Special Coverage

NASA Supercomputer Simulations Reveal 'Noisy' Aerodynamics
Robotic Gripper Cleans Up Space Debris
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

COMSOL Multiphysics Version 4.0 multiphysics simulation software

COMSOL, Burlington, MA, has released COMSOL Multiphysics Version 4.0 multiphysics simulation software with a new COMSOL Desktop™ user interface that provides an organized layout and streamlined model-building. Quick model setup is enabled in the Model Builder and its graphical programming utility throughout the modeling and simulation process. With the new version, a series of LiveLink™ options integrate the software into the mainstream product design workflow of Autodesk® Inventor®, SolidWorks®, and MATLAB®. CAD users can simulate real-world physical effects of new products. The new version runs on Windows HPC Server 2008. Other features include automation simulation configuration of solver settings, solver sequences, mesh settings, and result visualization; display of multiple plots simultaneously; a new modal solver for frequency response and time domain; and direct solvers MUMPS and SPOOLES for cluster computing. Also featured are enhancements to the Structural and Acoustics; Heat Transfer; AC/DC, MEMS, and RF; and Fluid Flow modules.

Posted in: Products
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Microshutters With Fast Switching Time for Highly Integrated Spectrometers

In contemporary spectrometers the wavelength selection is obtained through a dispersing optical element and a linear detector. The introduction of micro-cantilevers with fast response time, used as micro-shutters, allows the possibility to adopt a single sensing detector.

Posted in: Techs for License
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Size-Controlled Fabrication of Microparticles Incorporating Active Ingredients

A scaleable technique based on ink-jet technology fabricates polymer microparticles with best-in-class size distribution. It is suitable for a variety of particle morphologies such as solid, porous, and microcapsules filled with gases, liquids, or a combination. Drugs or active ingredients can be incorporated in solid or liquid form. The monodispersity of the particles ensures excellent control of both the dose and the site/nature of delivery of the active ingredient.

Posted in: Techs for License
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Ideas and Protocols to Differentiate Terrestrial Life from Indigenous Exobiological Life

No protocol exists to determine whether life found on other planets or in space is indigenous to its locale, or is the result of contamination from probes sent by Earth. NASA seeks such a protocol in anticipation of manned exploration of Mars. The protocol is likely to be performed by humans visiting Mars. Any suggested protocol should be robust, yet simple enough to be performed in the field under difficult conditions using a minimal amount of consumables and by equipment carried (at most) on light exploration vehicles.

Posted in: NASA Tech Needs
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Polymer/Carbon or Other Materials With Conductivity Approaching Copper and Aluminum

A company seeks a weight-saving alternative to sheets and wires of copper and aluminum that can operate at specific frequencies. The company wants to replace conductive casings, conductors, wires, grounding plates, and similar electronics structures with other materials that have similar conductive properties, but that are much lighter than copper and aluminum. Such materials might be carbon or polymer.

Posted in: NASA Tech Needs
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NASA’s Chief Technologist Leads the Agency’s New Focus on Research and Innovation

Dr. Robert Braun began his NASA career at Langley Research Center in Virginia in 1987 after receiving a B.S in Aerospace Engineering from Penn State University. While at Langley, he worked on a number of advanced space systems concept and flight programs including the Mars Pathfinder, Mars Microbe, and Mars Surveyor 2001 projects. From 1998 to 2000, he managed the development of the Mars Sample Return Earth Entry Vehicle, and from 2000 to 2001, he served as the Deputy Program Manager and Chief Engineer for NASA's Intelligent Synthesis Environment Program.

Posted in: Who's Who
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Dr. Robert Braun

Dr. Robert Braun began his NASA career at Langley Research Center in Virginia in 1987 after receiving a B.S in Aerospace Engineering from Penn State University. While at Langley, he worked on a number of advanced space systems concept and flight programs including the Mars Pathfinder, Mars Microbe, and Mars Surveyor 2001 projects. From 1998 to 2000, he managed the development of the Mars Sample Return Earth Entry Vehicle, and from 2000 to 2001, he served as the Deputy Program Manager and Chief Engineer for NASA s Intelligent Synthesis Environment Program.

Posted in: Podcasts
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Wireless Sensor Technology for Real-Time Applications

The ability to make real-time decisions based on pressure, temperature, or flow measurements while a process is running can provide significant advantages in a measurement and control system. These advantages can be expressed in different ways such as cost savings through improved resource management, or reduced reliability upon mobile workers. While measurement data can be used to dynamically control a process, it can also be displayed over a network to allow remote monitoring of the process status in real time. Rising pressures, temperatures, or vibration intensity can easily be adjusted if the appropriate personnel are aware of faulty conditions. As data is collected for process control or a SCADA system, it can also be archived for future reference when a review of process trends could provide additional improvements.

Posted in: Articles, Sensors, Measurements, Sensors and actuators, Sensors and actuators
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Cockpit Vision System to Improve Pilot Safety

Inertial-Optical Head-Tracking System
InterSense
Billerica, MA
781-541-6330
www.intersense.com

Under NASA funding, InterSense is developing and testing an inertial-optical head-tracking system for commercial pilots. The company will work with a miniaturized inertial-optical tracker prototype integrated into a Head-Worn Display (HWD). The next phase involves testing and analysis of the system with flight tests in order to assess functionality and performance.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Aviation, Optics, Displays, Displays
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Vibration Isolators Supplied for James Webb Telescope Testing

Vibration isolators
Minus K® Technology
Inglewood, CA
310-348-9656
www.minusk.com

Minus K Technology was chosen by ITT Space Systems, LLC, a subcontractor to Northrop Grumman Corp., to provide vibration isolators for the ground testing of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) at NASA s Johnson Space Center (Houston, TX). The JWST will be placed in a vacuum chamber at Johnson Space Center, and supported by a set of custom vibration isolators.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Motion Control, Vibration, Vibration, Test equipment and instrumentation
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