June 2014

News : Motion Control
NASA Decelerators Slow Payloads Traveling at Supersonic Speed

What will it take to land heavier spacecraft on Mars? How will engineers slow large payloads traveling at supersonic speeds in a thin Martian atmosphere? The Low Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) mission will seek to answer these questions.

News : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Predicting Oil Changes in Industrial Machinery Without Interrupting Operations

Predictive maintenance of hard-to-access plants, no unnecessary oil changes, no unnecessary laboratory costs, and less environmental impact are some of the benefits of a new system that can monitor the condition of lubricating oils, hydraulic oils, and other fluids in...

Who's Who
Dr. Mary Ann Meador, Senior Research Scientist, Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, OH

Dr. Mary Ann Meador, Senior Research Scientist at NASA Glenn Research Center, guides projects that will synthesize new types of aerogels. Her research has focused on the design and development of new polymers for a variety of applications, including...

News : Transportation
Morphable Surfaces Reduce Air Resistance

A morphable surface developed by an MIT team can change surface texture — from smooth to dimpled, and back again — through changes in pressure. When the inside pressure is reduced, the flexible material shrinks, and the stiffer outer layer wrinkles. Increasing pressure returns the surface to a smooth...

News : Communications
'Sensing Skin' Detects Damage in Concrete Structures

Researchers from North Carolina State University and the University of Eastern Finland have developed new “sensing skin” technology designed to serve as an early warning system for concrete structures, allowing authorities to respond quickly to damage in everything from nuclear facilities...

Question of the Week
Will "Sentiment Mapping" Improve Transportation Systems?

A new UK transportation project uses a digital platform to map trouble spots — traffic jams, late buses, stationary trains — by tracking passengers' emotions on social media. This type of "sentiment mapping" plan will combine information collected from various social media channels,...

News : Aerospace
NASA Tests New Rocket Booster Connection to its Limits

A critical connection between NASA's new rocket and its twin solid rocket boosters that will help it get to space proved it could withstand millions of pounds of launch stress during a series of ground tests.

News : Robotics, Automation & Control
Mobile Robots Help Technicians Manufacture Airplanes

A new mobile assistant is being developed to support technicians in the airplane manufacturing industry when applying sealant, measuring, and testing — without putting them at risk. In the EU project known as VALERI (Validation of Advanced, Collaborative Robotics for Industrial...

News : Sensors/Data Acquisition
New Strain Gauge Enables 'Soft Machines'

Purdue University researchers have developed a technique to embed a liquid-alloy pattern inside a rubber-like polymer to form a network of sensors. The approach may be used to produce "soft machines" made of elastic materials and liquid metals.

Such an elastic technology could be used to create robots...

News : Materials
Engineers Develop Ultrastiff, Ultralight Material

Engineers at MIT and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) have developed a new ultrastiff, ultralight material.

The material is based on the use of microlattices with nanoscale features, combining great stiffness and strength with ultralow density. The actual production of such...

Simulations Make Additive Manufacturing More Efficient

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers have developed a new and more efficient approach to a challenging problem in additive manufacturing — using selective laser melting, namely, the selection of appropriate process parameters that result in parts with desired properties....

News : Medical
Researchers Develop Flexible, Energy-Efficient Hybrid Circuit

Researchers from the USC Viterbi School of Engineering have developed a flexible, energy-efficient hybrid circuit combining carbon nanotube thin film transistors with other thin film transistors. The hybrid could take the place of silicon as the traditional transistor material used...

Question of the Week
Will We Drive On Solar Roadways?

An Idaho couple, Scott and Julie Brusaw, recently started an IndieGoGo campaign to raise money for their project, Solar Roadways, which wants to replace asphalt roads with high-strength glass-encased solar panels and LEDs. The panels could potentially light up, generate electricity, melt snow, or charge...

Computer Program 'Learns Everything about Anything'

Computer scientists from the University of Washington and the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence in Seattle have a fully automated computer program called Learning Everything about Anything, or LEVAN.

The program searches millions of books and images on the Web to learn all possible...

News : Photonics/Optics
Thin Films Self-Assemble in One Minute

Researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)'s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have devised a technique whereby self-assembling nanoparticle arrays can form a highly ordered thin film over macroscopic distances in one minute.

