accuracy, handling, and gapping of glass to maximize throughput of a system through ovens and coating lines. The systems are suited for line...

Articles : Automotive
SAE 2014 World Congress Preview

The SAE 2014 World Congress, which takes place April 8-10 at Cobo Hall in Detroit, assembles the best talent in the automotive industry — experts, management teams, engineers, and executives — to collaborate and address current challenges, celebrate evolution and achievement over the last 100+ years, and...

Articles : Automotive
Steering Toward the Future

The global automotive industry faces incredible pressures today. The skyrocketing costs of traditional fuels — along with worldwide supply uncertainties — are forcing automakers to not only increase the efficiency of current fuels, but to explore new fuel sources and engine designs that will drive increased...

Application Briefs : Communications
Thrusters Support Communications Satellite Launch
Monopropellant (hydrazine) thrusters
Aerojet Rocketdyne
Sacramento, CA

Aerojet Rocketdyne, a GenCorp company, played a vital role in placing the second of three next-generation Tracking and Data Relay Satellites (TDRS-L) into orbit for...

Application Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Spectrometer Gratings Enable Mars Sample Analysis
Volume-phase, holographic-grating Raman
Wasatch Photonics
Logan, UT

Raman laser spectroscopy technology from Wasatch Photonics will be used to detect possible evidence of past or present life on Mars, and to...

Application Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Oxygen Containers Transport Tank Assembly to ISS
Oxygen shipping containers
Waxahachie, TX

Americase designed, developed, and completed the first HM224B/DOT31FP shipping containers for the NORS (Nitrogen Oxygen Recharge System) program, a part of NASA’s Orbital...

Articles : Test & Measurement
Harnessing the Power of NASA Technology

Have you ever felt nauseous reading a book in the back seat of a car? Did you ever wake up from a deep sleep feeling disoriented? Momentary incidents like these happen when the sensory systems that track the body’s orientation in space become confused.

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Laser Spider Web Sensor Used With Portable Handheld Devices

A powerful tool in understanding the role that greenhouse gasses play in climate change would be real-time data from laser chemical sensors providing concentrations and locations of key gasses. The adoption and widespread use of smart mobile phones is an ideal platform on which to...

Briefs : Information Technology
Adaptive Periodic-Correlation Algorithm for Shack-Hartmann Wavefront Sensing

Conventional Shack-Hartmann Wavefront Sensing requires a point source such as a star to perform wavefront sensing. This software allows one to conduct such sensing using an extended-scene or scene-based image. The software allows a Shack-Hartmann Wavefront Sensor...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
In Situ Health Monitoring of Piezoelectric Sensors

On occasion, anomalies in the highly dynamic test data obtained during rocket engine tests may appear. These issues must be investigated, and corrective action is generally mandated before testing resumes; usually only three days are allotted to identify and correct the issues. Spurious signals...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Wireless Sensor Node for Autonomous Monitoring and Alerts in Remote Environments

The current radio infrastructure for firefighters provides voice communications, but does not support data transfer capability for continuous monitoring of people in the field. Current radios require user interaction to perform manual voice check-in for firefighter...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Capacitive Humidity Sensors Using Highly Durable Polyimide Membrane

Car air conditioners operate in all seasons to keep the cabin temperature cool in summer and warm in winter. In summer, for air conditioning systems without humidity sensors, the system cannot maintain a comfortable humidity level because the dehumidification function stops when...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Self-Aligning Lug for Adapting Carbon Fiber Rods to a Bolted Metallic Connection

The enormous strength of unidirectional carbon fiber composite rods is difficult to take advantage of at their ends because of inadequate joining technology. Bolting does not work with unidirectional composites, and bonding is difficult due to stiffness mismatches...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Growth Method for Chalcongenide Phase-Change Nanostructures

Recently, one-dimensional (1-D) nanostructures such as nanowires and nanotubes have become the focal point of research in nanotechnology due to their fascinating properties. These properties are intrinsically associated with low dimensionality and small diameters, which may lead to...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Dual-Channel Electromechanical Shutter Driver (ESD)

This electronic device is designed to provide optimal control of an electromagnetically actuated shutter used on a digital or photographic camera. The SD36B1 Electromechanical Shutter Driver is designed to provide the drive pulses for opening and closing an electromagnetically actuated shutter....

