September 2014

Question of the Week
Are apps making us too lazy?

A San Francisco startup called Shyp is expanding to New York this week. For a small fee, the company will pick up your item, box it, and ship it. The app-based Shyp uses custom-made boxes and QR trackers, and its couriers currently have their own transportation, including bikes. Shyp is another example of an...

News : Software
3D Printer That Could Build a Home in 24 Hours Wins Global Design Competition

New York, NY – Contour Crafting, a computerized construction method that rapidly 3D prints large-scale structures directly from architectural CAD models, has been awarded the grand prize of $20,000 in the 2014 "Create the Future" Design Contest.

Contour...

News : Transportation
'Cloaking' Device Uses Ordinary Lenses to Hide Objects

Inspired perhaps by Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak, scientists have recently developed several ways to hide objects from view. The latest effort, begun at the University of Rochester, not only overcomes some of the limitations of previous devices, but also uses inexpensive, readily...

News : Robotics, Automation & Control
Robotic Fabric Moves and Contracts

Researchers are developing a robotic, sensor-embedded fabric that moves and contracts. Such an elastic technology could enable a new class of soft robots, stretchable garments, "g-suits" for pilots or astronauts to counteract acceleration effects, and lightweight, versatile robots to roam alien landscapes...

News : RF & Microwave Electronics
International Space Station Test Analyzes Rotation of Objects in Space

Objects in space tend to spin in a way that's totally different from the way they spin on Earth. Understanding how objects are spinning, where their centers of mass are, and how their mass is distributed is crucial to any space mission. MIT researchers developed a new...

News : Imaging
Motion Analysis Detects Joint Degeneration

If joints do no longer work as usual, humans tend to compensate this by unconsciously adapting their motions. In the case of knee arthrosis, or excessive joint wear, they shift the weight to the healthy leg. This relieves the worn knee joint, but also delays the pain that would indicate the start of...

Who's Who
Dr. Ajay Koshti, Lead Nondestructive Evaluation Engineer, Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX

Dr. Ajay Koshti, Lead Nondestructive Evaluation Engineer, invented NASA Flash Infrared Thermography Software. Koshti also worked as a Non-Destructive Evaluation (NDE) Engineer on NASA Space Shuttle Orbiter for 23 years.

News : Materials
3D Printer Heads to International Space Station

The first 3D printer is soon to fly into Earth orbit, finding a home aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The size of a small microwave, the unit is called Portal. The hardware serves as a testbed for evaluating how well 3D printing and the microgravity of space combine. The soon-to-fly 3D...

News : Photonics/Optics
Researchers Equip Robot with Novel Tactile Sensor

Researchers at MIT and Northeastern University have equipped a robot with a novel tactile sensor that lets it grasp a USB cable draped freely over a hook and insert it into a USB port.

The sensor is an adaptation of a technology called GelSight, which was developed by the lab of Edward Adelson,...

Question of the Week
Are rechargeable battery modules viable?

Our lead story in today's INSIDER revealed engineers' attempts to power an electric car with removable, rechargeable battery modules. The potentially game-changing technology, however, faces challenges. The modules weigh 20 to 30 pounds, and no infrastructure currently exists for users to lease or...

News : RF & Microwave Electronics
Researchers Control Surface Tension of Liquid Metals

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a technique for controlling the surface tension of liquid metals by applying very low voltages, opening the door to a new generation of reconfigurable electronic circuits, antennas and other technologies. The technique hinges on...

News : Electronics & Computers
Engineers Prepare Battery Module Swapping Approach for Electric Cars

Imagine being able to switch out the batteries in electric cars just like you switch out batteries in a photo camera or flashlight. A team of engineers at the University of California, San Diego, are trying to accomplish just that, in partnership with a local San Diego...

News : Imaging
'Squid Skin' Metamaterial Yields Vivid Color Display

The quest to create artificial "squid skin" — camouflaging metamaterials that can "see" colors and automatically blend into the background — is one step closer to reality, thanks to a color-display technology by Rice University's Laboratory for Nanophotonics (LANP).

The new full-color...

News : Robotics, Automation & Control
New Algorithm Lets Cheetah Robot Run

Speed and agility are hallmarks of the cheetah: The big predator is the fastest land animal on Earth, able to accelerate to 60 mph in just a few seconds. As it ramps up to top speed, a cheetah pumps its legs in tandem, bounding until it reaches a full gallop.

Now MIT researchers have developed an algorithm...

Question of the Week
Will smart watches replace traditional timepieces and computerized wristwatches?

At a fall media event in Cupertino, CA last week, Apple unveiled its smart watch technology alongside the iPhone 6 and 6 plus. The Apple Watch comes in three styles and two sizes, with multiple options for colors and wristbands. The device also plays music,...

News : Materials
Untethered Soft Robot Walks Through Flames

Developers from Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering have produced the first untethered soft robot — a quadruped that can stand up and walk away from its designers.

The researchers were able to scale up earlier...

News : Defense
Unmanned "Urban Beat Cop" Surveillance System Protects Soldiers
Unmanned "Urban Beat Cop" Surveillance System Protects Soldiers

In a non-combat environment, information is typically collected by local law enforcement officers who are "walking their beat." Air Force expeditionary forces in Afghanistan...

