September 2009

Products : Energy
Solar Panel Power Optimizer

SunMizerTM from Xandex Solar (Petaluma, CA) is a new per-panel DC-to-DC power optimizer that increases solar energy harvest by recovering power that is lost when shade falls on a panel. SunMizer can be installed selectively - only on the solar panels that experience regular shading or soiling.

Question of the Week
Will technology advance to the level of robots replacing people in day-to-day life?

Will Robots Ever Replace People in Day-to-Day Life?

This week’s question concerns robots. Scientists are saying that humanoid robots like those seen in the new movie "Surrogates" are not that far from reality. In the movie, realistic robots take the...

News : Electronics & Computers
Could Small Springs Beat Batteries?

MIT scientists have found that carbon nanotubes could be formed into tiny springs capable of storing as much energy, pound for pound, as the best lithium-ion batteries - potentially more durably and reliably.

Question of the Week
Will electric vehicles finally take off?

This week’s question concerns electric vehicles. For decades, electric vehicles have been touted as the solution to zero emissions motoring. However, costly batteries and the lack of a supporting infrastructure have stunted electric vehicle development. U.S. and offshore automakers continue to step up...

News : Green Design & Manufacturing
A Natural Clean-Up Technology

Researchers at North Carolina State University are demonstrating that trees can be used to degrade or capture fuels that leak into soil and ground water. Through a process called phytoremediation, plants and trees remove pollutants from the environment or render them harmless.

Products : Energy
Reducing the Cost of Energy in Concentrated Solar Power Systems

Concentrated solar power (CSP) and concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) methodologies generate electricity by focusing a large amount of sunlight onto a much smaller area. To maximize efficiency, the sunlight needs to be accurately focused, and the accuracy is limited by the accuracy of...

News : Energy
Algae Blooms Broaden Battery Possibilities

Blooms of Cladophora algae may be troublesome, but they do have a positive side. Researchers at the Ångström Laboratory of Sweden's Uppsala University have discovered that the cellulose nanostructure of these algae can serve as an effective coating substrate for use in environmentally friendly...

Products : Energy
Signal Conditioners Ideal for Wind Turbines

The SCM5B, SCM7B, and SensorLex® 8B signal conditioning modules from Dataforth (Tucson, AZ) are all fully encapsulated, making them corrosion-resistant and well suited for use in rugged environments like wind turbines.

News : Energy
Hydrogen Storage Competition

DOE has launched the H-Prize competition, offering a $1 million award to an individual or team that creates the most advanced materials for hydrogen storage in vehicles.

Products : Energy
Wind Turbine Grounding Ring

The AEGIS WTG™ grounding ring from Electro Static Technology (Mechanic Falls, ME) channels harmful shaft currents away from bearings to ground - preventing bearing damage that could cause wind turbine generator failure, unplanned downtime, and repairs.

News : Green Design & Manufacturing
Tree Totally Powers Custom Circuit

Last year, MIT researchers found that plants generate a voltage of up to 200 millivolts when one electrode is placed in a plant and the other in the surrounding soil. A University of Washington team followed up on this research, and has run a custom circuit entirely off tree power.

Question of the Week
Are you worried about contracting swine flu?

This week's question concerns swine flu.

According to a recent report prepared by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, the H1N1 flu virus, commonly called swine flu, could infect anywhere from 30 to 50 percent of the U.S. population during the fall and winter months....

News : Energy
Step Forward in Solar Cell Efficiency

Researchers at Israel's Ben-Gurion University of the Negev have developed thin films that exhibit carrier multiplication (CM) - a development that is of great interest for future solar cells.

News : Transportation
Mobile Ridesharing Device Reduces Traffic, Pollution

In spite of rising energy prices, many car drivers in large cities still ride alone. Fraunhofer's OpenRide mobile ridesharing service aims to save them money, while helping the environment by reducing the amount of traffic.

Question of the Week
Should there be an airline “passenger bill of rights”?

This week’s question concerns the rights of airline passengers. Several recent incidents of airline passengers being stranded on planes for up to six hours may have strengthened the case for a “passenger bill of rights” pending in Congress. The bill would require stranded planes to...

News
Decomposing Plastics at Sea

Billions of pounds of plastic waste are floating in the world’s oceans. Scientists are reporting that even though plastics are reputed to be virtually indestructible, they decompose with surprising speed and release potentially toxic substances into the water.

News : Energy
"Chemical Fuel Tank" Gives Hydrogen Storage New Hope

Los Alamos National Laboratory and University of Alabama researchers have come up with a new method for recycling hydrogen-containing fuel materials, which could open the door to economically viable hydrogen-based vehicles. The researchers worked within DOE’s Chemical Hydrogen Storage Center...

Techs for License
Tamper-Evident Packaging for Consumer Products

Tamper-evidence properties are often achieved by adding secondary packaging such as foil seals or heat-shrink seals that inflate the cost of the container. This invention provides a proven technology to produce an injection-molded, tamperevident plastic lid for a container that can be used in the...

Techs for License
Microscale Atomic Clock Enables Applications in GPS, and Radio Channel Density

Most atomic clocks are bench-bound, and even portable units can weigh in excess of 10 pounds. This invention is a cesium laser atomic clock that can be constructed using photoresist MEMS (microelectromechanical system) technology. The glass cell measures about 1 cubic...

NASA Tech Needs
Technology to Deposit Spray on the Underside of Crop Plants

A company seeks a technology to enable sprayable fungicides and a new additive that is compatible with current insecticides and fungicides. The technology must treat both sides of the leaves uniformly. Moreover, since spraying equipment represents a major time and cost investment from...

NASA Tech Needs
Fast-Acting, Broad-Spectrum Disinfectant

A broad-spectrum pathogen disinfectant is sought that can kill Clostridium difficile (spore phase) in less than five minutes of contact time; preferably within a minute or less. A formulation that requires longer than a minute is also of interest if it can be formulated to provide ongoing protection....

