Automated Vision Test
Automated Vision Test
The Wavefront Aberrations (WA) are a collection of different sorts of optical defects, including the familiar defocus and astigmatism that are corrected by eyeglasses, but also more complex higher order aberrations such as coma, spherical aberration, and others. The WA provide a comprehensive description of the optics of the eye, and thus determine the acuity. But until recently, a practical method of computing this relationship did not exist. Our solution to this problem is to simulate the observer performing the acuity task with an eye possessing a particular set of WA. When a letter is presented, we first distort a digital image of the letter by the specified WA, and add noise to mimic the noisiness of the visual system. From previous research, we have determined the appropriate noise level to match human performance. We then attempt to match the blurred noisy image to similarly blurred candidate letter images, and select the closest match. We repeat this for many trials at many letter sizes, and thereby determine the smallest letter than can be reliably identified: the visual acuity. We have streamlined and simplified the key steps for this simulation approach so that the entire process is robust, accurate, simple and fast. Results are typically obtained in a few seconds.
Dynamic Weather Routes Tool
Dynamic Weather Routes Tool
Every 12 seconds, the Dynamic Weather Route (DWR) automation system computes and analyzes trajectories for en-route flights. DWR first identifies flights that could save 5 or more flying minutes (wind-corrected) by flying direct to a downstream return fix on their current flight plan. Eligible return fixes are limited so as not to take flights too far off their current route or interfere with arrival routings near the destination airport. Using the direct route as a reference route, DWR inserts up to two auxiliary waypoints as needed to find a minimum-delay reroute that avoids the weather and returns the flight to its planned route at the downstream fix. If a reroute is found that can save 5 minutes or more relative to the current flight plan, the flight is posted to a list displayed to the airline or FAA user. Auxiliary waypoints are defined using fix-radial-distance format, and a snap to nearby named fix option is available for todays voice-based communications. Users may also adjust the alert criteria, nominally set to 5 minutes, based on their workload and desired potential savings for their flights. A graphical user interface enables visualization of proposed routes on a traffic display and modification, if necessary, using point, click, and drag inputs. If needed, users can adjust the reroute parameters including the downstream return fix, any inserted auxiliary waypoints, and the maneuver start point. Reroute metrics, including flying time savings (or delay) relative to the current flight plan, proximity to current and forecast weather, downstream sector congestion, traffic conflicts, and conflicts with special use airspace are all updated dynamically as the user modifies a proposed route.
information technology and software
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has revisited the famous Pillars of Creation, revealing a sharper and wider view of the structures in this visible-light image.
Autonomic Autopoiesis
Highly distributed next-generation computer-based systems require self-managing environments that feature a range of autonomic computing techniques. This functionality is provided by collaborating agents, and includes an apoptotic (self-destruct) mechanism, autonomic quiescence (self-sleep), and others. The apoptotic feature is necessary to maintain system security and integrity when a component endangers the overall operation and viability of the entire system. However, the self-destruction of an agent/component may remove a key piece of functionality. The novel autopoietic functionality provides the capability to duplicate or substitute a new agent that provides the functionality of the self-destructed component.
electrical and electronics
SpaceCube 1.0b
Next generation instruments are capable of producing data at rates of 108 to 1011 bits per second, and both their instrument designs and mission operations concepts are severely constrained by data rate/volume. SpaceCube is an enabling technology for these next generation missions. SpaceCube has demonstrated enabling capabilities in Earth Science, Planetary, Satellite Servicing, Astrophysics and Heliophysics prototype applications such as on-board product generation, intelligent data volume reduction, autonomous docking/landing, direct broadcast products, and data driven processing with the ability to autonomously detect and react to events. SpaceCube systems are currently being developed and proposed for platforms from small CubeSats to larger scale experiments on the ISS and standalone free-flyer missions, and are an ideal fit for cost constrained next generation applications due to the tremendous flexibility (both functional and interface compatibility) provided by the SpaceCube system.
Robonaut 2: Hazardous Environments
Robonaut 2: Hazardous Environments
Robonaut 2 (R2) has the capability of functioning autonomously or it can be controlled by direct teleoperations, which is advantageous for hazardous environments. When functioning autonomously, R2 understands what to do and how to do it based on sensory input. R2's torso holds the control system while the visor holds several cameras that are incorporated into the visual perception system. With these capabilities, R2 can reduce or eliminate the need for humans to be exposed to dangerous environments. R2 also has a very rugged four-wheel base called the Centaur 2. The Centaur 2 base can lower or raise itself to and from the ground and turn its wheels in any direction, allowing it to turn in place and drive forward or sideways. This enables the R2 to enter hazardous areas or tackle difficult terrain without endangering its human operator. Robonaut 2 as a whole, or some of its components, can be an invaluable tool for land mine detection, bomb disposal, search and rescue, waste recycling, medical quarantined area, and so much more. The suite of technologies provides an ability to manipulate tools to help with a task, or it can tackle many tasks in a row, where a standard robot may not have the dexterity or sensing capability to get the job done. R2 could pick through nuclear waste, measure toxicity levels, and survey areas too remote or dangerous for human inspection. R2 could deal with improvised explosive devices, detect and dispose of bombs or landmines, and operate equipment that can break through walls or doors.
