May 2012

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Wavefront Compensation Segmented Mirror Sensing and Control

The primary mirror of very large submillimeter-wave telescopes will necessarily be segmented into many separate mirror panels. These panels must be continuously co-phased to keep the telescope wavefront error less than a small fraction of a wavelength, to ten microns RMS (root mean...

A series of free-mass designs for the ultrasonic/sonic driller/corer (USDC) has been developed to maximize the transfer of energy from the piezoelectric transducer through the...

Over the past 30 years, significant technology gains in polymer engineering have greatly expanded the applications suited to adhesive bonding with epoxy resins. Advanced bonding...

Briefs: Materials
Electrochemical Ultracapacitors Using Graphitic Nanostacks

Electrochemical ultracapacitors (ECs) have been developed using graphitic nanostacks as the electrode material. The advantages of this technology will be the reduction of device size due to superior power densities and relative powers compared to traditional activated carbon electrodes....

Briefs: Medical
Monitoring Location and Angular Orientation of a Pill

A mobile pill transmitter system moves through, or adjacent to, one or more organs in an animal or human body, while transmitting signals from its present location and/or present angular orientation. The system also provides signals from which the present roll angle of the pill, about a...

Briefs: Medical
Molecular Technique to Reduce PCR Bias for Deeper Understanding of Microbial Diversity

Current planetary protection policies require that spacecraft targeted to sensitive solar system bodies be assembled and readied for launch in controlled cleanroom environments. A better understanding of the distribution and frequency at which high-risk...

Dramatic improvements have been made in NASA’s Whole Blood Staining Device (WBSD) since it was last described in “Whole-Blood- Staining Device,” NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 23, No. 10 (October 1999),...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
PRTs and Their Bonding for Long-Duration, Extreme- Temperature Environments

Research was conducted on the qualification of Honeywell platinum resistance thermometer (PRT) bonding for use in the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL). This is the first time these sensors will be used for Mars-related projects. Different types of PRTs were employed for the...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
3D Display Using Conjugated Multiband Bandpass Filters

Stereoscopic display techniques are based on the principle of displaying two views, with a slightly different perspective, in such a way that the left eye views only by the left eye, and the right eye views only by the right eye. However, one of the major challenges in optical devices is...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Real-Time, Non-Intrusive Detection of Liquid Nitrogen in Liquid Oxygen at High Pressure and High Flow

An integrated fiber-optic Raman sensor has been designed for real-time, nonintrusive detection of liquid nitrogen in liquid oxygen (LOX) at high pressures and high flow rates in order to monitor the quality of LOX used during rocket engine...

Microwave imaging radiometers operating in the 50–183 GHz range for retrieving atmospheric temperature and water vapor profiles from airborne platforms have...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Laser Ablation Electrodynamic Ion Funnel for 'In Situ' Mass Spectrometry on Mars

A front-end instrument, the laser ablation ion funnel, was developed, which would ionize rock and soil samples in the ambient Martian atmosphere, and efficiently transport the product ions into a mass spectrometer for in situ analysis.

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Mid- and Long-IR Broadband Quantum Well Photodetector

A single-stack broadband quantum well infrared photodetector (QWIP) has been developed that consists of stacked layers of GaAs/AlGaAs quantum wells with absorption peaks centered at various wavelengths spanning across the 9-to-11-μm spectral regions. The correct design of broadband QWIPs was...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Dual-Compartment Inflatable Suitlock

A paper discusses a dual-compartment inflatable suitlock (DCIS) for Extra-vehicular Activity (EVA) that will allow for dust control, suit maintenance, and efficient EVA egress/ingress. The expandable (inflatable technologies) aspect of the design will allow the unit to stow in a compact package for...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Techniques for Solution-Assisted Optical Contacting

A document discusses a “solutionassisted contacting” technique for optical contacting. An optic of surface flatness Lambda/20 was successfully contacted with one of “moderate” surface quality, or Lambda/4. Optics used were both ultra-low expansion (ULE) glass (Lambda/4 and Lambda/20)...

