September 2016

News : Propulsion
Space Launch System’s Core Stage Built Piece-by-Piece

Large elements for NASA's Space Launch System are in production, and will be joined together to create the rocket's 212-foot-tall core stage, the backbone of the SLS rocket. The core stage is made up of the engine section, liquid hydrogen tank, intertank, liquid oxygen tank, and forward...

News : Electronics & Computers
Computer Chip Manufacturing Method Squeezes More onto Wafers

Engineers have devised a simple, reproducible, and less expensive approach to manufacturing computer chips using directed self-assembly, which can increase the density of circuit patterns. The method could mean a boost in functionality for semiconductor electronics, and in capacity for...

News : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Using Light to 3D-Print Structures that Remember Their Shapes

Engineers are using light to print three-dimensional structures that “remember” their original shapes. The process of 3D printing shape-memory materials can also be thought of as 4D printing, as the structures are designed to change over the fourth dimension — time.

Question of the Week
Will ground-based delivery robots catch on?

This week's Question: This fall, Starship Technologies, an Estonia-based startup created by two Skype co-founders, will begin testing its autonomous delivery robot in Washington, D.C. Washington is the first U.S. municipality to approve ground-based robots to traverse city sidewalks. Starship aims to...

Who's Who : Materials
Dr. Bin Chen, Materials Scientist, Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA

Dr. Bin Chen has led the development of nanomaterials and ultra-sensitive detection techniques. Her materials development work directly supports radiation-shielding efforts, artificial photosynthesis, and sustainable energy conversion and storage, including applications...

News : Test & Measurement
Instruments Measure Large-Scale Motion Around San Andreas Fault

An array of GPS instruments near the San Andreas Fault System in Southern California detects constant motion of Earth’s crust — sometimes large, sudden motion during an earthquake, and often subtle, creeping motion. The GPS array records vertical and horizontal motion of...

News : Aerospace
Morphing Nanotubes into Tougher Carbon for Aerospace

Rice University materials scientists are making nanodiamonds and other forms of carbon by smashing nanotubes against a target at high speeds. The process will enrich the knowledge of engineers who design structures that resist damage from high-speed impacts. The diamonds are the result of a...

News : Electronics & Computers
Existing Navigation Data Can Help Pilots Avoid Turbulence

Detecting turbulence remains the Achilles' heel of modern-day aviation. The reports submitted by pilots, subjective and often very inaccurate, are the least expensive and the most frequently used method for trying to predict where it will occur. Scientists from the University of Warsaw...

News : Aerospace
NASA Shines Lasers on Future Aircraft Concept

As NASA aeronautics engineers prepare to develop a series of greener, quieter, faster X-planes, they are already testing concepts that could be candidates. One of those is a Boeing blended wing body (BWB). A blended wing body doesn't look like a conventional airplane. Instead of the usual tube and...

News : Energy
Lightweight, Wearable Device Converts Body Heat to Electricity

Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a new design for harvesting body heat and converting it into electricity for use in wearable electronics.

News : Medical
Light Tames Lethal Heart Disorders

Using high-tech human heart models and mouse experiments, scientists at Johns Hopkins and Germany’s University of Bonn have shown that beams of light could replace electric shocks in patients reeling from a deadly heart rhythm disorder.

News : Medical
Small Implanted Device Could Improve Breast Cancer Survival

A small device implanted under the skin can improve breast cancer survival by catching cancer cells. The implantable scaffold device is made of FDA-approved material commonly used in sutures and wound dressings. It’s biodegradable and can last up to two years within a patient.

Question of the Week
Will you watch drone racing?

This week's Question: The Drone Racing League announced on Wednesday that it had signed deals to broadcast a 10-episode season on ESPN and ESPN2, along with the European stations Sky Sports Mix and 7Sports. According to league officials, stationary pilots will use headsets and joysticks to steer the drones through...

News : Medical
Flexible Electronic Skin Patch Monitors Alcohol Levels

Engineers at the University of California San Diego have developed a flexible wearable sensor that can accurately measure a person’s blood alcohol level from sweat and transmit the data wirelessly to a laptop, smartphone or other mobile device. The device can be worn on the skin and could...

News : Test & Measurement
New NASA Instrument Measures Greenhouse Gases

NASA scientists and engineers have built an instrument powerful and accurate enough to gather around-the-clock global atmospheric carbon-dioxide (CO2) measurements from space. The CO2 Sounder Lidar operates by bouncing an infrared laser light off the Earth’s surface. Like all atmospheric gases,...

News : Energy
Sensors Measure Power Use by Each Device in a Household

New postage-stamp-sized sensors developed at MIT measure exactly how much power is being used by every device in a household. No wires need to be disconnected, and the placement of the sensors over the incoming power line does not require any particular precision. The sensors pick up so...

