August 2000

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Atmospheric Electron X-Ray Spectrometer

The Atmospheric Electron X-ray Spectrometer (AEXS) is being developed for performing rapid, nondestructive in situ analyses of the elemental composition of surfaces. The capability of the AEXS to operate in air and to be brought to a surface to be analyzed makes it unnecessary to bring a specimen to a...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Adaptive Camouflage

Lightweight optoelectronic systems built around advanced image sensors and display panels have been proposed for making selected objects appear nearly transparent and thus effectively invisible. These systems are denoted "adaptive camouflage" because unlike traditional camouflage, they would generate displays that would...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Microstrip Patch Rectenna With High Output Voltage

A prototype dual-polarization microstrip patch rectenna dimensioned for an operating frequency of 8.51 GHz has been built to demonstrate a design concept for obtaining maximum output voltage from a rectenna of a given size. This rectenna contains nine square microstrip patch antenna elements in...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Moving Chair for Virtual Reality

An apparatus called a "personal motion platform" (PMP) is undergoing development for use in adding the sensations of motion to computer-controlled simulated environments of the type now popularly known as virtual reality. The PMP was conceived originally for training an astronaut to interact with surrounding...

Briefs : Information Technology
Program for Viewing Remotely Generated Summary Data

The Beacon Visualization (BeaVis) computer program provides a ground-based computing environment for displaying, tracking, storing, and maneuvering through telemetric data streams that contain summaries of engineering data generated aboard a spacecraft. BeaVis can also serve as a...

Briefs : Information Technology
Numerical Speed of Sound

The numerical speed of sound is a variable that is used in the numerical solution of flows from low to high speeds. The numerical speed of sound is an effective speed of sound associated with Mach numbers used in the numerical splitting of a flow into upwind and downwind mass-flux components that are defined on the...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Locally Connected Neural Networks for Pattern Recognition

Neural networks of a proposed type would be formed with computational units called "neuromorphs" attached in a locally connected array. These neural networks would achieve pattern recognition invariant under rotation and translation by exploiting a combination of network symmetry and...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Cross-Correlated Trellis-Coded Quadrature Modulation

Cross-correlated trellis-coded quadrature modulation (XTCQM) has been proposed as a generic scheme with specific embodiments that potentially offer superior alternatives to other highly power- and bandwidth-efficient phase-shift-keying (PSK) modulation schemes. Examples of such schemes include...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Thrust Stand Measures Thrusts of

The development of miniature, cold- gas thrusters for on-orbit propulsion of such small devices as remotely piloted cameras and for inclusion in astronaut propulsion backpacks gave rise to a need to measure thrusts ranging from 0.04 to 0.8 lb (0.2 to 3.6 N). In addition, there was a need to measure thrust in a...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Software for Designing Model Rockets for Base-Heating Tests

The Impulse Combustion Excel (ICE) computer program was developed to facilitate and accelerate the design and analysis of subscale rocket engines for use in base-heating tests. Such tests are performed on the ground to obtain data for estimating the heating effects of hot exhaust plumes...

Briefs : Software
Software for Analysis of Contamination of the ISS

The NASAN computer program can perform detailed analyses of molecular column density and molecular deposition on and around such complex space structures as the International Space Station (ISS). Contamination from both point sources (e.g., thrusters and vents) and diffuse sources (e.g.,...

Briefs : Materials
CVD of Diamond Using Magnetoplasmadynamic Sources

A program of research and development is addressing the feasibility of using magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) sources in the chemical vapor deposition (CVD) of synthetic diamond films. Because of its unique combination of thermal, electronic, mechanical, and chemical properties, diamond has potential...

Briefs : Materials
Oxygen Batteries Based on a Solid Polymer Electrolyte

Scientists have developed a derivative of the lithium-ion cell that could prove useful in spaceflight and commercial applications in which it is planned to use oxygen batteries based on solid polymer electrolytes. This derivative cell, which contains a solid polymer electrolyte and an oxygen...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Microfabricated High-Q Optical Resonators for Microphotonics

Submillimeter-sized, transparent, solid, truncated spheres and ellipsoids for use as optical resonators in integrated microphotonic devices would be made by microfabrication techniques like those used in the electronic industry to make integrated circuits, according to a proposal. Such...