Briefs: Materials
Large-Strain Transparent Magnetoactive Polymer Nanocomposites

A document discusses polymer nanocomposite superparamagnetic actuators that were prepared by the addition of organically modified superparamagnetic nanoparticles to the polymer matrix. The nanocomposite films exhibited large deformations under a magnetostatic field with a low loading...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Thermodynamic Vent System for an On-Orbit Cryogenic Reaction Control Engine

A report discusses a cryogenic reaction control system (RCS) that integrates a Joule-Thompson (JT) device (expansion valve) and thermodynamic vent system (TVS) with a cryogenic distribution system to allow fine control of the propellant quality (subcooled liquid) during...

Briefs: Information Technology
Time Distribution Using SpaceWire in the SCaN Testbed on ISS

A paper describes an approach for timekeeping and time transfer among the devices on the CoNNeCT project’s SCaN Testbed. It also describes how the clocks may be synchronized with an external time reference; e.g., time tags from the International Space Station (ISS) or RF signals...

Podcasts
Stephen Merkowitz, Project Manager, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

Stephen Merkowitz: NASA currently offers a network of space geodetic ground stations that do Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI), satellite laser ranging (SLR), and [global navigation satellite system] GNSS or GPS tracking. The new space geodesy...

Pressure controllers from Alicat Scientific have been selected for use in NASA sounding rockets to control payload attitude. The payload sections of some NASA...

Application Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Curiosity Rover Uses CCD Sensors to Navigate Surface of Mars

Currently cruising through space at more than 10,000 mph, the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) is scheduled to touch down on the red planet in August. The Mars Science Laboratory was...

LEDs seem to reach a point where more electricity no longer imparts the same kick and productivity levels off. A team of researchers from California and Japan has devised...

A multinational team of scientists has developed a process for creating glass-based, inorganic LEDs that produce light in the ultraviolet range. The work is a step toward biomedical...

Articles: Lighting
LED Backlighting

Though often drowned out by the excitement generated by general illumination LEDs, LED backlighting technology has evolved dramatically over the past 30 years. Continued advances in design and performance have allowed each...

Articles: Lighting Technology
Using IC Sockets in an LED Test System

For more than half a century, the semiconductor industry has been governed by a commonly known principle described as Moore’s Law. This “law” predicts that through technological advancement a...

After Nick Holonyak invented the practical visible LED in 1962, the first commercial products were limited in brightness and only to applications such as red indicator lights and seven segment displays. In...

These displays could play crucial roles in ultra-portable products such as next-generation pico-projectors and in emerging fields such as biophotonics and...

Nanowires — microscopic fibers that can be “grown” in a lab — have a variety of potential applications, including LEDs and sensors. A team of MIT researchers...

Stratasys, Inc. Eden Prairie, MN

In April 2009, Tommy Voeten, President of the New York City-based 1212-Studio, was asked to help illuminate the fabric roof of the stages for rock...

Products: Lighting Technology
Integrated Buck Regulators

The SMB206A and SMB210A programmable DC-DC integrated circuits from Summit Microelectronics (Sunnyvale, CA) are dual/single-output integrated buck regulators. With a serial digital interface and onboard...

Products: Lighting
Hands-Free Light Source

The Spectroline® EK-3000 EagleEye™ UV-A/White Light LED Inspection Kit (patents pending) from Spectronics Corp. (Westbury, NY) features the palm-sized, cool-running EagleEye inspection lamp. The kit is engineered...

Faults in wiring systems are a serious concern for the aerospace and aeronautic (commercial, military, and civil) industries. Circuit failures and vehicle accidents have...

Products: Lighting Technology
Mask Alignment System

EV Group (St. Florian, Austria) has announced the EVG620HBL Gen II, the second-generation, automated mask alignment system for volume manufacturing of high-brightness light-emitting diodes (HB-LEDs).

Techs for License
Indoor Positioning System Utilizes Wireless LAN Network

A positioning system utilizes ZigBee™, a wireless sensor network on the 2.4-GHz ISM band. The technology applies stochastic reasoning in analyzing the ID and received signal strength indication (RSSI) of received wireless signals. Due to multipath interference, the position of people or...