NASA Tech Needs
Hydrogen Reclamation and Reutilization

John C. Stennis Space Center (SSC) provides rocket engine propulsion testing for NASA’s space programs. Since the development of the space shuttle, every Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME) has undergone acceptance testing at SSC before going to Kennedy Space Center (KSC) for integration into the space...

Application Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Using Real-World Methodologies to Calculate SSD Usable Life

With more embedded systems using SSDs in critical applications, designers are now asking the question, “How long will this SSD last in my application?” To help answer this pressing question, it is important to review the recent changes in NAND flash technology.

Articles : Imaging
Digital Video Recording and Analysis With Laser Targeting

Munitions accuracy provides an advantage in leveraging and applying force and has been sought after by political and military strategists for decades. Reflecting recent advances in technology, during Gulf Wars I and II, Americans watched video on the news of U.S. precision-guided bombs...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Mid-Infrared Reflectance Imaging of Thermal-Barrier Coatings

An apparatus for mid-infrared reflectance imaging has been developed as means of inspecting for subsurface damage in thermal-barrier coatings (TBCs). The apparatus is designed, more specifically, for imaging the progression of buried delamination cracks in plasma-sprayed...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Improving the Visible and Infrared Contrast Ratio of Microshutter Arrays

Three device improvements have been developed that dramatically enhance the contrast ratio of microshutters. The goal of a microshutter is to allow as much light through as possible when the shutters are in the open configuration, and preventing any light from passing...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Improved Scanners for Microscopic Hyperspectral Imaging

Improved scanners to be incorporated into hyperspectral microscope-based imaging systems have been invented. Heretofore, in microscopic imaging, including spectral imaging, it has been customary to either move the specimen relative to the optical assembly that includes the microscope or...

Briefs : Materials
Large-Format Carbon Nanotube Sheets Fabricated With Chemical Vapor Deposition

Carbon nanotube (CNT) sheets, yarns, and their derivative products are beginning to emerge in the marketplace. A productive and scalable manufacturing method utilizes a chemical vapor deposition process for making very-large-format CNT non-woven, textile-like sheets...

Briefs : Materials
Filtering Water by Use of Ultrasonically Vibrated Nanotubes

Devices that could be characterized as acoustically driven molecular sieves have been proposed for filtering water to remove all biological contaminants and all molecules larger than water molecules. Originally intended for purifying wastewater for reuse aboard spacecraft, these devices...

Briefs : Software
Computer Code for Nanostructure Simulation

Due to their small size, nanostructures can have stress and thermal gradients that are larger than any macroscopic analogue. These gradients can lead to specific regions that are susceptible to failure via processes such as plastic deformation by dislocation emission, chemical debonding, and interfacial...

Briefs : Materials
Improvements in Production of Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes

A continuing program of research and development has been directed toward improvement of a prior batch process in which single-walled carbon nanotubes are formed by catalytic disproportionation of carbon monoxide in a fluidized-bed reactor. The overall effect of the improvements has...

Briefs : Materials
Progress Toward Sequestering Carbon Nanotubes in PmPV

A report reopens the discussion of “Sequestration of Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes in a Polymer” (MSC-23257), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 31, No. 12 (December 2007), page 38. To recapitulate: Sequestration of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) in molecules of...

Briefs : Materials
Functionalizing CNTs for Making Epoxy/CNT Composites

Functionalization of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) with linear molecular side chains of polyphenylene ether (PPE) has been shown to be effective in solubilizing the CNTs in the solvent components of solutions that are cast to make epoxy/CNT composite films. (In the absence of solubilization, the...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Parallel-Processing CMOS Circuitry for M-QAM and 8PSK TCM

There has been some additional development of parts reported in “Multi-Modulator for Bandwidth-Efficient Communication” (NPO-40807), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 32, No. 6 (June 2009), page 34. The focus was on

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Circuit for Driving Piezoelectric Transducers

The figure schematically depicts an oscillator circuit for driving a piezoelectric transducer to excite vibrations in a mechanical structure. The circuit was designed and built to satisfy application-specific requirements to drive a selected one of 16 such transducers at a regulated amplitude and...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Board Saver for Use With Developmental FPGAs

A device denoted a board saver has been developed as a means of reducing wear and tear of a printed-circuit board onto which an antifuse field-programmable gate array (FPGA) is to be eventually soldered permanently after a number of design iterations. The need for the board saver or a similar device...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Digital Synchronizer Without Metastability

A proposed design for a digital synchronizing circuit would eliminate metastability that plagues flip-flop circuits in digital input/output interfaces. This metastability is associated with sampling, by use of flip-flops, of an external signal that is asynchronous with a clock signal that drives the...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Two-Stage Variable Sample-Rate Conversion System

A two-stage variable sample-rate conversion (SRC) system has been proposed as part of a digital signal-processing system in a digital communication radio receiver that utilizes a variety of data rates. The proposed system would be used as an interface between (1) an analog-to-digital converter...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Estimating Transmitted-Signal Phase Variations for Uplink Array Antennas

A method of estimating phase drifts of microwave signals distributed to, and transmitted by, antennas in an array involves the use of the signals themselves as phase references. The method was conceived as part of the solution of the problem of maintaining precise phase...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Differential InP HEMT MMIC Amplifiers Embedded in Waveguides

Monolithic microwave integrated-circuit (MMIC) amplifiers of a type now being developed for operation at frequencies of hundreds of gigahertz contain InP high- electron-mobility transistors (HEMTs) in a differential configuration. The differential configuration makes it possible to...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Compact, Low-Overhead, MIL-STD-1553B Controller

A compact and flexible controller has been developed to provide MIL-STD-1553B Remote Terminal (RT) communications and supporting and related functions with minimal demand on the resources of the system in which the controller is to be installed. (MIL-STD-1553B is a military standard that...

Articles : Software
NASA Awards 2008 Software of the Year

NASA’s Glenn Research Center (Cleveland, OH) and Boeing employees have won the 2008 NASA Software of the Year Award for the development of a general-purpose program used to perform trajectory optimization and performance studies for a wide variety of vehicles including aircraft, rockets, satellites, and...

