June 2008

The development of a robotic random bin picking system that translates to a real-world factory application has received attention for more than 30 years, and has been called by some the...

An improved method of computing positions of objects from digitized images acquired by two or more cameras (see figure) has been developed for use in tracking debris shed by a...

A Tier 1 automotive supplier of brake drum assemblies with customers here and abroad has tried a number of different vision systems for brake drum assembly inspection, but...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Charge-Control Unit for Testing Lithium-Ion Cells

A charge-control unit was developed as part of a program to validate Li-ion cells packaged together in batteries for aerospace use. The lithium-ion cell charge- control unit will be useful to...

As a leading global component supplier to the automotive industry, the Keiper GmbH & Co. Group in Germany develops and manufactures metal seat components and structures for...

Briefs: Information Technology
Reduced-Order Kalman Filtering for Processing Relative Measurements

A study in Kalman-filter theory has led to a method of processing relative measurements to estimate the current state of a physical system, using less computation than has previously been thought necessary. As used here, "relative measurements" signifies measurements that yield...

Products: Imaging
High-Speed Video Camera

The i-SPEED 3 high-speed video camera from Olympus, Orangeburg, NY, combines high image quality, portability, and speed. The high image quality is derived from a 1280 × 1024 resolution sensor. It features a...

The figure schematically depicts a lidar system for measuring optical properties of clouds and aerosols at three wavelengths. The system is designed to be operated aboard the NASA...

Products: Imaging
Surface-Mount LED

The OVSRRGBCC3 is a surface-mount RGB LED with a 150° viewing angle from OPTEK Technology, Carrollton, TX. The three separate diodes are housed in a miniature package that is compatible with automatic pick-and-place...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Spaceborne Processor Array

A Spaceborne Processor Array in Multifunctional Structure (SPAMS) can lower the total mass of the electronic and structural overhead of spacecraft, resulting in reduced launch costs, while increasing the science return through dynamic onboard computing. SPAMS integrates the multifunctional structure (MFS) and the...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Commercial Product Activation Using RFID

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) would be used for commercial product activation, according to a proposal. The concept of RFID is not new: RFID systems are widely used in commerce for tracking...

4DSP, Reno, NV, has introduced a JPEG2000 hardware compression platform that is powered by Xilinx FPGA accelerators. The system provides image compression for digital cameras, 4G infrastructure, and headsets,...

A chromatic modulator has been proposed to enable the separate detection of the red, green, and blue (RGB) color components of the same scene by a single charge- coupled device (CCD),...

Products: Imaging
Video Imaging System

Photron, San Diego, CA, offers the Fastcam SA3, a megapixel, high-speed video imaging system that is designed to withstand high-G and rugged environments. Suitable for automotive safety testing, the camera features a...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Instrumentation System Diagnoses a Thermocouple

An improved self-validating thermocouple (SVT) instrumentation system not only acquires readings from a thermocouple but is also capable of detecting deterioration and a variety of discrete...

Products: Imaging
Transmission Electron Microscope

The Titan Krios™ transmission electron microscope from FEI, Hillsboro, OR, allows researchers to visualize the mechanisms of individual proteins and molecular machines, and to localize that activity within the three-dimensional architecture of the cell. The microscope has been optimized for cryo-transmission...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Cup Cylindrical Waveguide Antenna

The cup cylindrical waveguide antenna (CCWA) is a short backfire microwave antenna capable of simultaneously supporting the transmission or reception of two distinct signals having opposite circular...

Briefs: Semiconductors & ICs
Radiation-Insensitive Inverse Majority Gates

To help satisfy a need for high-density logic circuits insensitive to radiation, it has been proposed to realize inverse majority gates as microscopic vacuum electronic devices. In comparison with...

Briefs: Information Technology
Aerobraking Maneuver (ABM) Report Generator

abmREPORT Version 3.1 is a Perl script that extracts vital summarization information from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) aerobraking ABM build process. This information facilitates sequence reviews, and provides a high-level summarization of the sequence for mission management.

Briefs: Information Technology
ABM Drag_Pass Report Generator

dragREPORT software was developed in parallel with abmREPORT, which is described in the preceding article. Both programs were built on the capabilities created during that process. This tool generates a drag_pass report that summarizes vital information from the MRO aerobreaking drag_pass build process to...

