Survey: Aerospace Engineers Seek Clarity on Cadmium

A survey of more than two hundred aerospace manufacturing professionals demonstrated a lack of understanding about cadmium, a highly toxic metal that is still being used frequently in the U.S. aerospace industry.

Posted in: News, News, Aerospace

Super-Strong 'Glassy Carbon' is Elastic and Electric

A new compressed form of glassy carbon opens up possibilities for applications requiring low weight and high strength — from aerospace parts to football helmets.

Posted in: News, News, Ceramics

NASA Flight-Tests Flexible, Twistable Wing Flaps

NASA’s Subsonic Research Aircraft Testbed (SCRAT) is a modified Gulfstream III used for the ACTE flexible-flap research project. (NASA Photo)

NASA has conducted a series of flights investigating the benefits of twistable, flexible wing flaps to improve flight efficiency. The Adaptive Compliant Trailing Edge (ACTE II) flights investigated the ability of shape-changing surfaces to determine if advanced flexible trailing-edge wing flaps can both improve aircraft aerodynamic efficiency, and reduce airport-area noise generated during takeoffs and landings.

Posted in: News, Aerospace, Aviation, Defense

Eye Tracking Technology Improves Imposter Detection Training

A screen shot of the Eye-dentify user interface.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) screens nearly one million people every day and secures and manages 328 ports of entry all over the country, including in remote areas. Verifying the identity of every single person entering the United States is a vital step in halting human trafficking, drug trafficking, and other smuggling attempts at the border. In addition, security screening prevents criminals and terrorists from entering the country. Imposter detection crosscuts the entire Homeland Security Enterprise, as well as state, local, and tribal law enforcement and even front-line soldiers in our military. All of these frontline operators execute this task as part of their respective missions and they must be able to accurately and efficiently verify identification of individuals to thwart imposters.

Posted in: News, Data Acquisition, Defense, Machine Vision, Visualization Software, Data Acquisition, Detectors, Sensors, Electronics & Computers, Software

Robot’s Speed-of-Light Communication Could Protect You From Danger

Seeing the same area from many points of view could be confusing to a human, but a computer can combine all the information to build a “model” of the scene and track objects and people. (Credit: Cornell University)

Cornell University researchers are developing a system to enable teams of robots to share information as they move around, and if necessary, interpret what they see. This would allow the robots to conduct surveillance as a single entity with many eyes. Beyond surveillance, the new technology could enable teams of robots to relieve humans of dangerous jobs such as disposing of landmines, cleaning up after a nuclear meltdown or surveying the damage after a flood or hurricane. The project, called “Convolutional-Features Analysis and Control for Mobile Visual Scene Perception,” is supported by a four-year, $1.7 million grant from the U.S. Office of Naval Research.

Posted in: News, Defense, Machine Vision, Visualization Software, Optics, Robotics

Heads-up Display Improves Soldiers’ Situational Awareness

Tactical Augmented Reality screenshot (Credit: U.S. Army)

A novel technology called "Tactical Augmented Reality," or TAR, is now helping soldiers precisely locate their positions, as well as the locations of friends and foes. It even enables them to see in the dark, all with a heads-up display device that looks like night-vision goggles (NVG). In essence, TAR replaces NVG, GPS, plus it does much more.

Posted in: News, Defense, Optical Components, Optics

Concept Enables Solar UAV “Autonomous Soaring”

Holding the photovoltaic UAV are two members of the Solar-Soaring research flight crew: Dan Edwards (left) and Trent Young. (U.S. Naval Research Laboratory)

Naval Research Laboratory engineers want to improve the ability of unmanned platforms to support a 24/7 information, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) mission. A new concept being tested consists of a photovoltaic array integrated into the center wing panel of the PV-SBXC aircraft as a drop-in replacement to the original wing. A power management and distribution system converts the power from the solar arrays into DC voltage that the electric motor can use for propulsion, or to recharge a smart battery.

Posted in: News, Aerospace, Aviation, Defense

NASA Tests Prepare Space Launch System for Liftoff

Wind tunnel tests simulate ground winds on the rocket during liftoff using smoke flow visualization. This technique allows engineers to see how the wind flow behaves as it hits the surface of the launch tower model. (NASA/Les Yeh)

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) may experience ground wind gusts of up to 70 mph as it sits on the launch pad before and during liftoff for future missions. Understanding how environmental factors affect the rocket will help NASA’s guidance, navigation, and control team to identify the safety distance between the rocket and the launch tower.

Posted in: News, Aerospace, Defense

Lightweight Artificial Hair Sensors Could Enable “Fly by Feel”

The Artificial Hair Sensor was inspired by the hairs on bats and crickets.

The Air Force Research Laboratory was inspired by the hairs on bats and crickets in creation of artificial hair sensors that could assess the external environment and change maneuvers during flight. The need to understand ambient air data and its effects on aircraft performance, navigation, and more has become more critical as aircraft are now lighter and operate in diverse environments.

Posted in: News, Defense, Sensors

Creating the Future: A Better Way to Map Terrain

Mark Skoog, an aerospace engineer at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center, led the development of new software that stores terrain data in a more efficient and accurate way. The achievement, Skoog says, opens the prospect of anyone – yes, anyone – being able to fly.

Posted in: News, News, Aerospace, Imaging, Sensors