June 2009

News : Green Design & Manufacturing
Computing Cost-Effective Pollution Control Strategies

A new tool could help in choosing the best ways to control pollution on even the smallest of waterways. The tool analyzes data from an area, and can compute the most cost-effective pollution-control strategies for water resources affected by agriculture in just a few hours - a process that...

News : Green Design & Manufacturing
A Step Toward Producing Plastic from Biomass

Researchers with Berkeley Lab and the University of California (UC) Berkeley have discovered a mild and relatively inexpensive procedure for removing oxygen from biomass. This procedure, if it can be effectively industrialized, could allow many of today’s petrochemical products, including plastics,...

News : Energy
New “Electronic Glue” Could Accelerate Advances in Solar Cells

Researchers at the University of Chicago and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have developed an “electronic glue” that could speed up advances in semiconductor-based technologies, including solar cells and thermoelectric devices that convert sun light and waste heat,...

News : Energy
World's First Full-Scale Floating Windmill to Undergo Testing

News of the world's first full-scale floating windmill being built spread over a year ago. Now, the Hywind has reached its final destination, where it will face rigorous testing. The Hywind concept combines known technologies in a novel way: a 2.3 MW wind turbine is attached to the...

News : Energy
Flexible Solar Cell Technology Lights Up Bus Shelter

New flexible solar cell technology, developed by engineering researchers at McMaster University of Hamilton, Ontario, has been installed in a campus bus shelter to provide power lighting for night-time transit users. The ability to bend the solar cells to fit the curved roof of the bus shelter...

Podcasts
Converged Sensor Networking Architecture

In this podcast Jamie Kenney, Senior Manager, Performance Algorithm Group, Mercury Computer Systems discusses Converged Sensor Networking Architecture


Articles : Energy
Designing the First Fully Sustainable Block in the U.S.

In the near future, a crumbling parking lot in downtown Dallas, Texas will be the location of the first fully sustainable, urban square block in the United States. Re:Vision Dallas is the sixth competition in a series from the San Francisco, California-based organization, Urban Re:Vision...

Podcasts
Dr. Peter Shirron, Senior Research Scientist, Cryogenics and Fluids Group, Goddard Space Flight Center

Dr. Peter Shirron, a senior research scientist with NASA’s Cryogenics and Fluids Group, led the team of researchers credited with developing the first continuous duty multi-stage adiabatic demagnetization refrigerator (ADR) used to cool...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Device for Measuring Low Flow Speed in a Duct

A multiple-throat venturi system has been invented for measuring laminar flow of air or other gas at low speed (1 to 30 cm/s) in a duct while preserving the laminar nature of the flow and keeping the velocity profile across the duct as nearly flat as possible. While means for measuring flows at...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Measuring Thermal Conductivity of a Small Insulation Sample

An instrumentation system for direct measurement of the thermal conductivity of a small sample of a highly insulating material has been devised. As used here, (1) “small” signifies having dimensions of the order of two centimeters — significantly less than the sizes of specimens...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Alignment Jig for the Precise Measurement of THz Radiation

An alignment jig (see figure) places a THz horn and power detector at the proper locations with respect to the focal points of a conic reflector in order to couple total power of the THz source radiating out of its horn into the power detector for precise measurement of its power. A...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Autoignition Chamber for Remote Testing of Pyrotechnic Devices

The autoignition chamber (AIC) performs by remotely heating pyrotechnic devices that can fit the inner diameter of the tube furnace. Two methods, a cold start or a hot start, can be used with this device in autoignition testing of pyrotechnics. A cold start means extending a pyro -...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
T/R Multi-Chip MMIC Modules for 150 GHz

Modules containing multiple monolithic microwave integrated-circuit (MMIC) chips have been built as prototypes of transmitting/receiving (T/R) modules for millimeter-wavelength radar systems, including phased-array radar systems to be used for diverse purposes that could include guidance and avoidance of...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Some Improvements in Utilization of Flash Memory Devices

