Distributed, Collaborative Human- Robotic Networks for Search, Identify, and Track

A human-robotic system is under development that can map an unknown environment, as well as discover, track, and neutralize several static and dynamic objects of interest. In addition, the robots can coordinate their individual tasks with one another without overly burdening a human operator. The testbed utilizes the Segway RMP platform, with lidar, vision, inertial, and GPS sensors. The software draws from autonomous systems research, specifically in the areas of pose estimation, target detection and tracking, motion and behavioral planning, and human robot interaction.

Posted in: Briefs, Physical Sciences, Architecture, Computer software / hardware, Surveillance, Human machine interface (HMI), Product development, Robotics

Fabrication of Carbon Nanotube Channels on Three- Dimensional Building Blocks

Single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) are the most attractive material in the fields of nanoscience and nanotechnology due to their chemical, physical, and electrical properties. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are being applied in various kinds of nano devices such as transistors, electrodes, sensors, and filters because of the semiconducting, metallic, optical, and structural properties. To date, CNTs are mainly synthesized, grown, and dispersed on a two-dimensional substrate. However, it is not easy to fabricate and manipulate CNTs on a particularly structured substrate for various applications. In the case of CNTs on planar substrates, it is hard to get high conductivity and sensitivity because of physical disconnection and low surface areas due to randomly oriented two-dimensional structure.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Fabrication, Nanomaterials, Nanotechnology

High-Temperature Silicon Carbide Power Module for Military Hybrid Electric Vehicles

The ever-increasing electrical power, power density, and cooling requirements of present and future military platforms are pushing silicon-based power electronics systems to their operational limits. To address future needs, wide bandgap semiconductor materials such as silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN) were developed for electronic applications. Using these semiconductor materials, a new generation of wide bandgap power devices is being developed.

Posted in: Briefs, Materials, Power electronics, Materials properties, Semiconductors, Hybrid electric vehicles, Military vehicles and equipment

Reactive Structure and Smart Armor for Future Ground Vehicles

AReactive Structure Technology (RST) is a new class of smart structure that can react to external excitations (such as blast or ballistic impacts) in a carefully designed way using the energy pre-stored internally or from the external excitations to counteract the hazardous loading or perform other desired tasks. A reactive structure deflects an incoming projectile in order to protect a vehicle body. When a projectile hits the face plate (armor), the embedded sensors feed the impact signal to a control unit, and actuators are triggered to move the faceplate. The movement of the faceplate deflects the projectile and significantly reduces the possibility of penetration in the back plate.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Sensors and actuators, Active safety systems, Protective structures, Military vehicles and equipment

Prognostic Health Management for Avionics System Power Supplies

Electronic systems such as electronic controls, onboard computers, communications, navigation, and radar perform many critical functions onboard military and commercial aircraft. All of these systems depend on electrical power supplies for direct current (DC) power at a constant (regulated) voltage to drive solid-state electronics. With these power supplies playing an important role in the operation of aircraft systems and subsystems, flight and ground crews need health state awareness and prediction tools that diagnose faults accurately, predict failures, and project life remaining of these components.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Avionics, Electronic equipment, Electric power, Prognostics, Commercial aircraft, Military aircraft

Energy-Scalable Protocols for Battery Operated Micro Sensor Networks

Networks of microsensors can greatly improve environment monitoring for many civil and military applications. Multiple sensors provide fault tolerance and can provide valuable inferences about the physical world to the end user. In order to prolong the lifetimes of wireless sensors, all aspects of a sensor system should be energy efficient. To maximize battery lifetimes of distributed wireless sensors, network protocols and data fusion algorithms should be designed with low-power techniques. Network protocols minimize energy by using localized communication and control and by exploiting computation/communication tradeoffs. A sensor network system that uses a localized clustering protocol and beamforming data fusion was developed to enable energy-efficient collaboration.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Mathematical models, Architecture, Sensors and actuators, Surveillance, Energy consumption

Wide-Field Imaging System and Rapid Direction of Optical Zoom

A breadboard system has been developed for demonstrating nonmechanical zoom using flexible thin films. The project consists of three major task areas: material characterization, diagnostic system development, and imaging system development. The material characterization phase involves two components: development of modeling tools, and measurement of material properties for use in the tools. The diagnostic system development phase will apply the tools and knowledge developed in the first phase to build algorithms for modeling and testing one-dimensional films with multiple actuators. These models will then be compared to experimental results and modified as needed. The imaging system development phase will conclude the effort by building a sensor system with variable zoom based on optical-quality PVDF films.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Imaging, Sensors and actuators, Diagnostics, Product development, Systems engineering, Materials properties

Rad-Hard FPGAs

The rad-hard and rad-tolerant reprogrammable Virtex®- 5QV FPGA from Xilinx (San Jose, CA) supports specified Total Ionizing Dose (TID) and characterized Single-Event Effects (SEE). The space-grade field programmable gate arrays are also optimized with embedded MPUs, embedded DSP elements, built-in Ethernet MAC blocks, and high-speed serial connectivity.

Posted in: Products, Products, Electronics & Computers

Graphics Processor

AMD (Sunnyvale, CA) has introduced the AMD Radeon™ E6460 discrete graphics processor. With support for up to four simultaneous displays, the E6460 GPU enables an immersive experience with desktop-level 3D graphics and multimedia features. A 3D graphics engine and programmable shader architecture support Microsoft DirectX® 11 tech nology for graphics rendering. The unified video decoder also provides dual HD decode of H.264, VC-1, MPEG4, and MPEG2 compressed video streams.

Posted in: Products, Products, Electronics & Computers

Single Board Computer

Advanced Digital Logic (ADL) (San Diego, CA) has announced its ADLQM67PC Sandy Bridge single board computer. The ADLQM67PC features the Intel Core™ i7 processor. The i7 processor integrates Intel’s HD Graphics 3000 engine with AVX (Advanced Vector Extensions), as well as memory controller functions. The QM67 Platform Controller Hub (PCH) provides PCI-Express I/O bandwidth at 5 Gbps.

Posted in: Products