Articles : Electronics & Computers
Industrial PCs Offer Configurable System Options and Quad-Core Performance

Industrial PCs (IPCs) are all about performance, including processors, mass storage performance, and network throughput. In all applications — medical, communications, automation, process control, transportation, military and defense, and more — bandwidth requirements...

Briefs : Materials
Fluoroester Co-Solvents for Low-Temperature Li⁺ Cells

Electrolytes comprising LiPF6 dissolved in alkyl carbonate/fluoroester mixtures have been found to afford improved low-temperature performance and greater high-temperature resilience in rechargeable lithium-ion electrochemical cells. These and other electrolytes comprising...

Briefs : Materials
Improved Aerogel Vacuum Thermal Insulation

An improved design concept for aerogel vacuum thermal-insulation panels calls for multiple layers of aerogel sandwiched between layers of aluminized Mylar (or equivalent) poly(ethylene terephthalate), as depicted in the figure. This concept is applicable to both the rigid (brick) form and the flexible...

Briefs : Materials
Using Volcanic Ash To Remove Dissolved Uranium and Lead

Experiments have shown that significant fractions of uranium, lead, and possibly other toxic and/or radioactive substances can be removed from an aqueous solution by simply exposing the solution, at ambient temperature, to a treatment medium that includes weathered volcanic ash from Pu’u...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
High-Efficiency Artificial Photosynthesis Using a Novel Alkaline Membrane Cell

A new cell designed to mimic the photosynthetic processes of plants to convert carbon dioxide into carbonaceous products and oxygen at high efficiency, has an improved configuration using a polymer membrane electrolyte and an alkaline medium. This increases efficiency...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Silicon Wafer-Scale Substrate for Microshutters and Detector Arrays

The silicon substrate carrier was created so that a large-area array (in this case 62,000+ elements of a microshutter array) and a variety of discrete passive and active devices could be mounted on a single board, similar to a printed circuit board. However, the density and...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Micro-Horn Arrays for Ultrasonic Impedance Matching

Thin-layered structures containing arrays of micromachined horns, denoted solid micro-horn arrays (SMIHAs), have been conceived as improved means of matching acoustic impedances between ultrasonic transducers and the media with which the transducers are required to exchange acoustic energy....

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Improved Controller for a Three-Axis Piezoelectric Stage

An improved closed-loop controller has been built for a three-axis piezoelectric positioning stage. The stage can be any of a number of commercially available or custom-made units that are used for precise three-axis positioning of optics in astronomical instruments and could be used for...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Dynamic Self-Locking of an OEO Containing a VCSEL

A method of dynamic self-locking has been demonstrated to be effective as a means of stabilizing the wavelength of light emitted by a vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) that is an active element in the frequency-control loop of an optoelectronic oscillator (OEO) designed to implement...

Products : Energy
White LED Driver Offers Dynamic Backlight Control

Portable media devices have increasingly larger displays and longer video playback, and require more power. The LM3530 from National Semiconductor Corp. (Santa Clara, CA) employs ambient light-sensing algorithms and content-adjustable backlighting to optimize displays, saving 55 percent of...

Application Briefs : Green Design & Manufacturing
Micro-Molded Spacers Protect Thermal Insulation of Cryogenic Propellants
Micro-Molded IMLI Matrix part
Phillips Plastics Corp.
Prescott, WI
877-508-0252
https://phillipsplastics.com

To achieve a high level of energy density as well as green environmental performance and safety, NASA prefers to use cryogenic...

Application Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Lenses Monitor Hubble Space Telescope Servicing in Orbit
C-mount Xenoplan and Cinegon lenses
Schneider Optics
Van Nuys, CA
818-766-3715
www.schneideroptics.com

Schneider Optics’ C-mount Xenoplan and Cinegon lenses were selected by NASA to monitor aspects of the recent Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission....

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Nonlinear Thermal Compensators for WGM Resonators

In an alternative version of a proposed bimaterial thermal compensator for a whispering-gallery-mode (WGM) optical resonator, a mechanical element having nonlinear stiffness would be added to enable stabilization of a desired resonance frequency at a suitable fixed working temperature. The...

Products
Computational Fluid Dynamics Software

Blue Ridge Numerics, Charlottesville, VA, has introduced CFdesign 2010 computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software that provides a CAD-driven design study environment to let engineers achieve pass-fail and what-if scenarios as part of their workflow.

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Internal Water Vapor Photoacoustic Calibration

Water vapor absorption is ubiquitous in the infrared wavelength range where photoacoustic trace gas detectors operate. This technique allows for discontinuous wavelength tuning by temperature-jumping a laser diode from one range to another within a time span suitable for photoacoustic calibration....

Briefs : Information Technology
Rate-Compatible LDPC Codes With Linear Minimum Distance

A recently developed method of constructing protograph-based low-density parity-check (LDPC) codes provides for low iterative decoding thresholds and minimum distances proportional to block sizes, and can be used for various code rates. A code constructed by this method can have either...

Briefs : Information Technology
Minimizing Input-to-Output Latency in Virtual Environment

A method and apparatus were developed to minimize latency (time delay) in virtual environment (VE) and other discrete-time computer-based systems that require real-time display in response to sensor inputs. Latency in such systems is due to the sum of the finite time required for...

Briefs : Information Technology
PrimeSupplier Cross-Program Impact Analysis and Supplier Stability Indicator Simulation Model

PrimeSupplier, a supplier cross-program and element-impact simulation model, with supplier solvency indicator (SSI), has been developed so that the shuttle program can see early indicators of supplier and product line stability, while identifying the...