Two developments improve the utilization of flash memory devices in the face of the following limitations: (1) a flash write element (page) differs in size from a flash erase element (block), (2) a block must be erased before its is rewritten, (3) lifetime of a flash memory is typically...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
GPS/MEMS IMU/Microprocessor Board for Navigation

A miniaturized instrumentation package comprising a (1) Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver, (2) an inertial measurement unit (IMU) consisting largely of surface-micromachined sensors of the microelectro-mechanical systems (MEMS) type, and (3) a microprocessor, all residing on a single...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Multi-Modulator for Bandwidth-Efficient Communication

A modulator circuit board has recently been developed to be used in conjunction with a vector modulator to generate any of a large number of modulations for bandwidth-efficient radio transmission of digital data signals at rates than can exceed 100 Mb/s. The modulations include quadrature...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Microwave Power Combiners for Signals of Arbitrary Amplitude

Schemes for combining power from coherent microwave sources of arbitrary (unequal or equal) amplitude have been proposed. Most prior microwave-power-combining schemes are limited to sources of equal amplitude.

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Airborne Antenna System for Minimum-Cycle-Slip GPS Reception

A system that includes a Global Positioning System (GPS) antenna and associated apparatus for keeping the antenna aimed upward has been developed for use aboard a remote-sensing-survey airplane. The purpose served by the system is to enable minimum-cycle-slip reception of GPS signals...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Device Acquires and Retains Rock or Ice Samples

The Rock Baller is a sample acquisition tool that improves sample retention. The basic elements of the Rock Baller are the tool rotation axis, the hub, the two jaws, and the cutting blades, which are located on each of the jaws. The entire device rotates about the tool rotation axis, which is...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Pneumatic Haptic Interfaces

Haptic interfaces in the form of arrays of balloonlike pneumatic actuators are being developed to provide tactile feedback from (1) remote-manipulator hands, tools on the tips of robot arms, and other, similar devices to (2) the hands of human operators. Like other haptic interfaces, these have numerous potential...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Cryogenic Feedthrough Test Rig

The cryogenic feedthrough test rig (CFTR) allows testing of instrumentation feedthroughs at liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen temperature and pressure extremes (dangerous process fluid) without actually exposing the feedthrough to a combustible or explosive process fluid. In addition, the helium used (inert gas),...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Two-Step Plasma Process for Cleaning Indium Bonding Bumps

A two-step plasma process has been developed as a means of removing surface oxide layers from indium bumps used in flip-chip hybridization (bump bonding) of integrated circuits. This process has considerable commercial potential in that flip-chip hybridization is used in the manufacture...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Tool for Crimping Flexible Circuit Leads

A hand tool has been developed for crimping leads in flexible tails that are parts of some electronic circuits — especially some sensor circuits. The tool is used to cut the tails to desired lengths and attach solder tabs to the leads. For tailoring small numbers of circuits for special applications,...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Improved Assembly for Gas Shielding During Welding or Brazing

An improved assembly for inert-gas shielding of a metallic joint is designed to be useable during any of a variety of both laser-based and traditional welding and brazing processes. The basic purpose of this assembly or of a typical prior related assembly is to channel the flow of a...

Briefs : Materials
Polyimide-Foam/Aerogel Composites for Thermal Insulation

Composites of specific types of polymer foams and aerogel particles or blankets have been proposed to obtain thermal insulation performance superior to those of the neat polyimide foams. These composites have potential to also provide enhanced properties for vibration dampening or acoustic...

Briefs : Materials
Yb₁₄MnSb₁₁ as a High-Efficiency Thermoelectric Material

Yb14MnSb11 has been found to be well-suited for use as a p-type thermoelectric material in applications that involve hot-side temperatures in the approximate range of 1,200 to 1,300 K. The figure of merit that characterizes the thermal-to-electric...