Unmanned "Urban Beat Cop" Surveillance System Protects Soldiers
News
Testing Electric Propulsion

Could this be the future — a plane with many electric motors that can hover like a helicopter and fly like a plane, and that could revolutionize air travel?

Question of the Week
Electronic Noses Detect Chemical Warfare Gases

Researchers at the Polytechnic University of Valencia have developed a prototype electronic "nose" for the detection of chemical warfare gases, mainly nerve gas, such as Sarin, Soman, and Tabun.

News
NASA Completes Successful Tests on Composite Cryotank

NASA has completed a complex series of tests on one of the largest composite cryogenic fuel tanks ever manufactured, bringing the aerospace industry much closer to designing, building, and flying lightweight, composite tanks on rockets.

News
Chip-Based Platform Could Simplify Measurement of Single Molecules

Researchers at UC Santa Cruz have developed a new approach for studying single molecules and nanoparticles by combining electrical and optical measurements on an integrated chip-based platform. The device was used to distinguish viruses from similarly-sized nanoparticles with 100...

News
NASA System to Analyze Particles in Earth's Atmosphere

The Cloud-Aerosol Transport System (CATS), a new instrument that will measure the character and worldwide distribution of the tiny particles that make up haze, dust, air pollutants, and smoke, will do more than gather data once it’s deployed on the International Space Station this...

News
Metallic Alloy Gets Tougher at Cryogenic Temperatures

A new concept in metallic alloy design — called "high‐entropy alloys" — has yielded a multiple-element material that tests out as one of the toughest on record. Unlike most materials, the strength and ductility of the alloy actually improves at cryogenic temperatures.

“We examined...

Question of the Week
Are you excited about smartphone virtual reality options?

Virtual reality will reach mobile devices, thanks to two commercially available headsets: the Samsung Gear VR and LG VRTX One. Both use a smartphone to deliver 360-degree gaming and videos. With the immersive Samsung and LG devices, users must place their phones into the front of the...

News
Device Harvests Power from Natural Temperature Fluctuations

University of Washington researchers have created a power harvester that uses natural fluctuations in temperature and pressure as its power source. The device harvests energy in any location where these temperature changes naturally occur, powering sensors that can check for water leaks...

News
Sun-Powered Desalination Provides Potable Water

Around the world, there is more salty groundwater than fresh, drinkable groundwater. For example, 60 percent of India is underlain by salty water — and much of that area is not served by an electric grid that could run conventional reverse-osmosis desalination plants.

Now an analysis by MIT...

News
Army Selected for Joint Strike Fighter Software Assessment

The F-35 Joint Program Office has selected the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center to perform independent software safety analyses of the next-generation strike aircraft commonly called the Joint Strike Fighter. The single-engine, single-seat F-35...

News
Researchers Work to Create Smarter Underwater Drones

An underwater drone armed with the best technology on the planet descended repeatedly to the bottom of the Indian Ocean, trying to find the remains of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, and time after time, it turned up nothing. If Nina Mahmoudian has her way, however, the next generation of...

News : RF & Microwave Electronics
Agile Aperture Antenna Tested on Aircraft

Department of Defense representatives were in attendance during a recent event where two of the low-power devices, which can change beam directions in a thousandth of a second, were demonstrated in an aircraft during flight tests held in Virginia. One device, looking up, maintained a satellite data...

News
NASA Engineers Develop 3D Printed Rocket Injectors

NASA engineers pushed the limits of technology by designing a rocket engine injector — a highly complex part that sends propellant into the engine — with design features that took advantage of 3D printing. To make the parts, the design was entered into the 3-D printer's computer. The printer...

News : Energy
Researchers Create See-Through Solar Concentrator

A team of researchers at Michigan State University has developed a new type of solar concentrator that when placed over a window creates solar energy.

The device is called a transparent luminescent solar concentrator and can be used on buildings, cell phones, and any other device that has a...

Articles : Robotics, Automation & Control
Selecting the Proper Motor for Linear Motion Applications

Linear motion systems are found inside countless machines including precision laser cutting systems, laboratory automation equipment, semiconductor fabrication machines, CNC machines, factory automation, and many others too numerous to list. They range from the relatively simple such as...

Articles : Motion Control
Design Considerations for Gearmotors in Long-Life Applications

At first glance, the photo at the top is not appealing to any market — a pallet full of old gearmotors is not something one wants to think about after purchasing the necessary gearmotor/motor for their application. But think of it this way instead: these gearmotors were removed...

Articles : Robotics, Automation & Control
Ring Motors - Design Flexibility for Innovative Configurations

Permanent magnet brushless motors of various design architectures and power levels have been used since the late 1980s in industrial and commercial applications. Over the course of the past decade, motor manufacturers have developed and commercialized permanent magnet ring motors....

Application Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Wing-Flapping Aircraft Hovers and Flies

Life-sized, hummingbird-like, unmanned surveillance aircraft weighs two-thirds of an ounce, including batteries and video camera.