Briefs : Information Technology
Integrated Planning for Telepresence With Time Delays

A conceptual “intelligent assistant” and an artificial-intelligence computer program that implements the intelligent assistant have been developed to improve control exerted by a human supervisor over a robot that is so distant that communication between the human and the robot involves...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Battery Cell Voltage Sensing and Balancing Using Addressable Transformers

A document discusses the use of saturating transformers in a matrix arrangement to address individual cells in a high-voltage battery. This arrangement is able to monitor and charge individual cells while limiting the complexity of circuitry in the battery. The arrangement...

Briefs : Information Technology
Gaussian and Lognormal Models of Hurricane Gust Factors

A document describes a tool that predicts the likelihood of land-falling tropical storms and hurricanes exceeding specified peak speeds, given the mean wind speed at various heights of up to 500 feet (150 meters) above ground level. Empirical models to calculate mean and standard deviation...

Briefs : Software
Qualifying Software for Nuclear-Safety-Related Calculations

The Department of Energy’s (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) is the highest- flux reactor-based source of neutrons for condensed-matter research in the US. Thermal and cold neutrons produced by HFIR are used to study physics, chemistry,...

Briefs : Software
Acoustic Structure Interactions

For a wide range of engineers and scientists, the sound generated by a vibrating structure represents a critically important phenomenon. These sounds can be of significance for accomplishing rapid, low-cost inspection of critical infrastructure. For example, there are approximately 600,000 highway bridges in the...

Briefs : Software
Analysis of Transient Electric Dipole

Propagation characteristics of electromagnetic waves generated by an electric dipole are used for a variety of applications, including geological mapping of mineral deposits on the ocean floor, cellular or mobile communications, and detection of unexploded ordnance. Mapping of the regional geology in...

Briefs : Software
Spacecraft Station-Keeping Trajectory and Mission Design Tools

Two tools were developed for designing station-keeping trajectories and estimating delta-v requirements for designing missions to a small body such as a comet or asteroid. This innovation uses NPOPT, a non-sparse, general-purpose sequential quadratic programming (SQP) optimizer and...

Briefs : Software
Integrated Modeling of Spacecraft Touch-And-Go SamplingIntegrated Modeling of Spacecraft Touch-And-Go Sampling

An integrated modeling tool has been developed to include multi-body dynamics, orbital dynamics, and touch-and-go dynamics for spacecraft covering three types of end- effectors: a sticky pad, a brush-wheel sampler, and a pellet gun.

Briefs : Software
Simulation of Attitude and Trajectory Dynamics and Control of Multiple Spacecraft

Agora software is a simulation of spacecraft attitude and orbit dynamics. It supports spacecraft models composed of multiple rigid bodies or flexible structural models. Agora simulates multiple spacecraft simultaneously, supporting rendezvous, proximity operations,...

Briefs : Software
Port-O-Sim Object Simulation Application

Port-O-Sim is a software application that supports engineering modeling and simulation of launch-range systems and subsystems, as well as the vehicles that operate on them. It is flexible, distributed, object-oriented, and real-time. A scripting language is used to configure an array of simulation objects...

Briefs : Software
Efficient Model-Based Diagnosis Engine

An efficient diagnosis engine — a combination of mathematical models and algorithms — has been developed for identifying faulty components in a possibly complex engineering system. This model-based diagnosis engine embodies a twofold approach to reducing, relative to prior model-based diagnosis engines,...

Briefs : Software
FPGA Boot Loader and Scrubber

A computer program loads configuration code into a Xilinx field-programmable gate array (FPGA), reads back and verifies that code, reloads the code if an error is detected, and monitors the performance of the FPGA for errors in the presence of radiation. The program consists mainly of a set of VHDL files (wherein...

Briefs : Software
DSN Simulator

The DSN Simulator (wherein “DSN” signifies NASA’s Deep Space Network) is an updated version of the software described in “DSN Array Simulator” (NPO-44506), Software Tech Briefs (Special supplement to NASA Tech Briefs), Vol. 32, No. 9 (September 2008), page 26. To recapitulate: This software is used for computational...

Briefs : Software
Proton Upset Monte Carlo Simulation

The Proton Upset Monte Carlo Simulation (PROPSET) program calculates the frequency of on-orbit upsets in computer chips (for given orbits such as Low Earth Orbit, Lunar Orbit, and the like) from proton bombardment based on the results of heavy ion testing alone. The software simulates the bombardment of modern...

Briefs : Software
Using Thermal Radiation in Detection of Negative Obstacles

A method of automated detection of negative obstacles (potholes, ditches, and the like) ahead of ground vehicles at night involves processing of imagery from thermal-infrared cameras aimed at the terrain ahead of the vehicles. The method is being developed as part of an overall...

Briefs : Software
Planning Flight Paths of Autonomous Aerobots

Algorithms for planning flight paths of autonomous aerobots (robotic blimps) to be deployed in scientific exploration of remote planets are undergoing development. These algorithms are also adaptable to terrestrial applications involving robotic submarines as well as aerobots and other autonomous...

Briefs : Software
Tracking Debris Shed by a Space-Shuttle Launch Vehicle

The DEBRIS software predicts the trajectories of debris particles shed by a space-shuttle launch vehicle during ascent, to aid in assessing potential harm to the space-shuttle orbiter and crew. The user specifies the location of release and other initial conditions for a debris particle....

Briefs : Software
Oxygen Generation System Laptop Bus Controller Flight Software

The Oxygen Generation System Laptop Bus Controller Flight Software was developed to allow the International Space Station (ISS) program to activate specific components of the Oxygen Generation System (OGS) to perform a checkout of key hardware operation in a microgravity environment,...

Briefs : Software
Estimating Thruster Impulses From IMU and Doppler Data

A computer program implements a thrust impulse measurement (TIM) filter, which processes data on changes in velocity and attitude of a spacecraft to estimate the small impulsive forces and torques exerted by the thrusters of the spacecraft reaction control system (RCS). The velocity-change...

Briefs : Software
Cliffbot Maestro

Cliffbot Maestro (see figure) permits teleoperation of remote rovers for field testing in extreme environments. The application user interface provides two sets of tools for operations: stereo image browsing and command generation.

