December 2013

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Microwave Kinetic Inductance Detector With Selective Polarization Coupling

A conventional low-noise detector requires a technique to both absorb incident power and convert it to an electrical signal at cryogenic temperatures. This innovation combines low-noise detector and readout functionality into one device while maintaining high absorption,...

HBM, Marlborough, MA, has introduced the GEN3i portable data recorder, part of the Genesis High Speed line of data recorders. They are designed for laboratory, power test stands, and...

Briefs: Semiconductors & ICs
Flexible Microstrip Circuits for Superconducting Electronics

Flexible circuits with superconducting wiring atop polyimide thin films are being studied to connect large numbers of wires between stages in cryogenic apparatus with low heat load. The feasibility of a full microstrip process, consisting of two layers of superconducting material...

Four application specific integrated circuits (ASICs) that provide sensing, actuation, and power conversion capabilities for distributed control in a high-temperature (over 200...

As small gasoline engines evolve to use more sophisticated electronic engine controls, new challenges will face the smallengine manufacturers, including...

Briefs: Software
Scatter-Reducing Sounding Filtration Using a Genetic Algorithm and Mean Monthly Standard Deviation

Retrieval algorithms like that used by the Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO)-2 mission generate massive quantities of data of varying quality and reliability. A computationally efficient, simple method of labeling problematic datapoints or...

Briefs: Software
CFD Extraction Tool for TecPlot From DPLR Solutions

This invention is a TecPlot macro of a computer program in the TecPlot programming language that processes data from DPLR solutions in TecPlot format. DPLR (Data-Parallel Line Relaxation) is a NASA computational fluid dynamics (CFD) code, and TecPlot is a commercial CFD post-processing tool....

Briefs: Medical
RECOVIR Software for Identifying Viruses

Most single-stranded RNA (ssRNA) viruses mutate rapidly to generate a large number of strains with highly divergent capsid sequences. Determining the capsid residues or nucleotides that uniquely characterize these strains is critical in understanding the strain diversity of these viruses. RECOVIR (an...

Briefs: Software
Enhanced Contact Graph Routing (ECGR) MACHETE Simulation Model

Contact Graph Routing (CGR) for Delay/Disruption Tolerant Networking (DTN) space-based networks makes use of the predictable nature of node contacts to make real-time routing decisions given unpredictable traffic patterns. The contact graph will have been disseminated to all nodes...

Briefs: Software
Orbital Debris Engineering Model (ORDEM) v.3

A model of the manmade orbital debris environment is required by spacecraft designers, mission planners, and others in order to understand and mitigate the effects of the environment on their spacecraft or systems. A manmade environment is dynamic, and can be altered significantly by intent (e.g., the...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Hermetic Seal Designs for Sample Return Sample Tubes

Prototypes have been developed of potential hermetic sample sealing techniques for encapsulating samples in a ≈1-cm-diameter thin-walled sample tube that are compatible with IMSAH...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Thermo-Mechanical Methodology for Stabilizing Shape Memory Alloy Response

This innovation is capable of significantly reducing the amount of time required to stabilize the strain-temperature response of a shape memory alloy (SMA). Unlike traditional stabilization processes that take days to weeks to achieve stabilized response, this innovation...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Silicon Alignment Pins: An Easy Way To Realize a Wafer-to-Wafer Alignment

Submillimeter heterodyne instruments play a critical role in addressing fundamental questions regarding the evolution of galaxies as well as being a crucial tool in planetary science. To make these instruments compatible with small platforms, especially for the study of...

The LVDT linear position sensor can operate successfully over a wide range of temperatures, depending upon its design and the application in which it is operating. While...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Electric Machine With Boosted Inductance to Stabilize Current Control

High-powered motors typically have very low resistance and inductance (R and L) in their windings. This makes the pulse-width modulated (PWM) control of the current very difficult, especially when the bus voltage (V) is high. These R and L values are dictated by the motor...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Positive-Buoyancy Rover for Under Ice Mobility

A buoyant rover has been developed to traverse the underside of ice-covered lakes and seas. The rover operates at the ice/water interface and permits direct observation and measurement of...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
International Space Station- Based Electromagnetic Launcher for Space Science Payloads

A method was developed of lowering the cost of planetary exploration missions by using an electromagnetic propulsion/launcher, rather than a chemical-fueled rocket for propulsion. An electromagnetic launcher (EML) based at the International Space Station (ISS)...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Advanced Hybrid Spacesuit Concept Featuring Integrated Open Loop and Closed Loop Ventilation Systems

A document discusses the design and prototype of an advanced spacesuit concept that integrates the capability to function seamlessly with multiple ventilation system approaches. Traditionally, spacesuits are designed to operate both dependently...

