June 2016

News : Electronics & Computers
Thought-Controlled Robotic Arm Mimics Real Limb

Scientists from Tomsk Polytechnic University are developing a robotic arm prototype and its control algorithm using myoelectric signals. The mechanical limb will independently recognize the motions of its owner and perform the same motions as a healthy arm.

News : Medical
3D Printer Produces Cartilage from Strands of Bioink

Strands of cow cartilage substitute for ink in a 3D bioprinting process that may one day create cartilage patches for worn out joints. A cartilage strand substitutes for ink in a 3D printing process. Using a specially designed prototype nozzle that can hold and feed the cartilage strand, the...

News : Test & Measurement
Mobile Phone-Based Microscopes Diagnose Parasites in the Field

Handheld, mobile phone-based microscopes can be used in developing countries after minimal training of community laboratory technicians to diagnose intestinal parasites quickly and accurately. A community-based study carried out in the Republic of Ivory Coast in West Africa found...

News : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Space Station Crew 3D Prints Student-Designed Tool

A college student who won a NASA design challenge recently had the tool he designed 3D-printed on the Additive Manufacturing Facility on the International Space Station. The Multipurpose Precision Maintenance Tool was printed by astronaut Jeff Williams onboard the station.

News : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Bacteria Helps Make Chemicals from Wood Waste

The present-day chemical industry is based on oil. Many chemical products – from plastics through to detergents and solvents, to medication and crop protection products – have their origins in oil and its constituents. A research team has demonstrated an alternative manufacturing method for a...

News : Manufacturing & Prototyping
New Technology “Prints” Customized Pills

Researchers have found a way to make personalized medicine cheaper and easier through a tablet fabrication system that 3D prints a myriad of pills in just one tablet. While there are existing tablet-production methods, they can only fabricate tablets that release drugs with a limited type of profiles....

News : Electronics & Computers
Researchers Keep Hydrogels Hydrated

Engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a way to prevent hydrogels from dehydrating. The water-based technique could lead to longer-lasting contact lenses, stretchy microfluidic devices, flexible bioelectronics, and even artificial skin.

News : Imaging
New Method Combats Virtual Reality Sickness

Researchers have developed a method of combating virtual reality (VR) sickness that can be applied to consumer head-worn VR displays such as the Sony PlayStation VR. The approach dynamically, yet subtly, changes the user’s field of view (FOV) in response to visually perceived motion.

News : Motion Control
Soft Actuator Provides Gentle Strength for Robots

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart developed a motion system that is compliant and can be integrated in robots thanks to its space-saving design. The device consists of a dielectric elastomer actuator (DEA), which is a membrane made of hyperelastic...

News : Motion Control
Technique Controls Autonomous Vehicles in Extreme Conditions

Researchers have devised a novel way to help keep a driverless vehicle under control as it maneuvers at the edge of its handling limits. The new technology is being tested by racing, sliding, and jumping one-fifth-scale, fully autonomous auto-rally cars at the equivalent of 90 mph. The...

Who's Who
Joe Munchak, Research Meteorologist, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

Using the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory satellite, launched in 2014, NASA and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency researchers have taken the first 3D images of raindrops and snowflakes. The GPM snapshots will help research meteorologist...

News : Aerospace
System Makes Airport Surface Traffic More Efficient

Researchers have developed an optimization system that identifies the optimal timing and taxiing sequences for runway use by a given aircraft. It plans detailed taxiing routes, recommends new routes automatically, and responds to a continuous stream of updated information. The model takes into...

News : Test & Measurement
NASA Tests Technologies to Increase Drone Uses

NASA researchers and drone industry representatives foresee a day when small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) are used in wildfire spotting, precision agriculture, wildlife monitoring, and small package delivery.

Question of the Week
Will VR be the new way to watch sports?

This week's Question: Fox Sports offered virtual-reality streams from last week's U.S. Open, a major golf championship in Oakmont, PA. Sports fans who owned the right devices could watch the golf event on the television while using VR for enhancements: game recaps, highlights of a particular play,...

Question of the Week
Will AI improve vehicle safety by 2020?

This week's Question: As the competition to develop self-driving cars intensifies, Toyota Motor Corp. announced that over the next five years the company will spend $1 billion on the integration of artificial intelligence (AI). Gill Pratt, CEO of Toyota Research Institute, recently said Toyota aims to...

News : Manufacturing & Prototyping
3D-Printed Polymer Turns Methane to Methanol

By combining biology and 3D printing, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) scientists have created a reactor that continuously produces methanol from methane at room temperature and pressure.

News : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Researchers Test Galaxy-Seeking Robots

A telescope project from the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) will use a planned array of 5,000 galaxy-seeking robots to produce a 3D map of the universe. Dubbed ProtoDESI, the scaled-down, 10-robot system will help scientists achieve the pinpoint accuracy needed...

News : Photonics/Optics
SLED-Based Broadband Near-Infrared Source

Avo Photonics (Horsham, PA) design, development, and manufacturing, was commissioned by Luxmux Technology Corporation, to develop and manufacture a solid-state, broadband, continuous emitter for use with their line of miniature integrated spectrometers. The emitter combines the outputs of multiple...