Briefs : Software
Converting CSV Files to RKSML Files

A computer program converts, into a format suitable for processing on Earth, files of downlinked telemetric data pertaining to the operation of the Instrument Deployment Device (IDD), which is a robot arm on either of the Mars Explorer Rovers (MERs). The raw downlinked data files are in comma-separated-value...

Briefs : Software
Service Management Database for DSN Equipment

This data- and event-driven persistent storage system leverages the use of commercial software provided by Oracle for portability, ease of maintenance, scalability, and ease of integration with embedded, client-server, and multi-tiered applications. In this role, the Service Management Database...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Chemochromic Hydrogen Leak Detectors

At NASA, hydrogen safety is a key concern for space shuttle processing. Leaks of any level must be quickly recognized and addressed due to hydrogen’s lower explosion limit. Chemochromic devices have been developed to detect hydrogen gas in several embodiments. Because hydrogen is odorless and colorless and...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Compatibility of Segments of Thermoelectric Generators

A method of calculating (usually for the purpose of maximizing) the power-conversion efficiency of a segmented thermoelectric generator is based on equations derived from the fundamental equations of thermoelectricity. Because it is directly traceable to first principles, the method provides...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
JPL Greenland Moulin Exploration Probe

A probe was designed to investigate the moulins (melt water drainage channels on an ice cap) and ice-hydrology interaction in the Greenland Ice Cap. By using commercially available components, the strong and reliable system has been developed that has a high-definition video recording element, is...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Complementary Barrier Infrared Detector

The complementary barrier infrared detector (CBIRD) is designed to eliminate the major dark current sources in the superlattice infrared detector. The concept can also be applied to bulk semiconductor-based infrared detectors. CBIRD uses two different types of specially designed barriers: an electron...

Briefs : Materials
Room-Temperature Ionic Liquids for Electrochemical Capacitors

A document discusses room-temperature ionic liquids (RTILs) used as electrolytes in carbon-nanotube-based, electrochemical, double-layer capacitors. Unlike the previous electrolyte (EtNB4 in acetonitrile), the RTIL used here does not produce cyanide upon thermal decomposition and does...

Briefs : Materials
Ultra-Lightweight Self- Deployable Nanocomposite Structure for Habitat Applications

A document discusses self-deployable, rigidized structures that are ultra-lightweight and have gas barrier properties, space durability, and high impact resistance. Developed here are microcellular-foamed sandwich structures made from nanocomposite shape memory...

Articles : Manufacturing & Prototyping
NASA Announces 2008 Inventions of the Year

Ames Research Center (Moffett Field, CA) and Langley Research Center (Hampton, VA) have won the 2008 NASA Government and Commercial Invention of the Year Awards, respectively. The Ames invention is a high-speed 3D laser scanner with real-time processing. Langley’s method for making high-performance...

Articles : Information Technology
Protecting Data Signals Through Isolation

Many of us believe that if we don’t have ground loops we don’t need to isolate analog I/O signals. Yet there are five very real – and very different – reasons to isolate every one of your analog signals! If you’ve had problems on past applications, chances are you experienced one of the...

Application Briefs : Medical
Mass Flow Controllers Ensure Astronauts Have Medical Fluids On Demand
Quantim Coriolis mass flow controller
Brooks Instrument
Hatfield, PA
215-362-3527
www.brooksinstrument.com

Transporting medical fluids that are manufactured on Earth into space is expensive and logistically challenging, so researchers at...

Application Briefs : Motion Control
Rotary Motors Customized for Telescope Spectrometer
SQUIGGLE® custom rotary piezoelectric motors
New Scale Technologies
Victor, NY
585-924-4450
www.newscaletech.com

The Wide-Field Multi Object Spectrometer (WFMOS) is a ground-based astronomical instrument that is scheduled to be commissioned on the Subaru...