Briefs: Information Technology
Transformation of OODT CAS To Perform Larger Tasks

A computer program denoted OODT CAS has been transformed to enable performance of larger tasks that involve greatly increased data volumes and increasingly intensive processing of data on heterogeneous, geographically dispersed computers. Prior to the transformation, OODT CAS (also alternatively...

Briefs: Information Technology
Visualization Component of Vehicle Health Decision Support System

The visualization front-end of a Decision Support System (DSS) also includes an analysis engine linked to vehicle telemetry, and a database of learned models for known behaviors. Because the display is graphical rather than text-based, the summarization it provides has a greater...

Briefs: Information Technology
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Uplink Analysis Tool

This software analyzes Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) orbital geometry with respect to Mars Exploration Rover (MER) contact windows, and is the first tool of its kind designed specifically to support MRO-MER interface coordination. Prior to this automated tool, this analysis was done manually...

Briefs: Information Technology
G-Guidance Interface Design for Small Body Mission Simulation

The G-Guidance software implements a guidance and control (G&C) algorithm for small-body, autonomous proximity operations, developed under the Small Body GN&C task at JPL. The software is written in Matlab and interfaces with G-OPT, a JPL-developed optimization package written...

Briefs: Information Technology
DSN Scheduling Engine

The DSN (Deep Space Network) Scheduling Engine targets all space missions that use DSN services. It allows clients to issue scheduling, conflict identification, conflict resolution, and status requests in XML over a Java Message Service interface. The scheduling requests may include new requirements that represent a set of...

Briefs: Information Technology
Replacement Sequence of Events Generator

The soeWINDOW program automates the generation of an ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations)- compliant sub-RSOE (Replacement Sequence of Events) by extracting a specified temporal window from an RSOE while maintaining page header information. RSOEs contain a significant amount of information...

Briefs: Information Technology
Force-Control Algorithm for Surface Sampling

A G-FCON algorithm is designed for small-body surface sampling. It has a linearization component and a feedback component to enhance performance. The algorithm regulates the contact force between the tip of a robotic arm attached to a spacecraft and a surface during sampling. The control algorithm is...

Briefs: Information Technology
Problem Reporting System

The Problem Reporting System (PRS) is a Web application, running on two Web servers (load-balanced) and two database servers (RAID-5), which establishes a system for submission, editing, and sharing of reports to manage risk assessment of anomalies identified in NASA's flight projects. PRS consolidates diverse anomaly-...

Products: Imaging
5-Megapixel Camera

A 5-megapixel camera has been added to the LightWise family from the Imaging Solutions Group (ISG), Rochester, NY. The LightWise LW-5-S-1394 camera is available in color and monochrome versions. All camera controls are...

Briefs: Information Technology
Tool for Merging Proposals Into DSN Schedules

A Practical Extraction and Reporting Language (Perl) script called "merge7da" has been developed to facilitate determination, by a project scheduler in NASA's Deep Space Network, of whether a proposal for use of the DSN could create a conflict with the current DSN schedule. Prior to the development...

Products: Imaging
Remote-Head Camera

Toshiba Imaging Systems Division, Irvine, CA, has released the remote-head IK-TF5H5U camera that measures 32.6×38.6×41 mm. It is part of the IK-TF 3CCD color camera series and features a progressive scan system that...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Micromachined Slits for Imaging Spectrometers

Slits for imaging spectrometers can now be fabricated to a precision much greater than previously attainable. What makes this possible is a micromachining process that involves the use of microlithographic techniques. This micromachining process supplants a prior machine-shop process.

Products: Imaging
Machine Vision Cameras

Sony, Park Ridge, NJ, offers the XCD series of machine vision cameras that use the high-bandwidth 1394b interface and are designed for applications ranging from parts inspection to microscopy. They are available in...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Fabricating Nanodots Using Lift-Off of a Nanopore Template

A process for fabricating a planar array of dots having characteristic dimensions of the order of several nanometers to several hundred nanometers involves the formation and use of a thin alumina nanopore template on a semiconductor substrate. The dot material is deposited in the...

