Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

NASA Teams To Build Gyroscopes 1,000X More Sensitive Than Current Systems

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the any-which-way-you-can dept.

Government 91

coondoggie writes "NASA today said it would work with a team of researchers on a three-year, $1.8 project to build gyroscope systems that are more than 1,000 times as sensitive as those in use today. The Fast Light Optical Gyroscope project will marry researchers from NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center; the US Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center and Northwestern University to develop gyroscopes that could find their way into complex spacecraft, aircraft, commercial vehicles or ships in the future."

cancel ×

91 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

1.8 (5, Funny)

sentientbeing (688713) | about 2 years ago | (#41838741)

A 1.8 dollar project. Man. NASA must really love those budget cuts

Re:1.8 (4, Funny)

Spy Handler (822350) | about 2 years ago | (#41838755)

hey man, $1.8 goes a long way in China.

Re:1.8 (3, Interesting)

Glarimore (1795666) | about 2 years ago | (#41839023)

I'd mod you up if you had said Russia, seeing as we now pay them ~63 million per astronaut we send.

Re:1.8 (2)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 2 years ago | (#41839173)

I'd mod you up if you had said Russia, seeing as we now pay them ~63 million per astronaut we send.

Which is well cheaper than using the Space Shuttle. I assume at least this is the ticket for a round trip, to and from the surface of the earth.

The Shuttle, with the philosophy of having a re-usable and thus cost effective vehicle, cost about $450 mln per launch according to Wikipedia, and could carry a maximum of eight astronauts, though usually less. One pilot and one commander to fly the thing who also have to bring it down leaves up to six astronauts that can be exchanged with crew on the ISS, or 75 mln per passenger. In case of the more common crew of seven, it'd be 90 mln.

Put inflation in the mix, and this Russian price tag is looking very interesting compared to NASAs in-house offering.

And that's while the Russian space agency is also government paid, like NASA, so a private company will likely be able to do it for even less.

Re:1.8 (2)

PerMolestiasEruditio (1118269) | about 2 years ago | (#41839761)

Shuttle cost $209 billion over it's life, 134 missions. $1.6 billion per flight.
http://www.space.com/12166-space-shuttle-program-cost-promises-209-billion.html [space.com]
So more like $200 million per Astronaut on Shuttle.

Russia sells flights to ISS for ~$50 million (Sarah Brightman), though used to be cheaper ($20 million for Mark Shuttleworth).
SpaceX is targeting $20 million per person for its Dragon Capsule

Re:1.8 (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 2 years ago | (#41841269)

Thanks for the correction. And it proves my point even more so... $1.6 bln per flight, wow...

Re:1.8 (2)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about 2 years ago | (#41842395)

Not so fast - $209B in 2010 $? Really? Where's the original cost statements? NASA's own site says $450M per launch, but that probably doesn't include amortized R&D costs, so I'd imagine it's higher if you include that. Then again, should we also include the X program? It was the precursor research for the shuttle after all. What about the Apollo program itself? It provided LOX engine research. There's also the solid rocket fuel for the boosters. Etc etc etc. An easily inflated number without backing data and vague hand-waving about "adjusted" dollars.

The real numbers we have are what NASA posted for the last missions - $450M per flight. There is no information on what that includes that I found, and this is higher than that posted in wikipedia [wikipedia.org] which bases its numbers on this document [futron.com] which has some more interesting information in it about competing launch systems in the Shuttle class. Note that not all are manned, and yet the shuttle is within a factor of 3 at most on a per Kg cost. It also details information on the shuttle launch costs based on pulling it from the full NASA budget, which indicates the most expensive estimate is $500M per launch. The wikipedia link also details the costs of a Saturn launch and cost per Kg. The Shuttle was only slightly more expensive, and an order of magnitude more capable by this comparison (We'll ignore the piece about Saturn being able to reach the moon, the Shuttle was never designed for that purpose)

Lastly, we have the issue about politics interfering with the Shuttle program. A much cheaper shuttle could have been built with an accompanying heavy launch vehicle for less than the Shuttle. It probably would have been safer too, as it would not have had a Challenger incident, as solid rocket boosters would not have been needed. But that's a tangent into what ifs, it should merely be noted that the Shuttle was not the result of engineering design for a purpose, but of politics adding conflicting requirements and then not funding those requirements.