Briefs: Information Technology
Data Quality Screening Service

A report describes the Data Quality Screening Service (DQSS), which is designed to help automate the filtering of remote sensing data on behalf of science users. Whereas this process often involves much research through quality documents followed by laborious coding, the DQSS is a Web Service that provides data...

In today’s environment of doing more with less, designers and engineers are constantly pressured to increase productivity, especially in small- and medium-sized businesses where a...

The Cryogenic Refuge Alternative Supply System (CryoRASS), and a smaller liquid air-filled backpack under development at NASA Kennedy Space Center’s (KSC) Biomedical Lab, have the...

Application Briefs: Materials
NASA Selects “Game-Changing” Thermal Management Concept

Thermacore was recently selected by NASA Space Technology’s Game Changing Development Program to have one of its thermal management concepts evaluated for potential use in future spacecraft.

Application Briefs: Aerospace
Air-Data System Detects Aircraft Icing

Michigan Aerospace Corporation (MAC) has begun work on a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract with NASA’s Langley Research Center. The contract, “RIDES: Raman Icing Detection...

It’s that time of year when we ask NASA Tech Briefs readers to vote for the annual Readers’ Choice Product of the Year Awards.

Each month, our editors choose a...

Are the shoes you’re wearing really made of leather? Is the table nearby made of wood? How can you be sure? These questions may seem trivial in everyday life, but knowing the precise...

Industries as diverse as architecture, engineering, construction, advertising, and medical have all incorporated an array of 3D visualization technologies into their design,...

Thermal imagers allow a user to see an object’s heat signature, and heat provides an entirely different set of performance data than the visible spectrum available to the...

Lumenera recently partnered with an ophthalmology diagnostic device manufacturer that required a camera for integration into its product. The goal was to obtain sharp retinal fundus...

Products: Imaging
Multi-Touch Displays

American Industrial Systems (Irvine, CA) has announced industrial, widescreen, multi-touch HMI monitors and displays. A Projected Capacitive Sensor provides a gesture-based HMI interface that allows interactions such as...

Products: Imaging
Lenses

Edmund Optics (Barrington, NJ) has doubled its offering of stock Zinc Selenide Plano-Convex (PCX) Lenses. The Zinc Selenide Plano-Convex Lenses are available individually, in diameters of 12.7, 25.4, and 50.8 mm, with a variety of...

Products: Imaging
High-Speed Camera

The S-MIZE EM high-speed camera from AOS Technologies AG (Baden, Switzerland) has built-in PowerPC architecture, which duplicates the control and status lines of a film camera. A range of available connectors also enable...

Products: Imaging
Frame Grabbers

BitFlow (Woburn, MA) provides an alternative to four-link CoaXPress (CXP) frame grabbers with its Karbon™ CXP2, a two-link frame grabber. BitFlow Karbon-CXP2 frame grabbers offer video acquisition speeds up to 6 Gigabits per...

Products: Imaging
Vision System

Teledyne DALSA (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada) has released the GEVA 3000 vision system. The fanless GEVA 3000 is equipped with a Gen3 Core i7 processor, choice of camera interface, and application software.

Products: Imaging
Thermal Cameras

FLIR Systems (Portland, OR) has announced the FLIR A6700sc midwave infrared camera. The device features a 640×512 pixel resolution thermal detector. Short exposure times allow users to freeze motion and achieve accurate...

Products: Imaging
Camera Software

The pylon 4 Camera Software Suite offered by Basler (Ahrensburg, Germany) supports USB3 Vision and Windows 8. The Basler pylon 4 includes all drivers necessary to establish the various camera interface standards (USB3 Vision,...

Products: Imaging
Thermal Imaging System

Ircon® (Santa Cruz, CA) has introduced the ScanIR® 3 infrared linescanners and thermal imaging system. The ScanIR3 Series includes a choice of eight models. Robust housing incorporates standard watercooling and air...