Products: Imaging
Digital Microscope Camera

The PAXcam2+ digital microscope camera from MIS, Villa Park, IL, has a CCD sensor with the ability to capture low-light images, and features an enhanced dynamic range for color rendition and tonal qualities in...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Making Complex Electrically Conductive Patterns on Cloth

A method for automated fabrication of flexible, electrically conductive patterns on cloth substrates has been demonstrated. Products developed using this method, or related prior methods, are instances of a technology known as "e-textiles," in which electrically conductive patterns are...

Products: Imaging
Network Camera

Axis Communications, Chelmsford, MA, offers the AXIS P3301 network camera with multiple H.264 streams. The fixed-dome camera uses the company’s ARTPEC-3 chip and is designed for unobtrusive video surveillance in exposed...

The 2007 NASA Tech Briefs (NTB) and Photonics Tech Briefs (PTB) Readers’ Choice Product of the Year Awards were presented recently by the editors of NTB and PTB at an awards...

Products: Imaging
Widescreen Operator Panel

Beijer Electronics, Schaumburg, IL, has released the H-T70t operator panel, part of the H-series that offers fundamental HMI functionality for machines and processes. The H-series includes keypad and touchscreen...

A family of polymer/ carbon films has been developed for use as sensory films in electronic noses for detecting SO2 gas at concentrations as low as 1 part per million...

Products: Imaging
Large-Format MWIR Lens

StingRay Optics, Keene, NH, offers a 50-mm midwave infrared (MWIR) large-format lens assembly with an optional microscanning and step-stare sensor capability. The lens can be a standalone solution for large-format...

Briefs: Materials
Organic/Inorganic Polymeric Composites for Heat-Transfer Reduction

Organic/inorganic polymeric composite materials have been invented with significant reduction in heat-transfer properties. Measured decreases of 20–50 percent in thermal conductivity versus that of the unmodified polymer matrix have been attained. These novel composite...

Briefs: Materials
Composite Cathodes for Dual-Rate Li-Ion Batteries

Composite-material cathodes that enable Li-ion electrochemical cells and batteries to function at both high energy densities and high discharge rates are undergoing development. Until now, using commercially available cathode materials, it has been possible to construct cells that have either...

A nickel-based superalloy that resists embrittlement by hydrogen more strongly than does nickel alloy 718 has been developed. Nickel alloy 718 is the most widely used superalloy. It...

Briefs: Materials
Chemical Passivation of Li⁺-Conducting Solid Electrolytes

Plates of a solid electrolyte that exhibits high conductivity for positive lithium ions can now be passivated to prevent them from reacting with metallic lithium. Such passivation could enable the construction and operation of high-performance, long-life lithium-based rechargeable...

Spherical Sensor Configurations (SSC) have been designed for detecting and tracking signals in three dimensions. The Spherical Sensor Configurations offer distinct...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Improved Descent-Rate Limiting Mechanism

An improved braking cable-payout mechanism has been developed. Like other such mechanisms, this mechanism can be used as a braking or shock-absorbing device for any of a variety of purposes — for...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Alignment-Insensitive Lower-Cost Telescope Architecture

This architecture features an active wavefront sensing and control scheme along with methods for measuring the relative positions of the primary to aft optics, such as the secondary mirror, and should enable larger and cheaper telescope architectures needed for future applications. This...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Miniature Latching Valve

A miniature latching valve has been invented to satisfy a need for an electrically controllable on/off pneumatic valve that is lightweight and compact and remains in the most recently commanded open or closed state...

Immersive CAVE™ display system
Mechdyne Corp.
Marshalltown, IA
641-754-4649
www.mechdyne.com

Mechdyne Corporation has installed a CAVE™ display system...

LDRA tool suite
LDRA
San Bruno, CA
650-583-8880
www.ldra.com

Aimed at safely transferring astronauts to and from the International Space Station...

Articles: Software
Innovation Begets Innovation
By Robert “Buzz” Kross
Senior Vice President of
the Manufacturing Division
Autodesk
San Rafael, CA

Innovation is a way of life at Autodesk. Since our introduction of AutoCAD software...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Micro-Resistojet for Small Satellites

An efficient micro- resistojet has been developed with thrust in the millinewton level, with a specific impulse of approximately 250 seconds and power input of 20 watts or less that is useful for applications of up to 1,000 hours of operation or more. The essential feature of this invention is a gas-...

Siemens PLM Software, Plano, TX, has introduced synchronous technology, a history-free, feature-based CAD modeling technology integrated into the company's NX™ and Solid Edge® software. The technology...