News : Photonics/Optics
Short Pulse Seed Laser Diode Driver

Analog Modules, Inc. (Longwood, FL) recently released its short pulse seed laser diode driver, Model 766. The Model 766 offers user-adjustable pulse width capability as low as 150ps up to 1ns for driving 14-pin butterfly packaged laser diode modules at output currents up to 1.1A. Applications include seeding...

News : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Core Alignment Fusion Splicer

Furukawa Electric (Tokyo, Japan) and OFS (Norcross, GA) recently introduced the FITEL S179 Hand-Held, Core Alignment Fusion Splicer. The FITEL S179 Fusion Splicer can be used on all Metro, LAN and FTTx fibers, including ultra-bend insensitive fibers. The FITEL S179 Fusion Splicer’s large-capacity battery system...

News : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Three-Axis Gimbal Mount

The high precision, AU300-XZ Motorized Three-axis Gimbal Mount from Optimal Engineering Systems, Inc. (OES) (Van Nuys, CA) features full 360O rotation of each axis. The rigid black anodized aluminum alloy frame handles loads to 10kg (22.5 lbs) and has the clearance (300 mm x 300 mm, 11.8 in. x 11.8 in.) necessary for...

News : Photonics/Optics
Researchers Film Droplets Getting Blown Up by X-ray Laser

Researchers have made the first microscopic movies of liquids getting vaporized by the world’s brightest X-ray laser at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. The new data could lead to better and novel experiments at X-ray lasers, whose extremely bright,...

News : Electronics & Computers
Engineers Set New World Record in Solar Cell Efficiency

A new solar cell configuration developed by engineers at the University of New South Wales has pushed sunlight-to-electricity conversion efficiency to 34.5% – establishing a new world record for unfocused sunlight and nudging closer to the theoretical limits for such a device. The record...

News : Semiconductors & ICs
Optics Breakthrough Could Revamp Night Vision

A breakthrough by an Australian collaboration of researchers could make infrared technology easy-to-use and cheap, potentially saving millions of dollars in defense and other areas using sensing devices, and boosting applications of technology to a host of new areas, such as agriculture. Infra-red...

Products : Electronics & Computers
4-Quadrant Drive

American Control Electronics (ACE) (South Beloit, IL) introduces the DCR Series, a low-voltage 4-quadrant drive that provides control of PMDC motors in a variety of applications. The DCR Series is able to maintain variable speed control while batteries discharge, delivering an increased run time for battery-powered devices. A...

Products : Electronics & Computers
Customizable Smart Graphics Displays

The OMEGA® (Stamford, CT) OM-SGD Series of panel meters with bright color TFT smart graphics displays are available in 3 screen sizes. They offer an operating power supply voltage range of 4 to 30 VDC and two alarm outputs. Waterproof NEMA 6 (IP67) versions are also available. Using the provided Simple...

Products : Electronics & Computers
Flexible Circuits

Metrigraphics (Lowell, MA) recently introduced a series of micron-scale flexible circuits and thin film devices. Micron-scale flexible circuits can be achieved with six or more layers high with traces (circuit lines) as narrow as 3 microns (11.81x10-5 inches). Metrigraphics employs a mix of proprietary and industry-standard...

Products : Electronics & Computers
Fan Speed Controllers

Orion Fans (Dallas, TX) has introduced the low-cost OA11/22 dual channel phase control unit that allows users to control fan speed for single or multiple AC fan assemblies. The units work off of 120/220 VAC, can accommodate higher current options by special order, offer four user adjustable speeds (off, low, medium, and...

Products : Electronics & Computers
3U CompactPCI Serial Board

CPU platform based on Intel’s Xeon D-1500 System-on-a-Chip (SoC). The 3U SBC is first in a family of CompactPCI Serial boards designed specifically for high data bandwidth based on PCIe 3.0, PCIe 2.0 and Gigabit Ethernet via the backplane. To enable easy handling of high data volumes, MEN Micro's G25A supports two 10...

Products : Electronics & Computers
Wireless Power Reference Kit

Integrated Device Technology, Inc. (San Jose, CA) introduced a new wireless power reference kit that helps make integrating wireless charging into compact electronics easy and affordable. The new IDT® Qi-based transmitter and receiver reference kit targets designs requiring 3W or less, such as smartwatches,...

Products : Electronics & Computers
Data Acquisition Software

Microstar Laboratories (Bellevue, WA) has announced DAPtools version 6.30 for its line of Data Acquisition Processor products. Though primarily intended for improved compatibility with Windows 10, the new DAPtools Software also provides some significant new features. Among these are: noninvasive monitoring of...

Products : Electronics & Computers
Fibre Channel All-Flash Arrays

AccelStor (Taipei, Taiwan) announced the new NeoSapphire 3605 and NeoSapphire 3611, a pair of dedicated all-flash arrays with dual-port 16G Fibre Channel interfaces and sustained 360K IOPS for 4KB random writes. NeoSapphire 3605 offers 5TB usable capacity while NeoSapphire 3611 provides 11TB in a very compact 1U...