Products : Electronics & Computers
APUs and CPUs

AMD (Sunnyvale, CA) has announced the 2nd generation AMD Embedded R-series accelerated processing unit (APU) and CPU family (previously codenamed "Bald Eagle") for embedded applications. The 2nd generation AMD R-series APU and CPU solutions are designed for mid- to high-end visual and parallel compute- intensive embedded...

Products : Electronics & Computers
PCI Express

4DSP (Austin, TX) has announced the release of a new PCI Express product featuring the Xilinx Kintex-7 combined with 16 A/D channels at 250 Msps. The PC768 is a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) card that features advanced Digital Signal Processing (DSP) and data acquisition capabilities. It is designed for a variety of applications,...

Products : Electronics & Computers
Air Pressure Sensors

Mouser Electronics, Inc. (Mansfield, TX) is now shipping the new MPX2053 Series Air Pressure Sensors from Freescale Semiconductor. These sensors provide accurate pressure readings from 0 to 7.25 PSI (0 to 50 kPa) and require only a 10 VDC supply voltage. Pressure is represented by a differential voltage measured across two...

Products : Electronics & Computers
Projected-Capacitive Touch Controllers

Microchip (Chandler, AZ) has announced a new family of projected-capacitive touch controllers. The MTCH6102 family facilitates design integration of capacitive scanning for touchscreens and touchpads including 11 single-finger gestures to swipe, scroll or double tap. The MTCH6102 enables flexible, scalable...

News : Electronics & Computers
New Supercapacitor Could Make Structural Energy Storage A Reality

Imagine a future in which our electrical gadgets are no longer limited by plugs and external power sources. This intriguing prospect is one of the reasons for the current interest in building the capacity to store electrical energy directly into a wide range of products, such as a...

News : Energy
New Way To Make Sheets Of Graphene Discovered

Graphene's promise as a material for new kinds of electronic devices, among other uses, has led researchers around the world to study the material in search of new applications. But one of the biggest limitations to wider use of the strong, lightweight, highly conductive material has been the hurdle...

Question of the Week
Can Robots Be Emotional Companions?

Pepper, a new android from the Paris-based SoftBank Group, was unveiled last week in Tokyo. The 4-foot-tall robot has 20 movement-powering motors, a 10.1-inch touch display, and a synchronized, cloud-based database. Pepper also comes equipped with voice-recognition, as well functions that recognize human...

News : Materials
Roof Tiles Clean the Air

A team of University of California, Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering students has developed a titanium dioxide roof tile coating that removes up to 97 percent of smog-causing nitrogen oxides.

The students' calculations show that 21 tons of nitrogen oxides would be eliminated daily if tiles on one million...

News : Materials
Aircraft Wings Change Shape in Flight

The EU project SARISTU (Smart Intelligent Aircraft Structures) aims to reduce kerosene consumption by six percent, and integrating flexible landing devices into aircraft wings is one step towards that target.

A new mechanism alters the landing flap’s shape to dynamically accommodate the airflow....

News : Test & Measurement
NASA Balloons Study Effects of Volcanic Eruption

A team of NASA and University of Wyoming scientists has ventured into the Australian bush to send a series of balloons aloft. The balloons will make measurements of a volcanic plume originating from neighboring Indonesia.

The campaign, in Australia’s Northern Territory, is part of an effort...

Question of the Week
Would You Be Satisfied with a "Smart Home?"

Technology companies, including Google and Apple, are investing in "smart home" technologies that connect household devices — lighting, security systems, garage-door openers, climate controllers or kitchen appliances — with mobile devices. Research indicates that the global "smart home" industry...

News : Software
Computer Program Analyzes Intelligence Data

Every day U.S. military and security units receive vast amounts of data collected by intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) sensors. Human analysts constantly review this data, searching for possible threats. To aid this effort, researchers from the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI)...

News : Defense
Researchers Develop Harder Ceramic for Armor Windows

The Department of Defense needs materials for armor windows that provide essential protection for personnel and equipment while still having a high degree of transparency. To meet that need, scientists at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) have developed a method to fabricate...

News : Defense
Insect-Inspired Technology Could Extend Situational Awareness

Soldiers' missions frequently lead them to locations where they must assess the status of structures, and where the presence of threats is not immediately known or easily detectable. These threats include everything from ambushes to chemical and biological threats that could be...