Products: Imaging
Wireless Surveillance Camera

MicroPower Technologies (San Diego, CA) has announced the Helios ™ IR Camera. With the addition of an energy-efficient IR illuminator, the Helios day/night device captures and transmits IR-illuminated video...

Products: Imaging
Machine Vision Camera

Measuring 23 × 26.5 × 21.5 mm (.9 × 1.04 × .84"), the uEye™ XS from IDS Imaging Development Systems (Woburn, MA) delivers images from distances of 10 cm, either automatically or manually using software. The...

Performing closed-loop control of hydraulic servo systems is often more challenging than controlling servomotor systems. The main reason is that hydraulic systems use compressible oil to...

Articles: Defense
iSLC Flash Technology

Robots have been employed by the military to assist in missions where it would be, and has been, too dangerous to have a human being take on the task. These robots can detect and disable bombs. Some can be thrown into...

Jim Lux is task manager on FINDER (Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response), a portable radar device that detects heartbeats and breathing of victims trapped...

Podcasts
Jim Lux, Task Manager, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA

Jim Lux is task manager on FINDER (Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response), a portable radar device that detects heartbeats and breathing of victims trapped under rubble in a disaster.

News: Green Design & Manufacturing
Researchers Combine Antennas and Solar Cells

Researchers have combined antennas and solar cells to work together with unprecedented efficiency. The development is a first step towards more compact, lightweight satellites. The technology could also be deployed in the autonomous antenna systems used in the aftermath of natural disasters.

For...

Question of the Week
Can a Computer Be Taught Common Sense?

Researchers are building a massive computer system that browses millions of pictures and decides for itself what they all mean. The system at Carnegie Mellon University, called NEIL (short for Never Ending Image Learning) has been searching the Internet for images 24/7 and, in tiny steps, is determining how...

News
Inexpensive Nano-Camera Operates at the Speed of Light

A $500 nano-camera that can operate at the speed of light has been developed by researchers in the MIT Media Lab. The three-dimensional cameracould be used in medical imaging and collision-avoidance detectors for cars, and to improve the accuracy of motion tracking and gesture-recognition...

News
Imaging System Inspired by Human Eye Can Diagnose Disease

Optical devices like telescopes and microscopes have relied on solid lenses that slide up and down to magnify and to focus. To tune how much light is received, conventional devices use mechanical contraptions like the blades that form the adjustable aperture in cameras. Engineers from...

News
Special Camera Makes Hidden Tumors Visible During an Operation

Tumor removal surgeries pose a great challenge even to skillful and experienced surgeons. Up to now, doctors depend exclusively upon their trained eyes when excising pieces of tumors. A new camera system developed by Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Auto- mation...

Products: Photonics/Optics
Thermal Night Vision Systems

Senso Optics (Yokneam, Israel) has announced development of the world’s first "Thermal camera on Chip(TM)" for ADAS (Advance Driver Assistance System). ADAS is a driver warning system, designed to reduce...

Products: Photonics/Optics
Microspectrometer

The STS-UV Microspectrometer from Ocean Optics (Dunedin, FL) is a compact, high-performance spectrometer. Measuring just 40mm x 42mm and 24mm high, this product is optimized for applications in the ultraviolet (190-650 nm)...

Products: Photonics/Optics
Infrared Imaging Camera Engines

Sofradir EC, Inc. (Fairfield, NJ) is introducing a new line of high performance infrared imaging engines. The Miniature Thermal Imaging Engines, labeled “MiTIE”, utilize a Sofradir cryogenically cooled MCT...

A new dual inverted selective plane illumination microscope from Applied Scientific Instrumentation (Eugene, OR) generates 3d volumes with isotropic resolution (330) nm in all directions,...

News
Plasmonic Crystal Alters To Match Light-Frequency Source

Gems are known for the beauty of the light that passes through them. But it is the fixed atomic arrangements of these crystals that determine which light frequencies are permitted passage. Now a Sandia-led team has created a plasmonic, or plasma-containing, crystal that is tunable. The...

News
New Heat-Resistant Materials Could Improve Solar Cell Efficiency

Scientists have created a heat-resistant thermal emitter, an element used in specialized solar cells, that could significantly improve the efficiency of the cells. The novel component is designed to convert heat from the sun into infrared light, which can then be absorbed by solar...

