NASA Spinoff

Computer Technology

Spinoff: Computer Technology
Modeling Languages Refine Vehicle Design

When we watch a space shuttle launch on television, we have only the vaguest sense of the extraordinary amount of work required to make such a complex operation successful. Even with the most highly trained engineers in the world, designing a space vehicle requires many thousands of hours of...

Spinoff: Computer Technology
Radio Relays Improve Wireless Products

In order to transmit communications through Earth’s atmosphere, satellites and space vehicles need radio equipment that can operate at higher frequencies than on Earth. These higher frequencies, until recently, have demanded mechanical switches in radio relays. Unfortunately, the mechanical switches...

Spinoff: Computer Technology
Integrated Circuit Chip Improves Network Efficiency

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution

Prior to 1999 and the development of SpaceWire, a standard for high-speed links for computer networks managed by the European Space Agency (ESA), there was no high-speed communications protocol for flight electronics. Onboard...

Spinoff: Computer Technology
Intelligent Memory Module Overcomes Harsh Environments

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution

Solar cells, integrated circuits, and sensors are essential to manned and unmanned space flight and exploration, but such systems are highly susceptible to damage from radiation. Especially problematic, the Van Allen radiation...

Spinoff: Computer Technology
Mars Mapping Technology Brings Main Street to Life

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution

The Red Planet has long held a particular hold on the human psyche. From the Roman god of war to Orson Welles’ infamous Halloween broadcast, our nearest planetary neighbor has been viewed with curiosity, suspicion, and awe....

Spinoff: Computer Technology
Inductive System Monitors Tasks

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution

The Inductive Monitoring System (IMS) software developed at Ames Research Center uses artificial intelligence and data mining techniques to build system-monitoring knowledge bases from archived or simulated sensor data. This information is then used...

Spinoff: Computer Technology
Software Simulates Sight: Flat Panel Mura Detection

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution

In the increasingly sophisticated world of high-definition flat screen monitors and television screens, image clarity and the elimination of distortion are paramount concerns. As the devices that reproduce images become more and...

Spinoff: Computer Technology
Virtual Reality System Offers a Wide Perspective

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution

Robot Systems Technology Branch engineers at Johnson Space Center created the remotely controlled Robonaut for use as an additional “set of hands” in extravehicular activities (EVAs) and to allow exploration of environments that...

Spinoff: Computer Technology
Wireless Sensor Network Handles Image Data

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution

To relay data from remote locations for NASA’s Earth sciences research, Goddard Space Flight Center contributed to the development of “microservers” (wireless sensor network nodes), which are now used commercially as a quick and...

Spinoff: Computer Technology
Software Analyzes Complex Systems in Real Time

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution

Expert system software programs, also known as knowledge-based systems, are computer programs that emulate the knowledge and analytical skills of one or more human experts, related to a specific subject. SHINE (Spacecraft Health...

Spinoff: Computer Technology
Software Schedules Missions, Aids Project Management

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution

NASA missions require advanced planning, scheduling, and management, and the Space Agency has worked extensively to develop the programs and software suites necessary to facilitate these complex missions. These enormously...

Spinoff: Computer Technology
Water-Based Coating Simplifies Circuit Board Manufacturing

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution

The Structures and Materials Division at Glenn Research Center is devoted to developing advanced, high-temperature materials and processes for future aerospace propulsion and power generation systems. The Polymers Branch...

Spinoff: Computer Technology
Program Assists Satellite Designers

Originating Technology/NASA Contribution

Managed by Goddard Space Flight Center, the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE) was launched on December 30, 1995, from Kennedy Space Center, and to this day, it is still active. The satellite carries several instruments and is part of the...

Spinoff: Computer Technology
Optics Program Simplifies Analysis and Design

Future spaceborne astronomy missions will require telescopes with increasingly greater power, driving the dimensions of the optics and their housing structures to significantly greater sizes.

Spinoff: Computer Technology
Hybrid Modeling Improves Health and Performance Monitoring

Scientists and engineers have long used computers to model physical systems. Physical modeling is a major part of design and development processes, as well as failure analysis. At NASA, scientists and engineers rely heavily on physical modeling to evaluate the overall health and...