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Sub-Nanosecond, Compact, Low-Power Time-Interval Measurement

This innovation is a sub-nanosecond time-interval measurement that is compact and inexpensive, implemented in a field-programmable gate array (FPGA). Currently, high-speed count ers or semi-custom or custom ASICs (application specific integrated circuits) are used for time-interval...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Improvised Diagnostic Strategy for High-Side Switch Power Stage

A vehicle electronic control unit consists of various high-side power stages for driving different loads. Common faults that these power stages experience are Short Circuit to Battery (SCB), Short Circuit to Ground (SCG), and Open Load (OL). These faults can occur during either...

Briefs : Materials
Dispersion of Carbon Nanotubes Into Polymer Matrices to Produce Unique Properties

The present invention addresses the effective dispersion of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) into polymer matrices. The nanocomposites are prepared using polymer matrices and exhibit a unique combination of properties, most notably, high retention of optical transparency in...

Briefs : Materials
Carbon Nanotube Growth Density Control

This method provides control over the growth density of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) on a relatively coarse scale, with density adjustment over several orders of magnitude, using an applied electrical field or voltage difference that is aligned substantially perpendicular to the substrate surface, which is...

Briefs : Materials
Pulsed Plasma Lubricator (PPL) Technology for the In Situ Replenishment of Dry Lubricants in Extreme Environments

NASA missions employing mobility systems and other moving mechanical assemblies for application on Mars, the Moon, and in deep space depend on the reliable operation of these assemblies and their tribological components. Wet...

Briefs : Materials
Long-Life, Hydrophilic, Antimicrobial Coating for Condensing Heat Exchangers

Future manned spacecraft and lunar or Mars outposts will need a condensing heat exchanger (CHX) to control humidity in the cabin atmosphere. Condensing surfaces must be hydrophilic to control condensate flow and ensure efficient operation in zero gravity, and biocidal...

Briefs : Materials
Opposed Pad Gecko Adhesive Gripper for On-Off Omnidirectional Anchoring/Gripping in Orbit

The idea of turning the stickiness of a material on and off is not an intuitive concept, yet this is exactly how geckos run up walls at speeds greater than 1 m/s and cling to ceilings made of glass. Transitioning this capability to spacecraft would...

Briefs : Materials
Complex Geometry Multi-Use Coatings for Abrasion Prevention, Wear Resistance, and Lunar Dust Removal

Two coatings are required to remove/repel lunar dust particles from the mechanism or surface that needs protection. One coating must be a conductor, and one must be a dielectric. Tungsten carbide (WC) and aluminum oxide...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Smart Core-Bit Probe (SCOPe)

Smart Core-Bit Probe (SCOPe) employs ruggedized MEMS-based sensors for real-time monitoring of sample core integrity (compositional or morphological changes) and drill health during sample acquisition. SCOPe enables comprehensive preliminary in situ measurements (both dynamic and static) during sample acquisition and...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Electrically Conductive, Failure-Resistant Tethers

Special electrically conductive, failure-resistant rope/wire combinations are being developed for use as electrodynamic spacecraft tethers. These or similar combinations could also prove useful on Earth in applications in which there are requirements for strong, reliable, lightweight tethers...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
ATHLETE Low-Gravity Testbed

A six-degrees-of-freedom (DOF) testbed was developed for evaluating microgravity and low-gravity proximity and contact operations, e.g. in the vicinity of a near Earth orbit, for simulation of proximity operations for a human mission to an asteroid. This is accomplished using an “inverted Stewart platform” where...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Acoustic Mechanical Feedthroughs for Producing Work Across a Structure

Electromagnetic motors can have problems when operating in extreme environments. In addition, if one needs to do mechanical work outside a structure, electrical feedthroughs are required to transport the electric power to drive the motor. Piezoelectric motors can be designed...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Life-Detecting Radar

