August 2006

Design Analysis in Product Innovation

Recorded August 17, 2006

Product innovation has recently come to the forefront as one of the truly sustainable competitive advantages a company can develop in the product development process. One common roadblock to the innovative process is the time and cost to prototype the endless variety of...

Briefs : Medical
Regulating Glucose and pH, and Monitoring Oxygen in a Bioreactor

Figure 1 is a simplified schematic diagram of a system that automatically regulates the concentration of glucose or pH in a liquid culture medium that is circulated through a rotating-wall perfused bioreactor. Another system, shown in Figure 2, monitors the concentration of oxygen...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
IMU/GPS System Provides Position and Attitude Data

A special navigation system is being developed to provide high-quality information on the position and attitude of a moving platform (an aircraft or spacecraft), for use in pointing and stabilization of a hyperspectral remote-sensing system carried aboard the platform. The system also serves to...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Compact, Efficient Drive Circuit for a Piezoelectric Pump

Figure 1 depicts a switching circuit that drives a piezoelectric pump at a high voltage with a polarity that alternates at the desired mechanical pump frequency. This circuit offers advantages of (1) high energy efficiency relative to conventional direct-drive circuits and (2) compactness...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Developing Signal Pattern Recognition Programs

Pattern Interpretation and Recognition Application Toolkit Environment (PIRATE) is a block-oriented software system that aids the development of application programs that analyze signals in real time in order to recognize signal patterns that are indicative of conditions or events of interest....

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Mobile Robot for Exploring Cold Liquid/Solid Environments

The Planetary Autonomous Amphibious Robotic Vehicle (PAARV), now at the prototype stage of development, was originally intended for use in acquiring and analyzing samples of solid, liquid, and gaseous materials in cold environments on the shores and surfaces, and at shallow depths below...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
System Would Acquire Core and Powder Samples of Rocks

A system for automated sampling of rocks, ice, and similar hard materials at and immediately below the surface of the ground is undergoing development. The system, denoted a sample preparation, acquisition, handling, and delivery (SPAHD) device, would be mounted on a robotic exploratory...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Producing Quantum Dots by Spray Pyrolysis

An improved process for making nanocrystallites, commonly denoted quantum dots (QDs), is based on spray pyrolysis. Unlike the process used heretofore, the improved process is amenable to mass production of either passivated or non-passivated QDs, with computer control to ensure near uniformity of...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Improved Fabrication of Lithium Films Having Micron Features

An improved method has been devised for fabricating micron-dimension Li features. This approach is intended for application in the fabrication of lithium-based microelectrochemical devices — particularly solid-state thinfilm lithium microbatteries.

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Manufacture of Regularly Shaped Sol-Gel Pellets

An extrusion batch process for manufacturing regularly shaped sol-gel pellets has been devised as an improved alternative to a spray process that yields irregularly shaped pellets. The aspect ratio of regularly shaped pellets can be controlled more easily, while regularly shaped pellets pack more...

Briefs : Information Technology
Fast Lossless Compression of Multispectral-Image Data

An algorithm that effects fast lossless compression of multispectral-image data is based on low-complexity, proven adaptive filtering algorithms. This algorithm is intended for use in compressing multispectral-image data aboard spacecraft for transmission to Earth stations. Variants of this...

Briefs : Information Technology
Improved Solar-Radiation-Pressure Models for GPS Satellites

A report describes a series of computational models conceived as an improvement over prior models for determining effects of solar-radiation pressure on orbits of Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites. These models are based on fitting coefficients of Fourier functions of...

Briefs : Information Technology
Algorithms for Maneuvering Spacecraft Around Small Bodies

A document describes mathematical derivations and applications of autonomous guidance algorithms for maneuvering spacecraft in the vicinities of small astronomical bodies like comets or asteroids. These algorithms compute fuel- or energy-optimal trajectories for typical maneuvers by...

Briefs : Information Technology
Protocols for Handling Messages Between Simulation Computers

Practical Simulator Network (PSimNet) is a set of data communication protocols designed especially for use in handling messages between computers that are engaging cooperatively in real time or nearly real time training simulations. In a typical application, computers that provide...