News : Medical
Thinner Probes Enable Safer Neural Implants

Neural probe arrays are expected to significantly benefit the lives of amputees and people affected by spinal cord injuries or severe neuromotor diseases. By providing a direct route of communication between the brain and artificial limbs, these arrays record and stimulate neurons in the cerebral...

News : Electronics & Computers
Seamless Integrated Circuits Etched on Graphene

Researchers at UC Santa Barbara have introduced and modeled an integrated circuit design scheme in which transistors and interconnects are monolithically patterned seamlessly on a sheet of graphene, a 2-dimensional plane of carbon atoms. The demonstration offers possibilities for ultra...

Articles : Robotics, Automation & Control
High-Temperature Actuators for Aircraft Propulsion Systems

Future “more electric aircraft” (MEA) will require electric actuation systems for control surfaces and engine controls. Electric motors, drive electronics, and mechanisms are essential elements of aircraft actuation in MEAs that incorporate Electro-Magnetic Actuators (EMAs)....

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Probe Positioning System for Antenna Range

In situ measurements of antenna patterns on rovers in a simulated terrain are difficult to make with conventional antenna range techniques. The desired pattern data covers a hemisphere above the antenna of interest, which is close to the ground. This is incompatible with traditional measurements that...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Fluidic Actuators with No Moving Parts

Two new fluidic actuator designs were developed to control fluid flow in ways that will ultimately result in improved system performance and fuel efficiency in to improve the aerodynamic performance of a variety of vehicles. These flow control actuators, often referred to as fluidic oscillators or sweeping...

Application Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Submersible Pressure Transducer for Tank Fluid Level Monitoring

Monitoring the level of liquid can be accomplished through the use of a pressure transducer. The density of the liquid and its height create pressure on the diaphragm of the pressure transducer to generate an accurate and cost-effective level measurement. Generally, pressure...

Products : Motion Control
Drive Kits

Avnet Electronics Marketing (Phoenix, AZ) offers the Zynq®-7000 All Programmable SoC/Analog Devices Intelligent Drives Kit for prototyping motor control applications. Combining the Xilinx® Zynq-7000 All Program mable SoC ARM® dual-core Cortex™-A9 + 28 nm programmable logic with the Analog Devices...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Step Motors

Applied Motion Products (Watsonville, CA) has announced the HT range of step motors for DC powered drives available with 10' shielded cables. The motors are available in single- or double-shaft versions with additional encoder or encoder and cover options. The motors are suitable for rugged and industrial applications with stepper...

Products : Motion Control

NB Corp. (Hanover Park, IL) offers the BG compact, single-axis actuator with a U-shaped integrated slide and ball screw. The actuator’s rigid structure can be one-end supported. There are four ball circuits contained in the single block.

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Hydraulic Valves

HAWE Hydraulics (Charlotte, NC) offers the PSL/PSV proportional directional spool valve series that can be configured for the hydraulic functions of a silage trailer. These functions include raising/lowering the tailgate or front gate, and operating the scraper floor drive and conveyor drive systems. A modular design permits...

Products : Motion Control

The EC-4pole 32 HD motors from maxon precision motors (Fall River, MA) are designed for operation in air or in oil (flooded in hydraulic oil). The power rating depends on the surrounding medium and amounts to 220W in air and, due to the much higher heat flow, 480W in oil. They are designed for ambient temperatures of more than 200 °C and...

Products : Motion Control
Nanopositioning System

The P-736.ZR Large Aperture piezo-Z nanopositioning system from PI LP (Auburn, MA) is designed for imaging and fast focusing applications. It consists of a large-aperture piezo stage and a digital controller. The flexure-guided piezo nanopositioning stages are optimized for high resolution and fast step and settle. The...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Tilt Display Mount

Southco (Concordville, PA) has introduced the T Series Tilt Display Mounts with or without counterbalanced constant torque. The AVD25 Tilt Display Mount Basic provides tilt positioning for moving and positioning heavy panels and displays. The counterbalanced version provides even lower operating efforts. The T Series enables...