Products
Test Control and Measurement Software

Jacobs Technology Group, Tullahoma, TN, offers Test SLATE test control and measurement software that enables users to create a data acquisition and test automation program using point-and-click Windows-based graphical tools on any PC. Data is visually presented in the style and format chosen by the user, and...

Who's Who
Dr. Peter Shirron, Senior Research Scientist, Cryogenics and Fluids Group, Goddard Space Flight Center

Dr. Peter Shirron, a senior research scientist with NASA’s Cryogenics and Fluids Group, led the team of researchers credited with developing the first continuous duty multi-stage adiabatic demagnetization refrigerator (ADR) used to cool...

Techs for License
Mechanical Mounting/Connection/Release System

The internal mechanism of the connector part of this system works to maintain positioning repeatability and rigidity, and compensates for wear over time, while both the connector and receiver are tapered in two planes to assure repeatable positioning. Together, the two form a rigid connection that...

Techs for License
Shape-Memory Alloys Replace Traditional Electromagnet Actuators

Shape Memory Alloys (SMAs) are metals that “remember” their original shapes. SMA technology can provide the same mechanical movement and required forces of an electromagnetic actuator, but in a more compact form, while removing the need for motors, gearing, or springs. This SMA...

NASA Tech Needs : Aerospace
Lightning Strike Protection for Composite Aircraft

NASA’s work in advanced aeronautics includes growing interest in environmentally responsive aircraft, one component of which involves use of composites to significantly reduce weight and, hence, fuel consumption. The new Boeing 787 aircraft is one recent example, and there has been a strong...

Tech Needs
Moisture Release Technologies

A company seeks technologies enabling a woven or nonwoven substrate to contain liquid/fluid that can be released by applying pressure (to yield a moist/wet substrate). They are interested in solutions that will enable water or other liquids/ fluids to be contained within a substrate and then released under moderate...

Tech Needs
Binder Solutions for the Manufacture of Molds and, Cores in Metal Castings

Binders used for molding are typically self-setting, so that after mixing two or more binder components into sand, there is a short delay before the mixture starts to set hard. Binders used for core-making are typically gas-cured. A company seeks an environmentally...

Briefs : Green Design & Manufacturing
JPL Greenland Moulin Exploration Probe
A probe was designed to investigate the moulins - melt water drainage channels on an ice cap - and ice-hydrology interaction in the Greenland Ice Cap. By using commercially available components, the strong and reliable system has a high-definition video recording element, is lightweight, and has buoyancy that...
Briefs : Green Design & Manufacturing
Chemochromic Hydrogen Leak Detectors
Because hydrogen is odorless and colorless and poses an explosion hazard, there is an emerging need for sensors to quickly and accurately detect low levels of leaking hydrogen in fuel cells and other advanced energy-generating systems in which hydrogen is used as fuel. Simple, color-changing sensors have been...
Briefs : Green Design & Manufacturing
Complementary Barrier Infrared Detector
The complementary barrier infrared detector (CBIRD) is designed to eliminate the major dark current sources in a superlattice infrared detector. The concept can also be applied to bulk semiconductor-based infrared detectors. These detectors can be used in infrared imaging cameras in manufacturing process...
Articles : Energy
NASA Energy Concept Could Harness the Power of Ocean Waves

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) researchers who developed a new way to power robotic underwater vehicles believe a spin-off technology could help convert ocean energy into electrical energy on a much larger scale. The researchers hope that clean, renewable energy produced from the...

Articles : Imaging
High-Performance Computing Tools in Neural Imaging

High-performance computing (HPC) has transformed science and engineering over the past 20 years, but some fields have yet to fully realize its benefits due to software limitations. This article discusses software approaches to increase productivity in the life science discipline of neural...

Articles : Robotics, Automation & Control
Machine Vision Guides Robot Motion
Machine Vision Guides Robot Motion

Machine vision can quickly and accurately determine the location of parts so they can be inspected, measured, or manipulated by a robot. An example is using machine vision to guide a robot unpacking...