Re:1.8 (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 2 years ago | (#41842787)

Which is well cheaper than using the Space Shuttle

It's also cheaper to buy a Ford Focus rather than a Dodge Ram. But only an idiot would make the choice between them solely on the basis of cost, you get what you pay for.

Re:1.8 (1)

X10 (186866) | about 2 years ago | (#41840451)

I'd mod you up if you had said Russia, seeing as we now pay them ~63 million per astronaut we send.

With this new budget cuts, that would be only 6.3 cents.

Re:1.8 (5, Funny)

Bill Dimm (463823) | about 2 years ago | (#41838799)

A 1.8 dollar project. Man. NASA must really love those budget cuts

The "team of researchers" is actually a bunch of grad students -- they'll have money left over when the project is completed.

Re:1.8 (1)

mianne (965568) | about 2 years ago | (#41839111)

Heck, that won't even cover a 6-pack of Coors. There goes your grad students!

Re:1.8 (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 2 years ago | (#41839241)

Good God man....that won't even pay for the pizza, much less the Mountain Dew!

Re:1.8 (1)

Bill Dimm (463823) | about 2 years ago | (#41845219)

Good God man....that won't even pay for the pizza, much less the Mountain Dew!

Pizza and Mountain Dew? Grad students are so spoiled these days...

Re:1.8 (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41839251)

Bah, they'll blow it all on popcorn. Popcorn.....and revenge!

Re:1.8 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41838959)

>A 1.8 dollar project. Man. NASA must really love those budget cuts
Times are tough all over. I mean they're even using 1.8 dollar editors to review these articles.

Re:1.8 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41838985)

I'd buy that for a dollar (eighty)

I wonder how their children will turn out... (3, Funny)

PerlPunk (548551) | about 2 years ago | (#41839207)

The Fast Light Optical Gyroscope project will marry researchers from NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center; the US Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center and Northwestern University

Re:I wonder how their children will turn out... (5, Funny)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 2 years ago | (#41840179)

I wonder how their children will turn out...

They'll be fine. They'll have a stable environment.

Re:1.8 (3, Funny)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | about 2 years ago | (#41839897)

Typical /.

An article that's full of spin :)

Re:1.8 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41841695)

They could only spare $1.8 to study the great Precession. :)

And cheap, too (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#41838743)

$1.80 for a super sensitive gyroscope. I like your style NASA!

Re:And cheap, too (2)

mianne (965568) | about 2 years ago | (#41839125)

Here's $5.. I'll take two. Keep the change!

Re:And cheap, too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41839311)

Heck at that price it beats the cheap $11 R/C gyros I can get online, or the good ones coming in at $50+.

As long as it's about the same size and form factor...

F U !!! YES !!!!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41838745)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lj75U7TkBBY
Real use for gyroscope

Re:F U !!! YES !!!!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41840563)

No, this [youtube.com] is a real use for a gyroscope (actually 3 of them).

That's some salary (1)

guises (2423402) | about 2 years ago | (#41838749)

Even I can make more than $1.80 in three years, these might not be the greatest gyros.

Re:That's some salary (1)

wmac1 (2478314) | about 2 years ago | (#41839071)

so you make more than 60c per year. great.

Re:That's some salary (1)

Alex Belits (437) | about 2 years ago | (#41839399)

He means, the value of his work. That's probably better than most Americans.

Re:That's some salary (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#41840847)

If he's a Gen. Y'er with student debt and he's netting 60c per year, he's not doing too bad.

Re:That's some salary (2)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 2 years ago | (#41839323)

I'm not a big fan of Greek food anyway.

Cheap! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41838757)

$1.80? About time NASA learned how to not overspend

$1.8 project (-1, Offtopic)

Sigvatr (1207234) | about 2 years ago | (#41838763)

Somehow I get the feeling that Mitt Romney is opposed to this.

For a buck eighty... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41838769)

...it should be amazing.

Magical, dare I say it?

... TO BUILD !! FAMOUS LAST WORDS !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41838771)

Build it, then it may be newsworthy !! Now, it's fantasy !!

