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Accelerometer and Gyroscope Designs Based on CNT Tape
NASA's accelerometer was designed to address the shortcomings of conventional piezoelectric-based accelerometers that are made from ceramic materials such as barium titanate (BaTiO3) or lead titanate (PZT). These materials are inherently brittle, have a tendency to be noisy, have difficulty sensing low frequencies, are subject to static charge build-up that affects polarization, and are relatively large and expensive. The unique feature of the NASA innovation is the use of carbon nanotube/P(VDF-TrFE) tape as the actuating and sensing element. As seen in the figure to the right, the new accelerometer acts as a spring-mass system. There is a moving mass (M) between fixed walls and attached to two CNT tapes on both sides. The mass will be displaced by u(t) along a single axis when an applied force, F(t), acts on the mass. This sensor uses one tape as an actuator to damp motion of the moving mass, while the other tape is used for sensing the mass displacement. The figure below left is a photo of the CNT tape being poled. The single axis accelerometer can be used solo or as the basis for a novel two-axis gyroscope. The CNT tape is used as the vibrating element in the gyroscope. The NASA gyroscope design covers three configurations: 1. CNT tape wrapped around the conductive rotor of the gyroscope 2. The same CNT tape layered with piezo material to form a rotor shape 3. Piezo-sprayed CNT tape used as a rotor The figure to the right is a stress vs. strain curve for the CNT tape that is used in the gyroscope and accelerometer.
small aircraft crash, handheld collision avoidance device, small craft, topography screen
Improved Ground Collision Avoidance System
This critical safety tool can be used for a wider variety of aircraft, including general aviation, helicopters, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) while also improving performance in the fighter aircraft currently using this type of system. <strong>Demonstrations/Testing</strong> This improved approach to ground collision avoidance has been demonstrated on both small UAVs and a Cirrus SR22 while running the technology on a mobile device. These tests were performed to the prove feasibility of the app-based implementation of this technology. The testing also characterized the flight dynamics of the avoidance maneuvers for each platform, evaluated collision avoidance protection, and analyzed nuisance potential (i.e., the tendency to issue false warnings when the pilot does not consider ground impact to be imminent). <strong>Armstrong's Work Toward an Automated Collision Avoidance System</strong> Controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) remains a leading cause of fatalities in aviation, resulting in roughly 100 deaths each year in the United States alone. Although warning systems have virtually eliminated CFIT for large commercial air carriers, the problem still remains for fighter aircraft, helicopters, and GAA. Innovations developed at NASAs Armstrong Flight Research Center are laying the foundation for a collision avoidance system that would automatically take control of an aircraft that is in danger of crashing into the ground and fly it&#8212;and the people inside&#8212;to safety. The technology relies on a navigation system to position the aircraft over a digital terrain elevation data base, algorithms to determine the potential and imminence of a collision, and an autopilot to avoid the potential collision. The system is designed not only to provide nuisance-free warnings to the pilot but also to take over when a pilot is disoriented or unable to control the aircraft. The payoff from implementing the system, designed to operate with minimal modifications on a variety of aircraft, including military jets, UAVs, and GAA, could be billions of dollars and hundreds of lives and aircraft saved. Furthermore, the technology has the potential to be applied beyond aviation and could be adapted for use in any vehicle that has to avoid a collision threat, including aerospace satellites, automobiles, scientific research vehicles, and marine charting systems.
robotics automation and control
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Digital Machine Control Electronics
The SCAPS (Single-Coil Absolute Position Sensor) GAPSYN (Inductive Gap Sensor) Digital Signal Conditioning Electronics technology (MFS-32318-1) provides voltage that is proportional to the position of the sensor. This circuit processes two signals from the position sensor to determine the amplitude of an amplitude-modulated signal from the position sensor, correcting for gap fluctuations and nonlinearities. An Absolute Limit Switch (MFS-32192-1) utilizes the SCAPS technology to produce an absolute limit switch point, such as to stop a movable carriage. The system for sensing the position of a rotor in a hybrid stepper motor (MFS-32402-1) is a rate-insensitive (i.e., operates at any speed, including zero rate), linear feedback sensor system that can be used for controlling two-phase and multi-phase stepper motors. The Micro-Commanding Servo Motor Controller With Greater Than Fifty Million To One Dynamic Rate Range technology (MFS-31529-1) senses rotary position of a drive shaft to derive appropriate drive signals for a motor. The Short-Range Antenna/Close-Proximity Transmitter and Receiver technology (MFS- 32228-1) is an inexpensive and effective method of exchanging information over a short distance between two devices when each is equipped with a SCAPS coil.