Articles : Electronics & Computers
Teaching Computers to Understand Human Languages

Researchers at the University of Liverpool have developed a set of algorithms that will help teach computers to process and understand human languages.

While mastering natural language is easy for humans, it is something that computers have not yet been able to achieve. Humans understand...

Articles : Electronics & Computers
High-Efficiency Power Amplifier Could Bring 5G Cell Phones

A new highly efficient power amplifier for electronics could help make possible next-generation cell phones, low-cost collision-avoidance radar for cars and lightweight microsatellites for communications. Fifth-generation, or 5G, mobile devices expected around 2019 will require improved...

Articles : Electronics & Computers
Fast, Stretchy Circuits Could Yield New Wearable Electronics

The consumer marketplace is flooded with a lively assortment of smart wearable electronics that do everything from monitor vital signs, fitness or sun exposure to play music, charge other electronics or even purify the air around you — all wirelessly. Now, a team of University of...

Question of the Week
Will flying cars catch on (beyond the 1 percent)?

This week's Question: Google co-founder Larry Page reportedly has invested millions of dollars in two startups that are developing flying cars. Bloomberg reports that Page has spent more than $100 million on Silicon Valley's Zee.Aero, and is also funding a similar firm called Kitty Hawk....

Product of the Month

Stratasys, Eden Prairie, MN, introduced the J750 3D printer that produces full-color, multi-material prototypes and parts in a single 3D print without post-processing. Users can choose from more than 360,000 different color shades plus multiple material properties ranging from rigid, to flexible and opaque, to...

News : Test & Measurement
New Technique Could Improve Detection of Concealed Nuclear Materials

Researchers have demonstrated proof of concept for a novel low-energy nuclear reaction imaging technique designed to detect the presence of “special nuclear materials” – weapons-grade uranium and plutonium – in cargo containers arriving at U.S. ports. The method relies...

News : Electronics & Computers
Engineers Design Novel Multi-Field Invisible Sensor

A team of researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) has invented a novel camouflage technique that effectively hides thermal and electronic sensors without compromising performance. Led by Assistant Professor Qiu Cheng-Wei from the Department of Electrical & Computer...

News : Photonics/Optics
Army Uses Technology to Increase Aerial Delivery Accuracy

Researchers at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory have developed a new system that will enhance the capabilities of U.S. Army Pathfinders as they conduct aerial operations. In response to a Request for Information from the U.S. Army-Africa to remove what is known as the pilot balloon from...

News : RF & Microwave Electronics
New Algorithm Reveals Underground Water Levels

Researchers from Stanford University have used satellite data and a new computer algorithm to gauge groundwater levels in Colorado’s San Luis Valley agricultural basin. The technique "fills in" underground water levels in areas where quality data had been previously unavailable.

News : Electronics & Computers
Disposable 'Ninja-Star' Battery Supports Biosensors

A Binghamton University researcher's new disposable battery folds like an origami ninja star. The microbial fuel cell could power biosensors and other small devices in challenging field conditions.

Engineer Seokheun “Sean” Choi's new design folds into a star with one inlet at its center...

Question of the Week
Would you like to have a voice-based personal assistant?

This week's Question: Google, Amazon, and Apple have developed — or are in the process of developing — voice-based personal assistants that "listen" and respond to verbal commands. The Amazon Echo, a 9-inch tall, voice-operated cylindrical speaker powered by an artificial-intelligence...

News : Software
'On the Fly' 3D Printer Adjusts to Design Changes

In conventional 3D printing, a nozzle scans across a stage: depositing drops of plastic, rising slightly after each pass, and building an object in a series of layers. A new "on-the-fly" prototyping system from Cornell University allows the designer to make refinements while printing is in...

Briefs : Materials
Multifunctional Ablative Thermal Protection System

NASA has developed a unique and robust multifunctional material called 3-Dimensional Multifunctional Ablative (3DMAT) Thermal Protection System (TPS) that meets both the structural and thermal performance needs for a lunar return mission and beyond. 3DMAT uses a game-changing woven technology...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Limboid Reconfigurable Robots for In-Space Assembly

Many future space vehicles, planetary bases, and mining operations will be too large and heavy to launch on a single rocket. Instead, component parts would need to be launched on multiple rockets and assembled in space. To enable versatile in-space assembly, a novel class of reconfigurable...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Cam Hand

A durable gripper tool was designed for use by RoboSimian robots intended for use in disaster scenarios that demand high-force, robust manipulation. The resulting Cam Hand fills a previously unaddressed niche that emphasizes grip strength and robustness over dexterity. The design uses a number of unique features to ensure high...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Launch Tie-Down and Release Mechanism for CubeSat Spacecraft
Launch Tie-Down and Release Mechanism for CubeSat Spacecraft

As CubeSats take on increased functionality, including larger solar arrays for increased power demands and large antennas for science and communications needs, the requirements for...

Launch Tie-Down and Release Mechanism for CubeSat Spacecraft
Briefs : Software
Predicting Magnetospheric Relativistic >1 MeV Electrons

There is an association between High-Intensity Long-Duration Continuous AE (HILDCAA) activity intervals and the acceleration of relativistic >1 MeV electrons in the magnetosphere. All of the HILDCAAs that occurred in solar cycle 23 (SC23) from 1995 to 2008 led to the acceleration of...