News : Manufacturing & Prototyping
New at IMTS

Optomec (Albuquerque, NM) unveiled its LENS machine tool machines that integrate the company's metal 3D printing technology into standard CNC machine tool platforms. Three standard system configurations are offered, making hybrid and traditional metal additive manufacturing more affordable and accessible. The three systems are...

News : Medical
Therapeutic Target for Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, the most common of pancreatic cancers, is extraordinarily lethal, with a 5-year survival rate of just 6 percent. Chemotherapy treatments are poorly effective, in part due to a high degree of drug-resistance to currently used regimens.

News : Imaging
AutoLens Analysis for Euclid Challenge

The European Space Agency's Euclid satellite, due for launch in 2020, will set astronomers a huge challenge: to analyze 100,000 strong gravitational lenses. The gravitational deflection of light from distant astronomical sources by massive galaxies (strong lenses) along the light path can create multiple...

News : Imaging
Imaging Software Shows Your Future Self

When people go to a hair stylist, they often browse magazines to find a photo of a style they want to try, but they won’t know if they really like it until they try it.

News : Imaging
Imaging Finds Book Hidden for 500 Years

Researchers from the University of Oxford's Bodleian Libraries and from universities in the Netherlands have used high-tech imaging to uncover the details of a rare Mexican codex dating from before the colonization of the Americas. The newly revealed codex, or book, has been hidden from view for almost 500...

News : Energy
New Fabric Uses Sun to Power Devices

A new fabric developed at Georgia Institute of Technology uses sunlight and motion to harvest energy. Combining the two types of electricity generation into one textile paves the way for creating garments that could provide their own source of energy to power devices such as smartphones or global positioning...

News : Energy
Nanomaterial Could Speed Up Electric Vehicle Charging

A new material could one day speed up the charging process of electric cars and help increase their driving range. Researchers have combined a covalent organic framework (COF) – a strong, stiff polymer with an abundance of tiny pores suitable for storing energy – with a very conductive...

News : Communications
New Radio Technology Extends Mobile Device Battery Life

University of Massachusetts Amherst professors introduced a new radio technology that allows small mobile devices to take advantage of battery power in larger devices nearby for communication. The Braidio, or braid of radios, can offload energy to larger devices nearby and, in effect, make...

News : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Flywheel Technology Could Save Power for Light Rail Transit

University of Alberta mechanical engineering professors are making an old technology new again by using flywheel technology to assist light rail transit (LRT) in Edmonton. They examined the possibility of using flywheel technology to store energy generated when the city’s LRT trains...

Question of the Week
Can AI be used to make a good movie?

This week's Question: In early September, Concourse Media and Productivity Media, Inc. (PMI) announced the acquisition of Impossible Things, a feature-length film with a screenplay written via artificial intelligence. Greenlight Essentials, a company founded by Jack Zhang, uses AI software to create plot...

News : Medical
Laser Treatment Supports New Paper Electronics

By using lasers to treat graphene, Iowa State University researchers have found new ways to enable flexible, wearable, and low-cost electronics. Fabricating inkjet-printed, multi-layer graphene electric circuits and electrodes with a pulsed-laser process improves electrical conductivity without...

News : RF & Microwave Electronics
Standing Still May Improve Antennas That Scan in All Directions

Antennas often need to trace circles in the sky. For example, radar arrays atop air-traffic control towers rotate to sweep signals in all directions. But spinning large objects nonstop takes a lot of time and mechanical energy. So scanning from a stationary position could speed up...

News : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Alternative Found for Nuclear Weapon Detection

One of the most critical issues the United States faces today is preventing terrorists from smuggling nuclear weapons into its ports. To this end, the U.S. Security and Accountability for Every Port Act mandates all overseas cargo containers be scanned for possible nuclear materials or weapons....

News : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Shrinking the Inside of an Explosion

Testing explosions is epic science. The most detailed studies of explosive charges have been conducted at national laboratories using a gun as big as a room to fire a flat bullet – the flyer plate, typically 100 millimeters in diameter – into an explosive charge inside a thick-walled chamber that contains...

News : Materials
Advanced Spray-On Material Repels Water

A new spray-on material from engineers at The Australian National University (ANU) offers a more robust waterproofing capability than previous coatings. Combining two plastics, one tough and one flexible, the invention could eventually be used to protect mobile phones, de-ice airplane parts, or keep boat...

Question of the Week
Will "cool" clothes catch on?

This Week's Question: Today's lead INSIDER story highlighted a low-cost, plastic-based textile that could cool the body efficiently when woven into clothing. What do you think? Will "cool" clothes catch on?

News : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Lab-on-a-Stick Provides Fast Detection of Antibiotic Resistance

A portable power-free test for the rapid detection of bacterial resistance to antibiotics has been developed. The Lab-on-a-Stick is an inexpensive microfluidic strip – comprising of tiny test tubes about the size of a human hair – capable of identifying bacteria found in urine...

News : Medical
Shortwave Infrared Instrument Could Improve Ear Infection Diagnosis

A new device could greatly improve doctors’ ability to accurately diagnose ear infections. The new device, whose design is still being refined by the team, is expected ultimately to look and function very much like existing otoscopes, the devices most doctors currently use to...

News : Medical
Edible Batteries Power Ingestible Medical Devices

Non-toxic, edible batteries could one day power ingestible devices for diagnosing and treating disease. The batteries are made with melanin pigments naturally found in the skin, hair, and eyes.

News : Materials
Plastic-Based Textile Leads to 'Cool' Clothes

A low-cost, plastic-based textile from Stanford University engineers could cool the body efficiently when woven into clothing.

Articles : Aerospace
Products of Tomorrow: September 2016

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 : Propulsion
NASA’s Pursuit of Power

Advances in Capacitor Materials

Electrochemical capacitors, or supercapacitors, have gained intense interest as an alternative to traditional energy storage devices. Applications for supercapacitors range from plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) to backup power sources. While the power density of...

Articles : Aerospace
Rice Crop Models Stabilize Global Markets and Enable Efficient Irrigation

When global food prices spiked dramatically in late 2007 and into 2008, with the costs of many basic dietary staples doubling or even tripling, protests and riots upset much of the developing world. Following the price spike, world leaders gathered to figure out how to...

Products : Aerospace
Product of the Month: September 2016

The PADS PCB Product Creation Platform from Mentor Graphics, Wilsonville, OR, is a design creation platform that provides schematic capture, component management, simulation and analysis, PCB layout and routing, and manufacturing analysis and outputs. The platform also provides intelligent component selection...

Motion Control Technology : Motion Control
Advantages of Servo Motor and Direct Drive Technology
Advantages of Servo Motor and Direct Drive Technology

For many years, stepper motors have been the most popular type of electric motor designed into instrumentation for a wide variety of reasons. Stepper motors have become increasingly...

Advantages of Servo Motor and Direct Drive Technology
Articles : Motion Control
An Inside Look at Electromechanical Power-Off Braking Options

Power-off brakes are designed to hold or stop motion in the absence of power. Adding an electrical current releases the brake, freeing the load for motion. Given the safety ramifications of keeping a system locked in place until it is powered up, motion control system designers tend...

Application Briefs : Motion Control
Multiphysics CAE of a Shock Absorber

Shock absorbers are important parts of vehicles. The shock absorber is used to observe the vibrations from shock loads due to irregularities of the road surface, and operates without affecting the stability, steering, or handling of the vehicle. Generally, for light vehicles, cylindrical coil springs are used...

Articles : Photonics/Optics
Smart Cameras Get Smarter

Cameras are the eyes of the modern world. The devices equip today’s cars and machines, and real-time imaging capabilities support law enforcement, businesses, and homeowners. Thus far, cameras have been just that: simple cameras, eyes without a brain. Their sole purpose has been, primarily, to output images. Nowadays,...

Articles : Photonics/Optics
Delivering Industrial Reliability in Scientific Lasers

Scientific laser users have long relied on state-of-the-art performance (e.g., higher peak power, shorter pulse duration, wider wavelength tuning) to achieve groundbreaking results. Unfortunately, this high performance has often been emphasized at the expense of ease-of-use and reliability....

Application Briefs : Imaging
Machine Vision System Measures ‘Drops’ in Citrus Grove Health

A University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researcher has developed a machine vision system to measure the quantity of a citrus grove’s dropped and decayed oranges. The fallen fruit provides an indication of a so-far incurable disease that has been...

Articles : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Energy Harvesting's Emerging Role in a 'Smarter' World

When most individuals hear “energy harvesting,” they often think of alternative energy sources like wind and solar power. There is a distinct difference, however, between alternative energy and energy harvesting, or EH, approaches, based on the amount of power each can generate.

Products : Software
Multiphysics Simulation

OMSOL, Burlington, MA, announced the latest release of COMSOL Multiphysics® version 5.2, Application Builder, and COMSOL Server™ simulation software that expands electrical, mechanical, fluid, and chemical design and optimization capabilities. Application Builder allows users to create apps deployed by connecting to a...

Products : Aerospace
Embedded System GUIs

Abaco Systems, Huntsville, AL, announced AXIS DataView that enables users to develop graphical user interfaces (GUIs) for embedded applications. The software is designed for displaying data and adding controls to signal and image processing applications, as well as any system control or communications application, No...

