A recently conceived method of automated diagnosis of a complex electromechanical system affords a complete set of capabilities for hybrid diagnosis in the case in which the state of the electromechanical system is characterized by both continuous and discrete values (as represented by analog and digital signals, respectively). The method is an integration of two complementary diagnostic systems: (1) beacon-based exception analysis for multimissions (BEAM), which is primarily useful in the continuous domain and easily performs diagnoses in the presence of transients; and (2) Livingstone, which is primarily useful in the discrete domain and is typically restricted to quasisteady conditions. BEAM has been described in several prior NASA Tech Briefs articles: "Software for Autonomous Diagnosis of Complex Systems" (NPO-20803), Vol. 26, No. 3 (March 2002), page 33; "Beacon-Based Exception Analysis for Multimissions" (NPO-20827), Vol. 26, No. 9 (September 2002), page 32; "Wavelet- Based Real-Time Diagnosis of Complex Systems" (NPO-20830), Vol. 27, No. 1 (January 2003), page 67; and "Integrated Formulation of Beacon-Based Exception Analysis for Multimissions" (NPO-21126), Vol. 27, No. 3 (March 2003), page 74.

This Data-Flow Diagram illustrates the role of BEAM as a “smart” monitor for Livingstone.

Briefly, BEAM is a complete data analysis method, implemented in software, for real-time or off-line detection and characterization of faults. The basic premise of BEAM is to characterize a system from all available observations and train the characterization with respect to normal phases of operation. The observations are primarily continuous in nature. BEAM isolates anomalies by analyzing the deviations from nominal for each phase of operation. Livingstone is a model-based reasoner that uses a model of a system, controller commands, and sensor observations to track the system's state, and detect and diagnose faults. Livingstone models a system within the discrete domain. Therefore, continuous sensor readings, as well as time, must be discretized. To reason about continuous systems, Livingstone uses "monitors" that discretize the sensor readings using trending and thresholding techniques.

In development of the a hybrid method, BEAM results were sent to Livingstone to serve as an independent source of evidence that is in addition to the evidence gathered by Livingstone standard monitors. The figure depicts the flow of data in an early version of a hybrid system dedicated to diagnosing a simulated electromechanical system. In effect, BEAM served as a "smart" monitor for Livingstone. BEAM read the simulation data, processed the data to form observations, and stored the observations in a file. A monitor stub synchronized the events recorded by BEAM with the output of the Livingstone standard monitors according to time tags. This information was fed to a real-time interface, which buffered and fed the information to Livingstone, and requested diagnoses at the appropriate times. In a test, the hybrid system was found to correctly identify a failed component in an electromechanical system for which neither BEAM nor Livingstone alone yielded the correct diagnosis.

This work was done by Han Park, Mark James, Ryan Mackey of Caltech; Howard Cannon and Anapa Bajwa of NASA's Ames Research Center; and William Maul of NASA's Glenn Research Center for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The software used in this innovation is available for commercial licensing. Please contact Karina Edmonds of the California Institute of Technology at (626) 395-2322. Refer to NPO-40910.


NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the September, 2007 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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