Briefs : Software
Optimal Prioritized Actuator Allocation

For formation flying, rendezvous and docking, and proximity operations with small bodies of the solar system, spacecraft require simultaneous translational and rotational agility. The necessary agility is generally provided by combinations of multiple small thrusters and torque-only actuators. To use these...

Briefs : Software
Terrain Model Registration

This technology is a method for registration of terrain models created using stereovision on a planetary rover. Most 3D model registration approaches use some variant of iterated closest point (ICP), which minimizes a norm based on the distances between corresponding points on an arbitrary 3D surface where closest...

Briefs : Software
Error Budget for Pointing at Surface Features From Close Range

Traditional error budgets that characterize pointing capability in terms of a single radial angle lack sufficient information to support analysis of pointing error in terms of distance along a nearby surface.

Briefs : Software
Traceable Automation with Remote Display and Interruptible Scheduler Version 1.04.0

Traceable Automation with Remote Display and Interruptible Scheduler (TARDIS) is a software set designed for use in ground operations. TARDIS is a multi-mission automation framework that supports seamless integration of manual and automatic processing. It was...

Briefs : Software
Java Pathfinder (JPF) Core System

The JPF Core System is a framework to analyze and verify Java bytecode programs. The major component of JPF core is an extensible and runtime-configurable virtual machine (VM) that can be customized with runtime components such as specific instruction sets and plug-ins to observe program execution. The JPF core...

Briefs : Software
Single Doppler Retrieval Toolkit (SingleDop)

Single-Doppler retrieval of low-level, two-dimensional winds is desired to compare ground radar wind retrievals to satellite scatterometer wind retrievals. This needs to be integrated within the growing collection of open-source radar tools maintained by the Python Atmospheric/Ocean Sciences (PyAOS)...

Briefs : Software
Computing Efficient Onboard Analysis and Re-Scheduling

Prior space missions have not routinely used onboard decision-making. The Autonomous Sciencecraft (ASE), flying onboard the Earth Observing One spacecraft, has been flying autonomous agent software for the past decade that enables it to analyze acquired imagery onboard, and use that analysis...

Briefs : Software

libSPRITE is a set of software libraries used in the development of software applications. The libraries provide components for encoding engineering units, math functions, a task scheduler built on top of pthreads, a publish/subscribe data distribution system, and a Lua scripting language interface.

Briefs : Software
Tool for Rapid Analysis of Monte Carlo (TRAM) Simulation Data

Spacecraft design is inherently difficult due to the complexity of the systems involved and the expense of testing hardware in a realistic environment. The number and cost of flight tests can be reduced by performing extensive simulation and analysis studies to understand vehicle...

Briefs : Software
Object-Oriented FITS File Interface for MATLAB

The ability to read complicated Flexible Image Transport System (FITS) files in MATLAB was required for analyzing data from the Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM) cryovac test campaign for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) project.

This software was written to fill that specific need,...

Briefs : Software
Space Station Research Explorer

The Space Station Research Explorer provides current information on International Space Station (ISS) experiments, facilities, and research results through video, photos, interactive media, and in-depth descriptions on iOS and Android devices.

Briefs : Software
Integrated Circuit for Radio Astronomy Correlators Supporting Large Arrays of Antennas

Radio telescopes that employ arrays of many antennas are in operation, and ever-larger ones are being designed and proposed. Signals from the antennas are combined by cross-correlation. While the cost of most components of the telescope is proportional to the...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Fabrication of Silicon-Leg Isolated Bi-Cr Thermopiles

The objective of this innovation was to develop a methodology of fabricating thermopile detectors using standard semiconductor fabrication techniques. The goal was to develop a fabrication process that minimized the roughening of the Si legs during patterning of the metallic couples, and to...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Current Source Logic Gate

High-temperature electronic integrated circuits have been demonstrated in silicon carbide (SiC) depletion mode MESFETs. This process is only capable of producing depletion mode n-channel MESFET transistors. With only this type of transistor, designing a logic gate is a challenge. A previous logic gate design that can be...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Design of Double Layer Rectenna Array for Fault Isolation of Schottky Diode in Operation Beyond V-Band Frequencies

Microwave power transmission using rectenna technology has attracted a strong interest in conjunction with wireless electric power delivery to infrastructure and subjects located at a remote place. A typical rectenna, which is a...

Briefs : Materials
Hierarchical Support for Nanocatalysts

This work focused on enhancing catalyst activity and durability by developing a method to control size, dispersion, and exposure. Existing nanocatalysts are typically fabricated in bulk or powder form. There are monolithic catalysts, but they rely on meso-porous materials as supports. Bulk nanocatalysts...

Briefs : Materials
Control of Carbon Nanotube Density and Tower Height in an Array

Use of arrays of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) as an intermediary for transport of electrical particles (e.g., electrons) and/or transport of thermal energy from one body to another has grown. For example, a CNT array may be used for dissipation of thermal energy or accumulated electrical...

