Special Coverage

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
Converting from Hydraulic Cylinders to Electric Actuators
Automating Optimization and Design Tasks Across Disciplines

Parallel-Processing Software for Creating Mosaic Images

A computer program implements parallel processing for nearly real-time creation of panoramic mosaics of images of terrain acquired by video cameras on an exploratory robotic vehicle (e.g., a Mars rover). Because the original images are typically acquired at various camera positions and orientations, it is necessary to warp the images into the reference frame of the mosaic before stitching them together to create the mosaic. [Also see “Parallel-Processing Software for Correlating Stereo Images,” Software Supplement to NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 31, No. 9 (September 2007) page 26.]

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Terrain, Robotics, Spacecraft
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Software for Verifying Image-Correlation Tie Points

A computer program enables assessment of the quality of tie points in the image-correlation processes of the software described in the immediately preceding article. Tie points are computed in mappings between corresponding pixels in the left and right images of a stereoscopic pair. The mappings are sometimes not perfect because image data can be noisy and parallax can cause some points to appear in one image but not the other. The present computer program relies on the availability of a left→right correlation map in addition to the usual right→left correlation map. The additional map must be generated, which doubles the processing time. Such increased time can now be afforded in the data-processing pipeline, since the time for map generation is now reduced from about 60 to 3 minutes by the parallelization discussed in the previous article. Parallel cluster processing time, therefore, enabled this better science result. The first mapping is typically from a point (denoted by coordinates x,y) in the left image to a point (x',y') in the right image. The second mapping is from (x',y' ) in the right image to some point (x",y") in the left image. If (x,y) and(x",y") are identical, then the mapping is considered perfect. The perfectmatch criterion can be relaxed by introducing an error window that admits of round-off error and a small amount of noise. The mapping procedure can be repeated until all points in each image not connected to points in the other image are eliminated, so that what remains are verified correlation data.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Software, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Data management
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Flexcam Image Capture Viewing and Spot Tracking

Flexcam software was designed to allow continuous monitoring of the mechanical deformation of the telescope structure at Palomar Observatory. Flexcam allows the user to watch the motion of a star with a low-cost astronomical camera, to measure the motion of the star on the image plane, and to feed this data back into the telescope’s control system. This automatic interaction between the camera and a user interface facilitates integration and testing.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Optics, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Optics, Human machine interface (HMI), Data management
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CAD Tools: Usability versus Capabilities

CAD software has come a long way in terms of ease of use, interoperability, speed, and capabilities. But there is still a long way to go. We spoke to executives at leading CAD software companies to find out what’s most important to their users, and what the next revolution in CAD software will be.

Posted in: Articles, Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Software, CAD / CAM / CAE, CAD, CAM, and CAE
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Open Innovation Model Helps P&G “Connect and Develop”

By Ed Getty
Research Fellow
Procter & Gamble
Cincinnati, OH

For almost 165 of Procter & Gamble’s 170-year history, nearly all growth came from innovating within the walls of our own R&D organization. In 2000, our newly appointed CEO, A.G. Lafley, realized that P&G’s “invent it ourselves” model was not capable of sustaining high levels of top-line growth. The picture was becoming clear:

Posted in: Articles, Software, Collaboration and partnering, Research and development, Productivity
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Algorithm-Based Fault Tolerance for Numerical Subroutines

A software library implements a new methodology of detecting faults in numerical subroutines, thus enabling application programs that contain the subroutines to recover transparently from single-event upsets. The software library in question is fault-detecting middleware that is wrapped around the numerical- subroutines. Conventional serial versions (based on LAPACK and FFTW) and a parallel version (based on ScaLAPACK) exist. The source code of the application program that contains the numerical subroutines is not modified, and the middleware is transparent to the user.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware
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Computational Support for Technology- Investment Decisions

Strategic Assessment of Risk and Technology (START) is a user-friendly computer program that assists human managers in making decisions regarding research- and- development investment portfolios in the presence of uncertainties and of non- technological constraints that include budgetary and time limits, restrictions related to infrastructure, and programmatic and institutional priorities. START facilitates quantitative analysis of technologies, capabilities, missions, scenarios and programs, and thereby enables the selection and scheduling of value-optimal development efforts. START incorporates features that, variously, perform or support a unique combination of functions, most of which are not systematically performed or supported by prior decision-support software. These functions include the following:

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Software, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Cost analysis, Financial management, Research and development
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DSN Resource Scheduling

TIGRAS is client-side software, which provides tracking-station equipment planning, allocation, and scheduling services to the DSMS (Deep Space Mission System). TIGRAS provides functions for schedulers to coordinate the DSN (Deep Space Network) antenna usage time and to resolve the resource usage conflicts among tracking passes, antenna calibrations, maintenance, and system testing activities. TIGRAS provides a fully integrated multi-pane graphical user interface for all scheduling operations. This is a great improvement over the legacy VAX VMS command line user interface.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Antennas, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Antennas, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware
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Distributed Operations Planning

Maestro software provides a secure and distributed mission planning system for long-term missions in general, and the Mars Exploration Rover Mission (MER) specifically. Maestro, the successor to the Science Activity Planner, has a heavy emphasis on portability and distributed operations, and requires no data replication or expensive hardware, instead relying on a set of services functioning
on JPL institutional servers.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Autonomous vehicles, Spacecraft
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Industry Update: Analysis & Simulation Software

Multiphysics, simulation lifecycle management, unified simulation, and other terms are becoming the new trends in analysis and simulation software. There are new capabilities, new options for analysis and simulation management, and even room for growth in the market. We polled executives from leading software companies that provide analysis and simulation tools to find out what major changes have taken place in the products and how users will benefit.

Posted in: Articles, Simulation Software, Software, Computer simulation, Life cycle analysis
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