The Nano Hummingbird is a miniature aircraft developed under the Nano Air Vehicle (NAV) program funded through the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)....

Articles : Imaging
Prepping Advanced Driver Assistance for Mainstream Vehicles

Forward-facing cameras, integrated with vehicle controls, are being used to recognize pedestrians, signs, and other cars and motorcycles. Automatic brake mechanisms — often connected to a combination of radar, camera, and sensors — can halt a vehicle as it approaches an object...

Products : Imaging
Microscope Camera

The Imaging Source (Charlotte, NC) 13-megapixel microscope camera is equipped with a distortion-free 5.3-mm (35-mm equivalent) auto-focus lens, allowing capture through the ocular, not just a region of interest. The camera can take the place of the ocular or can be screwed into the Cmount. Other features include: Sony Exmor...

Products : Imaging
Microscope Confocal Module

Andor Technology Ltd. (Belfast, Northern Ireland), an Oxford Instruments company, has announced the Revolution DSD2, a compact, laser-free confocal module. With the addition of Andor’s CMOS camera technology, the module delivers a large field of view and high dynamic range. The DSD2 uses a broadband white light...

Products : Imaging
Gigabit Ethernet Camera

PHOTONIS Digital Imaging (Frisco, TX) offers a Gigabit Ethernet camera optimized for low-light conditions. The NOCTURN model provides GigE Vision® functionality and features standard connectivity options for video management and dissemination in military ground vehicles and other localized surveillance...

Products : Imaging
Thermal Imaging Surveillance System

The SPYNEL-X wide-area surveillance system from HGH Infrared Systems (Cambridge, MA) captures real-time, full-panoramic images with up to 120 Mpix resolution. The technology features automatic intrusion detection and tracking capabilities for an unlimited number of targets on land, air, and sea through all...

Products : Imaging
Embedded System for Machine Vision

The EyeVBox II system from EVT (Karlsruhe, Germany) offers an Intel® AtomTM processor, four USB 2.0 interfaces at the back of the device, and two USB 2.0 interfaces at the front; interfaces, such as DVI-I and HDMI, are also available. Because the processors feature low-power consumption from the...

Products : Imaging
GigE Smart Camera

ADLINK (Taipei, Taiwan) has released a quad-core x86 smart camera, the NEON-1040. The device features a 4-MP 60-fps global shutter sensor, quad core Intel® Atom™ 1.9 GHz processors, and flexible software support. With FPGA coprocessor support, the NEON-1040 accelerates image pre-processing, including LUT (look up...

Products : Imaging
CMOS Cameras

The LX series from Baumer (Radeberg, Germany) features high-resolution CMOSIS sensors, a dual GigE interface, and 240 MB/s bandwidth. The cameras operate with 8-, 12-, and 20-megapixel resolutions. Eight- and 12-megapixel models utilize the CMOSIS 5.5 μm pixel design. The 20 MP model, with 6.4-μm pixel structure, features a low...

Briefs : Medical
Managing Post-Traumatic Pain With Ultrasound Neuromodulation

The objective of this effort was to demonstrate the feasibility of using ultrasound induced neuromodulation (UNMOD) to manage pain. Pain management for acute trauma is generally accomplished with narcotics, which is less than ideal in a battlefield scenario. The technology of...

Articles : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Products of Tomorrow: September 2014

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

Articles : Robotics, Automation & Control
Robots are (Almost) People, Too

Biologically inspired robots are being realized by engineers and scientists all over the world. While much emphasis is placed on developing physical characteristics for robots such as human-like faces or artificial muscles, engineers in the Telerobotics Research and Applications Group at NASA’s Jet Propulsion...

Application Briefs : Software
NASA Uses Analysis Software to Assess Orion Crew Module Heat Shield
HyperSizer® composite analysis and structural sizing software
Collier Research Corp.
Newport News, VA
757-825-0000
www.hypersizer.com

Protected by the shell of its huge launch rocket during blastoff, NASA’s Orion Multi-Purpose Crew...

Articles : Data Acquisition
Satellite Data Monitors Nation’s Forests

Joe Spruce’s last name is a fitting one: Spruce is a research scientist at NASA’s Stennis Space Center working with the US Department of Agriculture Forest Service to monitor forests and other vegetation across the country using NASA satellite data.

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Universal Mechanical Testers for Tribology Testing in the Automotive Industry

Very few industries are as affected by strict test standards as the automotive sector. Nearly every automobile component (engine parts, accelerators, clutches, brakes, tires, seatbelts, etc.) must exhibit adequate tribological properties in accordance with ASTM, DIN,...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Photogrammetric Recession Measurement

The testing of materials that ablate as a design function requires detailed time history of the ablation process. The rate at which the surface recedes during testing is a critically important measure of the performance of thermal protection system (TPS) materials like heat shields for aerospace vehicles....