Products: Lighting
Digital LED Controller

Featuring digital TruDim™ technology, the CS161X controller from Cirrus Logic (Austin, TX) has been tested to provide compatibility with an array of dimmers. The CS161X’s digital intelligence allows the controller...

Techs for License
Square Piston Engine Reduces Emissions

The Square Piston Engine (SPEC), a two-stroke engine with a square piston, has an improved power-to-weight ratio compared to existing engines. The engine features the same three moving parts as a conventional two-stroke engine: crank, gudgeon, and piston. The delayed opening of the exhaust port on the power...

Products: Lighting Technology
Programmable Dimmable Drivers

Designed with a programmable function, the CLSD Series of programmable LED drivers from NMB Technologies Corporation (Chatsworth, CA) features a 10W to 20W power rating, and a 0 to 10W voltage dimming function....

Tech Needs
Materials that Form Mesh-Based Sheets

Materials exist that provide optical clarity, but the fabricmaking process drives the costs too high. A company seeks cost-effective materials and technologies that will form meshbased sheets exhibiting high optical clarity and low haze. The resulting sheet/film/fabric will also be evaluated based on cost...

Tech Needs
Packaging Defect Detection

Consumers desire dent-free packages and properly affixed labels on 3D rigid packaging. A client seeks an automated system that will check the quality of these labels, and will detect, measure, and record critical information. The detection procedure will inform changes in processes, materials, or equipment to reduce or...

SpaceClaim, Concord, MA, has released SpaceClaim Engineer 2012 3D direct modeling software with new capabilities in reverse engineering, model preparation for...

Articles: Electronics & Computers
Battery Options for Uninterruptible Power Supplies

The lead-acid battery was invented by the French physicist Gaston Planté in 1859, and is one of the oldest rechargeable battery technologies. For over 150 years, it has been the mainstay...

Fiber optic oxygen sensors use the fluorescence of a chemical complex in a sol-gel to measure the partial pressure of oxygen. The pulsed blue LED sends light, at ~475 nm, to an optical fiber....

Application Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Has the Ultimate Camera Interface Finally Arrived?

In the early days of machine vision, like with all new technology, there was a lot of confusion as to what constituted a video interface between camera and computer. It was known that a...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Method of Bonding Optical Elements With Near-Zero Displacement

The International X-ray Project seeks to build an x-ray telescope using thousands of pieces of thin and flexible glass mirror segments. Each mirror segment must be bonded into a housing in nearly perfect optical alignment without distortion. Forces greater than 0.001 Newton, or...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Optical Phase Recovery and Locking in a PPM Laser Communication Link

Free-space optical communication holds great promise for future space missions requiring high data rates. For data communication in deep space, the current architecture employs pulse position modulation (PPM). In this scheme, the light is transmitted and detected as pulses...

The design and initial demonstration of a laser pump module (LPM) incorporating single-mode, grating-stabilized 808- nm diode lasers and a...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Method to Enhance the Operation of an Optical Inspection Instrument Using Spatial Light Modulators

For many aspheric and freeform optical components, existing interferometric solutions require a custom computer-generated hologram (CGH) to characterize the part. The overall objective of this research is to develop hardware and a procedure to...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
High-Speed Edge-Detecting Line Scan Smart Camera

A high-speed edge-detecting line scan smart camera was developed. The camera is designed to operate as a component in a NASA Glenn Research Center developed inlet shock detection system. The inlet shock is detected by projecting a laser sheet through the airflow. The shock within the airflow is...

In a photon counting detector array, each pixel in the array produces an electrical pulse when an incident photon on that pixel is detected. Detection and demodulation of an optical...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Optical Communications Channel Combiner

NASA has identified deep-space optical communications links as an integral part of a unified space communication network in order to provide data rates in excess of 100 Mb/s. The distances and limited power inherent in a deep-space optical downlink necessitate the use of photon-counting detectors and a...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Development of Thermal Infrared Sensor To Supplement Operational Land Imager

The thermal infrared sensor (TIRS) is a quantum well infrared photodetector (QWIP)-based instrument intended to supplement the Operational Land Imager (OLI) for the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM). The TIRS instrument is a far-infrared imager operating in the...

