August 2003

Briefs : Software
Pattern Matching Software for Machine Vision Applications

The first step of pattern matching always includes a learning process. A “gold” master is used to create a template. This template is used for identification purposes on all subsequent parts. A score is generated depending on how well the object or feature under inspection matches the...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Safety Interlock for Angularly Misdirected Power Tool

A proposed safety system would effect an inhibitory action when- ever a power tool was aimed in a direction outside a prescribed range of allowable directions. The power tool could be a welding torch, blowtorch, laser, drill, or gun, for example. The inhibitory action could be turning off the...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Connecting to Thermocouples With Fewer Lead Wires

A simple technique has been devised to reduce the number of lead wires needed to connect an array of thermocouples to the instruments (e.g., voltmeters) used to read their output voltages. Because thermocouple wires are usually made of expensive metal alloys, reducing the number of lead wires can...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Zipper Connectors for Flexible Electronic Circuits

Devices that look and function much like conventional zippers on clothing have been proposed as connectors for flexible electronic circuits. Heretofore, flexible electronic circuits have commonly included rigid connectors like those of conventional rigid electronic circuits. The proposed zipper...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Modular, Parallel Pulse-Shaping Filter Architectures

Novel architectures based on parallel subconvolution frequency-domain filtering methods have been developed for modular processing rate reduction of discrete-time pulse-shaping filters. Such pulse-shaping is desirable and often necessary to obtain bandwidth efficiency in very-high-rate...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
High-Fidelity Piezoelectric Audio Device

ModalMax is a very innovative means of harnessing the vibration of a piezoelectric actuator to produce an energy efficient low-profile device with high-bandwidth high-fidelity audio response. The piezoelectric audio device outperforms many commercially available speakers made using speaker cones. The...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Photovoltaic Power Station With Ultracapacitors for Storage

The figure depicts a solar photovoltaic power station in which ultracapacitors, rather than batteries, are used to store energy. Developments in the semiconductor industry have reduced the cost and increased the attainable efficiency of commercially available photovoltaic panels; as a...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Parallel Subconvolution Filtering Architectures

These architectures are based on methods of vector processing and the discrete Fourier transform/inverse discrete Fourier transform (DFT-IDFT) overlap and save method, combined with time-block separation of digital filters into frequency-domain subfilters implemented by use of sub-convolutions. The...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Improved Process for Fabricating Carbon Nanotube Probes

An improved process has been developed for the efficient fabrication of carbon nanotube probes for use in atomic-force microscopes (AFMs) and nanomanipulators. Relative to prior nanotube tip production processes, this process offers advantages in alignment of the nanotube on the cantilever...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Explosion Welding for Hermetic Containerization

Figure 1. The Explosion Seals the Samples in the container while simultaneously excluding previous exterior container contamination from the clean environment.Figure 2. Sacrificial Metal is squeezed out, the container walls are cut, and the container walls are welded together on both sides of the...

Briefs : Materials
Burn-Resistant, Strong Metal-Matrix Composites

Ceramic particulate fillers increase the specific strengths and burn resistances of metals: This is the conclusion drawn by researchers at Johnson Space Center's White Sands Test Facility. The researchers had theorized that the inclusion of ceramic particles in metal tools and other metal objects...

Briefs : Materials
Better VPS Fabrication of Crucibles and Furnace Cartridges

An experimental investigation has shown that by (1) vacuum plasma spraying (VPS) of suitable refractory metal alloys on graphite mandrels, and then (2) heat-treating the VPS alloy deposits under suitable conditions, it is possible to fabricate improved crucibles and furnace cartridges...

Briefs : Materials
Antistatic Polycarbonate/Copper Oxide Composite

A composite material consisting of polycarbonate filled with copper oxide has been found to be suitable as an antistatic material. This material was developed to satisfy a requirement for an antistatic material that has a mass density less than that of aluminum and that exhibits an acceptably low...

Briefs : Materials
Stable, Thermally Conductive Fillers for Bolted Joints

A commercial structural epoxy [Super Koropon (or equivalent)] has been found to be a suitable filler material for bolted joints that are required to have large thermal conductances. The contact area of such a joint can be less than 1 percent of the apparent joint area, the exact value...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Self-Deployable Spring-Strip Booms

Booms and other structures consisting mainly of thin spring strips are undergoing development. These structures are designed to be lightweight, to be compactly stowable, and to be capable of springing to stable configurations at full extension once released from stowage. Conceived for use as self-deploying...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Automated Serial Sectioning for 3D Reconstruction

Figure 1 depicts some aspects of an apparatus and method for automated serial sectioning of a specimen of a solder, aluminum, or other relatively soft opaque material. The apparatus includes a small milling machine (micromiller) that takes precise, shallow cuts (increments of depth as small as 1...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Variable Frequency Drives For More Efficient Manufacturing Operations

Energy savings is one of the key ingredients in reducing costs for any manufacturing operation. A simple, but very effective, way to save energy is by making fans run more efficiently. Almost every manufacturing application uses fans, and variable frequency drives (VFDs)...

Briefs : Software
Time Analyzer For Time Synchronization and Monitor of the Deep Space Network

A software package has been developed to measure, monitor, and archive the performance of timing signals distributed in the NASA Deep Space Network. Timing signals are generated from a central master clock and distributed to over 100 users at distances up to 30...

Briefs : Software
Program for Computing Albedo

Simple Thermal Environment Model (STEM) is a FORTRAN-based computer program that provides engineering estimates of top-of-atmosphere albedo and outgoing long-wave radiation (OLR) for use in analyzing thermal loads on spacecraft near Earth. The thermal environment of a spacecraft is represented in STEM as consisting...

Briefs : Software
Integrated Software for Analyzing Designs of Launch Vehicles

Launch Vehicle Analysis Tool (LVA) is a computer program for preliminary design structural analysis of launch vehicles. Before LVA was developed, in order to analyze the structure of a launch vehicle, it was necessary to estimate its weight, feed this estimate into a program to obtain...

Briefs : Software
Abstract-Reasoning Software for Coordinating Multiple Agents

A computer program for scheduling the activities of multiple agents that share limited resources has been incorporated into the Automated Scheduling and Planning Environment (ASPEN) software system, aspects of which have been reported in several previous NASA Tech Briefs articles. In...

Briefs : Software
Software Searches for Better Spacecraft-Navigation Models

ADAPT is a computer program that searches for better mathematical models for spacecraft navigation. The task of tuning trajectory-determination models for interplanetary navigation is complex, requiring an intensive search of multiple dynamical and nondynamical models that yield...

Briefs : Software
Software for Partly Automated Recognition of Targets

The Feature Analyst is a computer program for assisted (partially automated) recognition of targets in images.

This program was developed to accelerate the processing of high-resolution satellite image data for incorporation into geographic information systems (GIS). This program creates an...

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