WTBMS : Wireless Tire and Brake Monitoring System

Client : US Air Force (Edwards Air Force Base)


Challenge:

Catastrophic tire failure during aircraft testing poses an unacceptable risk to personnel and material. Currently, to mitigate the risk, a “cool down” waiting period, usually about 45 minutes, is used between trial runs, reducing the efficiency of flight and ground testing. If the remote measurement of key landing parameters (tire temperature, brake stack temperature and tire pressure) were automated, it would allow both increased levels of safety when approaching the aircraft, and better optimized testing schedules. Technologies exist to provide such measurements, but both lack sufficient range to reduce risk, and has not been designed to function and survive in the extreme conditions necessary for testing of military aircraft.

 

Figure:  (top and left) Aircraft hub mounted processor and (right) thermocouple

Solution:

Templeman Automation’s Wireless Tire and Brake Monitoring System (WTBMS), currently a Phase II SBIR program, will acquire measurements of key landing parameters and meet military aircraft testing needs, and transmit them via ZigBee wireless protocol to researchers hundreds of feet away.  WTBMS is designed to take real time measurements of key tire and brake parameters during and immediately post landing and relay them to ground operators.  The development effort includes the integration of COTS and custom electronics elements and significant hardening for high temperature (brake) and high acceleration (tire) environments.  TA has worked with Air Force sponsors at Edwards Air Force base to firmly establish the requirements and specifications to maximize the usefulness and usability of the test system.  The WTBMS data will provide insight into the conditions experienced by Air Force equipment during landing, but more importantly will provide a quick and accurate way of making “go/no go” decisions on approaching an aircraft, greatly increasing ground crew safety during testing.

SWAV : Nearshore Ocean Visualization

Client: US Navy (ONR)


Challenge:

Currently the US Navy has access to volumes of meteorological, buoy, and predictive data about sea-state conditions across the world. However, this data is often processed and visualized as the output of computer modeling tools, usually in the form of numeric summaries and static charts. What is missing is a tool that provides mission planners a way to visualize the near shore environment in a more immersive way, cutting through the communication shortcomings of charts and graphs and allowing them to ‘see’, first-hand, the environment into which deployments are staged.

Figure:  Procedurally generated ocean surface (left) and breaking wave (right)

Solution:

Templeman Automation (TA) continues to support on-going (Phase II SBIR) development of the Simulated WAve Visualization (SWAV) software application to transform meteorological/ocean (MetOcean) data into a statistically accurate and accessible littoral scene. SWAV is a software program that creates realistic littoral wave animation from off-shore boundary conditions provided by the user or via coupled global wave models like Delft University of Technology’s SWAN. SWAV’s effectiveness is based on three areas of TA expertise: (1) Application and understanding of existing wave models, (2) Adaptation of proven computational approaches from the feature film industry for creating realistic water simulations, (3) Exploitation of the latest advances in hardware graphics and computational acceleration. Under the direction of Hollywood veteran Leonard White, SWAV is positioned to provide photo-realistic visualizations of the dynamic near shore region to Navy trainers and mission planners.

MASV : Magnetic Aircraft Securing Vehicle Robot

Client: Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI), US Navy (NAVAIR Lakehurst)


Challenge:

PSI was contracted by NAVAIR to look forward to the future of extremely sparsely manned aircraft carriers (<50 crew) and develop an autonomous system for securing returning aircraft to the deck without sailors in the loop.  PSI contracted to TA for mechanical and software support in developing a unique aircraft chocking robot.

 

Solution:

TA helped PSI interact with the Navy sponsor to fully specify a test matrix required for the Phase II program demonstration.  Additionally a 3D simulation environment was developed to fully understand the scale and tasking required for the tests.  From these specifications a unique differential-drive robot was developed with an extensive sensor suite including a laser scanner, 25 sonic rangers, a high dynamic range video camera matched to the outdoor application, a stereo camera system for background clutter elimination, and rotary wheel encoders for short-term navigation odometry.  A processing architecture was developed including several microcontrollers for local control flow and a quad-core laptop processor running a Linux real-time operating system.  A behavioral control paradigm was chosen to match the dynamic flight deck environment and the aircraft recognition, approach, and docking mission was broken into individual tasks, each with dedicated sensors and primitive behaviors designed for efficient execution.  A “Vector Field Histogram” path planning system was developed for optimized path planning and obstacle avoidance.  Novel algorithms for navigation and localization based on invariant landmark identification and tracking were implemented using high-value laser scanner data.  Two prototype robot systems were developed and demonstrated to program sponsors at NAVAIR.

Smart Gasket : Steam Seal Integrity Monitor

Client: US Navy (NAVAIR Lakehurst)


Challenge:

The Low-Loss Launch Valve is a large (multi-ton) steam valve integrated into Navy aircraft carriers as part of the steam catapult system.  Scheduled maintenance of the valve requires removal and retooling at Lakehurst NAS, with a very high cost to disassemble and transport.  A sensor system that allows condition-based maintenance based on the seal integrity could save the Navy millions of dollars annually.  However, the failure point is sealed inside the valve with no easy access point and in an extreme heat and humidity environment.

Figure: Solid model of LLLV (left) and stress analysis showing failure of LLLV seal (right)

Solution:

TA implemented a multiple approach engineering study, starting with a comprehensive modeling effort to fully understand the failure modes of the LLLV.  A number of technologies were applied, including the use of ductile sensor leads that could be compressed beyond the flatness rating of the flange faces while still maintaining insulation integrity and conductivity.  However, TA showed through modeling, that the failure modes of the valve could be reliably detected from outside the valve.  Therefore, a uniquely developed inductive displacement sensor could be applied to the outside of the valve, greatly simplifying installation and data & power connections.

SOLution: Improving Low-Cost Water Disinfection

Everyday over 4500 children die due to lack of clean drinking water. Solar Disinfection (SODIS) is an inexpensive and effective method of water disinfection. Exposing clear plastic bottles filled with contaminated water to prolonged sunlight disinfects water making it safe to drink. Ultra-violet (UV) light and heat from sunlight kills bacteria,viruses and parasites. Studies have shown that SODIS requires 6 hours of sunlight, but cloud cover, location and seasonal changes cause the time required to vary. Real-world implementations of SODIS have been limited by the lack of a mechanism to determine and display when water is fully disinfected.

SOLution Brochure

 

SOLution is a solar-powered device that accurately measures sunlight and clearly displays when water is safe to drink. SOLution displays a universally recognized “happy face” or “sad face” to indicate water safety. SOLution is rugged, reliable and reusable. Constructed of parts typically found in a solar-powered calculator, SOLution is inexpensive (estimated < $5 USD), lasts for years and can be reused thousands of times and requires no maintenance (< $0.003 USD per use).

For more information, please download our SOLution brochure.

SOLution