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Tissue-Equivalent Radiation Dosimeteron-a-Chip with Plastic Scintillation Material

The complexity of spaceflight design requires reliable, fault-tolerant equipment capable of providing real-time dosimetry during a mission, which is not feasible with existing thermoluminescent dosimeter (TLD) technology. Real-time monitoring is important for...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Measurement of Cryogenic Fluid Level with Laser Propagation and Surface Floor Reflection

The risks associated with introducing new hardware and methods into an operational environment have in part prohibited cryogen level measurement technology from advancing. In prior art, measurements have been made with invasive probes immersed in the...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Video Acuity Measurement System

There is a widely acknowledged need for metrics to quantify the performance of video systems. Existing metrics are either difficult to measure or are largely theoretical. They do not reflect the full range of effects to which video may be subject, or do not relate easily to video performance in real-world tasks....

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Heat-Flow Probe Design and Development

The lunar regolith exhibits extremely low conductivity. Penetrating the regolith presents problems if the geo-technical properties of the regolith are not well understood and accounted for.

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Dust Removal from Solar Cells

Photovoltaic cell arrays are used on robotic rovers on the Mars surface, but dust accumulation on the surface of the solar cells reduces their exposure to light radiation and thus degrades their performance. Dust that accumulates without being removed limits the life of the rover’s power systems. Similarly,...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Minimally Obstructed Communication via Acoustic Modems in Fluid-Filled Pipes

An acoustic modem that uses a separate phased-array transmitter and receiver has been conceived that allows the communication of high-frequency acoustic waves sideways to the transducer along the fluid-filled pipe. The transducer allows directing waves between the...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Biofeedback System for Optimal Athletic Performance

ZONE (Zeroing Out Negative Effects) is a method of biofeedback training for optimal athletic performance. ZONE is designed to improve athletes’ responses to stress, anxiety, and loss of concentration during competition. In the training environment, when the user successfully attains an...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Methods for Clock and Reset Synchronization in a CMOS Integrated Circuit

In high-integrity systems, a method of assuring integrity called a self-checking pair is employed. A self-checking pair is a logical grouping of two of the same devices performing the same operation and cross-checking each other to ensure correct operation. In this manner,...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Wideband MMIC Distributed Amplifier-Based Microwave Power Module

This innovation is a wideband, high-power, high-efficiency, all-solid-state microwave power module (SSMPM) or amplifier for a multifunction spacecraft payload that operates, depending on the need, as a radar system, communication system, or navigation system. The construction of...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Communication Monitoring System for Enhanced Situational Awareness

The system and method of reconfigurable Auditory-Visual Display creates a multi-mode communications environment with the express intent of increasing situational awareness for the operator (controller), and for reducing operator fatigue. Situational awareness is increased by a...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Durable Joining Technology for Uniformly-Curved Composite Sandwich Structures

NASA’s next-generation launch vehicles will be enabled by high-performance composite materials and innovative manufacturing methods. As such, NASA uses adhesively bonded joints where possible instead of mechanically fastened (bolted) joints to design and manufacture...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Ohmic Contact to N- and P-Type Silicon Carbide

Electrical ohmic contacts can be simultaneously formed on silicon carbide (SiC) semiconductors having donor and acceptor impurities (n- and p-type doping, respectively). This implies that such contacts can be formed on SiC layers in one process step during the fabrication of the semiconductor...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Flap Edge Noise Reduction Fins

Aircraft noise is a significant problem with both economic and public health implications, especially for communities near airports. As a result, increasingly stringent constraints are being placed on aircraft carriers worldwide to reduce this noise. The current disclosure focuses on airframe noise generated at or...

Briefs : Materials
Toughened Uni-piece Fibrous Reinforced Oxidation-Resistant Composite (TUFROC)

TUFROC has an exposed surface edge design and an appropriate materials combination for a space vehicle that will survive the mechanical stresses induced in the initial ascent, and will subsequently survive the extreme heating and mechanically stressful environment of...

Briefs : Materials
High-Efficiency Tantalum-Based Ceramic Composite Structures

High-efficiency tantalum-based ceramic (HETC) composite structures are suitable for use in thermal protection systems. These composite structures have high-efficiency surfaces (low catalytic efficiency and high-emittance), thereby reducing heat flux to a spacecraft during planetary...

Briefs : Materials
Use of Solvent-Free Conditions/Dry Mixing for Functionalizing Carbon Nanotubes

Two methods have been developed for functionalizing carbon nanotubes in solvent-free conditions. In one method, purified single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) and a diazonium salt are added to a metal vial, which is loaded with a stainless steel ball bearing. The...

Briefs : Materials
Synthesis of Novel Copoly(alkyl ether imide)s With Unique Surface Properties

Copoly(alkyl ether imide)s were synthesized for the purposes of tailoring surface chemistry. Alkyl ether oligomers with amine end groups were synthesized from the hydroxyl-terminated species, and subsequently reacted with aromatic dianhydrides and diamines to make the...