Products : Software
Design-to-3D Print

Stratasys, Eden Prairie, MN, offers GrabCAD Print, an open architecture design-to-3D print workflow application residing on the GrabCAD SaaS platform. The software eliminates requirements to translate and repair CAD files prior to 3D printing.

Products : Aerospace
Analysis and Simulation

MSC Software Corp., Newport Beach, CA, released MSC Nastran 2016 and Patran 2016 simulation and analysis software. Nastran 2016 delivers new multidisciplinary analysis solutions, and Patran improves support for nonlinear and fatigue analysis capabilities. Enhancements include improvements to 3D rotor dynamics...

Products : Aerospace
Manifold Design

HydraForce, Lincolnshire, IL, released Version 5 of the i-Design integrated manifold design tool that allows users to create custom integrated manifold circuits, specify valve assembly layout, and generate a bill of material for their assembly. The user can build a circuit using drag-and-drop technology to specify the location of...

Products : Aerospace
HMI/Operator Interface

OMEGA Engineering, Stamford, CT, offers the NS Series touchscreen HMI with built-in Ethernet communications, alarming/recipe/data logging capabilities, and live video input/display. The HMIs allow direct resetting of faults, and enable flexible data access to a variety of devices. It enables operators to reach the devices...

Products : Aerospace
Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitors

Cornell Dubilier Electronics, Liberty, SC, introduced Slimpack type MLSH hermetically sealed aluminum electrolytic capacitors that feature a glass-to-metal seal that prevents dry-out. The capacitors can replace parallel and series banks of wet tantalum capacitors for new and existing designs, especially where...

Products : Aerospace
3D Printers

HP, Palo Alto, CA, announced the HP Jet Fusion 3D 3200 and 4200 commercial 3D printing systems that print functional parts at the individual voxel level. A voxel is the 3D equivalent of a 2D pixel in traditional printing. The printer features an open materials and software innovation platform, an enclosed processing station with a...

Products : Aerospace
PXIe Platform

Keysight Technologies, Santa Rosa, CA, announced the Gen3 PXIe chassis and components for data streaming for capture/playback applications such as 5G and electronic warfare. The products provide a platform for large, multi-channel and multi-chassis PXIe test systems, and include an 18-slot PXIe chassis with x8 Gen 3 PCIe links to...

Products : Aerospace
Hardware-in-the-Loop Simulators

National Instruments, Austin, TX, introduced turn key HIL Simulators built on an open, modular architecture. They integrate camera processing and RF I/O, along with traditional HIL components, into a single system. Test engineers can customize systems to include passive entry/passive start, tire pressure...

Products : Aerospace
Data Acquisition and Control

The MAQ20 industrial data acquisition and control system from Dataforth Corp., Tucson, AZ, includes the MAQ20-BRDG1 strain gage module with four input channels that interfaces to full, half, and quarter bridge sensors using 4-wire or 6-wire connections. A frequency input module accepts zero-crossing and TTL signals...

Products : Aerospace
LED Spot-Curing System

Dymax Corp., Torrington, CT, offers the BlueWave MX-150 LED spot-curing system that can be used as a benchtop unit or integrated into an automated system. LED emitters are available in 365, 385, or 405 nm wavelengths. The system’s curing energy is created using an LED chip in the emitter.

Products : Aerospace
Data Acquisition System

Diversified Technical Systems, Seal Beach, CA, introduced the SLICE PRO Field self-contained rugged data acquisition system in a portable kit. It delivers data in low temperatures, high altitudes, and low-pressure environments.

Products : Motion Control
Rotary Valve

RotaVal Ltd. (Wiltshire, UK) introduced a heavy-duty rotary valve for use where solids handled and operating conditions combine to cause abrasive erosion within the valve. It has on-site component replacement. The valves are used in discharging materials such as cement, PFA, granite dust, silica sand, and mineral powders under...

Products : Motion Control
Voice Coil Actuator

The LAH15-19-000A linear voice coil actuator from BEI Kimco (Vista, CA) provides low hysteresis/ low friction with bi-directional position control. It is suited for applications where low friction and high force accuracy are needed. The low-friction design features a patent-pending symmetrical flex circuit that prevents...

Products : Motion Control
Compact Robot

ABB Robotics (Auburn Hills, MI) introduced the IRB 1660ID compact robot for arc welding and machine tending applications. It features a DressPack design that allows users to program and simulate predictable cable movements, a rigid upper arm with a reach of 1.55 m, and a payload of 6 kg. It is able to accommodate heavier weld...

Products : Motion Control
Block Spindle

Suhner Industrial Products Corp. Automation Division (Rome, GA) introduced the BEX8 high-speed machining block spindle capable of maintaining rigidity and precision at operations up to 25,000 rpm. The spindle weighs 33 lbs. and can be mounted directly onto robotic arms for fully automated machining operations in automotive,...