Briefs : Materials
In-Situ Chemical Analysis of Material Surfaces

In order to understand whether the ablation laser would cause chemical reactions within the trapped organic molecules during resonant laser ablation of water ice containing organic molecules, a two-layer approach was devised. The first layer consisted of D2O ice containing organics that...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Ratcheting Threaded Tapered Collet for use in Planetary Sample Caching Systems

Aridged retention interface is necessary to secure planetary sample tubes within a caching system for use in future sample return missions. The assumed retention interface requirements are as follows: the interface shall maintain sample integrity at large deceleration...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Planetary Ice Mining by Down-Hole Energy Injection

Ice has been discovered on Mars and is present in the permanently shadowed craters on the Moon and on many asteroids. The ice is usually buried beneath an overburden of regolith. Evidence indicates this overburden may be a meter deep in some locations for the Moon; for Mars, it varies with...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Laser Architecture and Atomic Filter for Daytime Measurements Using Spaceborne Sodium Lidar

A satellite-borne sodium lidar will provide key measurements that elucidate the complex relation between the chemistry and dynamics of the Earth’s mesosphere, and thus provide a thorough understanding of the composition and dynamics of this region. The...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Rangefinder for Measuring Volume of Cryogenic or Caustic Turbulent Fluids

Specific impulse (ISP), or simply impulse (change in momentum) per unit amount of propellant consumed, is a measure of rocket and jet engine efficiency. The amount of propellant, or in the case of engine testing at the Stennis Space Center (SSC), cryogen consumed during...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Micro-Force Sensing Nanoprobe

The NGXO (Next Generation X-Ray Optics) project has several problems relating to how to bond a very thin glass mirror to a metallic structure without distortion. One problem is that all epoxies shrink (at the micron level) when they cure. This shrinkage distorts the optical quality of the mirror unacceptably....

Briefs : Test & Measurement
High-Channel-Count, High-Scan-Rate Data Acquisition System for the NASA Langley Transonic Dynamics Tunnel

The NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC) Transonic Dynamics Tunnel (TDT) has been operational since 1960, investigating a wide range of aeroelastic and non-aeroelastic phenomena. A dedicated aeroelastic test facility, the TDT is a large,...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Fusible Alloy Thermometer

This work was based on the need for a relatively small passive detector of maximum temperature reached by an object that can be visually inspected. The device requirements are to be hermetically sealed for contamination control, give a clear indication of maximum temperature achieved (non-reversible) with a ~10 °C...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Small-Volume Pressurized Sample Handling System

A method was developed for effective, efficient, non-destructive, in-situ sample processing. Pressure vessels are used for sample delivery and collection, a shaker is used to keep the particles suspended, a back pressure of argon gas is used to keep the system under pressure to regulate the flow,...

Briefs : Propulsion
Generation-2 Lean Direction Injection System

An advanced Lean-Direct-Injection (LDI) turbine engine combustor was developed. Named LDI-II, which stands for second-generation LDI, this technology has vastly improved and expanded the performance characteristics of the initial LDI design by not only exceeding NASA’s N+2 emissions goal, but also...

Briefs : Propulsion
Testing Aircraft Electric Propulsion Systems on NASA’s Modular Stand

As powered flight expands to include electric propulsion technologies, aeronautics designers need to understand the electrical, aerodynamic, and structural characteristics of these systems. Therefore, researchers at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center have developed a...

Briefs : Propulsion
Iodine-Compatible Hall Effect Thruster

The Hall effect thruster (HET) was designed for long-duration operation with gaseous iodine as the propellant. Iodine is an alternative to the state-of-the-art propellant xenon. Compared to xenon, iodine stores as a solid at much higher density and at a much lower pressure. Because iodine is a halogen, it...

Briefs : Propulsion
Burnable-Poison-Operated Reactor Using Gadolinium Loaded Alloy

The problem to be resolved in this work was the use of radial control drums as the sole active reactivity control system for nuclear thermal propulsion, which results in significant rocket performance changes during full-power operation. This can result in large inefficiencies in...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Airborne Elastic Backscatter and Raman Polychromator for Ash Detection

Volcanic ash is a significant hazard to aircraft engine and electronics. It has caused damage to unwary aircraft and disrupted air travel for thousands of travelers, costing millions of dollars. The small, jagged fragments of rocks, minerals, and volcanic glass that...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Intelligent Displacement Sensor Deployment Using MTConnect Protocol over Ethernet

Quality measurements for design validation and certification requirements sometimes require hundreds or thousands of sensors and actuators. Maintaining such a complex system is difficult, especially over an extended time period and inevitable personnel changes....

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Active Remote-Sensing Radiometer

Millimeter-wave (mm-wave) imaging techniques are already a popular solution for imaging through dust and fog. While mm-wave offers excellent penetration to dust when compared with infrared or optical sensing, the longer wavelengths create many problems associated with the specular response of surfaces at mm-wave....

Articles : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Products of Tomorrow: June 2016

The technologies NASA develops don’t just blast off into space. They also improve our lives here on Earth. Life-saving search-and-rescue tools, implantable medical devices, advances in commercial aircraft safety, increased accuracy in weather forecasting, and the miniature cameras in our cellphones are just some...