Products : Motion Control
Inclinometer Sensors

Jewell Instruments (Manchester, NH) offers the Emerald Series inclinometer MEMS sensors in a small rectangular package, enabling installation in areas with space constraints. They can withstand up to 500g shock, and offer single- or dual-power input. Custom ranges and bandwidths are available. The inclinometers can be used...

Products : Motion Control
Rotary Position Sensor

Penny + Giles, a business group of Curtiss-Wright Controls (Christchurch, UK), has introduced the NRH275DR rotary position sensor featuring a low-profile sensor housing and separate permanent magnet assembly. With no contacting mechanical parts that can wear, the sensors can be used in extreme and hostile environments...

Products : Motion Control
Rotary Encoders

HEIDENHAIN (Schaumburg, IL) offers the ExN rotary encoders for Potentially Explosive Atmospheres (ATEX) that feature a 12-mm blind hollow shaft in a sturdy design with increased wall thickness. The encoders are resistant to shock up to 1500 m/s2 (for 2ms), and vibration up to 100 m/s2. The IP 66 encoders handle shaft speeds up to...

Products : Motion Control
Air Cylinders

Fabco-Air (Gainesville, FL) has announced the OEM NFPA cylinders. The FCQN Series is a repairable NFPA interchangeable cylinder line that comes with magnetic pistons for position sensing. Adjustable cushions at both ends of the cylinders are included as a standard option. Stainless steel tie-rods are incorporated into the cylinder...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Motion Control Chip

Mouser Electronics (Mansfield, TX) offers the LPC1500 Motion Control Chip from NXP Semiconductor. The flexible controller can drive a variety of different motors including brushless DC, sensored, sensorless, and permanent magnet motors. The integrated circuit is powered by a 72-MHz ARM Cortex M3 core combined with specialized...

Products : Motion Control
Motorized Actuators

Newport Corp. (Irvine, CA) has introduced the TRB motorized actuator series that provides motorized linear motion with up to 25 mm travel in a lightweight package. The actuators are designed as a direct replacement to the micrometers found in manual positioners or other applications requiring a linear pushing motion like...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control

Lenze Americas (Uxbridge, MA) has introduced g500 gearboxes that enable speed-controlled operation with frequency inverters. They minimize losses, so the motor can generate less energy. The lower level of generated heat increases the overall service life. The gearboxes are designed for total integration with a Lenze Smart Motor, which...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Speed Controller

Lin Engineering (Morgan Hill, CA) offers the BL-100 intelligent, compact brushless DC speed controller that can be used with a large majority of BLDC motors. It features an input operating voltage of up to +48VDC, and up to 10 amps of continuous current, 20 amps peak. It also features closed-loop control with adjustable P and I...

Products : Motion Control
DC Motor Controls

Groschopp (Sioux Center, IA) has introduced brushless DC motor controls for BLDC motors and gearmotors. Designed to provide commutated power and variable speed control, the closed-loop controls provide speed regulation over a range of loads. Features include line and low-voltage options, chassis-mount and NEMA 4X enclosures,...

Products : Motion Control
Linear Position Transmitters

Macro Sensors (Pennsauken, NJ) offers the HSIR Series LVDT linear position transmitters that can serve as level sensors to measure liquid level changes from a few inches to several feet in gauging tank level volumes when configured with a float. In this configuration, a stainless steel float coupled to a nonmagnetic...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Motion Stages

Bell-Everman (Goleta, CA) offers the SLS line of ballscrew- and linear-motor-driven sealed motion stages that feature a lip seal design that keeps debris, particulate, and liquid contaminants from gumming up the internal drive and bearing components. Made from a ruggedized polyurethane elastomer, the seal integrates with the...

Products : Motion Control
Position Sensor

The Micronor MR330 Series fiber optic absolute position sensor system from Micronor (Newbury Park, CA) features 14-bit single-turn resolution. Rotary sensors are offered in two models: Standard MR332 and MRI Safe MR338. The absolute rotary encoder measures absolute angular position from 0° to 360° via programmable 13-bit (8,192...