Re:... TO BUILD !! FAMOUS LAST WORDS !! (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 2 years ago | (#41838933)

The $1.80 is no fantasy, that's newsworthy money! - (typo or not)

Light that travels faster than the speed of light (1)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about 2 years ago | (#41838773)

What is it then? If it travels faster than light, can you really still call it "light"? Needs a new name - I propose that instead of "light" or "fast light", we call it "Speedy Gonzales".

Re:Light that travels faster than the speed of lig (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 2 years ago | (#41840185)

Foolish human. Only Superman can travel faster than light. Why he had to go back round the other way a bit is still a mystery, though.

Re:Light that travels faster than the speed of lig (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#41840857)

We can call it Light Type-R!

XD

There's the government again! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41838777)

Interfering in the free market by picking winners and losers!

tight budget! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41838783)

Three years and they can only spend a dollar eighty!? Better be impressive!

*$1.8 million contract (4, Informative)

MassiveForces (991813) | about 2 years ago | (#41838805)

According to NASA's site, the contract is $1.8 million - just in case you thought NASA might be able to spend $1.8 billion on something like that... http://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/news/news/releases/2012/12-111.html [nasa.gov]

I think they should focus on cheaper space pens*



*(I kid, I kid!)

Re:*$1.8 million contract (1)

MassiveForces (991813) | about 2 years ago | (#41838853)

Also, the article is a little "light" on details, is it meant to be similar to the following?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring_laser_gyroscope

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fibre_optic_gyroscope

Re:*$1.8 million contract (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | about 2 years ago | (#41838953)

I was wondering the same. If they really plan on making things 1000x more accurate than these, it can really be a nifty innovation.
On the other hand, why is this not a Navy project? I thought that guroscopes were crucial to stealth submarine navigation. I doubt that they spend less than 2 millions on improving this already...

Re:*$1.8 million contract (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 2 years ago | (#41839191)

Maybe those gyros are now good enough for navigating subs through the vast expanses of our oceans, but not good enough to navigate space craft to nearby cosmic neighbours or to accurately point space telescopes to nearby objects?

Re:*$1.8 million contract (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | about 2 years ago | (#41839507)

Still, I think that having a meter accuracy after a Pacific traversal could have uses...

Re:*$1.8 million contract (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 2 years ago | (#41839557)

If you really don't have any other sensors maybe... but of course it never hurts to have more accuracy.

Re:*$1.8 million contract (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about 2 years ago | (#41841753)

Of course, you are correct. Assuming of course, that pretty much everything else is equal or better. Unless there is a critical problem to avoid, or a specific need which is not currently possible, then improved accuracy may be worse if you consider it from the perspective of changing what works.

I've run into issues like this with systems I've designed (for the DoD). I accidentally let slip that a performance boost was possible. Well, of course a few months down the line I was expected to include that as a requirement. There was no real reason to include the performance boost, the current requirement was sufficient to cover all potential CONOPS, and it really got into what I call the "Star Trek Operations" (Reroute power through the tertiary oscillator to inverse the deflector....) ie: pulling off the cover and messing with the internals to get a 10% performance boost in an 'oh crap' situation. The problem was that the current performance was sufficient, and the boost required engineering work to implement. The result was a more expensive product that provided more performance than necessary.

With something like 1m of accuracy over the width of the pacific, it sounds great in terms of 'Well, you will miss that 1 meter if you try to pass within 0.9m of a rock. The reality is, 'We have take an extra hour at some point to check our actual position based on known signals.' I wouldn't be surprised if there were 'beacons' pre-positioned which would allow for recalibration if such a thing were actually necessary. Hell, you could probably just use existing info sources (offshore rigs, data cables, passive sonar measurements) to verify your location based on pre-recorded data.

Would 1m of accuracy be worth upgrading the entire logistics chain, updating the massive amount of software that is likely tuned to the current gyros, train the sailors to use/repair/replace....

There is just so much cost that will occur even if everything else is equal.

Re:*$1.8 million contract (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41841999)

The value stems from the fact that all GPS systems will be quickly destroyed in the event of major conflict.