Machine Vision Guides Robot Motion
Application Briefs : Imaging
High-Speed Cameras Assist in Crash Sled Testing

The Kettering University Crash Safety Center (Flint, MI) conducts vehicle subsystem tests using a pneumatic deceleration sled. The research and testing includes frontal, rear, or side impact occupant protection systems containing airbags, pretensioners, and/or child safety seats. The sled system...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Synthetic Foveal Imaging Technology

Synthetic Foveal imaging Technology (SyFT) is an emerging discipline of image capture and image-data processing that offers the prospect of greatly increased capabilities for real-time processing of large, high-resolution images (including mosaic images) for such purposes as automated recognition and tracking...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Improved Starting Materials for Back-Illuminated Imagers

An improved type of starting materials for the fabrication of silicon-based imaging integrated circuits that include back-illuminated photodetectors has been conceived, and a process for making these starting materials is undergoing development. These materials are intended to enable...

Articles : Motion Control
Hermetic Feedthroughs Critical for Flywheel Energy Storage

Next-generation flywheels are made possible by advances in material science in rotor technology, as well as the application of magnetic bearings running in a vacuum environment. While the movement of the rotating flywheel into a vacuum eliminates parasitic drags, such as windage friction...

Articles : Motion Control
Motion Control Advancements Ease Medical Procedures

Whether performing an intricate surgery, positioning a patient, or taking a tissue sample, today’s biomedical devices are taking advantage of advanced motion control devices to ensure accurate control and movement in biomedical applications. Robots are making it possible to perform surgical...

Application Briefs : Medical
Forest City Gear Controls Prosthetic Hand

Forest City Gear of Roscoe, IL, is a turnkey gear manufacturer, responsible to their customers for literally every facet of gear manufacturing, including prototyping, testing, production, finishing, quality and process validation, even packaging and delivery. One customer the gear manufacturer has...

Application Briefs : Medical
Omron Controls and Drives Improve Animals’ Joint Health

Ferno Aquatic Therapy, Wilmington, OH, designs and manufactures canine and equine underwater treadmill equipment used by veterinarians to provide aquatic therapy, rehabilitation, and conditioning for both dogs and horses. Designed specifically for canine rehabilitation, the Ferno Aqua...

Products
Linear Slide Assembly

HaydonKerk Motion Solutions™, Waterbury, CT, offers the Kerk RGS(R) linear slide assembly combined with the Haydon™ MotoDrive™ PDE Actuator. The integrated linear slide, stepper motor, and electronic drive assembly combines both Kerk and Haydon technology.

Products
Multi-Axis Controller

ACS Motion Control, Eden Prarie, MN, has developed a low-cost, small-footprint approach for machine control. Designated the SPiiPlus LF-CM, the machine controller provides multi-axis integrated control and up to 64 additional nodes via CANOpen network extension. The controller includes a logic controller programmable in any...

Products
Stepper Motor

Portescap, West Chester, PA, has introduced hollow-shafted versions to its revolutionary family of h3 stepper motors. Hollow shaft models promise increased design flexibility by allowing wires or other media to be routed through the motor shaft, effectively reducing the space required of the motor solution. H3 hollow shaft step...

Products
Direct Drive Motors

The ULT-O Outside Rotating frameless motor kits latest from Applimotion, Loomis, CA, give the customer flexibility of a large through hole and low profile. The rotor is external to the stator, enabling the customer to integrate the rotor ring into an outside rotating hub.

Products
Linear Displacement Sensor

The KD-2306 non-contact linear displacement sensor from Kaman, Middletown, CT uses balanced bridge eddy current technology to sense both ferrous and non-ferrous metal targets. The RoHS-compliant, CE-marked sensing system includes the electronics, sensor, and interconnecting cable.

