Special Coverage

Soft Robot “Walks” on Any Terrain
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Using Microwaves to Produce High-Quality Graphene
Transducer-Actuator Systems for On-Machine Measurements and Automatic Part Alignment
Wide-Area Surveillance Using HD LWIR Uncooled Sensors
Heavy Lift Wing in Ground (WIG) Cargo Flying Boat
Technique Provides Security for Multi-Robot Systems
Bringing New Vision to Laser Material Processing Systems
NASA Tests Lasers’ Ability to Transmit Data from Space
Converting from Hydraulic Cylinders to Electric Actuators
Automating Optimization and Design Tasks Across Disciplines

Data-Filter Algorithm for Monitoring a Power System

In the manner of human experts, redundancy is utilized to detect anomalies.

An algorithm has been developed for a computer-based electronic system that would aid human ground controllers in monitoring data from sensors in the electric-power system of the International Space Station. Among other things, the algorithm encodes knowledge of human experts; thereby harnessing the ability of computers to do diagnostic calculations that human experts would do but that take much longer when done manually. The algorithm also has potential for application to a variety of systems outside the aerospace industry.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Mathematical models, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Electric power, Diagnostics, Spacecraft
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Portable ECG/EGG Data Recorder

This is a noninvasive unit that interferes minimally with normal activities.

A portable electronic unit with no moving parts except button switches digitizes and stores a 48-hour record of the myoelectric activity of the stomach and heart as sensed via electrodes on the surface of the abdomen. Just as the more familiar electrocardiogram (ECG) is useful in diagnosing the condition of the heart, the digital electrogastrogram (EGG) that is also obtained by this portable data recorder is useful in assessing changes in gastric function.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Data acquisition and handling, Data acquisition and handling, Cardiovascular system, Diagnosis, Medical equipment and supplies
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Software Facilitates Access to a Scientific Data Base

This program supports cooperative international scientific efforts.

The Coordinated Data Analysis Workshop Web (CDAWeb) is a web-based service that facilitates access to a scientific data base of the International Solar-Terrestrial Physics (ISTP) program and other programs that generate public scientific information. In this data base, physical-science parameters from diverse international sources are stored in the Common Data Format (CDF) standard developed by the National Space Science Data Center (NSSDC).

Posted in: Briefs, Information Sciences, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Data management
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A Standard for Scientific Data Files

This standard and the software that implements it facilitate collaboration among scientists.

The term "Instrument Data File Set" (IDFS) denotes both software and an underlying concept of a prescribed format for files of scientific data and metadata. The IDFS was developed to satisfy a need, in the space science community, to maintain data and metadata in a format that promotes efficient use of the information and that facilitates access to the information, thereby enhancing the ability of scientists to engage in collaborative research. Within the space science community, the IDFS has become a standard by default.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Sciences, Communication protocols, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Communication protocols, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Data management, Standardization
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Software for Display and Analysis of Scientific Data

Data can be obtained from globally distributed archives, then displayed and analyzed quickly.

The Southwest Data Display and Analysis System (SDDAS) is a flexible, extensible software system intended to support analysis of space physics data from multiple instruments and multiple spacecraft missions. SDDAS was developed in response to the need of space scientists to be able to gain access to data and to display data, without concern about data management details, so that they can focus their efforts on scientific research.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Sciences, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Data management
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System Locates Lightning Strikes to Within Meters

Locations are determined from propagation times for electric and sonic fields.

A system for determining the locations of nearby lightning strikes from electric-field and acoustic measurements has been developed and built. The system includes at least three receivers, each equipped with an antenna and a microphone. For each strike, the system measures the difference between the times of arrival of the electric-field and sonic (thunder) pulses at each receiver, computes the distance of the strike from the time difference and the speed of sound (about 320 m/s), then uses the distances to determine the location of the strike. The basic concept of this system is thus a variant and extension of the time-honored concept of estimating the distance of a lightning strike from the difference between the times of arrival of the visible flash and the audible thunder.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Measurements, Weather and climate, Acoustics, Acoustics, Test equipment and instrumentation
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Flip-Chip W-Band Amplifier: a Prototype of Q-MMICs

Q-MMICs offer an economical alternative to MMICs.

A prototype W-Band, low-noise amplifier has been fabricated by bump-bonding a high-speed, low-noise InP high-electron-mobility (HEMT) transistor onto the previously fabricated passive portion of the amplifier circuit on a GaAs substrate (see figure). The passive portion of the circuit can be regarded as a monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) that differs from a complete MMIC amplifier only in its lack of a single active device (the HEMT). Therefore, the bump-bonded combination of the active device and the passive portion of the circuit is characterized as a quasi-monolithic millimeter-wave integrated circuit (Q-MMIC).

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Amplifiers, Amplifiers, Fabrication
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Measuring NO and OH Concentrations at High Pressure

An optoelectronic laboratory apparatus could be developed into a portable instrument.

An apparatus based on line-of-sight resonant absorption of ultraviolet light yields measurement data from which one can calculate the concentrations of nitric oxide (NO) and of hydroxyl radicals (OH) in a laboratory flat flame at a pressure up to 30 atm ≈3 MPa). The basic measurement principle is distinct from the principles of laser-induced fluorescence and other laser diagnostic techniques; hence, the data generated by this apparatus could provide independent verification of data from laser-based instruments.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Test & Measurement, Measurements, Optics, Optics, Nitrogen oxides, Test equipment and instrumentation
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Automated Apparatus for Testing Gyroscopes

Except for initial setting of conditions, the entire testing process is automated.

The Gyroscope Automated Testbed is a computer-controlled apparatus designed primarily for automated testing of vibratory gyroscopes. It can also be used to test other devices: By changing testing-system/tested-device interface circuitry that is part of the apparatus, one can set up the apparatus to test nonvibratory gyroscopes. The apparatus can also be used as a general-purpose noise-analysis system for characterizing a variety of devices in addition to gyroscopes.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Test & Measurement, Automation, Test equipment and instrumentation
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Electromechanical Testing of Microelectromechanical Devices

Devices would be probed at the wafer level before dicing and packaging.

A method of electromechanical testing has been proposed for general diagnosis, evaluation of performance, and burn-in (accelerated life testing) of microelectromechanical devices. The tests would ordinarily be performed at the wafer level; that is, after the devices have been fabricated on wafers but before the wafers have been diced and the dies packaged. Alternatively or in addition, the tests could be performed at other stages of the fabrication process.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Test & Measurement, Microelectricmechanical device, Microelectromechanical devices, Microelectricmechanical device, Microelectromechanical devices, Test procedures
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