Techs for License
High-Performance CIGS Solar Cell Saves Resources

AIST has developed a thin-film technology that can reduce the consumption of raw selenium below one-tenth of the conventional standard when manufacturing non-silicon-based copper-indium- gallium- selenide (CIGS) thin-film solar cells. The technology uses radio-frequency- cracked selenium radicals...

Techs for License
Paracellular Drug Delivery Through Baker’s Yeast Microcapsules

Yeast has the ability to reversibly open up the junctions between cells to aid drug delivery. By micro-encapsulating active ingredients inside the yeast cells, this technology enhances paracellular movement of active ingredients in mucus-rich areas such as buccal, oral, nasal,...

Tech Needs
Self-Contained Therapeutic Thermal Wrap

A company seeks technology leading to a flexible, adhesive thermal patch or wrap for sore muscles that provides lasting warmth for 8 to 12 hours or more. The technology should not involve a chemical active in contact with the skin. The heating effect should be able to be activated anywhere, without the use...

Tech Needs
Substance with High Affinity for Large Antigen Molecules

A company seeks a process of making high-affinity antibodies (or other substances) that can bind rapidly to antigens of large molecular sizes, such as proteins. Achieving high-affinity binding is important for expanding detection limits and achieving diagnostics in short amounts of time....

A method denoted wireless acoustic- electric feedthrough (WAEF) has been conceived for transmitting power and/or data signals through walls or other solid objects made of a variety...

Dr. David Morrison is senior scientist at the NASA Astrobiology Institute and a founder of the multidisciplinary field of astrobiology. He is an expert on the risk of asteroid...

Briefs: Medical
Apparatus for Sampling Surface Contamination

An apparatus denoted a swab device has been developed as a convenient means of acquiring samples of contaminants from surfaces and suspending the samples in liquids. (Thereafter, the liquids can be dispensed, in controlled volumes, into scientific instruments for analysis of the contaminants.) The...

Briefs: Medical
Novel Species of Non-Spore-Forming Bacteria

While cataloging cultivatable microbes from the airborne biological diversity of the atmosphere of the Regenerative Enclosed life-support Module Simulator (REMS) system at Marshall Space Flight Center, two strains that belong to one novel bacterial species were isolated. Based on 16S rRNA gene...

The laboratory apparatus shown in the figure is a chamber for aerosol deposition of bioparticles on surfaces of test coupons. It is designed for primary use in inoculating both flat and...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Hyperspectral Sun Photometer for Atmospheric Characterization and Vicarious Calibrations

A hyperspectral sun photometer and associated methods have been developed and demonstrated. Sun photometers are used to measure total (global), direct, and diffuse at-surface solar irradiance. The data acquired by sun photometers are used in atmospheric,...

Hamler Test and Analysis (HTA) provides testing, design, and finite-element analysis (FEA) consulting services, specializing in vibration measurement and experimental vibration...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Dynamic Stability and Gravitational Balancing of Multiple Extended Bodies

Feasibility of a non-invasive compensation scheme was analyzed for precise positioning of a massive extended body in free fall using gravitational forces influenced by surrounding source masses in close proximity. The N-body problem of classical mechanics is a paradigm...

Briefs: Information Technology
Simulation of Stochastic Processes by Coupled ODE-PDE

A document discusses the emergence of randomness in solutions of coupled, fully deterministic ODE-PDE (ordinary differential equations-partial differential equations) due to failure of the Lipschitz condition as a new phenomenon. It is possible to exploit the special properties of ordinary...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Cluster Inter-Spacecraft Communications

A document describes a radio communication system being developed for exchanging data and sharing data-processing capabilities among spacecraft flying in formation. The system would establish a high-speed, low- latency, deterministic loop communication path connecting all the spacecraft in a cluster. The...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Low-Impact Mating System for Docking Spacecraft

A document describes a low-impact mating system suitable for both docking (mating of two free-flying spacecraft) and berthing (in which a robot arm in one spacecraft positions an object for mating with either spacecraft). The low-impact mating system is fully androgynous: it mates with a copy of...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Non-Destructive Evaluation of Materials via Ultraviolet Spectroscopy

A document discusses the use of ultraviolet spectroscopy and imaging for the non-destructive evaluation of the degree of cure, aging, and other properties of resin-based composite materials. This method can be used in air, and is portable for field use. This method operates in...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Gold-on-Polymer-Based Sensing Films for Detection of Organic and Inorganic Analytes in the Air

A document discusses gold-on-polymer as one of the novel sensor types developed for part of the sensor development task. Standard polymer- carbon composite sensors used in the JPL Electronic Nose (ENose) have been modified by evaporating 15 nm of...