Spinoff: Computer Technology
Design Application Translates 2-D Graphics to 3-D Surfaces

When it comes to solving some of NASA’s most challenging technical problems, the mathematical minds that make up the Computational Sciences Branch at NASA’s Glenn Research Center are ready and waiting to crunch some numbers. Calculating complex algorithms and mathematical equations...

Spinoff: Computer Technology
Software Sharing Enables Smarter Content Management

As NASA’s leading organization for information sciences, the Intelligent Systems Division at Ames Research Center conducts world-class computational research to enable out-of-this-world capabilities. In particular, this division is dedicated to ushering in a new era of autonomous spacecraft...

Spinoff: Computer Technology
Engineering Software Suite Validates System Design

Design errors are costly. When it comes to creating complex systems for aerospace design and testing system readiness, engineering system requirements must be clearly defined, and these systems need to be tested to ensure accuracy, consistency, and safety. Testing a system, however, can...

Spinoff: Computer Technology
HEARING IN TRUE 3-D

In 1984, researchers from Ames Research Center came together to develop advanced human interfaces for NASA's teleoperations that would come to be known as virtual reality. The basis of the work theorized that if the sensory interfaces met a certain threshold and sufficiently supported each other, then the operator would...

Spinoff: Computer Technology
CONVERSING WITH COMPUTERS

I/NET, Inc., is making the dream of natural human-computer conversation a practical reality. Through a combination of advanced artificial intelligence research and practical software design, I/NET has taken the complexity out of developing advanced, natural language interfaces. Conversational capabilities like pronoun...

Spinoff: Computer Technology
MANAGING CONTENT IN A MATTER OF MINUTES

NASA software created to help scientists expeditiously search and organize their research documents is now aiding compliance personnel, law enforcement investigators, and the general public in their efforts to search, store, manage, and retrieve documents more efficiently.

Spinoff: Computer Technology
FROM VIDEO TO PHOTO

Ever wonder whether a still shot from a home video could serve as a picture perfect photograph worthy of being framed and proudly displayed on the mantle? Wonder no more.

Spinoff: Computer Technology
IMPROVING THE FLOW

In early 1995, NASA's Glenn Research Center (then Lewis Research Center) formed an industry-government team with several jet engine companies to develop the National Combustion Code (NCC), which would help aerospace engineers solve complex aerodynamics and combustion problems in gas turbine, rocket, and hypersonic engines. The...

Spinoff: Computer Technology
WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS IN SPACE

In 1992, NASA and the U.S. Department of Defense jointly commissioned the research and development of a technology solution to address the challenges and requirements of communicating with their spacecraft. The project yielded an international consortium composed of representatives from the space science...

Spinoff: Computer Technology
Software of Seismic Proportions Promotes Enjoyable Learning

While working for NASA, Jack Sculley and Terry Brooks had a revelation. They wanted to find a novel and unique way to present the scientific principles of NASA research to the public, so as to not only enlighten, but entertain. Suddenly, their revelation morphed into something even...

Spinoff: Computer Technology
Structural Analysis Made NESSUSary

Everywhere you look, chances are something that was designed and tested by a computer will be in plain view. Computers are now utilized to design and test just about everything imaginable, from automobiles and airplanes to bridges and boats, and elevators and escalators to streets and skyscrapers.

Spinoff: Computer Technology
Satellite and Ground System Solutions at Your Fingertips

In the summer of 1998, the blockbuster action movie Armageddon captivated audiences with a thrilling doomsday plot about a meteor the size of Texas that was racing towards the Earth. Though the premise of the movie was purely fictional, the unfortunate reality is that near-Earth...

Spinoff: Computer Technology
Taking the Risk Out of Risk Assessment

The ability to understand risks and have the right strategies in place when risky events occur is essential in the workplace. More and more organizations are being confronted with concerns over how to measure their risks or what kind of risks they can take when certain events transpire that could have a...

Spinoff: Computer Technology
Tracking Electromagnetic Energy With SQUIDs

A superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) is a gadget used to measure extremely weak signals, specifically magnetic flux. It can detect subtle changes in energy, up to 100 billion times weaker than the electromagnetic energy required to move a compass needle. SQUIDs are used for a variety...

Spinoff: Computer Technology
Software to Manage the Unmanageable

In 1995, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) contracted Redmond, Washington-based Lucidoc Corporation, to design a technology infrastructure to automate the intersection between policy management and operations management with advanced software that automates document workflow, document status, and...