Briefs : Software
Monitoring and Controlling an Underwater Robotic Arm

The SSRMS Module 1 software is part of a system for monitoring an adaptive, closed-loop control of the motions of a robotic arm in NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory, where buoyancy in a pool of water is used to simulate the weightlessness of outer space. This software is so named because...

Briefs : Software
Digital Camera Control for Faster Inspection

Digital Camera Control Software (DCCS) is a computer program for controlling a boom and a boom-mounted camera used to inspect the external surface of a space shuttle in orbit around the Earth. Running in a laptop computer in the space-shuttle crew cabin, DCCS commands integrated displays and controls....

Briefs : Software
Reaction Wheel Disturbance Model Extraction Software — RWDMES

The RMDMES is a tool for modeling the disturbances imparted on spacecraft by spinning reaction wheels. Reaction wheels are usually the largest disturbance source on a precision pointing spacecraft, and can be the dominating source of pointing error. Accurate knowledge of the...

Briefs : Software
Evolvable Neural Software System

The Evolvable Neural Software System (ENSS) is composed of sets of Neural Basis Functions (NBFs), which can be totally autonomously created and removed according to the changing needs and requirements of the software system. The resulting structure is both hierarchical and self-similar in that a given set of NBFs...

Briefs : Software
Conical-Domain Model for Estimating GPS Ionospheric Delays

The conical-domain model is a computational model, now undergoing development, for estimating ionospheric delays of Global Positioning System (GPS) signals. Relative to the standard ionospheric delay model described below, the conical-domain model offers improved accuracy.

Briefs : Software
Complex Event Recognition Architecture

“Complex Event Recognition Architecture” (“CERA”) is the name of a computational architecture, and software that implements the architecture, for recognizing complex event patterns that may be spread across multiple streams of input data. One of the main components of CERA is an intuitive event...

Briefs : Software
Interactive, Automated Management of Icing Data

IceVal DatAssistant is software (see figure) that provides an automated, interactive solution for the management of data from research on aircraft icing. This software consists primarily of (1) a relational database component used to store ice shape and airfoil coordinates and associated data on...

Briefs : Software
Prediction of Launch Vehicle Ignition Overpressure and Liftoff Acoustics

The LAIOP (Launch Vehicle Ignition Overpressure and Liftoff Acoustic Environments) program predicts the external pressure environment generated during liftoff for a large variety of rocket types. These environments include ignition overpressure, produced by the rapid...

Briefs : Software
LDPC-PPM Coding Scheme for Optical Communication

In a proposed coding-and-modulation/ demodulation-and-decoding scheme for a free-space optical communication system, an error-correcting code of the low-density parity-check (LDPC) type would be concatenated with a modulation code that consists of a mapping of bits to pulse-position-modulation...

Briefs : Software
TurboTech Technical Evaluation Automated System

TurboTech software is a Web-based process that simplifies and semi- automates technical evaluation of NASA proposals for Contracting Officer’s Technical Representatives (COTRs). At the time of this reporting, there have been no set standards or systems for training new COTRs in technical...

Briefs : Software
Geospatial Authentication

A software package that has been designed to allow authentication for determining if the rover(s) is/are within a set of boundaries or a specific area to access critical geospatial information by using GPS signal structures as a means to authenticate mobile devices into a network wirelessly and in real-time. The...

Briefs : Software
Perl Modules for Constructing Iterators

The Iterator Perl Module provides a general-purpose framework for constructing iterator objects within Perl, and a standard API for interacting with those objects. Iterators are an object-oriented design pattern where a description of a series of values is used in a constructor. Subsequent...

Briefs : Software
Robot Vision Library

The JPL Robot Vision Library (JPLV) provides real-time robot vision algorithms for developers who are not vision specialists. The package includes algorithms for stereo ranging, visual odometry and unsurveyed camera calibration, and has unique support for very wide-angle lenses (as used on the Mars Exploration Rover...

Briefs : Software
Relay Sequence Generation Software

Due to thermal and electromagnetic interactivity between the UHF (ultra-high frequency) radio onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), which performs relay sessions with the Martian landers, and the remainder of the MRO payloads, it is required to integrate and de-conflict relay sessions with the MRO...

Briefs : Software
Tropical Cyclone Information System

The JPL Tropical Cyclone Infor mation System (TCIS) is a Web portal

( https://tropicalcyclone.jpl.nasa.gov ) that provides researchers with an extensive set of observed hurricane parameters together with large-scale and convection-resolving model outputs. It provides a comprehensive set of...

Briefs : Software
Dynamic Hurricane Data Analysis Tool

A dynamic hurricane data analysis tool allows users of the JPL Tropical Cyclone Information System (TCIS) to analyze data over a Web medium. The TCIS software is described in the previous article, “Tropical Cyclone Information System (TCIS)” (NPO-45748).

Briefs : Software
Group Capability Model

The Group Capability Model (GCM) is a software tool that allows an organization, from first line management to senior executive, to monitor and track the health (capability) of various groups in performing their contractual obligations. GCM calculates a Group Capability Index (GCI) by comparing actual head counts,...

Briefs : Software
XML Translator for Interface Descriptions

A computer program defines an XML schema for specifying the interface to a generic FPGA from the perspective of software that will interact with the device. This XML interface description is then translated into header files for C, Verilog, and VHDL. User interface definition input is checked via both...

Briefs : Software
XVD Image Display Program

The XVD [X-Windows VICAR (video image communication and retrieval) Display] computer program offers an interactive display of VICAR and PDS (planetary data systems) images. It is designed to efficiently display multiple-GB images and runs on Solaris, Linux, or Mac OS X systems using X-Windows. XVD is the de facto...

Briefs : Software
Mars Science Laboratory Workstation Test Set

The Mars Science Laboratory developed the Workstation TestSet (WSTS) is a computer program that enables flight software development on virtual MSL avionics. The WSTS is the non-real-time flight avionics simulator that is designed to be completely software-based and run on a workstation class Linux PC....