Briefs : Materials
Inkjet-Assisted Creation of Self-Healing Layers Between Composite Plies

A self-healing advanced composite system was designed and optimized using minimum self-healing (SH) agent (~0.02%) deposited in microscopically ordered arrays through inkjet printing, to arrest cracks along interfaces between plies (see figure). The approach consisted of...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Fail-Safe Accumulator for Internal Active Thermal Control Loops

Spacecraft internal active thermal control systems (ATCSs) typically use water or a water mixture as their working fluid. A gas-charged bellows accumulator pressurizes the system and provides liquid inventory control. If only a single internal ATCS loop is used, the accumulator...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Rocket Vent Design With Variable Flow Control and Rain Protection

This innovation is a rocket purge vent design that can control and balance flow across multiple vents and across very large gas flow ranges while keeping water or other undesirable gases from entering into the vented space. When changing purge rates, this device adapts to the...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Turbo-Brayton Converter for Fission Surface Power Applications

Producing electric power for space applications is challenging. Although short-term missions can use batteries or fuel cells, these sources are not practical for durations longer than one month. Photovoltaics become less attractive as the distance from the Sun increases, and they are...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Vibration Ring

Machine vibration often originates with rotating driveline components such as rotors, gears, bearings, and fans. Such vibration is the source of unwanted noise and can be destructive to the machine. The vibration ring is a mechanism that provides an indirect damping effect, and is rigid enough to be mounted within the driveline....

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Locomotion of Amorphous Surface Robots

The proposed techniques rely on three principal concepts: (1) controlling the polarity of electromagnets, (2) circulating fluid through a compartmentalized bladder, and (3) expanding and deflating polymers. These designs would allow amorphous robots to move across a surface without conventional wheels or...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Fluid Disconnect Cooling Technique

The purpose of this innovation is to simulate the space temperature environment onto a fluid disconnect. This environment is to be maintained for a long period of time (48 hours) at a controlled temperature [6 ±2 °F(≈–14.4 ±1.1 °C)] to determine if temperature is causing leakage through the...

Briefs : Medical
HeartBeatID – Heart Electrical Actions as Biometric Indicia

One or more biometric indicia, such as fingerprints, voice prints, retinal scans, and facial features, are often used to identify or authenticate the identity of a user seeking access to a given resource. Cardiac muscle is myogenic and is capable of generating an action potential and...

Briefs : Medical
Cryogenic Grinding for Mechanical Abrasion for Hardy Endospores

A comparative analysis was carried out between an emerging cryogenic grinding method and a conventional wet-chemistry/bead-beating endospore disruption approach. After extensive trial and error, it was determined that a regimen of three cryogenic grinding cycles of 2 minutes each...

Briefs : Medical
Making Mesh Buckypaper Capsules for Transplantation of Cells and Implantation of Medical Devices

The innovation consists of a method for fabricating containers (“biocapsules”) made of biocompatible mesh for holding living cells and tissues, to facilitate transplantation into the body, for a wide range of high-impact medical applications. The...

Briefs : Information Technology
Non-Binary Protograph-Based LDPC Codes for Short Block Lengths

Short block codes are in demand by international space agencies for transmission of command and control data to spacecraft in the uplink channel. Codes that outperform currently used binary codes with the same block lengths and code rates are desirable. A design method constructs...

Briefs : Information Technology
Method Resolves Algebraic Loops While Improving Accuracy and Reducing Runtime

A method has been developed for resolving algebraic loops that occur in closed-loop systems when using MathWorks Simulink modeling and simulation tools. This variable fidelity method improves accuracy and reduces runtime significantly for users of Simulink Coder...

Products
Product of the Month: September 2014

Dewetron, Wakefield, RI, has introduced the TrendCorder series of instruments designed for basic data acquisition applications in industry. They feature intuitive, multi-touch operation, enabling them to be operated 100% by touch, including alphanumeric entry, channel setup, and display configuration. When...

Features : Photonics/Optics
Unique Camera Gauge System Controls Spring Manufacturing

Efficient and accurate operations are vital to the success of today’s manufacturer. Newcomb Spring, a manufacturer of custom springs, wire forms and stampings, is continually working to improve their production processes. The company has also seen an increasing number of requests for...

Application Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Securing and Validating Critical Vision Data

Manufacturing companies are placing increasing emphasis on data security throughout their operations to protect confidential data and to validate that their systems are protected against unauthorized and unwanted changes. The critical role that vision plays in many manufacturing processes makes it...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Solar Pumped Fiber Laser for Solar Sail Propulsion and Remote Power Transfer

A new method has been developed to create coherent laser light efficiently with direct optical coupling of the Sun’s energy into the gain medium for multiple uses. New advances in solar cell photovoltaic (PV) technologies have greatly improved their efficiencies,...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
ELID Grinding of Large Aspheres

This work focused on a manufacturing process to produce silicon carbide optical surfaces with low mid-spatial surface errors. Mid-spatial frequency (MSF) and high-spatial frequency (HSF) surface errors in the grinding of fast aspheres are amplified in hard ceramics like silicon carbide due to cyclic tool wear...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Systems and Methods for Localized Surface Plasmon Resonance Sensing

Recently, there is widespread interest in the development of chemical and biochemical sensors based on plasmonic resonance of metallic nanostructures. In the localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) for nanometer-sized metallic structures, a resonant oscillation of the...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Product of the Month: Fiber Optic Sensing System

The RTS125 from 4DSP (Austin, TX) is an off-the-shelf, distributed fiber optic sensing solution. With tens of thousands of strain or temperature sensors simultaneously monitored up to 100 times per second, the RTS125 offers the same sensing capabilities on up to eight channels as its predecessor,...

