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Bio

As a Software Engineer & Manager for Perot Systems Government Services, I provide flight simulation hardware & software support for various ACES research projects.

My roles at NASA have varied greatly, but the brief history of projects I’ve supported (as a manager and/or as a software developer) are as follows (reverse chronological order):

  • Adaptive Control & Evolvable Systems (flight simulation, s/w engineering and h/w integration)
  • Human Operations (s/w & h/w for Air Force Simulator Research)
  • Visual Cueing Research (s/w & h/w for research of motion cues with pilot-in-the-loop part-task simulations)
  • Visual Simulation Systems (s/w for Spatial Awareness Research on HMDs, ShutterGlasses)
  • Man-Machine Design & Analysis System ( s/w for simulation,cognitive modeling, and 3d-graphics)
  • NASA-IGES tool set (CAD data s/w for CFD Grid Generation)

My interests are in visualization techniques across a wide variety of discilines (simulators, robotics, human factors, psychophysics, and more) that will allow researchers to accomplish their goals.

I have experience in Spacecraft s/w, 3D Graphics, AI, Software Testing, Device Drivers, and many computer languages.


Education
  • BSCS, West Virginia University
  • MSCE, Santa Clara University



The Neuro-Engineering Laboratory


This facility is operated by the ACES group and serves as a research testbed for new adaptive control systems developed by staff, guest researchers and students. The facility has a long history of research support for a variety of projects and has hosted NASA Associate Administrators, Center Directors, Military leaders, corporate presidents & board members, and many distinguished researchers among is guests - in addition to countless school-age visitors very excited to see how flight simulators are used at Ames.

Software

Several tools have been developed over many years to allow researchers to test concepts in the NEL.

The following major tools are ones that I have written(NelFly) or direct experience contributing code (Vorview & FLTz):

NelFly

My first focus for ACES was to develop out-the-window visuals for NEL flight simulator. I named this software NELFLY and it has grown to be used by other projects within ACES and outside the group.

This software started out as an OpenGL-Performer code, then evolved into using OpenSceneGraph as the major 3D graphics API.

Some of NelFly's major features:

  • runs on laptops and workstations
  • supports Linux, MacOSX (10.4 and above), and MS-Windows
  • supports several camera modes and windows
  • communicates with FLTz via UDP sockets
  • displays large areas of 3D terrain
  • displays 3D aircraft with updating control surfaces with or without damage
  • uses a variety of control inputs (joysticks,throttles)

NeFly has been used with Earth-bound aircraft of all sorts; Mars flyers; Lunar landers and orbiters; and can be extended as needed.

NelFly is still in active development.

VorView

Originally an Ames in-house code jointly written with Lockheed-Martin, VorView is a vortex-lattice code that computes many aeronautics coefficients and stability derivatives for rough, preliminary aircraft designs.

I have put significant effort into restructuring, porting, increasing performance, bug-fixing, and adding features to VorView to satisfy requirements for ACES research.

It runs with a GUI or in batch mode for lengthy test cases.

VorView is still in active development.

FLTz

This software is flight simulation system with primary and secondary OpenGL displays capable of flying a large set of built-in aircraft as well as those aircraft under rapid research development (possibly using the output of VorView).

FLTz can communicate directly with NelFly as well as other programs (eg FlightGear) by a variety of protocols.

This software makes heavy use of memory-mapped files for internal communication between the many individual programs that encompass FLTz.

FLTz is still in active development.

Hardware

The NEL maintains a portable “integrated flight deck” originally built by Wittenstien Aerospace, Inc. and modified greatly by our team. This flight deck sits in front of a 120-degee field-of-view Barco Reality Center driven by three Barco Sim-6 MK-II projectors reflected off mirrors.

Several workstations exist that run all of our major in-house software and a large portion of our "external" application or library software (below).

These workstations include PowerMacs, HP workstations, MacBook Pros, Dell workstations, and miscellaneous laptops and smaller computers.

External Resources

The facility has made substantial use of Open Source projects, commercial software, and other NASA codes - some of which were mentioned above.

The following is merely a subset of the tools that play an important role in the success of the NEL and are availble to the researchers and engineers of the ACES' facility:

  • OpenSceneGraph
  • Open Producer
  • Open Threads
  • OpenGL
  • Matlab / Simulink
  • Presagis Creator
  • Anim8tor
  • Blender
  • Pro/Engineer
  • Xilinx Tool Suites
  • VehicleSketchPad (NASA Langley)
  • Cart3D (NASA Ames)
  • Compilers from PGS
  • FlightGear
  • RipTide (Army Research / NASA Ames)

Future Work

The NEL facility is constantly growing and many necessary upgrades are planned. Some of which include:

  • New projection system for the 120deg FOV screen using GPU-based blending & color-balancing
  • New inceptors for throttles
  • Integration of Matlab/Simulink into the FLTz software for faster turnaround of control system testing & research

Contact

Computer Scientist / Visualization Engineer

Perot Systems Government Services
Intelligent Systems Division
Ames Research Center
Mail Stop 269-1
Moffett Field, CA 94035

Phone: 650-604-4494
Fax: 650-604-4036

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