Briefs : Software
GlastCam: A Telemetry-Driven Spacecraft Visualization Tool

Developed for the GLAST project, which is now the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, GlastCam software ingests telemetry from the Integrated Test and Operations System (ITOS) and generates four graphical displays of geometric properties in real time, allowing visual assessment of the...

Briefs : Software
Telemetry-Enhancing Scripts

Scripts Providing a Cool Kit of Telemetry Enhancing Tools (SPACKLE) is a set of software tools that fill gaps in capabilities of other software used in processing downlinked data in the Mars Exploration Rovers’ (MER) flight and test-bed operations. SPACKLE tools have helped to accelerate the automatic processing and...

Briefs : Software
Computing Bounds on Resource Levels for Flexible Plans

A new algorithm efficiently computes the tightest exact bound on the levels of resources induced by a flexible activity plan (see figure). Tightness of bounds is extremely important for computations involved in planning because tight bounds can save potentially exponential amounts of search...

Briefs : Software
Mission Operations and Navigation Toolkit Environment

MONTE (Mission Operations and Navigation Toolkit Environment) Release 7.3 is an extensible software system designed to support trajectory and navigation analysis/design for space missions. MONTE is intended to replace the current navigation and trajectory analysis software systems, which, at...

Briefs : Software
Extensible Infrastructure for Browsing and Searching Abstracted Spacecraft Data

A computer program has been developed to provide a common interface for all space mission data, and allows different types of data to be displayed in the same context. This software provides an infrastructure for representing any type of mission data. Existing...

Briefs : Software
Lossless Compression of Data Into Fixed-Length Packets

A computer program effects lossless compression of data samples from a one-dimensional source into fixed-length data packets. The software makes use of adaptive prediction: it exploits the data structure in such a way as to increase the efficiency of compression beyond that otherwise...

Briefs : Software
Video-Game-Like Engine for Depicting Spacecraft Trajectories

GoView is a video-game-like software engine, written in the C and C++ computing languages, that enables real-time, three-dimensional (3D)-appearing visual representation of spacecraft and trajectories (1) from any perspective; (2) at any spatial scale from spacecraft to Solar-system...

Briefs : Software
Analog Input Data Acquisition Software

DAQ Master Software allows users to easily set up a system to monitor up to five analog input channels and save the data after acquisition.

This program was written in LabVIEW 8.0, and requires the LabVIEW runtime engine 8.0 (free download from National Instruments; ni.com) to run the executable. A DAQ...

Briefs : Software
MSLICE Science Activity Planner for the Mars Science Laboratory Mission

MSLICE (Mars Science Laboratory InterfaCE) is the tool used by scientists and engineers on the Mars Science Laboratory rover mission to visualize the data returned by the rover and collaboratively plan its activities. It enables users to efficiently and effectively search...

Briefs : Software
Alert Notification System Router

The Alert Notification System Router (ANSR) software provides satellite operators with notifications of key events through pagers, cell phones, and e-mail. Written in Java, this application is specifically designed to meet the mission-critical standards for mission operations while operating on a variety of...

Briefs : Software
MAGIC: Model and Graphic Information Converter

MAGIC is a software tool capable of converting highly detailed 3D models from an open, standard format, VRML 2.0/97, into the proprietary DTS file format used by the Torque Game Engine from GarageGames. MAGIC is used to convert 3D simulations from authoritative sources into the data needed to run...

Briefs : Software
Lossless Compression of Classification-Map Data

A lossless image-data-compression algorithm intended specifically for application to classification-map data is based on prediction, context modeling, and entropy coding. The algorithm was formulated, in consideration of the differences between classification maps and ordinary images of natural...

Briefs : Software
Policy-Based Management Natural Language Parser

The Policy-Based Management Natural Language Parser (PBEM) is a rules-based approach to enterprise management that can be used to automate certain management tasks. This parser simplifies the management of a given endeavor by establishing policies to deal with situations that are likely to occur....

Briefs : Software
Framework for ReSTful Web Services in OSGi

Ensemble ReST is a software system that eases the development, deployment, and maintenance of server-side application programs to perform functions that would otherwise be performed by client software. Ensemble ReST takes advantage of the proven disciplines of ReST (Representational State Transfer — a...

Briefs : Software
Data Management Applications for the Service Preparation Subsystem

These software applications provide intuitive User Interfaces (UIs) with a consistent look and feel for interaction with, and control of, the Service Preparation Subsystem (SPS). The elements of the UIs described here are the File Manager, Mission Manager, and Log Monitor...

Who's Who
Dr. Gerard Holzmann, Senior Research Scientist at the Laboratory for Reliable Software, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

After a 23 year career at Bell Labs, Dr. Gerard Holzmann joined NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 2003 to help create the Laboratory for Reliable Software (LaRS), which he currently manages. Dr. Holzmann is credited with...

Articles : Imaging
Choosing the Right Camera for Thermography Projects

Infrared (IR) thermography is an indispensable tool for studying dynamic thermal phenomena. This type of imaging is accomplished with an IR camera (Figure 1) that converts infrared radiation into a visual image depicting temperature variations across an object or scene. In addition, a good IR...

Briefs : Green Design & Manufacturing
Using Volcanic Ash To Remove Dissolved Uranium and Lead
By exposing an aqueous solution to a treatment medium that includes weathered volcanic ash from Pu’u Nene - a cinder cone on the Island of Hawaii - uranium, lead, and possibly other toxic or radioactive substances can be removed.
Briefs : Energy
High-Efficiency Artificial Photosynthesis Using a Novel Alkaline Membrane Cell
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has introduced a new cell designed to mimic the photosynthetic processes of plants in order to convert carbon dioxide into carbonaceous products and oxygen at high efficiency.
Briefs : Motion Control
Computer-Assisted Laser Treatment Using Real-Time Retinal Tracking

Diabetic retinopathy resulting from long-term diabetes mellitus is one of the common diseases that leads to choroidal neovascularization (CNV), a leading cause of blindness. Among the currently available treatment methods, a laser can be used to photocoagulate the diseased areas....

