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

Brookhaven National Laboratory

Opened in 1947 on the former site of the U.S. military's Camp Upton in New York, Brookhaven National Lab's (BNL) initial mission centered on the peaceful exploration of the atom. Particle accelerators, leading chemistry and biology experiments, and visionary scientists soon joined research reactors, and Brookhaven began innovation and exploration. The Lab's new mission is to perform basic and applied research including nuclear and high-energy physics, physics and chemistry of materials, nanoscience, energy and environmental research, national security and nonproliferation, neurosciences, structural biology, and computational sciences. Over its history, Brookhaven Lab has housed three research reactors, one-of-a-kind particle accelerators, and other facilities.

Posted in: Articles, Research Lab
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AUGMENTED REALITY: Beyond Gaming to Real-World Solutions

Ask a stranger off the street what Virtual Reality (VR) is or how it works, and most people will have some inclination of what the technology entails; however, ask that same person about Augmented Reality (AR), and the answers are less likely to be easily gained. Maybe someone will talk about the gaming aspect of the technology, or its earliest incarnation in the failed Google Glass.

Posted in: Articles, Data Acquisition, Simulation Software
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Connectors Link Data Networks for Orion and Industry

Spinoff is NASA's annual publication featuring successfully commercialized NASA technology. This commercialization has contributed to the development of products and services in the fields of health and medicine, consumer goods, transportation, public safety, computer technology, and environmental resources.

Posted in: Articles, Electronics & Computers
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Products of Tomorrow: October 2017

This column presents technologies that have applications in commercial areas, possibly creating the products of tomorrow. To learn more about each technology, see the contact information provided for that innovation.

Posted in: Articles, Electronic Components, Lighting, Medical
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Selecting the Correct Actuator

The need for actuators has grown exponentially. Nearly everywhere you look you can see pneumatic, hydraulic, or electric actuator systems at work in an endless variety of applications. There are many stereotypes surrounding these three types of motion systems, and while some of the ideas may stand true, many of the thoughts we have associated with these components are outdated and need to be revisited. Whereas you may think that your application's need for actuation rests on one specific type of actuator, technological advances have allowed us to reexamine the specifics of each, which could mean more than one option for your project.

Posted in: Articles, Motion Control
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MOTOR DRIVES: Build or Buy

Every system design presents a unique set of specifications regarding cost, space, time-to-market, and other factors. Designers must therefore make tradeoffs to meet these requirements, such as opting for a higher priced component to meet a stringent space constraint. For a motion application, design engineers can either source motion control components as complete self-contained units or build their own in-house, and each option has its pros and cons.

Posted in: Articles, Motion Control
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Inch vs. Metric Ball Screws: Are You Asking the Right Questions?

Because ball screws are available in both inch and metric dimensions, designers sometimes begin the specification process by selecting a product family based on the unit of measure. This decision may prematurely exclude the ideal product for the application and lead to significant losses in time, labor, and expense. This article explains how sizing and selection questions centered on performance — instead of monikers — can lead to more efficient linear motion designs.

Posted in: Articles, Motion Control
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Self-Powered Wireless Sensors in the Industrial Internet of Things

Sensors have a key role in industrial production. For example, they can be used for quality and process monitoring or condition-based maintenance. The range of applications is large and is evolving even further, largely due to the increasing use of self-powered wireless sensors for the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

Posted in: Articles, Sensors
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Networking the IoT with IEEE 802.15.4/6LoWPAN

The Industrial Internet of Things is predicated on large-scale, distributed sensor/control networks that can run unattended for months to years with very low power consumption. The characteristic behavior of this type of network entails very short bursts of message traffic over short distances using wireless technologies, often described as a low-rate, wireless personal area network (LR-WPAN). We keep the data frames short to lessen the possibility of radio interference forcing the need to retransmit. One such LR-WPAN approach uses the IEEE 802.15.4 standard. This describes a physical layer and media access control that are often used in the industrial control and automation applications referred to as Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA).

Posted in: Articles, Sensors
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Products of Tomorrow: September 2017

This column presents technologies that have applications in commercial areas, possibly creating the products of tomorrow. To learn more about each technology, see the contact information provided for that innovation.

Posted in: Articles, Electronics & Computers, Materials, Windows and windshields, Solar energy, Medical equipment and supplies, Product development
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