Question of the Week
Will asteroid-mining missions pay off?

Last week, a space startup called Planetary Resources announced its plan for the future: asteroid mining. With diminishing resources on Earth, the company's founders believe that space offers the next logical frontier. They will use small satellites to scan near-Earth asteroids for rare materials, perhaps...

Products: Photonics/Optics
Infrared Laser Beam Evaluation Tool

The CoolCard™ II from Pathfinder Research (Lafayette, CO) is a handheld infrared laser beamfinder and beam evaluation instrument. The IR beam-quality evaluation tool can be used with lasers and other IR...

Products: Photonics/Optics
Glass Reflectron Lens Process

PHOTONIS USA (Sturbridge, MA) has been awarded a patent for the manufacture of resistive glass tubes with non-linear gradient electrical resistance changes. The patented process creates a solid-piece reflectron...

Products: Photonics/Optics
Fiber Laser

The Mentad fiber laser from RPMC Lasers (O’Fallon, MO) is now available at the 1.0μm wavelength. The 4.25 × 2.7 × 0.8" Mentad produces pulse energies up to 50μJ, with pulse widths from 500ps to 1.25μs and rep rates from...

Products: Photonics/Optics
Infrared Emitters

Opto Diode Corp. (Newbury Park, CA) has introduced three new infrared (IR) emitters. The OD-850W gallium aluminum arsenide (GaAlAs) LED features a wide-emission angle and typical optical output of 40mW. The new device has a...

Products: Photonics/Optics
UV Zoom Lens

Resolve Optics Ltd (Chesham, UK) supplies a lightweight version of the 80-200mm focal length UV Zoom lens, developed for use with its Digital Cerenkov Viewing Device (DCVD). The DCVD, equipped with UV Zoom lens, captures the...

Products: Photonics/Optics
Embedded Vision System

ADLINK Technology (San Jose, CA) has released the EOS- 1200, an embedded vision system that implements the 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ i7 quad core processor. The product provides four independent gigabit PoE (power...

Products: Photonics/Optics
Cylindrical Lenses

Dayoptics (Fuzhou, China) produces cylindrical lenses from a variety of materials including BK7, fused silica, sapphire, CaF2, and MgF2 as standard. Cylindrical lenses focus light in only one...

Products: Photonics/Optics
Camera Development Kit

D3 Engineering (Rochester, NY), New Scale Technologies (Victor, NY), and Sunex (Carlsbad, CA) have teamed up to create a new OEM SmartCamera Developer’s Kit. The kit allows engineers to develop and integrate camera...

Supplements
COMSOL News - 2012

This issue of COMSOL News showcases how a number of leading scientific, engineering, and medical organizations from a broad range of industries are reaping the benefits of multiphysics simulation in their research and development processes. Download the digital version (PDF) at right to learn about COMSOL News outlined in the...

Products: Photonics/Optics
Frame Grabber

BitFlow (Woburn, MA) has announced the Neon- CLQ Quad, a Camera Link/PoCL frame grabber that provides interfaces for four cameras plus I/O. All four cameras can be synchronized or independently operated with different...

Products: Photonics/Optics
Laser Measurement Mobile App

Ophir Photonics (North Logan, UT) offers the Quasar App, a mobile application that displays laser meter data on Android devices or tablets. The Quasar App connects to Ophir’s Quasar device via Bluetooth. Once...

Products: Photonics/Optics
Vacuum Spectrometer

The Model 248/310 grazing incidence spectrometer from McPherson (Chelmsford, MA) makes direct optical measurements from one to 300 nanometers. The device enables testing of soft x-ray (XUV) high energy light sources...