Products : Motion Control

Meggitt Sensing Systems (Irvine, CA) offers Endevco Models 41A, 42A, and 43A Isotron accelerometers. The general-purpose, single-axis accelerometers feature 10, 25, 100, 500, and 1000 mV/g sensitivities for the 41A and 42A, with 100, 500, and 1000 mV/g for the 43A. Amplitude response of ±5% is 1 to 10,000 Hz. The stud-mounted...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
EtherCAT Drive Modules

ACS Motion Control (Bloomington, MN) has introduced UDMMC compact EtherCAT modules that feature two and four universal drives with ratings of 12 Vdc to 80Vdc, and 2.5A (5A peak) to 20A (40A peak) per drive. Each drive is programmable to control a two-or three-phase servomotor, a DC brush motor, a voice coil motor, and a...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Workholding Vice

The RZM Centric Vice from Röhm Products of America (Lawrenceville, GA) provides work-holding rigidity and contributes to higher-accuracy 5-axis machining. The vice’s design features clamping jaws positioned relatively high, and a horizontal spindle situated at the top of the vice and closer to the jaws. The jaws are shorter...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Motion Controllers

Trio Motion Technology (Freeport, PA) has introduced the MC403-Z motion controller in two versions offering control of two or three axes. The core axis connections can be configured as pulse and direction outputs to drives, or as incremental encoder feedback inputs or simulated encoder outputs. The three-axis variant allows...

Products : Motion Control
Linear Motor Stages

Kollmorgen (Radford, VA) has introduced MMG series linear motor stages in four models that deliver 25-mm, 50-mm, 100-mm, and 150-mm travel. They provide uncompensated accuracy from 6 um to 14 um, and resolution from 1.0 um to 5 nm. Each model delivers repeatability to ±0.4 um, and is rated for 10-kg load capacity. The stages...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Tool Positioning System

The EPPINGER Trifix® tool positioning system from EXSYS Tool (San Antonio, FL) enables exchanges of both static and driven tooling for multitasking machines. Based on the VDI interface, the system provides positioning accuracy within 10 μm between tool stations, and single-position repeatability of less than...

Articles : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Industry Roundtable: 3D Printing

It’s being called a revolutionary change in the way we design and make products – a disruptive technology that will have far-reaching effects for both engineers and consumers. It’s 3D printing, and it is shaping the future of manufacturing. NASA Tech Briefs spoke recently with executives at four of the...

Application Briefs : Energy
Lithium-Ion Batteries Critical to Mars Spacecraft
Lithium-ion batteries
Yardney Technical Products
East Greenwich, RI

On November 18, 2013, the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft was launched into space to begin its ten-month journey to Mars. The spacecraft is...

Application Briefs : Green Design & Manufacturing
EZVI Technology Cleans Up Contaminants at Kennedy Space Center
Jacobs Engineering Group
Pasadena, CA
CORE Engineering and Construction
Winter Park, FL

A groundwater technology developed at Kennedy Space Center was used to treat subsurface contaminants near one of the...

Articles : Green Design & Manufacturing
Home Air Purifiers Eradicate Harmful Pathogens

NASA Technology

In the 1990s, NASA scientists were thinking of what astronauts would need to survive long-term missions to the moon and even to other planets in the solar system. One important requirement was a dependable source of food, which could be accomplished by astronauts growing...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Real-Time Minimization of Tracking Error for Aircraft Systems

In many cases when an aircraft/spacecraft vehicle encounters a failure (such as a jammed control or loss of a part), there are still enough redundant actuation mechanisms to safely maneuver the vehicle. However, most pilots/autonomous systems are unable to adapt to the altered...

Briefs : Information Technology
Detecting an Extreme Minority Class in Hyperspectral Data Using Machine Learning

Orbital remote sensing provides a powerful way to efficiently survey targets for features of interest in inaccessible regions of the Earth as well as on other planets. One such feature of astrobiological relevance is the presence of surface sulfur deposits, which...

Briefs : Information Technology
KSC Spaceport Weather Data Archive

The Spaceport Weather Data Archive provides a fully searchable database of weather data gathered at Kennedy Space Center and the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Weather data includes wind, temperature, and humidity data from a surface meteorological tower network; upper air soundings from both weather...

Briefs : Information Technology
Visualizing Acquisition, Processing, and Network Statistics Through Database Queries

Given a date range, the UAVSAR MySQL database is queried to evaluate data acquisition, processing status, and network performance, and uses the Google Charts API to dynamically return images of pie and bar charts to visualize processing and network statistics....