Products : Photonics/Optics
High-Power Laser Fiber Packaging

OSI Laser Diode, Inc. (LDI) (Edison, NJ), an OSI Systems Company, has introduced new packaging options for the CVD High Power Laser line. The innovative and compact package features coaxial cable construction, which permits a fiber option for lasers in a much smaller footprint than the standard TO5F housing....

Products : Photonics/Optics
Single Crystal Chemical Vapor Deposition Diamond

Element Six (Santa Clara, CA) recently announced that its high-purity single crystal chemical vapor deposition (CVD) diamond material has been proven for use in intracavity cooling of disc lasers and in development of the first ever tunable diamond Raman laser system. Element Six’s high-purity...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Image-Based Code Reader

SICK (Minneapolis, MN) recently announced the launch of the high-resolution LECTOR®650 image-based code reader for high-performance 1D and 2D code reading. A large field of view and an optional dynamic focus feature enable the LECTOR650 to easily identify different code positions, object heights, and transport...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Optical Fiber Cleaver

NYFORS (Stockholm, Sweden) has introduced a new high-precision optical fiber cleaver that accommodates fiber diameters from 80 μm up to more than 400 μm. The new AutoCleaver LDF-M‘ is specifically designed to provide fast and reliable high-quality cleaving capability for the mid-span to large diameter fibers commonly...

Products : Photonics/Optics
Miniaturized Sensor

greenTEG AG (Zurich, Switzerland) has added a new small thermal sensor for radiation measurements to its product portfolio. At just 4.4 x 4.4 x 0.5 mm, the Gskin-XB 45 9R for radiation measurements is among the smallest sensors of its kind. Its features include: signal linearity with power below 0.5% across a broad power...

Articles : Software
Emerging Trends in ENGINEERING SIMULATION

The increasingly global, fast-paced, and connected nature of the marketplace is placing new demands on product development teams. As it evolves to meet emerging user needs, engineering simulation remains an essential tool for launching new designs quickly and cost-effectively — while also ensuring that...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Designing Reliable Robots for Moon Exploration

Equipment for space exploration is almost impossible to test on Earth. Testing is expensive and cannot replicate the conditions of launch, cruise, landing, and travel across a planetary surface. As space exploration shifts to the private sector, Astrobotic Technology, Inc. is taking the lead in...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Designing Smaller Magnets for the Large Hadron Collider

The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) requires new magnets that are smaller than their predecessors to accommodate new instrumentation. Because of their size, these magnets need to generate a 24 percent stronger magnetic field and the structure must provide for near-zero...

Briefs : Software
Electrical Calibration Source for Next-Generation Oscilloscope

Keysight Technologies (formerly Agilent Technologies) develops world-leading equipment for solving tough measurement challenges. The company’s Infiniium 90000 Q-Series oscilloscope is the first to reach the 60 GHz barrier, enabling engineers to make measurements on a new generation...

Briefs : Software
Composite Sports Car Body Design

The use of composites is rapidly growing across many industries, fostering the need for new design, analysis, and optimization technologies. Every industry feels increasing pressure to launch breakthrough products that outperform competitors and meet market needs. For many design applications that require strong,...

Briefs : Information Technology
Simulation and Visualization of Elastodynamics in Time- Evolving Generalized Curvilinear Coordinates

This innovation unifies an earlier innovation and a new solution method based on finite differences to simulate structural dynamic phenomena over time-varying grids in generalized curvilinear coordinates. The methodology is based on physics-based...

Briefs : Information Technology
3D Finite Element Model of Magnetic Mirror and Nano Antenna

A 3D finite element mathematical model has been developed for representing a behavior of a magnetic mirror and nano antenna subject to polarized incident light. This model represents the fourth generation of magnetic mirror with the goal of suppressing the diffraction.

Briefs : Information Technology
Toolbox for Modeling and Analysis of Thermodynamic Systems (T-MATS)

T-MATS is an open-source Simulink library for use in modeling and simulation of thermodynamic systems. It provides a user friendly graphical MATLAB/Simulink-compatible toolbox along with tools to increase ease of model creation. It also includes a generic nonlinear solver that...

Briefs : Information Technology
Advanced Numerical Tools for Design and Analysis of In-Space Valve and Feed Systems

A high-fidelity numerical simulation software (CRUNCH CFD®) predicts the transient performance of flight valve designs, provides design support by supplementing current empirical rules, and diagnoses system anomalies. Currently, transient analysis of...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Method for Visualization of Analog Signals

In this innovation, a method makes use of a new technique for describing analog information based on the roots of polynomial functions of infinite degree. Monotonic analog signals are transformed into characters that are fused into a two-dimensional composite visualization of the generating signal...

Briefs : Software
Time-Multiplexed Pipelined FFT Implementation

A fast Fourier transform (FFT) was developed as part of the Soil-Moisture Active/Passive (SMAP) project. The FFT was created on 16-bit data arriving at a rate of 48 MHz to run on a resource-constrained, space-grade field programmable gate array (FPGA).