Products: Photonics/Optics
Light Source

The BluLoop Light Source from Ocean Optics (Dunedin, FL) is a compact, LED-based source with balanced spectral output across the visible (400-700 nm) range. When coupled to a miniature spectrometer, optical fibers, and sampling...

News
Gas Sensor Enables Better Separation of Chemicals

A gas sensor could one day be used to detect chemical weapon vapors or indicators of disease more precisely than current models do. The device also consumes less power, which is crucial for stretching battery life in a mineshaft or an isolated clinic.

A pump and compressor collect gas from the...

News
Gold Nanoparticles Self-Assemble into Device-Ready Thin Films

Scientists with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California (UC) Berkeley have directed the first self-assembly of nanoparticles into device-ready materials. Through a technique based on blending nanoparticles with block co-polymer...

Stanford University engineers have found a novel method for "decorating" nanowires with chains of tiny particles to increase their electrical and catalytic performance. The technique...

NASA is helping to lead an international effort to upgrade the systems that supply crucial location information and earth science measurements. Stephen...

Air gaging relies on a law of physics that states flow and pressure are directly proportionate to clearance and react inversely to each other. As clearance increases,...

Briefs: Information Technology
Absolute Position of Targets Measured Through a Chamber Window Using Lidar Metrology Systems

Lidar is a useful tool for taking metrology measurements without the need for physical contact with the parts under test. Lidar instruments are aimed at a target using azimuth and elevation stages, then focus a beam of coherent, frequency modulated laser...

A gas containment vessel that is not in thermal equilibrium with the bulk gas can affect its temperature measurement. The physical nature of many gas...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
On-Wafer Measurement of a Multi-Stage MMIC Amplifier With 10 dB of Gain at 475 GHz

JPL has measured and calibrated a WR2.2 waveguide wafer probe from GGB Industries in order to allow for measurement of circuits in the 325–500 GHz range. Circuits were measured, and one of the circuits exhibited 10 dB of gain at 475 GHz.

Briefs: Software
Software to Control and Monitor Gas Streams

This software package interfaces with various gas stream devices such as pressure transducers, flow meters, flow controllers, valves, and analyzers such as a mass spectrometer. The software provides excellent user interfacing with various windows that provide time-domain graphs, valve state buttons,...

Briefs: Information Technology
Anomaly Detection in Test Equipment via Sliding Mode Observers

Nonlinear observers were originally developed based on the ideas of variable structure control, and for the purpose of detecting disturbances in complex systems. In this anomaly detection application, these observers were designed for estimating the distributed state of fluid flow in...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Miniaturized Laser Heterodyne Radiometer (LHR) for Measurements of Greenhouse Gases in the Atmospheric Column

This passive laser heterodyne radiometer (LHR) instrument simultaneously measures multiple trace gases in the atmospheric column including carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4), and resolves their concentrations at different altitudes....

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Fast and Adaptive Lossless Onboard Hyperspectral Data Compression System

Modern hyperspectral imaging systems are able to acquire far more data than can be downlinked from a spacecraft. Onboard data compression helps to alleviate this problem, but requires a system capable of power efficiency and high throughput. Software solutions have limited...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Iridium Interfacial Stack — IrIS

Iridium Interfacial Stack (IrIS) is the sputter deposition of high-purity tantalum silicide (TaSi2-400 nm) / platinum (Pt-200 nm) / iridium (Ir-200 nm) / platinum (Pt- 200 nm) in an ultra-high vacuum system followed by a 600 ºC anneal in nitrogen for 30 minutes. IrIS simultaneously acts as both a bond metal...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Goldstone Solar System Radar Waveform Generator

Due to distances and relative motions among the transmitter, target object, and receiver, the time-base between any transmitted and received signal will undergo distortion. Pre-distortion of the transmitted signal to compensate for this time-base distortion allows reception of an undistorted...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Amplitude-Stabilized Oscillator for a Capacitance- Probe Electrometer

A multichannel electrometer voltmeter that employs a mechanical resonator maintained in sustained amplitude-stabilized oscillation has been developed for the space-based measurement of an Internal Electrostatic Discharge Monitor (IESDM) sensor. The IESDM is new sensor...

