Inside Unmanned Systems

APR-MAY 2018

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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20 April/May 2018 unmanned systems inside SPECIAL REPORT NASA TECHNOLOGY Other Licensable Technology Sources MIT Stanford University of North Dakota division-offi ces/corporate- engagement-commercialization/ index.cfm University of New Mexico Global Hawk drone) over hurricanes to launch dropsondes—sensor packages on parachutes that take measurements of temperature, pressure, winds, and humidity as they drop. "What we expect is that if UAS can really stay a couple of hundred miles away, equipped with some of these sen- sors and then it can provide useful in- formation about (a hurricane's) strength and about direction," Shams said. Commercial pilots could also ben- efit from infrasound triangulation by having trios of sensors installed on planes. The sensors could detect clear air turbulence and alert pilots so they are able to steer clear. Though Shams declined to give details, he said NASA is already working with one company that is looking at this idea. EARTHQUAKE WARNINGS Infrasound is useful for more than de- tecting atmospheric disturbances. The same low frequency sounds have also been found to signal imminent earth- quakes, aftershocks and tsunamis. Drones with sensors could be deployed to spot check or monitor trouble-prone areas. (Tension Actuated in Space MANipulator) Patent 9,168,659 TALISMAN TALISMAN is a NASA technology with exceptional reach. The successor to the Remote Manipulator System used by NASA's space shuttles, TALISMAN uses an order of magnitude of less power and space for a system with a mass that also has been reduced by an order of magnitude. The system uses structural links connected by elbow-like joints that, like a human elbow, allow movement in the same plane. Where a forearm, however, has only about 180 degrees of motion, a TALISMAN joint enables a link to swing a full 360 degrees. The system can be any length, with as many joints as desired, and is adjustable even while in use. Shoulder- like joints at the base give it enormous range and cables reminiscent of those in a suspension bridge—cables that can be adjusted by spreaders for mechanical advantage—add stiff ness. "There are cables that go from the top of the spreaders to the end of the links and those operate very much like ligaments in your fi nger," said William Doggett, a NASA Langley aerospace technologist. The current system uses square, extruded aluminum tubing with the sides cut out to reduce weight, though it can be made of other material—including fi berglass or plastics suited to marine applications. The design can be used to work underwater if there are not strong currents, Doggett said, and on the water's surface with fl oats—for example, for environmental remediation or to articulate fl oating barriers. Photos courtesy of NASA.

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