Articles : Aerospace
Advances in Coating Technology Take Shape at NASA Goddard

The Contamination and Coatings Engineering Branch at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD, provides system-level support in contamination engineering and thermal coatings engineering from concept to mission end of life. This includes development, implementation, and...

Application Briefs : Aerospace
Control Solutions Synchronize Operation of Space Launch System Heavy Transporters
Beckhoff Automation
Savage, MN

Large NASA production facilities, such as the Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF) in New Orleans, are among the largest manufacturing facilities in the world, with more...

Articles : Energy
Recycling Technology Converts Plastic Waste to Energy
Recycling Technology Converts Plastic Waste to Energy

NASA Technology

Glenn Research Center has always been in the business of perfecting engines. During World War II, the center, then called the Aircraft Engine Research Laboratory,...

Recycling Technology Converts Plastic Waste to Energy
Articles : Robotics, Automation & Control
Simplified Machine Design Approach for Optimal Servomotor Control

An often asked question from industrial machine builders or integrators is how they can effectively design or implement the conversion of a machine with servo technology to meet performance expectations. This is a specialized task filled with layers of complexity that can prove...

Application Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Anti-Creep Mechanism Enables Ultra-Precise Motor Table Positioning

Motion control is essential for the digitization and automation of high-tech equipment, but bearings remain basic to frictionless movement. Bearing Engineers, a bearing distributor, recently changed its name to Motion Solutions (Aliso Viejo, CA) to better reflect their evolution...

Articles : Sensors/Data Acquisition
NASA Proxy Maps Reveal Earthquake Damage

On April 25, 2015, a magnitude - 7 . 8 earthquake caused widespread building damage in central Nepal. The Italian Space Agency’s COSMO-SkyMed Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite acquired data over Kathmandu – a 50 x 50 km area – four days after the earthquake. Using the SAR information, Sang-Ho...

Articles : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Inertial Sensors Get in the Driver’s Seat

Two decades have passed since automotive manufacturers began using the first microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) accelerometer to measure strong acceleration and trigger the deployment of airbags (see Figure 1). The inaugural inertial sensor paved the way for more widespread use of accelerometers in...

Application Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Vibration Sensors Add New Touch to Prosthetics

The sense of touch is complex, and an instructor at the University of California – Santa Barbara (UCSB) has the technology to prove it. Yon Visell, assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and his students designed an apparatus that captures the unique...

Products : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Product of the Month: June 2016

Stratasys, Eden Prairie, MN, introduced the J750 3D printer that produces full-color, multi-material prototypes and parts in a single 3D print without post-processing. Users can choose from more than 360,000 different color shades plus multiple material properties ranging from rigid, to flexible and opaque, to...

Products : Aerospace
Handheld Meters for Test Kits

OMEGA Engineering, Stamford, CT, offers the HHC200 Series portable, rugged environmental meters. Digital thermometers are offered in infrared and dual thermocouple models. Also available are light meters and optical RPM meters, a hygro-anemometer for airflow and humidity measurement, and manometers in absolute...

Products : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Sampling Oscilloscopes

The N1092A, N1092B, and N1092D DCA-M sampling oscilloscopes from Keysight Technologies, Santa Rosa, CA, are designed for 25/100/400 Gb/s optical test. They measure low-power, high-data-rate NRZ and PAM-4 devices and feature a FlexDCA user interface. The N1092A has one optical channel, the N1092B has two optical channels,...

Products : Aerospace
Voltage/Current Source

The Model 526 Precision DC Voltage/Current Source/Calibrator from Krohn-Hite Corp., Brockton, MA, is a repeatable DC voltage source and DC current source that provides NIST-traceable voltages from ±100 nVdc to ±111.1110 Vdc to within 20 ppm. Up to 32 storage output settings are provided. Selecting voltages and current...

Products : Aerospace
Power Meters

Yokogawa Corporation of America, Newnan, GA, announced the WT300E series compact power meters that consists of the WT310E single-phase, WT310EH single-phase high current, WT332E two-element, and WT333E three-element models. These units offer enhanced measurement accuracy of 0.1% of reading +0.05% of range. They provide measurement...

Products : Aerospace
Leak Detector

Pfeiffer Vacuum, Nashua, NH, offers the ASI 35 modular leak detection system for tracer gases helium and hydrogen in integral and localizing test procedures or a combination of both. An optional user interface can be controlled by PC or PLC. The system can be used in vacuum or sniffing test modes. The electronics module is suitable...

Products : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Power Analyzer

Tektronix, Beaverton, OR, introduced the PA3000 1- to 4-channel AC/DC power analyzer for testing single- and multiphase, high-efficiency AC-DC and DC-AC power supplies. It features 10-milliwatt standby power measurement capabilities and 1-MHz bandwidth. The unit includes more than 50 standard measurement functions, including...

Products : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Mechatronics Platform

Eplan, Monheim, Germany, introduced Syngineer, a communication and information platform that interfaces MCAD, ECAD, and PLC software directly through the mechatronic structure. It synchronizes mechanical engineering, controls engineering, and software engineering, and models the mechatronic structure of a machine consisting...