Briefs : Information Technology
Statistical Detection of Atypical Aircraft Flights
Briefs : Information Technology
Developing Signal-Pattern-Recognition Programs

An automated system to assist a General Aviation (GA) pilot in improving situational awareness of weather in flight is now undergoing development. This development is prompted by the observation that most fatal GA accidents are attributable to loss of weather awareness. Loss of weather awareness, in...

Briefs : Information Technology
NASA's Aviation Safety and Modeling Project

The Aviation Safety Monitoring and Modeling (ASMM) Project of NASA’s Aviation Safety program is cultivating sources of data and developing automated computer hardware and software to facilitate efficient, comprehensive, and accurate analyses of the data collected from large, heterogeneous databases...

Briefs : Materials
Vaporizable Scaffolds for Fabricating Thermoelectric Modules

A process for fabricating thermoelectric modules with vacuum gaps separating the thermoelectric legs has been conceived, and the feasibility of some essential parts of the process has been demonstrated. The vacuum gaps are needed to electrically insulate the legs from each other. The...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Interferometric System for Measuring Thickness of Sea Ice

The cryospheric advanced sensor (CAS) is a developmental airborne (and, potentially, spaceborne) radar based instrumentation system for measuring and mapping the thickness of sea ice. A planned future version of the system would also provide data on the thickness of snow covering sea ice....

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Measuring Attitude of a Large, Flexible, Orbiting Structure

A document summarizes a proposed metrology subsystem for precisely measuring the attitude of a large and flexible structure in space.

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Satellite Multiangle Spectropolarimetric Imaging of Aerosols

A proposed remote-sensing instrument, to be carried aboard a spacecraft in orbit around the Earth, would gather data on the spatial distribution and radiative characteristics of tropospheric aerosols. These data are needed for better understanding of the natural and anthropogenic...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Multimode-Guided-Wave Ultrasonic Scanning of Materials

Two documents discuss a method of characterizing advanced composite materials by use of multimode-guided ultrasonic waves. The method at an earlier stage of development was described in “High-Performance Scanning Acousto-Ultrasonic System” (LEW-17601-1), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 30, No. 3...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Microscale Regenerative Heat Exchanger

The device illustrated in Figure 1 is designed primarily for use as a regenerative heat exchanger in a miniature Stirling engine or Stirling-cycle heat pump. A regenerative heat exchanger (sometimes called, simply, a “regenerator” in the Stirling-engine art) is basically a thermal capacitor: Its role in...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Design and Selection Considerations for High-Temperature Aerospace Accelerometers

Accelerometers used for shock and vibration measurement in extreme environments require special consideration in the design and manufacturing process. Certain unique applications can require the same accelerometer to function from -54 to 649 °C (-65 to 1,200 °...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
MMIC Power Amplifier Puts Out >40 mW From 75 to 110 GHz

A three-stage monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) W-band amplifier has been constructed and tested in a continuing effort to develop amplifiers as well as oscillators, frequency multipliers, and mixers capable of operating over wide frequency bands that extend above 100 GHz....

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Dual Common Planes for Time Multiplexing of Dual-Color QWIPs

A proposed improved method of externally controlled time multiplexing of the readouts of focal plane arrays of pairs of stacked quantum well infrared photodetectors (QWIPs) that operate in different wavelength bands is based on a dual detector common plane circuit configuration. The...

Briefs : Software
Implementing Access to Data Distributed on Many Processors
A reference architecture is defined for an object-oriented implementation of domains, arrays, and distributions written in the programming language Chapel.
Briefs : Software
2D/3D Visual Tracker for Rover Mast

A visual-tracker computer program controls an articulated mast on a Mars rover to keep a designated feature (a target) in view while the rover drives toward the target, avoiding obstacles.

Several prior visual tracker programs have been tested on rover platforms; most require very small and...

Briefs : Software
Measurement and Controls Data Acquisition System

Measurement and Controls Data Acquisition System (MCDAS) is an application program that integrates the functions of two stand-alone programs: one for acquisition of data, the other for controls.

Briefs : Software
Adding Hierarchical Objects to Relational Database General-Purpose XML-Based Information Managements

NETMARK is a flexible, high-throughput software system for managing, storing, and rapid searching of unstructured and semi-structured documents. NETMARK transforms such documents from their original highly complex, constantly changing,...