Briefs: Software
Histogrammatic Method for Determining Relative Abundance of Input Gas Pulse

To satisfy the Major Constituents Analysis (MCA) requirements for the Vehicle Cabin Atmosphere Monitor (VCAM), this software analyzes the relative abundance ratios for N2, O2, Ar, and CO2 as a function of time and constructs their...

Briefs: Software
Predictive Sea State Estimation for Automated Ride Control and Handling — PSSEARCH

PSSEARCH provides predictive sea state estimation, coupled with closedloop feedback control for automated ride control. It enables a manned or unmanned watercraft to determine the 3D map and sea state conditions in its vicinity in real time. Adaptive...

Briefs: Software
LEGION: Lightweight Expandable Group of Independently Operating Nodes

LEGION is a lightweight C-language software library that enables distributed asynchronous data processing with a loosely coupled set of compute nodes. Loosely coupled means that a node can offer itself in service to a larger task at any time and can withdraw itself from...

Briefs: Software
Real-Time Projection to Verify Plan Success During Execution

The Mission Data System provides a framework for modeling complex systems in terms of system behaviors and goals that express intent. Complex activity plans can be represented as goal networks that express the coordination of goals on different state variables of the system. Real-time...

Briefs: Software
Automated Performance Characterization of DSN System Frequency Stability Using Spacecraft Tracking Data

This software provides an automated capability to measure and qualify the frequency stability performance of the Deep Space Network (DSN) ground system, using daily spacecraft tracking data. The results help to verify if the DSN performance is...

Briefs: Software
Web-Based Customizable Viewer for Mars Network Overflight Opportunities

This software displays a full summary of information regarding the overflight opportunities between any set of lander and orbiter pairs that the user has access to view. The information display can be customized, allowing the user to choose which fields to view/hide and...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Graphene Transparent Conductive Electrodes for Next- Generation Microshutter Arrays

Graphene is a single atomic layer of graphite. It is optically transparent and has high electron mobility, and thus has great potential to make transparent conductive electrodes. This invention contributes towards the development of graphene transparent...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Fabrication of a Cryogenic Terahertz Emitter for Bolometer Focal Plane Calibrations

A fabrication process is reported for prototype emitters of THz radiation, which operate cryogenically, and should provide a fast, stable blackbody source suitable for characterization of THz devices. The fabrication has been demonstrated and, at the time of this...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Fabrication of an Absorber-Coupled MKID Detector

Absorber-coupled microwave kinetic inductance detector (MKID) arrays were developed for submillimeter and farinfrared astronomy. These sensors comprise arrays of lambda/2 stepped microwave impedance resonators patterned on a 1.5-mm-thick silicon membrane, which is optimized for optical coupling....

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Long-Life, Lightweight, Multi-Roller Traction Drives for Planetary Vehicle Surface Exploration

NASA’s initiative for Lunar and Martian exploration will require long lived, robust drive systems for manned vehicles that must operate in hostile environments. The operation of these mechanical drives will pose a problem because of the existing...

Copper is one of the few metals that can turn carbon dioxide into hydrocarbon fuels with relatively little energy, but it is temperamental and easily oxidized. MIT researchers...

News
Researchers Create Human-Scale 3D Videoconferencing Pod

A Queen's University researcher has created a Star Trek-like human-scale 3D videoconferencing pod that allows people in different locations to video conference as if they are standing in front of each other.

Two people simply stand in front of their own life-size cylindrical pods and...

Creators of a nanotech-based system that captures carbon dioxide from the atmosphere within a submarine while providing a more environmentally friendly removal process have won the...

News
Miniature Sandia Sensors May Advance Climate Studies

An air sampler the size of an earplug is expected to cheaply and easily collect atmospheric samples to improve computer climate models. Developed by Sandia National Laboratories, the design employs a commonly used alloy to house an inexpensive microvalve situated above the sample chamber.