Briefs: Information Technology
Genetic Algorithm Optimizes Q-LAW Control Parameters

A document discusses a multi-objective, genetic algorithm designed to optimize Lyapunov feedback control law (Q-law) parameters in order to efficiently find Pareto- optimal solutions for low-thrust trajectories for electronic propulsion systems. These would be propellant-optimal solutions for...

Briefs: Information Technology
Quantum-Inspired Maximizer

A report discusses an algorithm for a new kind of dynamics based on a quantum-classical hybrid-quantum-inspired maximizer. The model is represented by a modified Madelung equation in which the quantum potential is replaced by different, specially chosen "computational" potential. As a result, the dynamics attains both...

Articles: Robotics, Automation & Control
Vision, Software Enhancements Advance Robots

Robotics technology has made measurable strides in the last few years. Today’s robots can move with greater precision over a more flexible range of motion, while handling heavier payloads....

Articles: Robotics, Automation & Control
Understanding Robot Movements Through Kinematics

Many robotic and mechanical systems require the calculation of kinematic equations to express the relationship between variables that are to be controlled (motor/actuator position obtained via...

Application Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Matrox Helps Military Vehicles Get the Robotic Touch

To camouflage an object is to hide it, conceal it so that it blends in with the surrounding environment. For the military, it’s a tactical necessity and can make the difference between a...

Application Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
FARO Inspection Device Aids in Robot Calibration

Parallel Robotic Systems Company (Hampton, NH) designs and produces high-precision positioning systems to provide effective solutions for difficult motion problems, correct errors in automated...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Linear Bushings

MISUMI USA Inc. (Schaumburg, IL) has introduced a family of self-lubricating linear bushings in assorted styles, with straight or mini-flanged versions. The bushings carry three times the rated life span of conventional...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Rack-Mount Motion Controller

ACS Motion Control (Plymouth, MN) has developed a rack-mounted motion controller that delivers smooth motion control at high speeds, without compromising accuracy, for the most demanding applications. The...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Analog Input Modules

The Industrial Automation Group of Advantech (Cincinnati, OH) has unveiled two new ADAM analog input modules, the ADAM-5017P and ADAM-5018P. The ADAM-5017P has eight different independent configuration channels, supports...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Pressure Sensor

The Model GT100 from Stellar Technology (Amherst, NY) is a heavy-duty pressure transducer for severe applications like rocket engine testing that can ruin a typical pressure sensor. It features a cleanable pressure cavity and...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Digital Motor Controller

The ION (R) digital drive from Performance Motion Devices (Lincoln, MA) now has power ranges of 500W and 3000W. This allows a wide range of motor types and sizes to be combined in multi-axes motion positioning...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Pneumatic Mini Slide

The DGSL from Festo Corp. is designed as an ultra-precise slide for positioning or as an easy pick-and-place system. The main design element to this precision slide is the use of an integrated bearing system with an...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Brushless DC Motor Drive

The TA2230 constant velocity drive from Trust Automation (San Diego, CA) is designed to run a brushless motor at a constant velocity using the motor’s ll sensors for the velocity feedback. Using an RS232 interface,...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Torque Sensor

A rotating torque sensor from Sensor Development (Lake Orion, MI) feature a bearing system that allows the structure to be exposed to very high radial loads without damage. Most standard torque sensors require their housings to...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Miniature Cable

Leoni (Kitchener, Germany) is extending its portfolio of special cable products to include cables with cores having outer diameters as small as 0.02 mm. These wafer-thin miniature cables are used for medical, measurement and...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Brushless DC Motor

The TG 2320 brushless motor from ThinGap LLC (Ventura, CA) delivers 425 oz-in. peak torque and 1,025 watts continuous power, yet weighs only 16.5 oz. Applications include cylinder bore gauges, high-efficiency compressors,...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Linear Stepper Motor