Products : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Rotary Tables

Koma Precision (East Windsor, CT) offers Tsudakoma RDS Series direct drive rotary tables that use a proprietary direct drive motor system that enables the tables to achieve high speed and acceleration with no backlash. The compact, single-axis, 150-rpm tables feature indexing accuracy of ±10 arc seconds and a pneumatic braking...

Products : Motion Control
Undermount Slide

Accuride (Santa Fe Springs, CA) announced the 3135EC Eclipse Undermount Easy- Close slide. The slide offers improved full extension movement with a 100-pound load rating and 4.8 pounds of pull force. The Easy-Close action brings drawers to a smooth close while reducing the total envelope of the product. Fluid dampeners resist...

Products : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Pneumatic Gripper

Fabco-Air (Gainesville, FL) announced the FKHS Series 3 Jaw parallel motion pneumatic gripper for handling small parts in tight spaces. They are available in bore sizes of 25, 32, 40, 50, 63, and 80 mm. A magnetic piston is standard on all grippers. Mounting is via direct body (top and bottom) mounting holes.

Products : Lighting Technology
Positioning System

Piezoconcept (Lyon, France) offers the Hybrid System, an integrated positioning system for use with any standard inverted optical microscope. It combines a manual micrometer-driven, two-axis, linear motion stage with high-resolution, ultra-low-profile nanopositioners providing up to 300 μm in every direction. A stable...

Products : Imaging
Thermal Camera

The T1030sc thermal imaging camera from FLIR Systems (Wilsonville, OR) features hardware, software, and a 1024 × 768 HD-IR detector. High-fidelity images are created using FLIR’s OSX™ Precision HDIR optics, which include an ultrasonic autofocus capability.

Products : Lighting Technology
Customized Optical Components

Precision Glass & Optics (PG&O) (Santa Ana, CA) announced the customization of two thin-film optical components for a high-field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) accessory developed by Avotec, Inc. (Stuart, FL). The Real Eye Nano™ is an advanced visual presentation and eye-tracking system constructed...

Products : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Industrial Picosecond Lasers

A new generation of industrial picosecond lasers from Coherent, Inc. (Santa Clara, CA) combines high-performance and exceptional reliability in a lower-cost platform to make a wide range of precision materials processing economically viable. The HyperRapid NX product range includes 1064 nm output models with pulse...

Products : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Ultrasonic Piezo Motor Drives

Precision motion and nanopositioning systems specialist PI (Physik Instrumente) L.P. (Auburn, MA) recently released the smallest member in their miniature rotary stage series with ultrasonic piezo motor drives. The U-622 is joining two other high dynamics miniaturized ultrasonic rotary positioners, U-624 and U-628....

Products : Imaging
Frame Grabber

The FireBird Camera Link Deca board frame grabber from Active Silicon (Iver, UK) is now available in two form factors: a full-height version with front panel IO and a low-profile/half-height version. The low-profile design allows the FireBird Low Profile board to be used in small embedded PC enclosures and rack-mount cases where...

Products : Imaging
CMOS Cameras

SMARTEK Vision (New London, CT) offers the “twenty-nine” series of CMOS machine-vision cameras. Distributed by FRAMOS Technologies (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada), the 29 x 29- mm camera line fits GigE Vision and USB3 Vision with a high-speed sensor front-end into a miniature housing. Pixel sizes range from 5.86 μm and 3.45 μm down...

Products : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Motorized Actuators

A new series of low-cost DC drive motors from Siskiyou Corporation (Grants Pass, OR) enables precise, hands-free adjustment of translation stages and mirror mounts, using a simple, push-button control pad. Specifically, the new 500 series actuators can replace manual screw and micrometer adjusters on Siskiyou’s crossed...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Integrated Temperature and Capacitive Ablation Recession Rate Sensors

Innovators at NASA’s Glenn Research Center have developed new sensors that can be integrated into thermal protection systems (TPS) to protect them from environmental damage. Radiation, shock, and ablation (erosion of the protective outer surface) combine to damage the TPS...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Cryogenic Liquid Level Sensor Apparatus and Method

Innovators at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center have developed a highly accurate method for measuring liquid levels using optical fibers. Unlike liquid level gauges currently on the market that rely on discrete measurements to give broad approximations of liquid levels, Armstrong’s...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Flexible Thin Metal Film Thermal Sensing System

NASA’s Langley Research Center has extensively studied self-metallized polyimide films for aerospace applications. These thin films have shown promise not only as reflective coatings, but also conductive coatings. NASA believes that its technology may offer advantages to sensor companies,...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Piezoresistive Sensor

The present innovation, developed at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, comprises several piezoresistor sensor configurations for sensing rotation or torque that are superior to those currently in use in microelectromechanical (MEMS) devices. These may be used for sensing rotation/torque or any other quantity that can be...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Short-Range Communication System