News
Seismic Tests of Full-Scale Building Predict Earthquake Damage

What happens when you put a fully equipped five-story building — which includes an intensive care unit, a surgery suite, piping and air conditioning, fire barriers, and even a working elevator — through a series of high-intensity earthquakes?

News
Assembly Errors Are Quickly Identified With New Testing Technology

Today‘s cars are increasingly custom-built. One customer might want electric windows and heated door mirrors, while another is satisfied with the minimum basic equipment. The situation with aircraft is no different: each airline is looking for different interior finishes. Yet...

Question of the Week
Will these holographic tools, and similar technologies, catch on?

This week's INSIDER story demonstrated a Star Trek-like, human-scale 3D videoconferencing pod  that allows people in different locations to video conference as if they are standing in front of each other.

News
Carbon Nanotube Sponge Aids in Oil Spill Cleanup

A carbon nanotube sponge developed with help from ORNL researchers holds potential as an aid for oil spill cleanup. Simulations at ORNL explained how the addition of boron atoms encouraged the formation of so-called "elbow" junctions that help the nanotubes grow into a 3-D network.

The...

News
NASA Will Use Cereal and Crayons to Test Jet Engine Sensors

NASA engineers will be tossing crayons and cereal into jet engines in a test of new aircraft engine health monitoring technology designed to provide early warning of engine problems, including the destructive effect of volcanic ash.

News
Research Teams Join to Help Reduce Jet Noise

The deafening roar of supersonic aircraft can cause hearing damage to sailors and Marines on flight decks, so the Office of Naval Research (ONR) is funding a new project to help reduce jet noise. According to the ONR, the noise problem falls into two categories: noise exposure on the flight deck, and...

News
Airborne Radar is Readied for Missile Defense Testing

A new air defense radar system is undergoing testing on the White Sands Missile Range to prepare it for later integrated testing with the Navy this fall. The Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System (JLENS) is an advanced radar system intended for use by the...

News
Scientists Develop Simulations of Blood Function

A team of biomedical engineers and hematologists at the University of Pennsylvania has made large-scale, patient-specific simulations of blood function under the flow conditions found in blood vessels, using robots to run hundreds of tests on human platelets responding to combinations of...

News: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Sensor System Spurs Biofuel Production

University of California, Berkeley researchers have developed a genetic sensor that enables bacteria to adjust their gene expression in response to varying levels of key intermediates for making...

Berkeley Lab scientists have developed a way to generate power using harmless viruses that convert mechanical energy into electricity. Their generator is the first to produce electricity by harnessing the...

Question of the Week
Will these types of "private space station" boost space tourism?

Rather than participate in fly-by suborbital flights, which are being offered by companies like Virgin Galactic, SpaceX Corp. has teamed up with Bigelow Aerospace to offer an experience in a microgravity living environment. The plan, laid out in a jointly issued news release, calls...

News
NASA Team Tests Vehicle-Descent Technologies

In what will be the first of four high-altitude balloon flights to begin in the summer of 2013, technologists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., and Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Va., are preparing to test new deceleration devices. The devices could replace...

News
Researchers Create Non-Toxic, Rust-Proofing Steel

University at Buffalo researchers are making significant progress on rust-proofing steel, using a graphene-based composite that could serve as a nontoxic alternative to coatings that contain hexavalent chromium, a probable carcinogen.

In the scientists' first experiments, pieces of steel coated...

News
New Way to Model Multicore Chips Discovered

Most computer chips today have anywhere from four to 10 separate cores, which can work in parallel, increasing the chips’ efficiency. But the chips of the future are likely to have hundreds or even thousands of cores. For chip designers, predicting how these massively multicore chips will behave is...

News
Can Electrical Circuits Talk to Single Atoms?

If a practical quantum computer is ever to be realized, conventional electronic devices will have to interface with the delicate quantum systems such as atoms or ions in traps or wisps of magnetism near superconducting sensors. A recent paper in the journal Physical Review Letters, written by...

GE (Charlottesville, VA) recently announced the WANic(TM) 66512 PCI Express(R) Packet Processor. Designed for ease of development and deployment – resulting in reduced risk, faster time-to-market and faster...