Briefs : Software
Simulating Data Flow via Multiple Secure Connections

A software simulator was developed to simulate data flow from the Interface Data Processing Segment (IDPS) to the Science Data Segment (SDS) for the NPOESS Preparatory Project (NPP) via multiple Secure FTP (sftp) connections. The simulator is a multi-threaded Java program that handles the...

Briefs : Information Technology
Systems and Services for Near-Real-Time Web Access to NPP Data

The recently launched Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (SNPP) satellite, operated by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration(NOAA), is providing multispectral global observations over the next several years to support a broad array of research and...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
CCSDS Telemetry Decoder VHDL Core

A flexible Telemetry Decoder Core (TDC) has been designed to decode Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS) encoded telemetry data. The TDC can be used to eliminate costly ground support equipment by placing the telemetry decoding functions in an inexpensive, commercially available field...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Thermal Response of a High-Power Switch to Short Pulses

Semiconductor switch modules composed of Super Gate Turn-Off Thyristors (SGTOs) have been evaluated. The switches are intended to handle kiloamplevel currents and may dissipate peak powers measured in megawatts. Recent experiments measured the response of a switch module composed of eight...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Solar Panel and System Design to Reduce Heating and Optimize Corridors for Lower-Risk Planetary Aerobraking

This innovation presents a spacecraft aerobraking approach that reduces heating and optimizes corridors, which reduces overall risk. This is accomplished by combining solar panel aspect ratio and edge features with simple spacecraft...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Low-Cost, Very Large Diamond-Turned Metal Mirror

This innovation is a method for fabricating a low-cost, lightweight, large-aperture mirror by constructing only the mirror substrate by electroforming on a master form machined from plastic foam. Electroformed tubes of the same NiP alloy are installed in the foam mirror substrate master....

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Very-High-Load-Capacity Air Bearing Spindle for Large Diamond Turning Machines

Large-load-capacity oil hydrostatic bearings generate prohibitive amounts of heat in large sizes when run at speeds useful for diamond turning of optical components. The viscosity of air is more than three orders of magnitude less than the thinnest oil; therefore, the...

Briefs : Materials
Elevated-Temperature, Highly Emissive Coating for Energy Dissipation of Large Surfaces

This coating demonstrates high emittance above 80% or better at broad wavelengths within the infrared spectrum. It has shown to have an extremely stable emittance at lower wavelengths within the infrared (IR) spectrum, where energy dissipation is critical at...

Briefs : Materials
Catalyst for Treatment and Control of Post-Combustion Emissions

Emissions from fossil-fuel combustion contribute significantly to smog, acid rain, and global warming problems, and are subject to stringent environmental regulations. These regulations are expected to become more stringent as state and regional authorities become more involved in...

Briefs : Materials
Thermally Activated Crack Healing Mechanism for Metallic Materials

A thermally activated healing mechanism is proposed and experimentally validated to mitigate crack propagation damage in metallic materials. The protected structure is coated with a thin metallic film of a low-melting-temperature healing agent. To heal or mitigate crack damage,...

Briefs : Materials
Subsurface Imaging of Nanocomposites

A nondestructive method that is based on modified atomic force ultrasonic microscopy (AFUM) methods has been developed for characterizing nanomaterials. The technology allows imaging and quantifying of material properties at the surface and subsurface levels. The technology reveals the orientation of...

Briefs : Materials
Self-Healing Glass Sealants for Solid Oxide Fuel Cells and Electrolyzer Cells

A solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) is an electrochemical device that converts chemical energy into electrical power. A solid oxide electrolyzer cell (SOEC) operates in a reverse mode of SOFC, and produces O2 and H2 gases. SOFCs are being developed for...

Briefs : Materials
Micromachined Thermopile Arrays with Novel Thermo-electric Materials

Future missions to outer planets will have stringent limits on payload mass. Thermal imaging instruments to map planetary surfaces will be part of those payloads, and, consequently, will have to be compact and low mass. For thermal instruments, another key requirement will be...