Who's Who
Dr. Murzy Jhabvala, Chief Engineer of the Instrument Systems and Technology Division

Visible light is only one narrow band of the electromagnetic spectrum, and doesn't always tell scientists what they need to know. Infrared, which is outside the range of human eyesight, has for years been used to delve out mysteries of distant stars or to allow...

Articles : Test & Measurement
30 Years of Test & Measurement

In celebration of the 30th Anniversary of NASA Tech Briefs, our features in 2006 highlight a different technology category each month, tracing the past 30 years of the technology, and continuing with a glimpse into the future of where the technology is headed. Along the way, we include insights from industry...

Techs for License : Semiconductors & ICs
Technique Measures Material Properties

Developed for quality control and wafer metrology in the semiconductor manufacturing market, this non-destructive technology may be highly adaptable to measuring material properties such as a coating’s thickness, thermal and electrical conductivity, and material imperfections. The technology uses two...

Techs for License
Diagnostic and Sorting Technologies

This non-invasive technology enables accurate plant quality assessments before any physiological change is perceived by the naked eye. Plants, and plant parts, can be assessed at any stage of growth. The technology is based on chlorophyll fluorescence, highly correlated to desired plant qualities. Stems,...

Building the Financials to Get Investors Interested

In our last article, we planned out the business chronologically; that is, what we expected to happen and when we thought it would happen. Now, we need to assign costs to the steps in that series of events and roll it up into a standard financial picture that investors, members of your board,...

USB-3101 analog data output device

NMeasurement Computing, Norton, MA, has released the USB-3101 analog data output device that is fully compatible with USB 1.1 and 2.0 ports. The full-speed device is supported under Microsoft(r) Windows(r) operating systems and provides four channels of analog voltage output, eight digital I/O connectors, and...

Application Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
CCDs Find Applications in Diverse Space MissionsCCDs Find Applications in Diverse Space Missions
Charge coupled device (CCD) image sensors
e2v Technologies
Elmsford, NY
Application Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Aging Computer System to be Replaced by Supercomputer
Linux Supersystem supercomputers
Linux Networx
Bluffdale, UT
Articles : Motion Control
AC Drives Provide Precise Control Critical to Next-Generation Test Stands

Direct Torque Control (DTC) is widely used as a method for controlling AC motors in many demanding applications. It is a unique method for controlling AC motors. In pulse-width modulation (PWM) drives, the output frequency and voltage are the primary control reference...

Application Briefs : Motion Control
Software Used to Control Master-Slave Haptics Experiment

Haptics, also known as “force feedback teleoperation,” attempts to provide environmental interactions through a robotic system. Users mimic these interactions with robotic arms. By varying the amount of force the haptic devices exhibit, a user can achieve the sensation of interacting...

Application Briefs : Motion Control
Motor Used to Stabilize Remote-Controlled Camera Crane

It is a staple of the summer box office blockbuster: the car chase. Car chases have not only become a vital component of an action movie, they have also had to evolve, with audiences demanding even more thrills. To put the audience directly into the flow of traffic, studio executives turn to...

Application Briefs : Motion Control
Plasma Cutter Utilizes Motor for Gantry Control

To cut through metal and other materials, a plasma cutter sends an arc of electricity through a high-speed jet of an inert gas. When electricity and gas meet, plasma is formed, hot enough to melt through sheet metal, and still moving fast enough to blast molten metal away from the cut. When...

Products : Motion Control
Diaphragm Pumps

Thomas Products Div. (Sheboygan, WI) offers the Series 5002 miniature diaphragm liquid pumps, designed for all-liquid or mixed wet/dry pumping applications. Model 5002F pumps are single-head and measure 1.99 × 1.18 × 3.19". Model 5002FZ pumps are 1.99 × 1.18 × 4.88" and have twin heads. Both are oil-less. Standard materials...

Products : Motion Control
Motor Driver

Allegro MicroSystems (Worcester, MA) has introduced the A3901 dual H-bridge low-voltage motor driver. Capable of operating one stepper motor or two DC motors, the unit is designed for portable applications with a power-off current of 50 nA and an operating voltage range of 2.5 V to 5.5 V. MOSFET output stages reduce voltage drop and...

Products : Motion Control
Servo Drive Module

National Instruments (Austin, TX) has announced the NI 9505, a field-programmable gate array (FPGA)-based, H-bridge servo drive module for the NI CompactRIO embedded platform. The module offers direct connectivity to actuators such as fractional-horsepower brushed DC servo motors, relays, solenoids, lamps, and valves. A...