A new device detects the heartbeat and respiration of victims trapped in rubble or disaster debris, and reduces the time required to initiate a rescue. Searchers would like to distinguish live victims from those who have died recently and to distinguish humans from animals. In addition to search and rescue, there are other...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
High-Energy Lithium Flow Cells With Sulfur Cathodes for Transportation Applications

Since the entry of lithium-ion rechargeable batteries into the market, considerable improvements have been made in their gravimetric and volumetric energy densities, especially compared to aqueous systems such as Pb-acid, Ni-Cd, and Ni-MH. Sulfur cathodes have...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Physical Causes of Extremely Low Geomagnetic Activity

An analysis of solar, solar wind, and geomagnetic data during the recent solar cycle minimum (2008) has recently been undertaken. It was discovered that the lowest value of the Ap index [this index is an averaged planetary A index based on data from a set of specific magnetometer stations] in...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Green PCB Removal From Sediment Systems (GPRSS)

John F. Kennedy Space Center, Florida A number of NASA centers have used polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB)-containing materials that have subsequently ended up in surrounding sediment systems. Each center is evaluating remediation technologies that may have application to their environmental problems;...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Internalization of Non-Spherical Particles

This invention specifically relates to an interchangeable sleeve that encompasses a rotating, substantially cylindrical bioreactor. The sleeve supplies a time-varying electromagnetic force of from 0.05 to 0.5 gauss to the culture chamber of the bioreactor in order to increase cell growth and...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
System for Observing Dynamic Atmospheric Phenomena

Existing observing systems are inadequate to measure a variety of dynamic atmospheric processes. Ground-based or airborne systems do not observe over sufficiently large regions to capture the context or time history of many phenomena. Space-based systems do not observe a specific region over...

Briefs : Software
Weekly Status Reporting & Approval Application Revision 2

The Weekly Status Reporting & Approval Application is a Web application that enables organizations to gather weekly or monthly (periodically) statuses electronically from all employees using a time-based process. Users input their status, which may include uploaded images, into...

Briefs : Software
CoolSPICE: SPICE Simulator for Cryogenic Electronics

Accurate assessment of circuits at cold temperatures is extremely difficult due to lack of models and tools that can simulate circuit behavior at cryogenic temperatures. A library of cryogenic temperature models was built, as well as a circuit simulator that can use those models and simulate...

Briefs : Software
Telescience Resource Kit, Release 3

Release 3 of the Telescience Resource Kit (TReK) has become available. TReK 3 is a suite of application programs that can be used to monitor and control a payload aboard the International Space Station. TReK provides both local ground support system services and an interface to utilize remote services provided...

Briefs : Software
Software Tools for Fault Management Technologies

The ability to detect, diagnose, and respond to faults and anomalies in a timely fashion is a major concern in space missions. Fault Management (FM) primarily concerns operational mitigations of spacecraft failures. Qualtech Systems worked towards development of software tools for facilitating FM...

Briefs : Information Technology
Atmospheric Turbulence Modeling for Aero Vehicles

Atmospheric turbulences are fractional order, and because of that, it is difficult to simulate these disturbances. Past models fall short in providing sufficiently accurate simulation of atmospheric turbulence, especially at high altitudes, for control designs of high-speed atmospheric vehicles....

Briefs : Information Technology
Autonomic Quiescence

Biologically inspired autonomous and autonomic systems (AAS) are essentially about creating self-directed and self-managing systems based on metaphors such as that of the autonomic nervous system. Agent technologies have been identified as a key enabler for engineering autonomy and autonomicity in systems, both in terms of...

Briefs : Information Technology
Optimization of OT-MACH Filter Generation for Target Recognition

An automatic Optimum Trade-Off Maximum Average Correlation Height (OT-MACH) filter generator for use in a gray-scale optical correlator (GOC) has been developed for improved target detection. While the OT-MACH filter has been shown to be an optimal filter for target detection,...

Briefs : Information Technology
A Decision Support Tool to Assess Upper-Level Winds for Space Launch

An Excel-based graphical user interface (GUI) was developed for the 45th Weather Squadron (45 WS) Launch Weather Officers (LWOs), allowing them to assess numerical weather prediction model forecasts of upper-level winds and compare the forecasts to observations from Cape...