Briefs : Materials
Low-Cost, High-Performance MMOD Shielding

High-performance micro-meteoroid and orbital debris (MMOD) shielding can be constructed from low-cost, off-the-shelf materials. The advantage in using this innovation is in achieving considerable reduction in both cost and mass of the shielding necessary to protect spacecraft from hypervelocity MMOD...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Head-Mounted Display Latency Measurement Rig

The device and method are used to quantify end-to-end latency of head- or helmet-mounted display with head tracking systems in a laboratory or in situ. All commercial or custom head-mounted display systems that track the user’s head for the purpose of virtual or augmented reality applications...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Workspace-Safe Operation of a Force- or Impedance-Controlled Robot

Precise motion control of a robot by controlling its various robotic manipulators may be organized by the required level of task specification. The levels include object-level control, which describes the ability to control the behavior of an object held in a single or a...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Cryogenic Mixing Pump with No Moving Parts

Refueling spacecraft in space offers tremendous benefits for increased payload capacity and reduced launch cost, but the problem of thermal stratification in long-term storage tanks presents a key challenge. To meet this challenge, a reliable, compact, lightweight, and efficient cryogenic mixing pump...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Seal Design Feature for Redundancy Verification

NASA has requirements for redundant seals to protect human-occupied cabin atmospheres, as well as fluid and gas systems in space vehicles exposed to the harsh environments. Comparable requirements have been passed down to the International Space Station (ISS) Program, and are now levied on the...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Dexterous Humanoid Robot

A humanoid robot has been created that includes a torso, a pair of arms, a neck, and a head. The torso extends along a primary axis and presents a pair of shoulders. The pair of arms movably extends from the shoulders. Each of the arms is fully jointed. The neck movably extends from the torso along the primary axis, and...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Tethered Vehicle Control and Tracking System

This innovation can control the flight of a tethered vehicle, in an airborne wind energy (AWE) generation system, through the use of a pan-tilt platform and a visible spectrum digital camera, combined with tracking and control software running on a standard PC.

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Lunar Organic Waste Reformer

The Lunar Organic Waste Reformer (LOWR) is a novel technology to convert organic wastes from human space exploration outposts into useful propellant constituents. The LOWR meets NASA’s Trash to Supply Gas (TtSG) objective under the Advanced Exploration Systems Logistics Reduction and Repurposing project by...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Digital Laser Frequency Stabilization via Cavity Locking Employing Low-Frequency Direct Modulation

This project’s goal was to simplify laser frequency stabilization. A simpler system will have many benefits, including reduction of power consumption, complexity, volume, mass, and risk of failure. To implement the Pound-Drever-Hall (PDH)...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Deep UV Discharge Lamps in Capillary Quartz Tubes with Light Output Coupled to an Optical Fiber

Researchers at Jet Propulsion Laboratory have come up with a novel approach to the simplification of the 194-nm light source and optical guidance in mercury trapped ion spectroscopy research. Mercury plasma is generated in a capillary tube with a...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Speech Acquisition and Automatic Speech Recognition for Integrated Spacesuit Audio Systems, Version II

Astronauts suffer from poor dexterity of their hands due to the clumsy spacesuit gloves during Extravehicular Activity (EVA) operations, and NASA has had a widely recognized but unmet need for novel human-machine interface technologies to...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Advanced Sensor Technology for Algal Biotechnology

Advanced Sensor Technology for Algal Biotechnology (ASTAB) is an integrated package of water quality and algal physiology sensors designed to enable algae growers to increase significantly productivity and efficiency of their operations, optimize harvesting periods, and avoid losses of...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
High-Speed Spectral Mapper

The Hyperspectral Infrared Imager (HyspIRI) spaceborne mission has two imaging sensors operating in the visible to shortwave infrared (VSWIR) and the thermal infrared (TIR), respectively. The HyspIRI-TIR imaging instrument is being developed for infrared mapping of the Earth in 8 spectral bands with a 5-day revisit...

Briefs : Information Technology
“Ascent - Commemorating Shuttle” — A NASA Film and Multimedia Project DVD

NASA seeks to preserve, and make readily accessible, historical Space Shuttle launch footage to inspire and educate NASA stakeholders both in and outside the NASA family through the dissemination of the Ascent production materials as a DVD, and through both NASA...

Briefs : Information Technology
High-Pressure, Reduced-Kinetics Mechanism for N-Hexadecane Oxidation

Combustion of realistic fuels is described by thousands of reactions involving thousands of species. Coupling these detailed chemical mechanisms with turbulence simulations is completely impractical because there is no computer powerful enough to solve the resulting...