Lantronix (Irvine, CA) recently introduced its xPico(TM) device server, which it claims is the world’s smallest embedded device server. xPico can be used in designs typically intended for chip solutions....

Products
Mini PC

Stealth.com Inc. (Stealth Computer) (San Jose, CA) recently released their LPC-680 LittlePC, which measures just 6.5" x 6" and less than 2" in height. Featuring the 2nd Generation Intel Core i7/i5/i3 Mobile Processor Family, the...

METCASE (Bridgeville, PA) has launched ventilated versions of its all new COMBIMET 19” rack case series. These new rack cases are designed to assist in-rack thermal management by allowing unrestricted airflow...

Question of the Week
Would you want a computer that can be controlled with hand motions?

A host of companies, including Microsoft, have been working to create a new way of interacting with computers: motion sensing technology. With everyday movements like drawing, waving, and rotating, users can control functions on their computers. Many are entering the...

News
Kaleidogami Researchers Envision Reconfigurable Robots

Researchers have shown how to create morphing mechanisms, robotic forms and shape-shifting sculptures from a single sheet of paper in a method reminiscent of origami, the Japanese art of paper folding.

The new method, called Kaleidogami, uses computational algorithms and tools to create...

News
All-Digital Method Allows Parts to be Made Directly from CAD

A Georgia Tech research team has developed a novel technology that could change how industry designs and casts complex, costly metal parts. This new casting method makes possible faster prototype development times, as well as more efficient and cost-effective manufacturing procedures...

News
Measuring Martian Sand Movement Leads to Interesting Findings

Last year, images from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured sand dunes and ripples moving across the surface of Mars — observations that challenged previously held beliefs that there was not a lot of movement on the...

News
3D Distance Sensors for Mini-UAV Anti-Collision Technology

"Flying 3D eye-bots" can be deployed as additional surveillance resources during major events, or as high-resolution 3D street imaging systems. These unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are a kind of mini-helicopter, with a wingspan of around two meters. They have a propeller on each of...

News
NASA Engineers Test Inflatable Reentry Vehicle

A NASA flight test designed to demonstrate the feasibility of inflatable spacecraft technology is coming down to the wire. The Inflatable Reentry Vehicle Experiment (IRVE-3) is the third in a series of suborbital flight tests of this new technology. It is scheduled to launch from the Wallops Flight...

Question of the Week
Are you hopeful about NASA's new ventures with private companies?

Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) made history last week when its Dragon spacecraft became the first commercial vehicle in history to successfully attach to the International Space Station. Although the spacecraft was unmanned, the capsule held about 1,000 pounds of...

News
Vibrating Suit Analyzes Movements of Olympic Athletes

MotivePro, which has been dubbed the “Vibrating Suit,” has been developed by the Birmingham City University in the UK. The suit helps athletes and other users to improve their memory of physical technique. The device has been tested by Olympic hopeful Mimi Cesar, the UK’s third-ranking...

News
Robots Learn How to Pick Up Oddly Shaped Objects

When Cornell University engineers developed a new type of robot hand that could pick up oddly shaped objects it presented a challenge: It was easy for a human operator to choose the best place to take hold of an object, but an autonomous robotwould need a new kind of programming. So they developed...

News
Motion-Planning Research Enables Indoor Navigation System for the Blind

University of Nevada, Reno computer science engineers have combined human-computer interaction and motion-planning research to build a low-cost, accessible navigation system for people with visual impairments. Called Navatar, the system can run on a standard smartphone.

Blog
Speed Sells

In my last blog entry, I told you about a unique promotional campaign Littelfuse initiated this year called “Speed2Design” that gives working engineers like you the chance to win the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to not just attend one of four IndyCar races, but to go behind the scenes into the pits and garage area, meet the...

News: Green Design & Manufacturing
New Materials May Cut Energy Costs for Carbon Capture

A study of over four million absorbent minerals has determined that industrial minerals called zeolites could help electricity producers slash as much as 30 percent of the parasitic...

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