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

Method for Inflating Uniformly Stiff Tubular Booms

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) developed a foam-rigidized, inflatable, tubular space boom that can be transported, deployed, and inflated at remote locations. The lightweight device consists of an inner and outer sleeve and, in its non-pressurized state, can be accordion-folded into a small storage canister. This allows for simple and compact transportation at a low cost.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Storage, Foams, Gases, Spacecraft
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ScienceOrganizer: A Scientific Knowledge Management and Remote Experimentation Tool

The ScienceOrganizer system was designed to facilitate the work of geographically distributed NASA science teams by supporting the organization, administration, documentation, and execution of science projects and missions. The capabilities of ScienceOrganizer include the ability to conduct and monitor working experiments; locate, utilize, and publish experimental datasets; develop and share scientific software models; store scientific project information; document the scientific process; and co-visualize scientific data. Users access ScienceOrganizer through an intuitive Web-based interface that enables them to upload, download, and centrally organize project information including data, documents, images, and scientific records associated with laboratory and field experiments.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Big data, Internet, Big data, Internet, Data management, Test equipment and instrumentation
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Smartphone Camera Measures Heart Health

Currently, a 45-minute ultrasound scan is required to provide detailed information about heart health. Researchers have discovered a method by which a smartphone camera can noninvasively provide the same information.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical, Measurements, Optics, Optics, Cardiovascular system
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High-Energy-Storage Capacitor

A method was created for electroless deposition of conformal ultrathin (<20 nm) metal oxides on the high-surface-area walls of commercial carbon nanofoam papers, typically 0.1–0.3 mm thick. The resulting ultrathin metal oxides rapidly take up and release electrons and ions, thereby storing energy at 300–600 Farads per gram of oxide, while the carbon nanofoam paper serves as a three-dimensional current collector and defines a pre-selected porous electrode architecture.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Capacitors, Capacitors, Additive manufacturing, Fabrication, Nanomaterials
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Knowledge Preservation Management

The Knowledge Preservation Management (KPM) system allows for the capture, management, and Web-based access of manufacturing operations information. KPM also captures retirees' knowledge via transcript-enabled video-taped interviews, and with video data-mining advanced search capabilities. Access to this information is available directly to the operator on the factory floor or in an office, providing a complete, on-demand knowledge management and training capability.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Big data, Internet, Big data, Internet, Education, Education and training, Manufacturing equipment and machinery, Manufacturing processes
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Flexible Wearable Electronics Use Body Heat for Energy

Interest in wearable electronics for continuous, long-term health and performance monitoring is rapidly increasing. The reduction in power levels consumed by sensors and electronic circuits, accompanied by the advances in energy harvesting methods, allows for the realization of self-powered monitoring systems that do not have to rely on batteries.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Electronic equipment, Sensors and actuators, Electronic equipment, Sensors and actuators, Energy consumption, Medical, health, and wellness, Thermodynamics, Thermodynamics
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Development of Automated Structural Health Monitoring for Composite Overwrapped Pressure Vessels

Virtually all NASA spacecraft use composite overwrapped pressure vessels (COPVs) to reduce the weight disadvantage of metal pressure vessels. However, these composite structures are more susceptible to damage than metal PVs, are difficult to inspect, have large burst pressure variability, and are susceptible to stress rupture when maintained at pressure. Over the past few years, NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC) White Sands Test Facility (WSTF) has developed novel analysis methods that show promise for assessing the structural health of composite overwrapped pressure vessels. These methods and industry standard methods have been integrated into specialized software for automated analysis, thus significantly increasing throughput to the point where real-time assessments of structural health may be determined. Adaptive analysis methods have also been developed to provide modal analyses at specified points in a structure's life, including loading, unloading, and dwells. Together, these enhancements increase the utility and ease of use for acoustic emission testing.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, CAD / CAM / CAE, CAD, CAM, and CAE, Vehicle health management, Composite materials, Spacecraft
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Independent Navigation for the Visually Impaired Using a Wearable, Vision-Based Feedback System

Automatic navigation systems have been developed previously to aid the visually impaired, but these devices have not been as reliable and easy to use as a cane — the type of metal-tipped cane that visually impaired people frequently use to identify clear walking paths. These canes, however, have drawbacks. First, the obstacles they come in contact with are sometimes other people. Second, they can't identify certain types of objects, such as tables or chairs, or determine whether a chair is already occupied.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Optics, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Optics, Prostheses and implants, Product development
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Interim, In-Situ Additive Manufacturing Inspection

Researchers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center have developed a novel method for interim, in-situ dimensional inspection of additively manufactured parts. Additive manufacturing processes currently have limited monitoring capabilities, offering users little to no options for mitigating the high levels of product and process failures.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Research and development, Additive manufacturing, Parts, Inspections
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An Electron Caught in the Act

How fast is an electron? Australian scientists were able to measure it. Australia's fastest camera, located at the Attosecond Science Facility, has revealed the time it takes for molecules to break apart. The experimental research, conducted by Griffith University's Centre for Quantum Dynamics, aims to help in the design of new molecules for materials science or drug discovery.

Posted in: Briefs, Photonics
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