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center has a suite of novel technologies for digital control of electronic machinery. NASA developed the technologies for autonomous assembly of modular space structures. The base technologies in the suite can improve gap sensors and absolute position sensors. They sense position...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Real-Time Radiation Monitoring Using Nanotechnology

NASA has patented a unique chemical sensor array leveraging nano-structures for monitoring the concentration of chemical species or gas molecules that is not damaged when exposed to protons and other high-energy particles over time. The nanotechnology-enabled chemical sensor array uses single...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Real-Time Oil Reservoir Evaluation Using Nanotechnology

This innovation is a method and system for evaluating the status and response of a mineral-producing field (e.g., oil and/or gas) by monitoring selected chemical and physical properties in or adjacent to a well site headspace. Nanotechnology sensors and other sensors are provided for one or...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Smartphone Video Guidance Sensor

The need arose to apply the state determination algorithms developed for the Advanced Video Guidance Sensor autonomous rendezvous and docking (AR&D) sensor onto a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS), smartphone-based platform to create a lower-mass, lower-cost sensor for small satellite and CubeSat applications....

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Stackable Form-Factor Peripheral Component Interconnect Device and Assembly

The invention is a design for a peripheral component interconnect (PCI) local bus controller and target in a PC/104-Plus form-factor. The design uses a flash-based field programmable gate array (FPGA) to provide immediate functionality from power-on to avoid delay after...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Self-Healing Wire Insulation

NASA’s Kennedy Space Center is seeking commercial partners for licensing or further development of a novel high-performance, flexible, low-melt polyimide film with self-healing properties. The self-healing properties of the film are provided by embedded microcapsules containing a solvent-soluble polyimide. When cut...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Vibration Damping Circuit Card Assembly

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center has developed a particle impact damper (NASA damper) that can be used in circuit card assemblies to reduce vibrations encountered during space vehicle launch. The damper, filled with high-density metallic beads, is attached to printed circuit boards (PCBs) and printed...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Development of a Metallic Bilayer Liftoff Mask

A large variety of cryogenic detectors need to be fabricated on thin dielectric membranes in order to have high signal-to-noise attributes. Unfortunately, many of the etching processes used to define the detectors can roughen or even completely dissolve the membranes. These types of membrane damage...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Residual Mode Filters

NASA has developed a unique control algorithm and synthesis method that uses a system’s output to modify control inputs to cause the system to track a reference model or a fixed value in the presence of unmodeled system dynamics, varying operating environments, and unpredictable disturbances. The unique feature of this...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Probabilistic Surface Characterization for Safe Landing Hazard Detection and Avoidance (HDA)

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has developed a probabilistic algorithm for hazard detection and avoidance (HDA) that robustly handles sensor noise. Conventional surface characterization methods use fixed hazard thresholds to determine hazardous...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Robot for Controlled Deposition of Multilayer Thin Film Structures

During deposition of thin film layers using shadow masking techniques, thin film layer structure morphology changes with respect to the position of the thin film layer and the shadow of the mask. Morphology changes in the thin film result in refractive index and density changes...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Walk and Roll Robot

In smooth terrain, the most efficient motion to traverse the terrain is rolling. However, when a wheeled vehicle encounters obstacles, it must circumvent them if possible or choose an alternate path. Legged vehicles can traverse such obstacles by stepping over them, but are not energy efficient on smooth terrain. The Walk and...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Human Grasp Assist Device with Exoskeleton

Researchers at the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC), in collaboration with General Motors (GM), have designed and developed Robo-Glove, a wearable human grasp assist device, to help reduce the grasping force needed by an individual to operate tools for an extended time or when performing tasks having...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Electromagnetic Monitoring and Control of a Plurality of Nanosatellites

NASA has developed an innovative combination of a Magnetometer, low-powered ElectroMagnets, and Res onant Inductive Coupling (MEMRIC) to create and control relative positioning of nanosatellites within a cluster. This is a game-changing approach to enable distributed...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Elimination of Yaw Component of Gyroscope Propagation Error During Arm Activity in MSL

When updating attitude during arm motion, gyroscope propagation error soon becomes greater than the tilt being monitored. The solution is to add an accelerometer-only mode that can update attitude without using gyroscopes, and to add the ability to monitor...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Locomotion of Amorphous Surface Robots

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed multiple ways for amorphous robots to autonomously move across a surface without needing conventional wheels or legs. Amorphous robots are useful in dusty and sandy environments in which greater mobility, passive shape changing, and immunity to dust and...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Conduit Purging Device and Method