A high-performance, two-phase, linear stepper motor from H2W Technologies (Valencia, CA) provides 1 micron [0.00004 in.] resolution and travels at 80 in/sec. [2 m/sec.]. It can operate in any axis, and features 1 G...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Ceramic Piezo Motor

A line of compact ceramic piezo motors & nanopositioning actuators from Physik Instrumente (Auburn, MA) replace traditional actuators & motion control components in precision motion control applications. High-speed...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Radio Touch Probe

The RMP600 touch probe from Renishaw (Hoffman Estates, IL) combines high-accuracy strain-gage sensing and frequency-hopping spread-spectrum (FHSS) radio transmission. The probe allows high part checking precision on...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Turbo Pumps

The HiPace(TM) turbo pumps from Pfeiffer Vacuum (Nashua, NH) are available in pumping speeds from 10 – 700 liters/sec. They incorporate a new rotor design that reduces run-up time and provides high gas throughput and...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Linear Drive

An inexpensive optional hardware attachment for linear drives from Amacoil (Astron, PA) allows mechanically controlled ramp down of linear speed. The slowdown option requires no electronics or programming and may also be...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Stepper Motor Drive

The StepNet AC drive from Copley Controls (Canton, MA) runs directly on 115/240 Vac at 7 A, eliminating the need for a separate DC supply. It offers servo mode operation and has built-in modes for indexing, trajectory...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Anti-Backlash Assembly

The ZBX Series anti-backlash assembly from Kerk Motion Products (Hollis, NH) offers a linear actuator for design operations requiring precise positional accuracy and repeatability, at minimal cost. The inherent damping...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Incremental Rotary Encoder

The CH25 incremental rotary encoder from Celesco Transducer Products has a powder- coated enclosure rated for use in IP67 environments. It has a 2 ½-inch square flange and a 3/8-inch diameter shaft.

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Push/Pull Switches

The PP1 and PP2 series push-pull switches from Lamb Industries, Inc. (Portland, OR) have push-and-pull capable actuators and can be specified for the unique ON2-ON1-(ON2) function. This function is a standard crossover...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Variable Frequency Drive

The VLT(R) series variable frequency drive from Danfoss Drives (Loves Park, IL) comes in ratings up to 1350 HP at voltages of 460 and 690 VAC. F1 frame models deliver up to 1050 HP in an 86.8 in. × 55.1 in. ×...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Positioning Controller

EPOS, the second generation intelligent positioning controller from Maxon Precision Motors (Fall River, MA), is suited for applications requiring decentralized drive intelligence. Based on the CANopen standard, the...

Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Encoder Interface

Swiftcomm is a wireless interface for encoders from BEI Industrial Encoders (Goleta, CA). Unlike other wireless technology such as Wi-Fi, SwiftComm’s fast boot-up and transmission time allow it to seamlessly interface...

Blog
Possibly Toxic Buckyballs

A study predicts that carbon-60 molecules, or buckyballs, are easily absorbed into animal cells, providing a possible explanation for how the molecules could be toxic to humans. Using computer simulations, University of Calgary scientists modeled the interaction between carbon-60 molecules and cell membranes. They found...

Blog
NASA Briefs

The Johnson Space Center offers a Mathcad computer program that largely automates the design and analysis of the restraint layer of an inflatable vessel. Prior to the development of this program, the design task was performed by use of a difficult-to-use spreadsheet program that required manual addition of rows and columns, depending...

Blog
Walking Aid

Johns Hopkins University undergraduates have designed and built a device to enable critically ill, intensive care unit patients to leave their beds and walk, while remaining tethered to essential life-support equipment. The invention allows doctors to better understand whether carefully supervised rehabilitation, as opposed to...

Blog
Photonic Beetle

Researchers have been unable to build an ideal photonic crystal, or "champion" crystal, impeding the dream of ultrafast optical computers that run on light (photons) instead of electricity (electrons). But now, University of Utah chemists have discovered that photonic crystals with the ideal, diamond-like structure are found in...

Blog
NASA Briefs

A system that estimates the global radius of curvature (GRoC) of a segmented telescope mirror has been developed by the Marshall Space Flight Center for use in a larger system that exerts precise control over the displacements of the mirror segments. This system makes it possible to control the GRoC of the mirror with sufficient...