Re:*$1.8 million contract (4, Informative)

jittles (1613415) | about 2 years ago | (#41841477)

Gyroscopes are very very important to the maintenance and operation of all aircraft, as well as inertial navigation systems. For instance, gyroscopes help you to determine where you are when your GPS has failed, or if GPS does not exist. I'm not sure how useful that would be with space, I'm no physicist. But they also use gyroscopes to make sure mechanical parts are still operating within specification. This allows them to use the part until it falls out of spec, instead of replacing a part every 500 flight hours because they know the part will last at least that long. It saves the government a ton of money, and they're trying to roll them out wherever possible. The gyros are also helpful when an in-flight failure occurs, often helping the computer diagnose the exact problem. This allows the pilot to more accurately determine whether he needs to make an emergency landing, or RTB. The big push for this all happened after Blackhawk Down, and the pilots who crashed because they did not realize their tail rotor was about to fail. That is the exact sort of failure a gyroscope could have warned them about.

Re:*$1.8 million contract (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41839065)

Commercially available [honeywell.com] .

Re:*$1.8 million contract (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 2 years ago | (#41838873)

According to NASA's site, the contract is $1.8 million - just in case you thought NASA might be able to spend $1.8 billion

I thought due to budget cuts they could only spend $1.80

Re:*$1.8 million contract (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 2 years ago | (#41839183)

Well my subconscious reading did fill in a "b" in that gap, not an "m". Which of course has to do with the word "NASA" that appeared in the same sentence. It's hard to believe those guys even can enter such small numbers in their budget application forms!

complex spacecraft, aircraft, commercial vehicles (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41838807)

oh, and ICBM guidance systems.

Spacecraft, aircraft, commercial vehicles... (4, Insightful)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about 2 years ago | (#41838831)

And... missiles. Don't forget the missiles. In fact, let's just be clear here. This is for missiles. Spacecraft will be damned lucky to get any of these, and aircraft aren't getting them at all, nevermind unspecified "commercial vehicles." Missiles and drones will get these and nothing else. NASA will have to beg for an intentionally crippled version in order to get gear that isn't classified, for use on spacecraft.

Re:Spacecraft, aircraft, commercial vehicles... (1)

slacka (713188) | about 2 years ago | (#41838893)

This tech is useful in everything from game controllers to rockets. John Carmack was just talking about he re-used his Armidello rocket code in head tracking controller software. I hope this also trickles down.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wt-iVFxgFWk [youtube.com]

Re:Spacecraft, aircraft, commercial vehicles... (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about 2 years ago | (#41838909)

Indeed. My first thought was how this would help make inertial guidance systems better. Autopilots and such. But you bring up a good point about it being good for devices where you want to detect very small amounts of motion.

ICBMs don't actually need better gyros today - their destructive power renders the margin of error moot.

Re:Spacecraft, aircraft, commercial vehicles... (1)

gagol (583737) | about 2 years ago | (#41839171)

Norad (Cheyenne Montain) can witstand a near hit nuclear detonation. A direct hit would cripple the place. If 1000× more precise gyro navigation can accomplish it, I would be enclined to believe it is a worthy upgrade.

Re:Spacecraft, aircraft, commercial vehicles... (2)

Firethorn (177587) | about 2 years ago | (#41839223)

Our current generation ICBMS are already capable of hitting within 50 meters of the programmed target. When Cheyenne Mountain was built, it was built to withstand close nuclear detonation from missiles where detonating within a kilometer was more the expected accuracy.

We can hit Cheyenne Mountain style facilities directly enough to destroy them already. That's without getting into fancy stuff like the nuclear deep penetrators we have locked up somewhere.

Re:Spacecraft, aircraft, commercial vehicles... (2)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | about 2 years ago | (#41839345)

Did you miss the notice? Actually using nukes is out of style. Governments only threaten to use them.
No these will be useful in conventional bombs/missiles. If you have 1 meter accuracy then the explosive force can be less, so the civilian casualties can be less so there are less embarrassing images to show on TV.

Re:Spacecraft, aircraft, commercial vehicles... (1)

gagol (583737) | about 2 years ago | (#41839425)

I stand corrected.

Re:Spacecraft, aircraft, commercial vehicles... (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#41840895)

I was thinking it would be more likely to be used in drone-launched flechette missiles. If it reduces the number of non-targeted "suspected militants" killed then maybe it's a good thing.