Products : Motion Control
Motor Controller

New Scale Technologies (Victor, NY) offers the SQ-2300 series benchtop motor controller for computer control of the company's SQUIGGLE motors and closed-loop linear nanopositioning stages. Using the controller, SQUIGGLE motor speed can vary continuously from micrometers per second to millimeters per second with better than...

Products : Motion Control
Anti-Backlash Nut

Haydon Switch & Instrument (Waterbury, CT) has released the “W” series of anti-backlash nuts, designed to minimize backlash between the leadscrew and nut interface. A blend of self-lubricating polyacetal and stainless steel screw material compensates for wear to avoid lock-ups. Available in a range of diameters and leads...

Products : Motion Control
Distance Measurement

The Acam-Messelectronic TDC-GPX chip from Transducers Direct (Miamiville, OH), allows distance measuring of ±1 mm rms to a range of 1,500 meters. The chip has four selectable operating modes: I-mode provides eight LVTTL input channels, a resolution of 81 picoseconds (ps), infinite measurement range, and 5.5 nanosecond (ns)...

Products : Motion Control
Multi-Axis Motion Control

Elmo Motion Control (Westford, MA) has unveiled its Maestro Multi-Axis Supervisor with firmware for support of the DS305 configuration protocol, DS401 CAN network IO integration protocol, and the DS402 motion control protocol. The Maestro is based on distributed motion control architecture and is now also integrated...

Products : Motion Control
Stepper Motor Controller

Nippon Pulse America (Radford, VA) has released the RoHS-compliant Motion Checker MCH-5, a palm-sized, standalone stepper motor controller with a built-in constant voltage driver. Front panel controls enable setting of rotation direction, speed control, position control, operation mode, stop time of the stepper motor,...

Products : Motion Control
Pneumatic Actuator

PHD (Fort Wayne, IN) has introduced the Series PLM pin locating clamp, a pneumatically powered actuator to locate, clamp, and support parts in welding applications. To protect against slag and other contaminants, the clamp is fully enclosed. A built-in locking mechanism fixes the pin in any position to secure parts if air...

Pneumatic Valve

I&J Fisnar (Fair Lawn, NJ) has released the VMP30H multipurpose mini-poppet pneumatic valve designed for controlled dispensing of low to high viscosity materials such as silicone, epoxy, rubber adhesives, and greases. The poppet design minimizes surface area and friction between the valve and the material. A diaphragm located...

Products : Motion Control
Positioning System

The WCS2A/WCS3A PosiTrak™ Position Tracking System from Pepperl+Fuchs (Twinsburg, OH) consists of a U-shaped read head, a code rail and support hardware, and network and control interfaces. The read head optically scans a coded rail to determine a carrier mechanism's position. An internal microprocessor translates a 48...

Products : Motion Control
Motor & Driver Package

The CRK series from Oriental Motor USA Corp (Torrance, CA) combines a five-phase stepping motor with a compact, low-vibration microstepping driver. In microstep operating mode, the driver provides 25 preset angle selections up to a capability of 250 microsteps per full step. The basic angle can be adjusted to match a...

Products : Motion Control
Translation/Rotation Stage

PI L.P. (Auburn, MA) has released the M-110 series translation stages that provide linear motion of 5, 15, and 25 mm. Available are X, XY, and XYZ systems, which can be combined with the M-116 miniature rotary stage. The systems can be equipped with high-speed piezo drives. Features include 50-nm true minimum...

Products : Motion Control
Ball Bearings

MRC Bearings Services (Kulpsville, PA) offers the R Series inch-sized stainless ball bearings for small shaft diameters. The single-row, deep-groove radial conrad-type bearings carry radial and thrust loads in either direction at high speeds. Bore sizes range from 1/8 to 1 ½", and open, shielded, and sealed bearings are available....

Products : Motion Control
Motorized Stages

Prior Scientific (Rockland, MA) has added patent-pending Intelligent Scanning Technology (IST) to its Prior ProScan™ II H101A, H107, and H117, 4 × 3" scanning stages. IST allows each stage to be pre-programmed with a unique set of operating characteristics to that particular stage. The technology also allows the controller to...

Technology Leaders