Briefs : Information Technology
Change Detection in Orbital Images Using Relative Landmark Graphs

Traditional methods for change detection involve the pixel-wise registration of two images and a subsequent differencing operation that highlights any changes at the individual pixel level. These methods have two limitations: (1) they are computationally expensive, and (2) they...

Briefs : Information Technology
Heavy-Alkane Oxidation Kinetic-Mechanism Reduction

Oxidation chemical reactions of many practical fuels encompass thousands of species. When simulating complex turbulent reactive flows, it is impossible to account for the time and spatial evolution of all these species given current and foreseeable-future computer memory and time. This...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Covariance Analysis of Astrometric Alignment Estimation Architectures for Precision Dual-Spacecraft Formation Flying

A paper highlights analysis of proposed navigation systems and architectures for achieving precise dual-spacecraft astrometric alignment. The dynamics of dual-spacecraft relative motion, within a restricted n-body problem...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Porous Media Jacket for Use in Regeneratively Cooled Rocket Engines

A paper describes a method for regeneratively cooling worst-case gas-phase thrusters using porous media integrated into a regenerative cooling jacket. The enhanced surface area in the jacket compensates for the much lower effective heat transfer coefficients of gases as compared...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Automated Purgatoid Identification

An algorithm was developed that automatically processes images captured by the HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to identify and locate the presence of purgatoids in monochrome images.

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Interplanetary CubeSats

A report describes upgraded CubeSat satellite elements for the interplanetary environment, with solar sail propulsion and the interplanetary superhighway for navigation and maneuvering. They can host small, capable instruments and optical telecommunications on a mission to map the composition of a sequence of near-Earth...

Products : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Product of the Month: The Objet500 Connex3 Color Multi-Material 3D Printer

Stratasys, Eden Prairie, MN, has introduced the Objet500 Connex3 color multi-material 3D printer, the first 3D printer to combine colors with multi-material 3D printing. It features triple-jetting technology that combines droplets of three base materials to produce parts...

News : Imaging
New Infrared Technique Remotely Detects Dangerous Materials

Brigham Young University professors have developed a technique that could spot from afar whether a site is being used to make nuclear weapons. The model precisely characterizes the material in each pixel of an image taken from a long-wave infrared camera. The U.S. National Nuclear...

News : Electronics & Computers
Bending Light with a Tiny Chip

Imagine that you are in a meeting with coworkers or at a gathering of friends. You pull out your cell phone to show a presentation or a video on YouTube. But you don't use the tiny screen; your phone projects a bright, clear image onto a wall or a big screen. Such a technology may be on its way, thanks to a new...

Handheld Optical Device Catches Early Signs of Retinal Disease

A new optical device puts the power to detect eye disease in the palm of a hand. The tool — about the size of a handheld video camera — scans a patient's entire retina in seconds and could aid primary care physicians in the early detection of a host of retinal diseases. The new...

News : Electronics & Computers
Smartphones Become "Eye-Phones" to Capture Images of the Eye

Two inexpensive adapters enable a smartphone to capture high-quality images of the front and back of the eye, enabling users to share them securely with other health practitioners or store it in a patient's electronic record. The researchers see this technology as an opportunity to...

Question of the Week
Will You Use "Transparent Texting?"

US tech giant Apple has filed a patent for new technology that aims to make texting while walking safer by replacing the text background with a live video feed of whatever is in front of the smartphone user.

News : Photonics/Optics
Air And Missile Defense System To Get Smarter Software

When a missile is launched against an enemy target, it would be nice to have a lot of good information about that target. But when "decision makers push the fire button, they may have very little data, and sometimes not timely enough data," said Col. Rob Rasch Jr., project manager,...

News : Software
Engineers Design Software Tools to Secure Tactical Smartphones

Suraj Kothari's talk of smartphone security quickly took a turn toward sabotage and worst-case scenarios. What happens, he asked, if a soldier's smartphone is hacked for its GPS data? What happens if an attacker drains the battery in a general's phone and essential communication is...