Re:Spacecraft, aircraft, commercial vehicles... (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about 2 years ago | (#41847375)

I'm not sure such a system, despite the improved targeting, would pass Geneva Convention scrutiny.

Though you have a point about improving the accuracy of smaller munitions, assuming the gyroscope ends up being small, cheap, and sturdy enough.

Re:Spacecraft, aircraft, commercial vehicles... (2)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about 2 years ago | (#41838935)

Probably not so much in game controllers. These aren't MEMS devices. They're large heavy mechanical things. They're neither small nor light enough to cram into a controller or a phone. The smallest thing mentioned in the article is a "tabletop" gravitational wave detector.

Re:Spacecraft, aircraft, commercial vehicles... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41839651)

No, they're boxes 1m long. Gyroscopes haven't been mechanical for about 30 years.

Yes for future wars with GPS/etc jamming (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41838907)

Use of this gyros will get around any future adversary actively jamming GPS signals. I wouldn't be surprised if next gen nukes will have this gyros instead of optically checking the position based on distant stars.

Re:Spacecraft, aircraft, commercial vehicles... (3, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | about 2 years ago | (#41838911)

If this was just for missiles, you wouldn't hear about it. Indeed, it would have gone to a no-bid contract in a brown paper bag in the dead of night behind the dumpster at the McDonalds around the corner from Textron, Lockheed, or Raytheon.

There are a *lot* of civilian applications for a sensitive gyroscope.

--
BMO

Re:Spacecraft, aircraft, commercial vehicles... (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 2 years ago | (#41842849)

And... missiles. Don't forget the missiles. In fact, let's just be clear here. This is for missiles.

Probably not. The target accuracy is still inferior to the performance of a top end (ICBM/SLBM grade) gyro.
 

NASA will have to beg for an intentionally crippled version in order to get gear that isn't classified, for use on spacecraft.

NASA already pretty much uses top level guidance systems, so... better adjust that tinfoil. Besides which, it's generally the guidance system itself that's classified, not the technology.

Actually, no (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 2 years ago | (#41846301)

This is NOT for missiles. It will almost certainly be used in them, BUT NASA does not do that line of work. There are loads of places for aircrafts and spacecrafts where gyros are needed (artificial horizon comes to mind). In fact, if this can be produced cheaper than today's gyros, then you have a good deal.

Re:Spacecraft, aircraft, commercial vehicles... (1)

gregski (765387) | about 2 years ago | (#41848621)

Gravity Probe B had what i believe is at least a comparable spec of gyroscope:

http://einstein.stanford.edu/TECH/technology1.html [stanford.edu]

"The SQUID magnetometers are so sensitive that a field change of only one quantum—equivalent to 5 x 10-14 gauss (1/10,000,000,000,000th of the Earth's magnetic field) and corresponding to a gyro tilt of 0.1 milliarcsecond (3x10-8 degrees)—is detectable. "

Fast, Light, Cheap (1)

aXis100 (690904) | about 2 years ago | (#41838931)

Pick any two....

At $1.80... (1)

KNicolson (147698) | about 2 years ago | (#41838993)

...they've already chosen Cheap and Cheap.

Re:Fast, Light, Cheap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41839035)

For $1.8, I think they opted to choose only one.

maybe amd (1)

banbeans (122547) | about 2 years ago | (#41838995)

Will start making these next year.

JPL for the win (1)

SeanBlader (1354199) | about 2 years ago | (#41839029)

Must be a JPL project, those guys are really cost effective.

1,000 times (1)

rush,overlord,rush! (1995452) | about 2 years ago | (#41839085)

How about the gyroscopes in Gravity Probe B? I've heard that they're 1 million times as sensitive as those in use today.

Here's $2 (1)

the_B0fh (208483) | about 2 years ago | (#41839149)

Build me a few more, kthanks.

Crap article (4, Informative)

Animats (122034) | about 2 years ago | (#41839179)

Crap article, from a crap blog, copied from a press release [nasa.gov] . It's so Slashdot.