information technology and software
GEDACS, earth view, mountain elevations
Real-Time, High-Resolution Terrain Information in Computing-Constrained Environments
NASA Armstrong collaborated with the U.S. Air Force to develop algorithms that interpret highly encoded large area terrain maps with geographically user-defined error tolerances. A key feature of the software is its ability to locally decode and render DTMs in real time for a high-performance airplane that may need automatic course correction due to unexpected and dynamic events. Armstrong researchers are integrating the algorithms into a Global Elevation Data Adaptive Compression System (GEDACS) software package, which will enable customized maps from a variety of data sources. <strong>How It Works</strong> The DTM software achieves its high performance encoding and decoding processes using a unique combination of regular and semi-regular geometric tiling for optimal rendering of a requested map. This tiling allows the software to retain important slope information and continuously and accurately represent the terrain. Maps and decoding logic are integrated into an aircraft's existing onboard computing environment and can operate on a mobile device, an EFB, or flight control and avionics computer systems. Users can adjust the DTM encoding routines and error tolerances to suit evolving platform and mission requirements. Maps can be tailored to flight profiles of a wide range of aircraft, including fighter jets, UAVs, and general aviation aircraft. The DTM and GEDACS software enable the encoding of global digital terrain data into a file size small enough to fit onto a tablet or other handheld/mobile device for next-generation ground collision avoidance. With improved digital terrain data, aircraft could attain better performance. The system monitors the ground approach and an aircraft's ability to maneuver by predicting several multidirectional escape trajectories, a feature that will be particularly advantageous to general aviation aircraft. <strong>Why It Is Better</strong> Conventional DTM encoding techniques used aboard high-performance aircraft typically achieve relatively low encoding process ratios. Also, the computational complexity of the decoding process can be high, making them unsuitable for the real-time constrained computing environments of high-performance aircraft. Implementation costs are also often prohibitive for general aviation aircraft. This software achieves its high encoding process ratio by intelligently interpreting its maps rather than requiring absolute retention of all data. For example, the DTM software notes the perimeter and depth of a mining pit but ignores contours that are irrelevant based on the climb and turn performance of a particular aircraft and therefore does not waste valuable computational resources. Through this type of intelligent processing, the software eliminates the need to maintain absolute retention of all data and achieves a much higher encoding process ratio than conventional terrain-mapping software. The resulting exceptional encoding process allows users to store a larger library of DTMs in one place, enabling comprehensive map coverage at all times. Additionally, the ability to selectively tailor resolution enables high-fidelity sections of terrain data to be incorporated seamlessly into a map.
Digital Medical
NanoWire Glass Switch for Radio Frequency
The nanoionic-based switches developed by NASA's Glenn Research Center exploit the properties of some amorphous materials that can incorporate relatively large amounts of metal and behave as solid electrolytes. As with liquid electrolytes found in lead-acid batteries, for example, solid electrolytes consist of mobile ions which undergo oxidation/reduction reactions at the anode and cathode of the system. The ionic conductivity of such a material can be of the same order of magnitude as the electronic conductivity of a semiconductor but without the drawbacks of an electromechanical device. In the nanoionic switch, ions are formed at an anode and migrate into the solid electrolyte, while electrons are injected from a cathode, thereby causing the growth of metal nanowires through the electrolyte from the cathode to the corresponding anode when a positive DC bias is applied. Once a nanowire has grown sufficiently to form an electrically conductive path between the electrodes, the switch is closed and no electric power is needed to maintain the connection, unlike in a MEMS or semiconductor-based switch. Moreover, the process of making the connection can easily be reversed by applying a negative bias, causing the wires to ungrow and the switch to open. Thus, NASA's state-of-the-art device is a reversible electrochemical switch that can have geometric features as small as nanometers. The process time for making or breaking the connection is very brief -- about a nanosecond. In addition, this nanoionic material can be deposited in such a way to form multilayer control circuits, which has the potential to minimize circuit footprints, reduce overall circuit losses, and provide unprecedented ease of integration.
information technology and software
Enhancing Fault Isolation and Detection for Electric Powertrains of UAVs
The tool developed through this work merges information from the electric propulsion system design phase with diagnostic tools. Information from the failure mode and effect analysis (FMEA) from the system design phase is embedded within a Bayesian network (BN). Each node in the network can represent either a fault, failure mode, root cause or effect, and the causal relationships between different elements are described through the connecting edges. This novel approach can help Fault Detection and Isolation (FDI), producing a framework capable of isolating the cause of sub-system level fault and degradation. This system: Identifies and quantifies the effects of the identified hazards, the severity and probability of their effects, their root cause, and the likelihood of each cause; Uses a Bayesian framework for fault detection and isolation (FDI); Based on the FDI output, estimates health of the faulty component and predicts the remaining useful life (RUL) by also performing uncertainty quantification (UQ); Identifies potential electric powertrain hazards and performs a functional hazard analysis (FHA) for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)/Urban Air Mobility (UAM) vehicles. Despite being developed for and demonstrated with an application to an electric UAV, the methodology is generalized and can be implemented in other domains, ranging from manufacturing facilities to various autonomous vehicles.
electrical and electronics
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Printable IoT sensor development platform
Advances in additive manufacturing have enabled development of printable electronic sensor elements that can be deposited onto flexible substrates. To benchmark performance of printed sensors against the state of the art, NASA developed a low power flexible sensor platform. The platform integrates the following key components and features: -Flexible substrate: DuPont Kapton allows bending around cylindrical surfaces as small as in diameter. -Embedded microcontroller: Cypress CY8C4248 LQI-BL583 Arm Cortex M0 processor with BLE wireless controller, max frequency 48 MHz. Supports low power modes of operation, capacitive sensing support, and a single-channel 12-bit AD converter. -Commercial sensor suite: Bosch BNO080 inertial sensor; Bosch BME280 humidity, pressure, and temperature sensor; AMS CCS811 air quality sensor (VOCs and CO2). -Prototyping area for custom-printed sensors: 1) thermistor, uses carbon-based PTC resistor paste DuPont2792; 2) capacitive humidity sensor using a NASA-developed dielectric ink. NASA researchers have used the platform to study performance of the printed capacitive humidity sensor. The 2x4 mm co-doped barium titanate sensing element is highly sensitive to water vapor and performs as an unobtrusive breathing monitor, sensitive to breath at distances of up to 20 cm. Average change of sensor capacitance at a distance of 7.5 cm was observed to be 6.23.5 pF.
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