The Radiographic Imaging Performance Support System (RIPSS) is a developmental computer network intended to serve as (1) a central electronic archive for the storage, retrieval, and analysis of radiographic images generated in nondestructive-evaluation (NDE) laboratories at Kennedy Space Center and (2) a system for training users in radiographic techniques and in the analysis and interpretation of radiographic images. The archival, analytical, and training subsystems are being developed concurrently and integrated to the extent possible to take advantage of synergies among them and thereby maximize the potential to enhance the performances of both NDE learners and practicing NDE professionals.

The RIPSS would supplant the present system, in which there is no central archive, and in which both analysis and training are impeded by the need to distribute original radiographic films for comparison. The RIPSS (see figure) would include a scanner and a data-base server computer, which would store the digitized information from the original radiographic films, making it unnecessary to handle the films after scanning them. Storage of the image information in electronic form would reduce the cost of distribution, provide some redundancy for protection against loss, provide systematic means for preventing access by unauthorized users, and enable the use of automated computational techniques for retrieval and analysis.

The Radiographic Imaging Performance Support System is a developmental computer network for centralized storage, retrieval, and analysis of radiographic images, without need to distribute original radiographic films.

The subsystems for storage, retrieval, and analysis of images would incorporate object-oriented data structures and Internet-based multimedia formats for efficiency in development and deployment. Large multimedia files (for example, files containing images with text and audio annotations) could be accommodated. Advanced file-management features would be provided: One particularly notable feature of this type is the query by image contents (QBIC), which can be implemented with commercially available software. For example, if a specific section of pipe were tested on several occasions and its radiographic image scanned into the system on each occasion, then subsequent retrieval of one of the images would facilitate access to all like images. The software would find all images of segments of pipe having the same bend. The search could be narrowed by use of various parameter filters. This feature could be an excellent tool for the comparative analyses that are often performed in analyzing radiographic images.

The training subsystem of the RIPSS is based partly on the Kennedy Space Center developed "Web Interactive Training" where: the capabilities afforded by the Internet and by state-of-the-art multimedia data-presentation techniques are exploited to deliver training from a server computer to client desktop computers on demand. Training can be interactive, and interactivity can be exploited to provide for testing and recording of a trainee's progress. The fully developed RIPSS would enable a trainee or other user to visually inspect a radiograph and to click on a section containing a discontinuity suspected to represent a defect. Underlying image-map coordinates would direct the user to a page that would describe the discontinuity and present case-study information about the radiograph. The user interface for both training and routine use in inspection of parts would be the same.

This work was done by Alexander H. Ladd, formerly of I-NET, Inc., and David Metcalf of Merrimac Interactive Media Corporation for Kennedy Space Center.

Inquiries concerning rights for the commercial use of this invention should be addressed to

the Technology Programs and Commercialization Office
Kennedy Space Center
(407) 867-6373

Refer to KSC-12000


NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the June, 1999 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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