Briefs : Software
Medical Information Network Decision Support System

In order to facilitate a more rapid and systematic transfer of new medical knowledge and capabilities into mainstream clinical practice, a new Medical Information Network Decision Support (MINDS) system was developed. This system is intended to be a platform for storing and fusing medical data...

Briefs : Medical
Quantifying Therapeutic and Diagnostic Efficacy in 2D Microvascular Images

VESGEN is a newly automated, user- interactive program that maps and quantifies the effects of vascular therapeutics and regulators on microvascular form and function. VESGEN analyzes two- dimensional, black and white vascular images by measuring important vessel...

Briefs : Medical
Micro-Organ Devices

Micro-organ devices (MODs) are being developed to satisfy an emerging need for small, lightweight, reproducible, biological-experimentation apparatuses that are amenable to automated operation and that impose minimal demands for resources (principally, power and fluids). MODs are intended to overcome major disadvantages of...

Briefs : Medical
Mulifunctional Electrosurgical Instrument

The Multifunctional Electrosurgic Instrument (LESDIC) is an electrocauterizing surgical device that is comprised of a serrated chisel tip for sharp, blunt, or cutting dissection. It is also equipped with suctioning, irrigation, and coagulation features. The suction can be controlled at variable speeds...

Briefs : Medical
Sensory Feedback System for Prosthetic Hand Using Interferential Current

A new type of sensory feedback system for a myoelectrically controlled biomimetic prosthetic hand was developed. One of the characteristic features of the human neuromuscular control system is the increase in the compliance around a joint with decreasing activity of a...

Briefs : Medical
Remote Diagnostic Technology for Hearing Assessment

Individuals with hearing loss need to have ready access to hearing screenings, assessments, treatment, and consultation. This diagnostic technology facilitates early detection and intervention of hearing loss. It allows for improved monitoring and expands service scope, reach, and access. By...

Briefs : Medical
Three-Dimensional Near-Infrared Imaging of Pathophysiological Changes Within the Breast

This project aims to improve the estimation of functional properties of breast tissue in near infrared (NIR) imaging. This imaging technique (also known as diffuse optical tomography (DOT)) is noninvasive and non-ionizing, and can be routinely used to...

Briefs : Software
Software Corrects for Inhomogeneities in Digital Radiographic Images

When radiographic images are recorded, they are subject to inhomogeneities due to the construction of the radiation source and to the properties of the detection medium (detector or screen). As a result, erroneous results may appear when the digital images are processed to...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Nano-Pervaporation Membrane With Heat Exchanger Generates Medical-Grade Water

A nanoporous membrane is used for the pervaporation process in which potable water is maintained, at atmospheric pressure, on the feed side of the membrane. The water enters the non- pervaporation (NPV) membrane device where it is separated into two streams —...

Briefs : Medical
Wireless Brain Implant Using a Telemetric Electrode Array System

The ability to monitor the activities of ensembles of single neurons is critically important in understanding the principles of information processing in the brain that...

Briefs : Medical
Digital Wound Measurement and Tracking System

Historically, the subjective nature of wound treatment has lead to many trial-and-error therapies to match wounds with the right treatment. The WoundMatrix™ digital wound measurement and tracking system provides an objective and qualitative tool and method to track, document, and measure the...

Articles : Photonics/Optics
Comparing Emissivity Evaluation Methods for Infrared Sources

Heat transfer is governed by three distinct mechanisms: convection, conduction, and radiation. Unlike convection or conduction, heat transfer through radiation does not occur through a particular medium. To understand this phenomenon one must enter into the atomic or quantum realm. All...

Application Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Disk Lasers in the Photovoltaic Industry

Diverse types of lasers, such as nanosecond, pulsed, and excimer, have been considered for various applications in the photovoltaic industry, including edge isolation, edge deletion, drilling for back contact, cutting of Si-wafer, and patterning of crystalline solar cells. High power lasers, with high...

Products
Product of the Month: Continuous Wave DPSS Ruby Laser

The new CRESCENDO DPSS ruby laser from KLASTECH-Karpushko Laser Technologies GmbH (Dortmund, Germany) is available in 100mW and 150mW versions with plans to increase its power output to 500mW.

Products
Custom Light Guide Capabilities

Dolan-Jenner Industries (Boxborough, MA) offers custom light guide capabilities. The fiber optics are high-intensity and feature a cold light that keeps damaging lamp and infrared heat away from samples and the application area. They also boast a reduced size that allows for greater fiber flexibility in confined...

Products
High-Speed Video Camera

The HyperVision HPV-2 high-speed video camera from Shimadzu Scientific Instruments (Columbia, MD) uses a high-sensitivity IS-CCD image sensor to achieve ultra-fast recording, including newly developed multi-camera synchronized recording, at speeds of 1 million frames per second. The video camera offers high resolution...

Products
Camera Link® Cable Assemblies

Camera Link® cable assemblies from Cicoil® (Valencia, CA) are for industrial motion video and frame grabber applications. The flat cables have hollow tubing for pneumatic or hydraulic use, and are less than 3/16-inch thick. The durable and waterproof flat cable assemblies deliver long life...

Products
Laser Diode Driver

The low-noise FL500 Laser Diode Driver from Wavelength Electronics (Bozeman, MT) is compatible with reflow processing less than 250°C. The surface mount chip offers exceptionally low noise laser diode control that can be configured either as two independent 250mA drivers, or as a single 500mA driver. The FL500 can run on a...

Products
Power Switches and Injectors

Power switches and power injectors from Baumer (Southington, CT) are designed to connect gigabit Ethernet cameras or Power over Ethernet (PoE) cameras to standard networks. The components support jumbo packets, a necessity for successful operation of giga-bit Ethernet systems, and are available in standard sizes and...