Briefs : Software
Method for Authorizing Critical Effector Commands in a Space-Based Integrated Modular Avionics System

An Integrated Modular Avionics (IMA) architecture provides a common platform for software partitions with shared processing and input/output (I/O) resources. A key feature of the IMA architecture is I/O partitioning. An IMA system will prevent...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Fully Configurable Interrupt Controller

An interrupt is a signal in an interrupt controller (IC) that pulses to indicate an event or error. The IC is responsible for processing multiple internal interrupts and making these interrupts available to a host computer via a data bus or external output pins. Since there exist numerous interrupts, a...

Briefs : Software
Using a Multicast File Transfer Protocol to Update the Firmware of Multiple Embedded Devices Simultaneously

Smart sensors for measuring temperature and pressure have been developed as part of the Advanced Ground Systems Maintenance (AGSM) project. The sensors have flash memory for storing firmware, calibration data, and configuration...

Briefs : Software
Model of Radiation Effects on Electronics (MREE)

An updated software model has been developed for predicting the single-event effect (SEE) rates in circuit designs as they are being designed. This tool will be used for estimating the frequency of the various SEEs, such as logic upsets and circuit latch-up. It may also be used to estimate the...

Briefs : Software
Development of an Analytical Parameterized Linear Lateral Dynamic Model for an Aerobot Airship

Saturn’s moon Titan is of high interest for in situ study due to its many intriguing features. This moon has a dense atmosphere; rough, icy terrain; and low surface winds that make it the ideal place to send a controlled aerial robotic platform, such...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Algorithm Enhancements to Powered Descent Guidance Software

The Powered Descent Guidance (PDG) software provides a computationally efficient guidance algorithm for powered descent that ensures satisfaction of the governing dynamics, along with adherence to physical control and state constraints, such as avoid the surface, limit thrust magnitude...

Briefs : Software
Using Describing Functions for Aeroservoelastic Models with Free-Play

Aerodynamic control surfaces, with excessive free-play, can cause limit cycle oscillations (LCO), a sustained vibration of constant amplitude. The LCO is caused by a combination of aeroservoelastic effects and free-play. If the amplitude is sufficiently large, it can impact...

Briefs : Software
Design Environment for Multi-Fidelity and Multi-Disciplinary Components

Many of the most challenging aspects of propulsion system development are related to the prediction of interacting effects among fluid loads, thermal loads, and structural deflection. A typical design practice might ignore the interaction between the physical phenomena where...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Shipping Foam Designer Software

An easy-to-use design tool was developed in response to a large number of documented cases of critical (flight and ground) hardware failing after experiencing drops during commercial shipment. By entering the mass of the hardware to be protected, and the drop height, the software helps the user select the type and...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Evolutionary Mission Trajectory Generator

The Evolutionary Mission Trajectory Generator (EMTG) is a global trajectory optimization tool for designing interplanetary missions that perform multiple flybys and either low-thrust or high-thrust propulsive maneuvers on the way to destinations in the solar system. Some targets, such as Mars and Venus,...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Visual International Space Station Configuration Viewing Tool

Communicating the current International Space Station (ISS) configuration and also potential ISS configurations is a necessity during ISS trade studies and Ops Con development. Often, multiple configuration options will need to be communicated. Doing so without a means of displaying...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Two-Equation Turbulence Models for Application to Internal Flow Through Pneumatic Valves

Predicting turbulent flowfield and pressure drop in complex internal flows, such as valves, pumps, and turbines, is of great interest in many areas of technology. Accurate prediction of three-dimensional (3D) flowfield in complex devices is critically...

Briefs : Software
Multi-Species Turbulent Mixing Under Supercritical-Pressure Conditions

A model describing supercritical-pressure, multi-species turbulent mixing has been developed to simulate situations prevailing in diesel, gas turbine, and HCCI (homogeneous charge compression ignition) engines. It is also a situation occurring in atmospheric planetary...

Briefs : Materials
A Model of Reduced Oxidation Kinetics Using Constituents and Species

Elementary-reaction chemical kinetics of hydrocarbon oxidation consists of hundreds to thousands of species and thousands of reactions. As such, it is impossible to use it in models and codes involving turbulence because computations are unfeasible due to lack of memory and...

Briefs : Software
Determining Radiation Shielding Capability of the Earth’s Atmosphere from FAA Radiation Data

The FAA, using its CARI-6 program, provides galactic cosmic radiation dosage rates for any location on the Earth from ground up to 60,000 ft (≈18,300 m). One way to protect astronauts from galactic cosmic radiation (GCR) on a Mars mission is to use...

Briefs : Software
Integrated Space Weather Analysis System (iSWA)

The iSWA system is a Web-based dissemination framework for NASA-relevant space weather information that combines forecasts based on the most advanced space weather models with concurrent space environment information. A key design driver for the iSWA system is to generate and present vast amounts...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Automatic Localization of MSL Rover Mosaics in HiRISE Imagery

Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) surface operations require precise and accurate knowledge of rover position. A key means of establishing/verifying position is to match ortho-rectified mosaics from the MSL onboard cameras to orbital data. Manual localization by matching mosaics to HiRISE...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
SAM/MSL Terrestrial Background Spectral Library

The SAM/MSL Terrestrial Background Spectral Library is one of the tools developed for identifying known terrestrial background for the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) mission. The SAM instrument suite can detect trace elements in the ppb range and therefore requires a...

