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

AUGMENTED REALITY: Beyond Gaming to Real-World Solutions

Ask a stranger off the street what Virtual Reality (VR) is or how it works, and most people will have some inclination of what the technology entails; however, ask that same person about Augmented Reality (AR), and the answers are less likely to be easily gained. Maybe someone will talk about the gaming aspect of the technology, or its earliest incarnation in the failed Google Glass.

Posted in: Articles, Data Acquisition, Simulation Software
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Absorbent Polymer Reinforcing Fiber

This material improves mechanical properties without degrading their absorption performance.

Absorbent polymers can be used, for instance, to absorb hydrocarbons from an aqueous medium such as the absorption of oil from water. In some configurations, conventional absorbent polymers are contained within a permeable material; for example, conventional spill “socks” and booms can hold an absorbent polymer within a fabric to enable the absorbent polymer to be applied directly to the site of interest. Moreover, conventional absorbent booms can float on a water surface to help contain a spill from spreading beyond the boom. This application, however, requires the absorbent polymer to be contained within a permeable membrane or fabric.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials
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MSET Industrial Early Warning System

MSET is applicable to any industry in which continuous operation and safety are imperative, including the power industry, manufacturing, aerospace, and pharmaceuticals.

System breakdowns in modern industrial environments can result in millions of dollars in lost time and productivity, and even the loss of life and property. In the utilities industry — where the continuous operation of coolant pumps is essential — the breakdown of a single pump can result in a loss of as much as $10 million in downtime.

Posted in: Briefs, Software
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Wireless Temperature Sensor Having No Electrical Connections, and Sensing Method for Use

The temperature sensor is damage-tolerant, wireless, flexible, precise, and inexpensive.

NASA's Langley Research Center has developed a robust wireless temperature sensor that does not require an electrical connection. The temperature sensor is built on NASA's SansEC sensor platform, which takes advantage of measuring dielectric changes. The temperature sensor is damage-tolerant, wireless, flexible, precise, and inexpensive. One promising application is for tire temperature sensors.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors
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Lightweight, Crack-Resistant, Silk Composite Sensor

The damage-sensing probe embedded into a composite of epoxy and silk could be used for building more resilient infrastructure, airplanes, and consumer products.

New lightweight, energy-saving composites that won't crack or break even after prolonged exposure to environmental or structural stress are needed in industries such as civil infrastructure for bridges and buildings, consumer products, and aerospace. To help make that possible, a method was developed to embed a nanoscale damage-sensing probe into a lightweight composite made of epoxy and silk. The probe, known as a mechanophore, could speed up product testing, and potentially reduce the amount of time and materials needed for the development of many kinds of new composites.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors
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Compact, Lightweight, Athermal, Nanocomposite Telescopes with Freeform Optics

Small space missions such as CubeSats frequently require telescopes with highly sophisticated optical systems that are also low in mass and cost. The very limited spacecraft volume and mass limits also preclude adjustments to maintain critical alignment with change in temperature. Existing systems, especially those that employ folded optical paths with freeform optics, are expensive to fabricate. The optics, and support and metering structures, are also heavy due to the use of high-density material such as glass, aluminum, or nickel.

Posted in: Briefs, Photonics
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TiBor Skin Composite Coatings

TiBor Skin is a two-part technology that creates toughened, corrosion- and wear-resistant composite structures. The technology consists of coatings or surface materials for application on metals, plus methods of applying these materials. It also provides methods of integrating the applied coatings with their substrates to form composite structures, the surfaces of which wear and corrode at rates much lower than those currently experienced in the industry.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials
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Airborne Sense-and-Avoid Radar Panel

This lightweight, low-cost antenna could be used on unmanned vehicles in security and disaster response efforts, communications, aerial mapping, and aerial surveillance.

Although unmanned aerial systems (UAS) have proven increasingly useful in a variety of applications, their widespread usage within the National Airspace System is limited because of regulatory restrictions on their access to shared airspace.

Posted in: Briefs, Aeronautics, Aerospace
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Connectors Link Data Networks for Orion and Industry

Data network connectors on Orion find uses in aviation, oil and gas, and trains.

Spinoff is NASA's annual publication featuring successfully commercialized NASA technology. This commercialization has contributed to the development of products and services in the fields of health and medicine, consumer goods, transportation, public safety, computer technology, and environmental resources.

Posted in: Articles, Electronics & Computers
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Robust Mesh Update Method for Grid Motion Problems

Over the past several decades, one class of problems in computational fluid dynamics (CFD) that has undergone substantial development involves movement of the fluid domain boundary. The problem class exists when the fluid domain boundary is either explicitly time-dependent, or is known a priori and determined as part of a flow solution in a coupled fashion. Free-surface fluid-structure interaction and forced-motion flows are typical of problems in this class. More specifically, as a boundary moves, a CFD mesh simulating the fluid dynamics can experience mesh cell distortion to the point of cell collapse, thereby rendering the CFD mesh meaningless.

Posted in: Briefs, Software
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