Briefs : Information Technology
Method of Error Floor Mitigation in Low-Density Parity-Check Codes

Low-density parity-check (LDPC) codes often suffer from an “error floor” in which increasing signal-to-noise ratios do not lead to substantially better error rate performance. Error floors of LDPC codes are often not an inherent problem of the code design, but rather, a...

Briefs : Information Technology
X-Ray Flaw Size Parameter for POD Studies

Nondestructive evaluation (NDE) method capability is determined by a statistical flaw detection study called probability of detection (POD) study. In many instances, the NDE flaw detectability is given as a flaw size such as crack length. The flaw is either a crack or behaving like a crack in terms of...

Briefs : Information Technology
Large Eddy Simulation Composition Equations for Two-Phase Fully Multicomponent Turbulent Flows

Liquid sprays are commonly used to inject fuels into combustion devices, making it important to study multicomponent (MC) two-phase flows in order to reveal their physics. “Multicomponent” is the terminology describing all fuels that are...

Briefs : Information Technology
Scheduling Targeted and Mapping Observations with State, Resource, and Timing Constraints

This innovation creates observations of both targeted geographical regions of interest and general mapping observations, while respecting spacecraft constraints such as data volume, observation timing, visibility, lighting, season, and science priorities....

Tech Needs
Sterility Verification of a Flowing Liquid

A client seeks a device capable of detecting contamination in a liquid flow. The system needs to detect non-liquid particles, bacteria, yeasts, mold, and/or spores in a continuous liquid stream. Any proposed sensing methodology must not physically interact with the liquid flowing in the interior of the...

Product of the Month: June 2014

The USB-2404-UI from Measurement Computing, Norton, MA, offers simultaneous sampling at up to 100 S/s, per channel, on four 24-bit channels of universal analog input. The device is designed for multi purpose testing, and can measure voltage, current, thermocouples, RTDs, resistance, and bridge-based sensors. The...

Articles : Imaging
Blurring the Boundaries: IP and Machine Vision Cameras Converge

In modern production facilities, users are more frequently combining two different strands of camera technology. Classic machine vision cameras manage inspection tasks and yield management, while network cameras (also called IP cameras) handle process monitoring and bringing...

Articles : Imaging
Defining the Smart Camera

Smart cameras have been used in industrial applications for roughly two and a half decades, but advances in processor technologies have made the devices much more accessible and popular within the past 7 years, especially in areas such as machine vision and surveillance. However, when the term smart camera is mentioned,...

Application Briefs : Imaging
Indoor/Outdoor Cameras Improve School District’s Security

Located in Texarkana, Texas, Liberty-Eylau Independent School District (LEISD) has been serving communities since 1886. Today, the district has more than 2,700 K-12 students across six schools, including a high school, a middle-intermediate school, an elementary school, a primary...

Products : Imaging
Line-Scan Camera

The 3DPIXA 3D line scan color camera from Chromasens (Burlington, MA) employs factory-calibrated stereo engineering. To output both color images and 3D altitude data in real time, the Chromasens 3DPIXA simultaneously captures two images of the same object. Height and shape are calculated using special algorithms running on the...

Products : Imaging
Frame Grabbers

The PIXCI® EB1mini frame grabber from EPIX (Buffalo Grove, IL) captures from any base Camera Link device. The frame grabber includes trigger input, strobe output, shutter control, bit-packing capability, 64 bit memory addressing, and video rate sequence capture. The XCAP-Lite imaging program, provided with the...

Products : Imaging
X-Ray CCD Cameras

Andor Technology (Belfast, UK) has announced the iKon-M SY and Newton SY series of CCD cameras. The ‘standalone’ detectors offer -100°C deep cooling, optimized for the soft X-ray region. The 200-micron-thick Beryllium window blocks unwanted lower energies and visible wavelengths, with minimal beam hardening. The detectors...

Products : Imaging
Camera Link Selector

The CLM-602 Camera Link Multiplexer from Vivid Engineering (Shrewsbury, MA) interfaces two Camera Link cameras of any configuration (base, medium, full, 80-bit) to one frame grabber. The CLM-602 incorporates high-speed (85 MHz) interfaces. Multiple camera selection methods are provided, including rear-panel switch settings,...


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