Products : Aerospace
Dual-Channel Transceiver

Red Rapids, Richardson, TX, introduced the Model 372 FPGA-configurable dual-channel transceiver that features a dual-channel 16-bit analog-to-digital converter (ADC) and dual-channel 16-bit digital-to-analog converter (DAC) clocked at 310 MHz. The converters are coupled to a Xilinx Kintex-7 FPGA that is also connected to...

Products : Manufacturing & Prototyping
EMI-Shielded Vents and Filters

Tech-Etch, Plymouth, MA, offers EMI-shielded vents and air filters in most shapes and sizes. Nine different aluminum honeycomb vents are offered in both standard and custom configurations. Shielded fan vents are available in six sizes, and a BeCu gasket can be added to the frame. Quiet vents in 66 sizes with...

Products : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Motor Drive

The RoadRunner SoftStep R213S microstepping motor drive from Testra Corp. (Tempe, AZ) features an onboard processor that treats the input steps as small vector moves, and chains them together with 250 or 256 microsteps per regular motor step with controlled accelerations. Dual chopper stabilized current comparators and...

Products : Manufacturing & Prototyping

ALM Positioners (Rock Island, IL) released the Model MHL1P 10,000-pound-capacity single-column positioner that features 68.5" vertical travel in 35 seconds; a pendant-controlled, 4-HP, column-mounted hydraulic unit for lifting and lowering; solenoid- controlled safety pawls; 360-degree CW or CCW rotation; a rotator with 267,200...

Products : Motion Control
Linear Slide

Haydon Kerk Motion Solutions (Waterbury, CT) introduced the WGS Wide Guide Screw linear slide that utilizes a screw-driven carriage. Length and speed are not limited by critical screw speed, allowing high RPM, linear speed, and long stroke lengths. The slide offers stroke options of 6, 12, and 18" in three leads (0.1, 0.5, and...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Angle Sensors

Novotechnik U.S. (Southborough, MA) introduced the RSX-7900 Series angle sensors that provide up to IP69K ingress protection and ISO13849 PL-d safety compliance in a non-contacting design. The sensors are available in six standard measuring ranges with angles from 0 to 60, to 0 to 360 degrees with unrestricted rotation. Resolution...

Products : Manufacturing & Prototyping

Aerotech (Pittsburgh, PA) offers the HEX500-350HL high-load, six-degree-of-freedom hexapod for applications in sensor testing and high-force device manipulation. It is actuated with six struts that are built with preloaded bearings, ball screws, and drive components, and is driven by AC brushless, slotless servomotors that are directly...

Products : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Level Indicator

The Model BM-T tilt Switch from BinMaster (Lincoln, NE) is a level indicator used for point level detection of heavy materials in bins, tanks, or silos, or over a conveyor belt or open pile. It is suspended vertically over a control point using a wire rope, chain, or flexible hanger. As the material level rises, the switch tips...

Products : Robotics, Automation & Control
Machine Controller

Mitsubishi Electric Automation (Vernon Hills, IL) introduced the iQ-R Series machine control system that incorporates sequence, motion, safety, process, and C language control into one platform. The control platform is designed for applications requiring integrated motion and safety control, tight synchronization between...

Products : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Door Protection System

An electromechanical function from Kiekert AG (Heiligenhaus, Germany/Wixom, MI) prevents car doors from unintentionally striking nearby obstacles. The “i-protect” technology features a door-brake and sensor system for environment recognition.

Products : Manufacturing & Prototyping

Toshiba America Electronic Components (San Jose, CA) has released a group of 30 microcontrollers (MCUs) based on the ARM® Cortex®-M3 core. The M3H MCUs are fabricated with an embedded flash memory process. Target applications include motor control, consumer electronics, office automation equipment, and housing and facility...

Products : Manufacturing & Prototyping

Fluke (Everett, WA) has announced the 279 FC TRMS Thermal Multimeter. The test tool integrates a digital multimeter (DMM) with a thermal camera. Using the 279 FC imager, technicians can check for hot spots in fuses, wires, insulators, connectors, splices, and switches; the DMM troubleshoots and analyzes issues.

Products : Sensors/Data Acquisition

The IGA 140/23 pyrometer from LumaSense Technologies (Santa Clara, CA) offers non-contact temperature measurement on metals, ceramics, and graphite. The device, equipped with RS232 and RS485 serial interfaces, reads parameters via the provided InfraWin PC software. Parameters can also be changed via PC. Communication options include...

Products : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Sensor ICs

Allegro MicroSystems (Worcester, MA) offers two new current sensor ICs for AC or DC current sensing. Both the ACS724KMA (5 V) and the ACS725KMA (3.3 V) are set in a high-isolation SOIC16 wide-body surface mount package that provides reinforced isolation. The differential sensing technology protects against interfering common-mode...

Products : Sensors/Data Acquisition
IC and Module

An IC and module from Sendyne (New York, NY) performs ground fault detection and isolation monitoring while simultaneously measuring current, voltage, and temperature. The AEC-Q100-qualified SFPGFD adheres to international standards and regulations for isolation monitoring in plug-in electric vehicles (xEVs).