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center invites companies to license this dead-end welding device for use in the welding of tubing. This technology solves the problem of unacceptable welds in dead-end configurations. The technique has been proven to be highly successful with many dead-end weld configurations, as...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Multi-Spoked Wheel Assembly

NASA Glenn researchers have developed a spoked drive mechanism for robots and other vehicles that is capable of two rotational modes. This robust ground traction (drive) assembly for remotely controlled vehicles operates smoothly not only on surfaces that are flat, but also upon surfaces that include rugged terrain,...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Nanotube-Based Device Cooling System

Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are being studied for applications in high-strength/low-weight composites and other applications. Recent research on thermal dissipation materials for high-power electronic devices is generating a lot of interest in various industries. NASA has developed a method for cooling a device,...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
A Method for Accurate Load/Position Control of Rigidly Coupled Electromechanical Actuators

NASA has developed a technique designed to prevent cross-coupling in systems where two or more linear electro-mechanical actuators (EMA) are rigidly connected and are in danger of becoming cross-coupled. In such systems where the linked EMAs are commanded...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Ultralight Self-Deployable Solar Sails

Deployment of large structures such as solar sails relies typically upon electromechanical mechanisms, mechanically expandable or inflatable booms, launch restraints, controls, and other mechanisms that drastically increase the total mass, stowage volume, and areal density. The primary performance parameter...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Ultra-Compact Heat Rejection System

Radiator panels are the baseline heat rejection approach for most space systems. This approach is sound, but requires a large amount of surface area to radiate the anticipated heat load. The large panels require support structures to hold them in place and prevent damage. These structures impact mass and cost....

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Transformable and Reconfigurable Entry, Descent, and Landing Systems and Methods

The Adaptable, Deployable Entry Placement Technology (ADEPT) concept is a mechanically deployable, semi-rigid aeroshell entry system capable of achieving low ballistic coefficient during entry for planetary or Earth return missions. The decelerator system offers a...

Briefs : Materials
Thermomechanical Methodology for Stabilizing Shape Memory Alloy (SMA) Response

Shape memory alloys (SMAs), sometimes known as “smart metals,” provide a lightweight, solid-state alternative to conventional actuators and switches, such as hydraulic, pneumatic, or motor-based systems. To function properly, SMAs must be “trained” to return...

Briefs : Materials
Flexible Ablator for Thermal Protection

NASA has developed a class of low-density, flexible ablators that can be fabricated into heat-shields capable of being packaged, stowed, and deployed in space. The key characteristics of this new ablative thermal protection system (TPS) are its flexibility, conformability, and tailor-ability. Flexibility...

Briefs : Materials
Resistive Heating Method for TPS Property Measurements

A unique ultrasonic-based technique has been developed to measure temperature profiles in materials used in thermal protection systems (TPS). The technology requires measurements of the thermal expansion coefficient and the ultrasonic velocity for these materials as a function of temperature...

Briefs : Materials
Measuring Bond Site Concentration on the Intrinsic Aerogel Surface Through Chemisorption of Chlorosilanes

This work involves development of aerogel to be used as a passive absorption media — effectively a concentrator of trace organics — that can be detected by optical techniques. Such a trace organic detection scheme is very different from...

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

The Toughened Uni-piece Fibrous Reinforced Oxidation-Resistant Composite (TUFROC) allows for much more affordable and sustainable operations involving Space Launch Services and other systems that utilize Earth re-entry vehicles. TUFROC has an exposed surface design and...

Briefs : Materials
Effects of Postcure and Associated Design Allowables for M55J/RS-3C Polycyanate Composite

M55J/RS-3C resin composite structures on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) sunshield will concurrently maintain loads and be exposed to temperature extremes throughout the life of the observatory. Increasing the glass transition temperature (Tg) is...

Briefs : Aerospace
Airfoil System for Cruising Flight

Flaps can significantly alter wing aerodynamics for high lift generation. Conventional flaps are mainly deployed for takeoff and landing, but are not suitable for in-cruise flight. It is widely speculated that birds and insects utilize their wing flexibility, particularly at the trailing edges, for effective...

Briefs : Aerospace
Conditionally Active Min-Max Limit Regulators

The control system in modern commercial aircraft engines is designed to operate the engine in a safe manner throughout its operating envelope. In order to utilize the existing safety margins more effectively, innovators at NASA’s Glenn Research Center have developed a modification to current...

Briefs : Aerospace
Design of the Next-Generation Aircraft Noise Prediction Program (ANOPP2)

Community noise has been an ongoing problem for aircraft, and is projected to be a major concern in the future due to increased air traffic. NASA’s Advanced Air Vehicles Program (AAVP), Integrated Aviation Systems Program (IASP), and Transformative Aeronautics Concepts...