Products
Stepper Motor/Driver

The MDrive® from Intelligent Motion Systems, Marlborough, CT, is a quad stack NEMA size 23 brushless 1.8deg stepping motor that delivers speed-torque comparable to a single stack NEMA 34, but with a footprint 1/3 smaller. In addition, the quad stack 23 motor solution costs 20% less than the size 34.

Products
Absolute Encoder

BI Technologies, Fullerton, CA, offers an absolute encoder that utilizes the company’s proprietary DAPS (Digital Angular Position Sensor) technology. Available with multiple output configurations, the encoder will feature 12-bit resolution over 360-degree rotation.

Products
Roller Guides

The RB series of roller guides from NSK, Franklin, IN, provides a 26% reduction in overall height compared with NSK’s conventional RA series roller guides. This facilitates downscaling of equipment and lowering the center of gravity of precision/positioning tables.

Products : Imaging
VGA Cameras

Basler Vision Technologies, Ahrensburg, Germany, has introduced the scA640-120 series of Scout cameras based on Sony’s ICX618 sensor. The cameras feature a 29 × 44 × 73.7 mm housing, and are equipped with a C or CS-mount lens adapter. They are available in monochrome or color with a Gigabit Ethernet or IEEE 1394b interface. They...

Products : Imaging
Digital Camera

Vision Research, Wayne, NJ, offers the four-mega-pixel Phantom® v640 digital high-speed camera, which provides six gigapixel-per-second throughput and enhanced light sensitivity. It offers a recording speed of more than 1,400 frames per second at full resolution of 2560 × 1600. For higher frame rates, users can reduce...

Products : Imaging
Frame Grabber

American ELTEC, Las Vegas, NV, has released the PC_EYE/CL PCI Express frame grabber that supports base, medium, and full configurations. The PCI Express interface with four lanes delivers data rates of up to 1 GB/s for maximum-speed cameras with full interfaces. It also delivers speeds of up to 680 MB/s. The board has inputs for...

Products : Imaging
Thermal Imaging Camera

LumaSense Technologies, Santa Clara, CA, offers the Mikron MikroSHOT portable thermal imaging camera, a radiometric thermal imager that offers pocket-sized portability. The Thermal-On-Visible mode allows for radiometric temperature data to be displayed directly on the visible image. The camera uses batteries or an AC...

Products : Imaging
Telecentric Lenses

Edmund Optics, Barrington, NJ, offers the TECHSPEC® large-format telecentric lenses that can accommodate large-format industrial image sensors measuring up to 28.7 mm diagonally. They provide high-resolution images with a large field of view. The lenses are available in a variety of mounting formats, including...

Products : Imaging
HD Camera

Toshiba Imaging Systems Division, Irvine, CA, has introduced the IK-HR1S HD camera, a 1/3" CMOS detector with 2.1 megapixels and optional 720p or 1080i scanning operation, both with HD-SDI output. The camera measures 1.75 × 1.65 × 3", and features an RS-232 serial interface and a C-mount lens interface for clear HD imagery and color...

Products : Imaging
In-Line Inspection

The VT-S700 in-line automated optical inspection system from Omron Electronics, Schaumburg, IL, shortens tact time of soldered component inspection with an expanded field of view. Using a telecentric lens with a 2-megapixel camera, the system reduces image distortion at the edges of the field of view. It delivers...

Products : Imaging
Network Cameras

Panasonic, Secaucus, NJ, has introduced two IP network cameras, the BL-C101A and BL-C121A that monitor from a PC or cell phone. The BL-C101A features one-wire, plug-and-play installation; the BL-C121A is wireless and features IEEE 802.11 operation with an internal antenna. Both cameras can simultaneously capture MPEG-4 video and...

Products : Imaging
Image Sensors

Banner Engineering Corp., Minneapolis, MN, offers the iVu series image sensors that combine a photoelectric sensor and a vision sensor. They feature a touchscreen with intuitive interface and configurable inspection parameters. Three sensor types are offered in one rugged package for applications such as injection molding...