Robonaut 2 is a dexterous robot able to work with tools and equipment designed for human use.
Robonaut 2: Industrial Opportunities
NASA, GM, and Oceaneering approached the development of R2 from a dual use environment for both space and terrestrial application. NASA needed an astronaut assistant able to function in space and GM was looking for a robot that could function in an industrial setting. With this in mind, R2 was made with many capabilities that offer an enormous advantage in industrial environments. For example, the robot has the ability to retool and vary its tasks. Rather than a product moving from station to station on a conveyor with dozens of specialized robots performing unique tasks, R2 can handle several assembly steps at a single station, thereby reducing manufacturing floor space requirements and the need for multiple robots for the same activities. The robot can also be used in scenarios where dangerous chemicals, biological, or even nuclear materials are part of the manufacturing process. R2 uses stereovision to locate human teammates or tools and a navigation system. The robot was also designed with special torsional springs and position feedback to control fine motor movements in the hands and arms. R2's hands and arms sense weight and pressure and stop when they come in contact with someone or something. These force sensing capabilities make R2 safe to work side-by-side with people on an assembly line, assisting them in ergonomically challenging tasks or working independently. This NASA Technology is available for your company to license and develop into a commercial product. NASA does not manufacture products for commercial sale.
front image
Interim, In Situ Additive Manufacturing Inspection
The in situ inspection technology for additive manufacturing combines different types of cameras strategically placed around the part to monitor its properties during construction. The IR cameras collect accurate temperature data to validate thermal math models, while the visual cameras obtain highly detailed data at the exact location of the laser to build accurate, as-built geometric models. Furthermore, certain adopted techniques (e.g., single to grouped pixels comparison to avoid bad/biased pixels) reduce false positive readings. NASA has developed and tested prototypes in both laser-sintered plastic and metal processes. The technology detected errors due to stray powder sparking and material layer lifts. Furthermore, the technology has the potential to detect anomalies in the property profile that are caused by errors due to stress, power density issues, incomplete melting, voids, incomplete fill, and layer lift-up. Three-dimensional models of the printed parts were reconstructed using only the collected data, which demonstrates the success and potential of the technology to provide a deeper understanding of the laser-metal interactions. By monitoring the print, layer by layer, in real-time, users can pause the process and make corrections to the build as needed, reducing material, energy, and time wasted in nonconforming parts.
NASA robotic vehicle prototype
Super Resolution 3D Flash LIDAR
This suite of technologies includes a method, algorithms, and computer processing techniques to provide for image photometric correction and resolution enhancement at video rates (30 frames per second). This 3D (2D spatial and range) resolution enhancement uses the spatial and range information contained in each image frame, in conjunction with a sequence of overlapping or persistent images, to simultaneously enhance the spatial resolution and range and photometric accuracies. In other words, the technologies allows for generating an elevation (3D) map of a targeted area (e.g., terrain) with much enhanced resolution by blending consecutive camera image frames. The degree of image resolution enhancement increases with the number of acquired frames.
Robotics Automation and Control
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New motors for next-generation in-space servicing
Satellites and other spacecraft require maintenance and service after being deployed in orbit, requiring a wide variety of tools that perform multiple maintenance tasks (grip, cut, refuel, etc.). Current drive systems for the tool interfaces on the robotic arms that perform these service tasks are not as robust nor packaged properly for use in the ATDS. The ATDS is one part of a larger in-space servicing system (example shown in the figure below) that must be versatile and perform multiple jobs. Here, innovators at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center have developed new BLDC motors to provide the torque necessary to drive the wide variety of tools needed for in-space servicing. The four motors provide torque to the coupler drive, linear drive, inner rotary drive, and outer rotary drive of the ATDS. The new BLDC motors will enable the tools attached to the ATDS to be operated in multiple modes of operation. Each of the four motors have been customized with different speed and torque capabilities to meet the different performance requirements of the various actuator drive trains while maintaining a common gearhead across all the motors. Further, the packaging surrounding the motors has been tailored to reduce the overall weight of the motors and reduce the motor footprint to meet the needs of the ATDS. The BLDC motors for the ATDS are available for patent licensing.
Cryostat-500 (disassembled)
The Cryostat-500 provides laboratory measurement of the steady-state thermal transmission properties of thermal insulation systems under conditions below ambient temperature. Liquid nitrogen is used as a direct measure of the energy going through the test specimen. Thermal insulation systems may be composed of one or more materials that may be homogeneous or non-homogeneous at boundary conditions from 77 K to 373 K and in environments from high vacuum (10E-7 torr) to ambient pressure (10E+3 torr). The Cryostat-500 provides a much wider range of thermal performance and covers the full range of environmental conditions for applications below ambient temperature. The instrument has been proven through extensive testing of foams, composite panels, multilayer insulation (MLI) systems, aerogel blankets, fiberglass, and many other types of materials. Both the quality and quantity of the thermal performance data for insulation materials and systems have increased even as the process and method has become more time efficient and cost effective. Further guidelines on the test method and equipment for the Cryostat-500 are given in ASTM C1774, Annex A3.
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