Blog
High Tunability Range Crystals

Physicists at the City College of New York (CCNY) have developed near-infrared broadband laser materials with tunability ranges about triple those of earlier crystals. For the first time, tunable laser operation was achieved at both the 1.33-micron and 1.55-micron telecommunication windows, from a single optical...

Blog
Electricity from Auto Exhausts

Researchers at Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft for Physical Measurement Techniques in Germany are working on a thermoelectric generator that converts the heat from car exhaust fumes into electricity. The thermoelectric module feeds the energy into the car's electronic systems, reducing fuel consumption and carbon dioxide...

Blog
Microwave Signals from Silicon Chip

Scientists have developed a method to generate high-power signals at frequencies of 200 GHz and higher on an ordinary silicon chip, which could lead to microwave radiation being used as a nondestructive imaging technology to detect diseases, or for security purposes. The method, proposed by Ehsan Afshari,...

Blog
Microfluidic Device

A team from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory was having trouble making a chip that could withstand the rigors of the European ExoMars rover mission, scheduled for launch in 2013, until they turned to materials called perfluoropolyethers(PFPEs). PFPEs were first pioneered by researchers at University of North Carolina Chapel...

Blog
Current Attractions

Dr. David Morrison is senior scientist at the NASA Astrobiology Institute, and a founder of the multidisciplinary field of astrobiology. He is an expert on the risk of asteroid impacts and potential ways to mitigate that risk. Scientists are currently studying a 300-meter diameter asteroid, called Apophis.

Blog
NASA Briefs

Workers at NASA Ames Research Center are developing durable, oxidation-resistant, foam thermal protection systems (TPSs) that would be suitable for covering large exterior spacecraft surfaces. The TPSs would have low to moderate densities, and temperature capabilities comparable to those of carbon-based TPSs, which are reusable at...

Blog
Universal Threat Detector

Scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) continue to make progress in developing a universal detection system that can monitor the air for virtually all of the major threat agents that could be used by terrorists. The system, called Single-Particle Aerosol Mass Spectrometry (SPAMS), had been...

Blog
Virus Image

Using electron microscopy and 3D computer reconstruction, UC San Diego scientists have produced the most detailed image yet of the protein envelope of an asymmetrical virus and the viral DNA packed within. By assembling over 12,000 microscopic views of frozen viral particles, the chemists have determined the structure of a...

Blog
NASA Briefs

Ames Research Center is developing a wireless-communication and data-processing system that would use radio-frequency identification devices(RFIDs) and software to establish information lifelines between firefighters in a burning building and a fire chief at a control station. The system would identify trails that firefighters could...

Blog
Super-Earths

Using the HARPS instrument at the ESO La Silla Observatory, European astronomers have found a system of three super-Earths around the star HD 40307 - a breakthrough in the field of extra-solar planets. The astronomers also counted a total of 45 candidate planets with a mass below 30 Earth masses and an orbital period shorter than 50...

Blog
Low-Power Microchip

A new low-power microchip developed at the University of Michigan uses 30,000 times less power in sleep mode and 10 times less in active mode than comparable chips currently on the market. The Phoenix Processor, as it's called, sets a low-power record and is intended for use in cutting-edge sensor-based devices such as...

Blog
New Mineral

NASA researchers and scientists from the United States, Germany and Japan have found a new mineral in material they believe came from a comet. The mineral, a manganese silicide named Brownleeite, was discovered within an interplanetary dust particle, or IDP, that appears to have originated from comet 26P/Grigg- Skjellerup. The comet...

Blog
Laptop Refrigerator

Purdue University researchers are developing a miniature refrigeration system small enough to fit inside laptops and personal computers, a cooling technology that would boost performance while shrinking the size of computers. Unlike conventional cooling systems, which use a fan to circulate air through heat sinks attached to...

Blog
Gesturing Medical Procedures

Researchers at Ben-Gurion University in Israel have developed a hand gesture recognition system, called Gestix, that enables doctors to manipulate digital images during medical procedures by motioning instead of touching a screen, keyboard or mouse, which compromises sterility and could spread...

Blog
Brain-Machine Interfaces

Brain-machine interfaces could someday be used routinely to help paralyzed patients and amputees control prosthetic limbs with just their thoughts. Now, University of Florida researchers have devised a way for computerized devices not only to translate brain signals into movement, but also to evolve with the brain as it...

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