Innovative NASA patent helps optics during periods of vibration

According to an article on Gizmodo.com, engineers in the Human Factors Division of NASA Ames have a patent pending on an ingenious idea that will help astronauts read digital displays during periods of vibration for “five bucks.”

“During the final stages of a launch… the entire vehicle oscillates rapidly. Add that oscillation to the resonant frequency of the large tube that separates the booster and the crew cabin, and you get a crew capsule that vibrates like crazy. When humans are vibrating to that extent, it’s impossible for them to read a digital display. If the astronauts can’t read, they can’t do their jobs. If they can’t do their jobs, no more mission.

“And then the people in the Vibration Lab had a really, really good idea: By simply strobing the display in time with the vibration, they could kill this problem altogether.

“NASA has a patent pending on the technology, although the problems it solves are decidedly not NASA-specific; helicopters, planes, and fast-moving boats have similar vibrational issues, so it’s very possible we’ll see this implemented elsewhere.”

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