Products
Optical Interconnects

Molex (Lisle, IL) and Polymicro Technologies (Phoenix, AZ), a subsidiary of Molex, have released Molex LumaCoreTM-based interconnects that incorporate Polymicro’s large core, optical fibers. The complete solution connects large core optical fibers used for data, sensing, and optical power transmission. The solution...

Products
Optical Design Software

Breault Research Organization (Tucson, AZ) has released a new version of the company’s Advanced Systems Analysis Program (ASAP®). Some of the features offered in ASAP 2009 V1R1 include: Conformal Radiometry, BRO Digitizer, Liquid Crystal Cell (LCC), General Uni-axial Medium (GUM), Stokes-Vector Mode for...

Products
Optical-to-Electrical Converter

Highland Technology (San Francisco, CA) has introduced the Model J740 Fast fiber-coupled optical-to-electrical converter. Housed in a rugged, compact, extruded aluminum enclosure, the J740 performs wideband analog conversion of fast fiber-coupled signals from DC to greater than 1GHz. Three versions are available...

Products
561nm, 150 mW CW DPSS Laser

The SLIM-561-150 from Oxxius (Lannion, France) is a CW DPSS laser, operating at 561 nm with 150 mW output power. The laser is available in an OEM version designed for integration, and a plug and play, CDRH-compliant version for laboratory use. Its optical characteristics combine ideal transverse mode (M2...

Products : Imaging
Color Sensors

Pepperl+Fuchs, Twinsburg, OH, offers the VCS210 color sensors that enable users to program, evaluate, process, and display up to 255 distinct colors. With a 100μs optimal response time, the sensors offer a range of selectable settings, including seven different evaluation methods, six different color space modes, and six different...

Products : Imaging
Digital 3D Cameras

Baumer, Southington, CT, offers the TZG01 digital 3D cameras for robotic guidance and material handling/logistics systems. Equipped with an integrated Time of Flight sensor, the cameras deliver spatial capture of objects and components. The cameras provide data on target dimensions and position with a single snapshot that...

Products : Imaging
Vision Software

PPT VISION, Bloomington, MN, offers the IMPACTTM Software Suite 8.3 vision software that pairs with smart camera technology to provide inspection capabilities for machine vision applications. The software’s application programming interface (API) uses the Microsoft® ActiveX® platform for connectivity, linking, and...

Products : Imaging
Metrology Systems

Lehighton Electronics, Lehighton, PA, has introduced the 1800 series systems for the characterization of solar cells and flat-panel displays. The systems feature full automation and control, and incorporate sensor heads for in-line product monitoring. Fully automated conveyor models monitor uniformity of ITO, TCO, various thin...

Products : Imaging
Visual Inspection and Measurement Software

VISIONx, Pointe-Claire, QE, Canada, has released VisionGauge® software for visual inspection and measurement that lets users capture, manipulate, analyze, store, and output images, video, and data. The 32-bit application runs under Windows® and can be supplied as a complete...

Products : Imaging
Graphics Processing Boards

NVIDIA, Santa Clara, CA, offers the Quadro FX series of graphics processing boards. The FX 5800 is a 4-GB board that provides the ability to work with large-scale models and datasets; the FX 4800 is also a high-end solution for professional use. The FX 3800 is a single-slot solution that includes SLI®...

Products : Imaging
Camera Link Video Splitter

Vivid Engineering, Shrewsbury, MA, offers the CLV-411 Camera Link video splitter that interfaces one camera to up to four frame grabbers using standard Camera Link cables. This enables the use of multiple frame grabbers for applications requiring parallel or distributed processing or camera sharing. The splitter...

Products : Imaging
CMOS Cameras

ProgRes® CT1, CT3, and CT5 CMOS cameras from Jenoptik, Jena, Germany, are equipped with USB 2.0 interface and feature a resolution up to 5 megapixels and a live frame rate to 20 fps. The cameras combine the maximum readout of CMOS and CCD sensors with the bandwidth of the USB bus to provide live preview images. The...

Products : Imaging
Single-Board Cameras

Vision Components, Hudson, NH, has introduced the VCSBC64XX series of stereo single-board cameras with a computational power of 7200 MIPS, 256 MB DDRAM, 16-MB Flash EPROM for program and data storage, and can be equipped with multiple head options. The cameras feature the internal VCRT real-time operating system that enables...

Products : Imaging
High-Speed Cameras

Vision Research, Wayne, NJ, has introduced the Phantom Miro eX-Series handheld digital high-speed cameras available in three models: the Miro eX1, eX2, and eX4. They offer a custom-designed CMOS sensor and are offered in resolutions of 640×480 for the eX1 and eX2, and 800x600 for the eX4. Other features include frame rates of...

Products : Imaging
Widescreen Operator Interfaces

Maple Systems, Everett, WA, offers three widescreen graphic operator interfaces available in 4.3", 7", and 10" sizes. They feature a 400 MHz CPU and 128 MB of Flash and 64 MB DRAM. The 7" widescreen displays high-definition graphics on an 800 × 480 TFT touchscreen. Connectivity is via Ethernet, serial, or USB...

Products : Imaging
Fixed-Mount Reader

Cognex Corp., Natick, MA, offers the DataMan 200 image-based ID reader that features real-time data and image transfer, and integration with plant controllers and information networks. Liquid lens technology, an optional feature, provides greater focal range and fast setup time. The technology adjusts the camera’s focus by...

Products : Imaging
Camera System

SICK, Minneapolis, MN, offers the ICR890-2000 CCD-based camera system that reads 1D and 2D bar codes, and includes an integrated real-time JPEG encoder that allows high-quality images to take up less storage space. It also includes increased processing power, support of multiple image output paths, optimized decoders, and extended...

Products : Imaging
Display Panels

Z Microsystems, San Diego, CA, offers the Ground Control Station display panels with real-time enhanced video. The LCD panels use an FPGA to execute image enhancement algorithms in real time for live video surveillance feeds. The display applies image enhancement and edge detection algorithms to incoming video streams without...

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