News
Penguin-Inspired Propulsion Uses Novel Spherical Joint Mechanism

Underwater, emperor penguins can turn into regular rockets, accelerating from 0 to 7 m/s in less than a second. Researchers at the University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland have created a new propulsion system based on a penguin’s shoulder and wing system that features a...

Question of the Week
Will Amazon's Drone Delivery Service Really Fly?

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos recently announced that Amazon's R&D department is working on "Amazon Prime Air," a service that enables drones to deliver packages within 30 minutes. The earliest the technology could be in service, however, is 2015, because the FAA will need to update its laws.

News
Researchers Design Seamless Integrated Circuits Etched on Graphene

Researchers in electrical and computer engineering at UC Santa Barbara have introduced and modeled an integrated circuit design scheme in which transistors and interconnects are monolithically patterned seamlessly on a sheet of graphene, a 2-dimensional plane of carbon atoms. The...

News
Chaotic Physics in Ferroelectrics Could Lead to Memcomputing

Unexpected behavior in ferroelectric materials explored by researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory supports a new approach to information storage and processing. Ferroelectric materials are known for their ability to spontaneously switch polarization...

Products: Electronics & Computers
Haptics-Enabled Microcontrollers

Texas Instruments (TI) (Dallas, TX) has announced a new flexible haptics and capacitive touch combo solution on one chip. The new MSP430TCH5E haptics- enabled microcontrollers allow users to add vibrational...

Products: Electronics & Computers
USB-TO-SPI Bridge Chip

Silicon Labs (Austin, TX) has introduced the new CP2130 USB-to-SPI bridge controller that offers a turnkey solution for bridging a universal serial bus (USB) host and a serial peripheral interface (SPI) bus with...

Products: Electronics & Computers
Universal Emulation Configurator

The Universal Emulation Configurator (UEC) from PLS Programmierbare Logik & Systeme (Lauta, Germany) is now available for the Freescale MPC57xx and SPC57x from STMicroelectronics. The MPC57xx and SPC57x...

Products: Electronics & Computers
Mid-Range Oscilloscope

Tektronix, Inc. (Beaverton, OR) has introduced the MSO/DPO5000B Series oscilloscope offering bandwidth up to 2 GHz with 10 GS/s sample rate and 50M standard record length. In addition, the MSO/DPO5000B Series offers...

News
NASA Pilots Take a Load Off With Tablets

NASA Dryden Flight Research Center's pilots are saving trees, money, and their backs by joining the tablet computer revolution in aviation. Tablet computers have replaced pilots' heavy flight bags, some of which weighed about 40 pounds filled with hard copies of aviation documents. This transition has...

News
Nanotube Array Technology Could Improve Spacecraft Propulsion

A pair of carbon nanotube arrays will be flying in space by the end of the year to test technology that could provide more efficient micro-propulsion for future generations of spacecraft. Part of a Cube Satellite (CubeSat) developed by the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT), the...

News
New Process Speeds Manufacture of JSF Cockpit Canopies

A faster, more precise way to create cockpit enclosures may end up saving the F-35 Lightning II program a significant amount in manufacturing costs. The Office of Naval Research (ONR) has invested in an automated thermoforming process that could cut costs by as much as $125 million over the...

I recently had the chance to spend a day at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston with the ten winners of the Speed2Design contest sponsored by Littelfuse, a Chicago-based circuit protection company....

Articles: Green Design & Manufacturing
Mars Technologies Spawn Durable Wind Turbines
NASA Technology

“It all started with ecological life support systems for exploration,” says David Bubenheim, a senior research scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center. Sometimes referred...

Articles: Green Design & Manufacturing
Home Air Purifiers Eradicate Harmful Pathogens
NASA Technology

In the 1990s, NASA scientists were thinking of what astronauts would need to survive long-term missions to the moon and even to other planets in the solar system. One important...

Articles: Information Technology
Micro-Accelerometers Monitor Equipment Health
NASA Technology

Objects that orbit the Earth, such as the International Space Station (ISS), provide a unique environment called zero-g, or more correctly, microgravity. All objects in orbit...

NASA Technology

Whether you wanted to know how certain insulation would work on a Mars-bound spacecraft or on an Earth-based refrigerator, you would want to test its performance in the...

NASA Technology

Over the years, NASA has advanced photovoltaic (PV) technology in order to advance many of its missions. This renewable source of energy is produced when certain...

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