Briefs : Aerospace
The Integrated Minimum Drag Solution: New Wing Design Exponentially Increases Total Aircraft Efficiency

Innovators at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center are experimenting with a new wing design that removes adverse yaw and dramatically increases aircraft efficiency by reducing drag. The technology has the potential to significantly...

Briefs : Aerospace
X-Plane Communication Toolbox (XPC)

The X-Plane Connect Toolbox is an open-source research tool used to interact with the commercial flight simulator software X-Plane. XPC allows users to control aircraft and receive real-time state information from aircraft simulated in X-Plane using functions written in C, C++, Java, MathWorks’ MATLAB, or...

Briefs : Aerospace
Terminal Airspace Configuration Scheduler (TACS)

In the current National Airspace System (NAS), there are many airports that are capacity-limited during the busiest parts of the day, and air traffic is expected to increase substantially in the future. NASA and the FAA are looking toward technologies that improve the capacity and efficiency of...

Briefs : Communications
Heterogeneous Spacecraft Networks

Heterogeneous Spacecraft Networks (HSNs) are network environments in which spacecraft from different missions and institutions can communicate with each other at a low cost and with low impact on overall system resources. The technology of heterogeneous wireless networks has yet to be extended to space networks,...

Briefs : Communications
Space Optical Communications Using Laser Beams

NASA has developed a new technology for space optical communications, including communications from the Earth to spacecraft in Earth orbit and in deep space, such as at the Moon and Mars. The innovation changes the architecture of space optical communications so that a new laser beam pointing...

Briefs : Communications
Hybrid Loop Element Design for Enhanced High-Frequency Reflector/Reflectarray Performance

The purpose of this invention is to provide a novel, low-loss, dual-band reflectarray element design that is transparent and low-loss across one frequency band (Ka-band in the initial application), and provides the phasing and beam collimation capability...

Briefs : Communications
Using a Power Grid as an Extremely Large Antenna for Geophysical Imaging

Geomagnetic storms drive geomagnetically induced currents (GICs) in high-voltage power transmission systems. GICs thus carry information about the near-space environment conditions. The U.S. high-voltage power transmission system was used as an extremely large antenna to...

Briefs : Medical
A Simplified Production of Organic Compounds Containing High Enantiomer Excesses

NASA has developed a novel approach for producing sugars and sugar acids enriched with one of the two enantiomers of individual compounds. This approach can also be adapted for other compounds, such as amino acids. All objects, including chemical compounds, have...

Briefs : Medical
Generation of High-Pressure Oxygen Via Electrochemical Pumping in a Multi-Stage Electrolysis Stack

Innovators at NASA’s Glenn Research Center have developed a method for producing pure high-pressure oxygen via an electrochemical pumping process through a solid oxide electrolysis (SOE) cell stack. Glenn’s device can either concentrate the...

Briefs : Medical
Tension Distribution in Tendon-Driven Fingers

Researchers at the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC), in collaboration with General Motors and Oceaneering, have designed a state-of-the-art, highly dexterous, humanoid robot called Robonaut 2 (R2). R2 is made up of multiple component technologies and systems encompassing nearly 50 patented and...

Briefs : Medical
Rapid Polymer Sequencer

Solid-state nanopore-based analysis of nucleic acid polymers is revolutionary. No other technique can determine information content in single molecules of genetic material at speeds of 1 subunit per microsecond. Since individual molecules are counted, the output is intrinsically quantitative. The nanopore approach is more...

Briefs : Software
Adaptive Refinement Tools for Tetrahedral Unstructured Grids

NASA’s Langley Research Center engineers have developed a new software package for more facile computational fluid dynamics. The software’s fast user run time, robustness, and efficiency have enabled its extensive use in space shuttle modeling. Adaptive Refinement Tool (ART)...

Briefs : Software
Self-Stabilizing, Byzantine-Fault-Tolerant Clock Synchronization System and Method

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a portfolio of technologies regarding clock synchronization in distributed systems. Distributed synchronous systems that need to provide globally coordinated operations require each component (node) in the system to...

Briefs : Software
Method of Performing Computational Aeroelastic Analyses

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed unsteady aerodynamic Reduced-Order Models (ROMs) that significantly improve computational efficiency compared to traditional analyses of aeroelastic and other complex and unsteady systems. Traditional methods rely on the repetitive use of...

Briefs : Software
Fourier Transform Spectrometer Performance Modeling

This software models the performance of a Fourier transform spectrometer (FTS). More specifically, it is able to add a number of noise/error sources to the interferogram and transform the errors back to the spectral domain.

Briefs : Software
Mesh Adaptation Module for Cartesian Meshes with Embedded Boundaries

This work extends the mesh generation capability of NASA’s Cart3D flow simulation software package to permit cell-by-cell mesh enrichment. Cart3D allows users to perform automated Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis on a complex geometry. It includes utilities for...