Briefs : Software
Efficient Spectral Endmember Detection Onboard Spacecraft

Spaceflight and planetary exploration place severe constraints on the available bandwidth for downlinking large hyperspectral images. Communications with spacecraft often occur intermittently, so mission-relevant hyperspectral data must wait for analysis on the ground before it can inform...

Briefs : Software
Ray Tracing Model and Software for a Focused IR Lamp Heating System

When the space shuttle’s external tank (ET) was being filled with the cryogenic fuel components LOX and LH2, moisture from the surrounding atmosphere could condense onto the ET’s sprayed-on foam insulation (SOFI). This condensation could drip onto components, such as the LOX...

Briefs : Software
Using the Web Sockets Full-Duplex Communication Channel to Display Real-Time Sensor Data via Standard Web Browser

Web Sockets is a network full-duplex communication channel that allows Javascript programs embedded in Web pages to establish connections to applications running on the server that provided the Web pages. Two-way communication is...

Briefs : Software
Earth Now Mobile Phone App

A mobile device application created by NASA visualizes recent global climate data from Earth science satellites, including air temperature, sea surface salinity, carbon monoxide, ozone, and water vapor, as well as gravity and sea level variations. This app is an Open GL simple 3D object viewer for the Apple IOS and...

Briefs : Software
PACIFIC: Process Algebra Capture of Intent from Information Content

Mixed-initiative teams of robots and humans working side-by-side in close proximity to each other need to be capable of reasoning about the actions and activities of each other within a mission context. This capability requires the robotic agents to have a sense of self, and...

Briefs : Software
Analytical Expression of Elevation-Dependent Relative Air Mass for Atmospheric Extinction Simulations

This software enables one to calculate elevation-dependent relative air mass. When imaging a setting or rising Sun on the ground or from space, the shape and the intensity distribution of a captured image are affected by the following three...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Quantification of Trace Chemicals Using the Vehicle Cabin Atmosphere Monitor

A software program analyzes data measured by the Vehicle Cabin Atmosphere Monitor (VCAM) and quantifies the concentrations of trace chemicals detected by VCAM. The software contains a unique way to quantify the signal measured by VCAM, to establish the concentration...

Briefs : Software
Improved Math Model for Multiphoto Measurement Systems

The bundle adjustment, or more specifically, the colinearity math model it is based on, is undisputedly the most accurate method to perform 3D scene reconstruction from multiple images. It has been the gold standard since first developed in 1957–1959. The limitations of the method have...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Multipurpose Attitude and Pointing System (MAPS) Version 6.2

MAPS is a suite of software tools used for pre-flight planning, real-time support, and post-flight analysis of spacecraft attitude and pointing for the International Space Station (ISS), HII Transfer Vehicle (HTV), Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), and other low Earth orbit (LEO)...

Briefs : Software
Global Elevation Data Adaptive Compression Algorithms

The Global Elevation Data Adaptive Compression Algorithms (GEDACA) were developed to provide compression and rapid decompression of digital terrain maps (DTMs) in constrained computing environments. The primary purpose of these algorithms is to create and utilize highly compressed digital...

Briefs : Information Technology
Cassini Science Planning and Sequencing Team Final Sequence Approval Document Generator (Autodoc)

Documents, such as reports that are consistent in format, are excellent candidates for automation. Autodoc was designed as a means to automate such reports in order to reduce the amount of labor necessary to produce reports, and to improve the...

Briefs : Information Technology
Exploration Visualization Environment

The Exploration Visualization Environment (EVE) is a graphical environment for the visualization, analysis, and simulation of engineering data, specializing in aerospace and aeronautic concepts. EVE is based on the history and successful application of the Synergistic Engineering Environment (SEE) and...

Briefs : Information Technology
Mississippi Evacuation and Traveler’s Assistance (MSETA) Software

The Mississippi Evacuation and Traveler’s Assistance (MSETA) system provides public assistance for emergency evacuation and tourism/travel. The MSETA system is composed of three major components: (1) a Web server that provides an interface to the public, (2) a GIS/backend...

Briefs : Information Technology
Cloud Computing for Science Data Processing in Support of Emergency Response

In a crisis, up-to-date information is one of the most important commodities for decision-makers. Remote sensing data have been instrumental in regional scale damage detection and recovery progress monitoring after significant disasters. However, using remotely sensed...

Briefs : Software
Simulating Images of a Rising or Setting Sun

This software simulates Sun images observed on the ground and from space with an easy-to-use analytical approach and with high accuracy. It is a simple, analytical approach with the accuracy of a rigorous, multilayer model. The existing analytical approach cannot predict when the image of the Sun is...

Briefs : Information Technology
Partition Level Application Test for Orion (PLATO)

For Orion Exploration Flight Test One (EFT-1), the unit-under-test for flight software verification has been chosen as the entire integrated flight software load. At the time of this reporting, the unit test tool, while powerful, operates on very small units, usually classes. This leaves a...