Briefs : Information Technology
Knowledge-Based Software for Generating and Changing Plans

A methodology of computer-aided planning has been developed to (1) accelerate the generation of plans for activities within complex systems of personnel and equipment; (2) increase the quality of the plans thus generated; and (3) decrease the difficulty of predicting and responding to...

Briefs : Information Technology
Electronic Time-Card System

A computer-based automated system has been developed to replace a cumbersome and error-prone paper-based system for recording employees' work times. The automated system minimizes the consumption of paper and eliminates the need for weekly pick-up and delivery of time sheets throughout the Kennedy Space Center. The...

Briefs : Medical
Improved Unidirectional Cell-Stretching Device

An improved stretching device has been developed for use in research on the effects of unidirectional loading on human and animal cells. The device is capable of applying or removing a load (a controlled amount of stretch) on command to mimic the loading or unloading experienced by skeletal muscles...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Gap Welding Preforms

Small, temporary, disposable inserts, called "gap welding preforms," have been proposed for use in attaching electrically conductive ribbons to radio-frequency (RF) electronic circuits. As explained below, the use of gap welding preforms would help to ensure consistency of the ribbon connections and would reduce the time...

Briefs : Medical
Apparatus Measures Attachment or Detachment of Biofilm

Figure 1 schematically illustrates a laboratory apparatus that provides quantitative information on the density and on the rate of increase (or decrease) of density at which bacteria attach themselves to solid surfaces in a potable-water-supply system. These biofilms are potentially...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Software To Detect Malfunctions in Anesthesia Equipment

To reduce response times and save lives in operating rooms, community trauma centers, and remote combat care facilities, a team of scientists working on behalf of Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center (JSC) has developed an artificial-intelligence alarm-management software system that detects...

Briefs : Medical
Device for Testing Susceptibility of Bacteria to Antibiotics

A compact, lightweight, device makes it possible to assess the effects of antibiotics on bacteria. The device safely contains the antibiotic/bacteria mixtures, and its operation involves minimal ancillary equipment and minimal expense of time and effort by technicians. Originally...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Two-Dimensional Active-Pixel Spectral Lidar

Two-dimensional active-pixel-spectral lidar (TAPSL) is a proposed remote-sensing technique for obtaining spatially, spectrally, and temporally resolved information about terrain or other targets. Operating aboard an airborne or spaceborne platform above the Earth or a remote planet, a TAPSL system...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Heterodyne Doppler Lidar Using Pseudonoise Code
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Improved Temperature-Compensating Microwave Attenuators

Improved passive temperature-compensating attenuators have been developed for use in processing radio signals at frequencies up to about 18 GHz. In general, temperature-compensating circuits and devices are needed to minimize (preferably, to eliminate) undesired temperature dependences of...

Briefs : Motion Control
Efficient Periodic Driving of Piezoelectric Benders

Modified Hartley oscillator circuits are being developed for use in driving large piezoelectric benders in periodic motion, as in some piezoelectrically driven pumps. These circuits decrease the time-averaged consumption of power and thus increase energy efficiency by recycling large fractions...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Acoustic Navigation Aid for Autonomous Miners

Miners today use externally powered machines designed to be used by a single operator, the autonomous miner. Many companies offer computer-operated mining equipment that can be used for both high wall and underground applications. Programmable logic controls with ring laser gyroscopes and...

Briefs : Motion Control
Non-Inertial Calibration of Vibratory Gyroscopes

A proposed method of calibration of micromachined vibratory gyroscopes would make it unnecessary to test the gyroscopes at known rates of rotation. At present, calibration entails inertial tests in which the gyroscopes are exposed to tumble and rotation maneuvers on multiaxis precise rotation...

Briefs : Motion Control
Acoustic-Emission-Analysis System for Diagnosis of Machinery

A personal-computer-based system has been developed as a prototype of electronic signal-processing and computing systems for diagnosis of turbines, motors, and other rotary machines through analysis of acoustic emissions. The system includes acoustic sensors that respond in the...

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