Products : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Touchless Variable Gap Sensor

PIHER Sensors and Controls S.A. (Brighton MI), a Meggitt company, has introduced a two-piece magnetic Hall effect variable gap sensor that maintains stable electrical output and specified linearity on mobile shafts, despite radial and axial movement. A circular arc magnet is attached to rotating shafts or...

Products : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Sensor Kits

The UFS (Universal Fluid Sensor) line of sensor kits from Pillar Point Electronics (Sarasota, FL) uses an infrared (IR) emitter and microprocessor to detect the presence of air in tanks or lines containing non-particulate bearing liquids, such as fuel, water, and hydraulic fluid. The UFS-AN is a modified AN912-2D bushing. Designed...

Products : Manufacturing & Prototyping

The RS-3500 field portable spectro-radiometer from Spectral Evolution (Lawrence, MA) supports fast, non-destructive remote sensing applications, such as chlorophyll/moisture analysis, plant species identification, and forest canopy studies. The 7-lb RS-3500 features no moving optical parts.

Products : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Proximity Sensor

Littelfuse (Chicago, IL) has released the 59040 Series press-fit reed sensor. No screws, brackets, or attachment accessories are needed for installation. The magnetically operated Firecracker sensor press-fits securely into a 3/8" (9.5 mm) diameter hole.

Products : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Current Sensors

TDK Corporation (Tokyo, Japan/Irving, TX) has added the new 600-A CCT series to its clamp AC current sensors. The CCT406393-600-36 sensor has a clamp inner diameter of 36 mm and external dimensions of 56 × 67× 96 mm. Output current is 200 mA.

Products : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Three-Axis Magnetic Sensor

MEMSIC (Andover, MA) offers the MMC3630KJ magnetometer for portable devices. The magnetometer includes an integrated monolithic 3-axis AMR sensor and a signal conditioning ASIC. The BGA package measures 1.2 × 1.2 × 0.5 mm, and the MMC3630KJ reaches ±30G range. With 600Hz magnetic sensing bandwidth, the series...

Products : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Pressure Sensors

All Sensors Corp. (Morgan Hill, CA) has announced the SPM 401 Series of stainless-steel, media-isolated pressure sensors. The pressure sensor is compatible with 316L stainless steel, a type of steel that increases corrosion resistance, improves resistance to pitting from chloride ion solutions, and provides increased strength at...

Products : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Night-Vision Imaging

OleaVision™ See-Through Wall Technology from Olea Sensor Networks (Reno, NV) functions optimally at a distance of 3 to 4 meters from the target surface, requiring no contact with the wall. The lightweight device, smaller than a typical smartphone, “sees” through most wall materials, regardless of whether the monitored...

Products : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Vision Sensors

The SBSI series of vision sensors from Festo (Hauppauge, NY) feature rugged IP67 housing, built-in lighting, and EtherNet/IP capability. SBSI sensors, which read 1D and 2D bar codes, can be ordered as components, portions of a subsystem ready for assembly, or parts of a plug-and-play module.

Products : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Surface Profiling Sensors

OGP® (Rochester NY), a division of Quality Vision International (QVI®), has introduced its TeleStar® Probe sensor. TeleStar Probe, a self-contained off-axis partial coherence interferometric range sensor for surface contour measurement, offers measured point resolution in the sub-micron (< 0.1 micron) space. The...

Products : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Magnetic Position Sensors

The new AS5170 and AS5171 automotive sensors from ams AG (Premstaetten, Austria) were developed as SEooC (Safety Element out of Context) devices, as defined in the ISO26262 functional safety standard. The magnetic position sensors have a System-in- Package (SiP) format. The space-saving package enables the placement of...

Products : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Surface Sensors

Sensofar Metrology (Terrassa, Spain/Scottsdale, AZ) has released two new surface metrology systems. The S lynx, a non-contact 3D surface profiler, integrates confocal, interferometry, and focus variation techniques into the same sensor head. The S onix, an ultra-compact 3D surface sensor, is purpose-designed for high-speed...

Products : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Wireless Switches

New wireless, batteryless limit switches from Steute Industrial Controls (Ridgefield, CT) include an internal electrodynamic energy generator. Displacement of the actuator generates power to send a uniquely coded signal to one or more compatible, easily-programmed receivers. If the limit switch does not receive the confirmation...

News : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
'Hourglass' Concept Improves Liquid Batteries

A flow battery can be recharged quickly by replacing its electrolyte liquid. Previous versions of liquid batteries, however, have relied on complex systems of tanks, valves, and pumps, adding to the cost and providing multiple opportunities for possible leaks and failures. A new liquid battery...

Joe Munchak, Research Meteorologist, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD

Using the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory satellite, launched in 2014, NASA and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency researchers have taken the first 3D images of raindrops and snowflakes. The GPM snapshots will help research meteorologist Joe...

Articles : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Making Sense from Sensors: How to Build a Sensor Fusion Engine

The presence of more than 1 billion sensor-rich smartphones and the intense interest surrounding the Internet of Things has drawn wide attention to all the potential and possibilities of sensor fusion engines. Availability of context data and general real-world data in digital format...