News : Electronics & Computers
Scientists Demonstrate Electrical Properties of Topological Insulators

Scientists at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) have demonstrated for the first time that one can electrically access the remarkable properties predicted for a topological insulator (TI). They used a ferromagnetic metal/tunnel barrier contact as a voltage probe to...

Products : Imaging
CMOS Camera

Adimec (Stoneham, MA) has released the Q-12A65, an addition to the company’s CMOS-based QUARTZ series. The Q- 12A65 camera, based on the CMOSIS CMV12000 image sensor, delivers 12 Megapixels at 66 fps. Equipped with the Camera Link deca interface, the Q-12A65 also supports full configurations.

Products : Imaging
Embedded Video Interface

Pleora Technologies (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) has introduced an embedded hardware product for integrating GigE Vision 2.0™-compliant video connectivity into cameras, x-ray detector panels, and imaging systems. The iPORT™ NTx-GigE Embedded Video Interface is now in trials for use in medical, military, and industrial...

Products : Imaging
USB 3.0 Cameras

Lumenera Corporation (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) has released USB 3.0 cameras based on Sony’s EXview HAD II ICX674 sensor. Running 53 fps at full resolution, or 66 at an HDTV resolution of 1920 × 1088, the Lt365R series features memory buffer technology so frames are not lost while running the camera at the sensor’s maximum...

Products : Imaging
Scientific CMOS Camera

Capable of 100 fps streaming with a 45% larger FOV and <2e- of read noise, the optiMOS sCMOS camera from QImaging (Surrey, B.C., Canada) delivers 10× the time resolution of CCD cameras. Other device features include greater temporal resolution (100 frames per second); 2.1 megapixels with 6.5μm pixels, 14.3 mm...

Products : Imaging
3D Inspection Scanner

The new Gocator 3100 series of 3D smart snapshot sensors from LMI Technologies (Delta, B.C. Canada) combines 3D point cloud acquisition and 3D feature measurement tools in a single industrial package. The sensor includes an integral structured blue LED light projection illumination source with stereo scanning technology...

Products : Imaging
Infrared Camera Core

Sofradir EC (Fairfield, NJ) has introduced its ATOM80™ Ther mal Infrared Imaging Camera Core. The ATOM80 consists of a microbolometer array having 80×80 pixels. The thermal sensor camera core, based on a ULIS Micro80P microbolometer, permits systems to scan a large area with one sensor. Additionally, the camera core...

Products : Imaging
High-Speed Cameras

Teledyne DALSA (Billerica, MA) has announced two 2k-resolution versions of its Piranha4 ™ series. The monochrome Piranha4 dual line scan camera delivers a maximum line rate of 100 kHz in TDI mode, or 200 kHz in Area mode. The Piranha4 2k trilinear model offers a maximum line rate of 70 kHz. Advanced features include...

Products : Imaging
Camera Gauge System

A camera gauge system from Newcomb Spring Corp. (Decatur, GA) provides precise, image-based length measurements, with data recording and reportable order details. The system measures compression springs as they are manufactured, capturing and saving a digital image of each part and recording part dimensions. If part...

Products : Imaging
High-Speed Imaging System

The FASTCAM SA-Z imaging system from Photron (San Diego, CA) features 21,000 frames per second at megapixel resolution. The new SA-Z CMOS sensor provides over 2,000,000 frames per second (fps) at reduced resolution. The enhanced global electronic shutter operates from 1-millisecond (standard) down to 159 nanoseconds...

Products : Imaging
CMOS Image Sensor

Truesense Imaging (Rochester, NY) has released a 6-megapixel CMOS image sensor targeted to applied imaging markets such as machine vision, intelligent transportation systems, and surveillance. The KAC-06040 Image Sensor is a 1-inch optical format device that provides 10-bit full resolution output at up to 160 fps. Its platform...

Who's Who : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Kenneth Dudley, Senior Researcher, Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA

Kenneth Dudley is a researcher in the Electromagnetics and Sensors Branch at NASA's Langley Research Center. His project team currently focuses on the testing and development of the SansEC sensor.

NASA Tech Briefs: What is the SansEC sensor?

Kenneth Dudley:...


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