Here's the actual paper on the research. [northwestern.edu] The physics is interesting. It's a way to make optical gyros better. Currently, good fiber-optic gyros have drift rates around 1 degree per hour. Ring laser gyros can do better, and mechanical gyros still beat the optical systems on long-term drift. This proposal is to develop a way to get a few more orders of magnitude less drift out of optical gyros.

Low-end MEMS gyros have drift rates of several degrees per minute, but there's steady progress, and degrees-per-hour MEMS gyros now exist.

Re:Crap article (1)

Alex Belits (437) | about 2 years ago | (#41839515)

The physics is interesting.

For the value of "interesting" in "Hay guyz, why don't we just stuff Newton's prism into an interferometer to increase its precision, and do a lot of irrelevant calculations!"

(to be honest, using an inclined surface of a prism to vary the direction of the beams would be an improvement on what they are doing, however calibration will be very difficult)

Re:Crap article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41839613)

First off, know that there are 'SECRET' Patents, and a super sensitive gyro is not what you would want any old country making.
Besides getting jammed easily, or turned off, or injected with errors, GPS software also generates wrong results under acceleration to discourage DIY missile systems (IE some dude in NZ). Secondly, prisms and mirrors and timing tricks are well known, as is supercooling the sensor and gold-plating other electronic circuit with temperature compensation.

I suspect some other country has let the cat out the bag. Even in a RLG, sitting on a rocket and shaking about, practice often beats theory, much to every-ones relief. So they make some half assed press release, which probably is inferior to the euro satellite micro gravity mapping already up and >20 years old.

Building a MEMS sensor on board the logic, will probably mean any old toy helicopter gyro will enable the North Koreans to get close enough.

Re:Crap article (1)

NikeHerc (694644) | about 2 years ago | (#41842001)

... GPS software also generates wrong results under acceleration to discourage DIY missile systems ...

You got a source for that assertion?

Re:Crap article (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#41843099)

One could add up the discrepancies over a long trip and see if they even out, or if they drift you further and further.

Still, GPS is used for direct positioning, and not for dead reckoning, which is guessing where you are based on speed and acceleration and turn, which is what more accurate gyros are all about.

Gps + dead reckoning + map matching.

GPS for high speed craft, COCOM restrictions (1)

Animats (122034) | about 2 years ago | (#41844467)

... GPS software also generates wrong results under acceleration to discourage DIY missile systems ...
You got a source for that assertion?

There's an International Trafficking in Arms Regulation [fas.org] which designates as weapons GPS systems "designed for producing navigation results above 60,000 feet altitude and at 1,000 knots velocity or greater" (i.e. for ICBMs) or "Designed or modified for use with unmanned air vehicle systems capable of delivering at least a 500 kg payload to a range of at least 300 km" (i.e. for cruise missiles). The second one is kind of pointless, since there's no way the GPS system can tell. The first one, though, is implemented in most GPS units [netins.net] . High altitude balloon experimenters and rocket guidance system companies [blackmagic...eworks.com] have workarounds.

Yes, it is rocket science.

Re:Crap article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41861993)

Actually, no, it's not just stuffing an ordinary prism into an interferometer. If you look into any of the research papers by the principal investigators, you will see that they make use of the phenomenon of "anomalous dispersion", also known as negative dispersion. Ordinary materials have positive dispersion, that is, the index of refraction increases with frequency. Under special circumstances, such as near an absorption frequency of a material, the index of refraction can decrease sharply with increasing frequency, and can even go below an index of 1. An optical pulse can then travel faster than light, without breaking any rules such as those of special relativity or causality. When light of the appropriate frequency and material interact inside of an optical cavity, such as a ring cavity as in the case of a ring gyroscope, the researchers have shown that this leads to an increase in the sensitivity of the cavity to changes in cavity length (this is the effect which a laser gyroscope measures). The phenomenon is not just a lot of irrelevant calculations --- it has been demonstrated in experiment.

Re:Crap article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41947077)

A very good FOG can have a bias of 0.001 deg/hour, see e.g. http://www.astrium.eads.net/en/equipment/astrix®-120.html - top of the line though... And strictly speaking a set of for FOGs to get single failure tolerance. And _expensive_.

Correction (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41839699)

"to develop gyroscopes that could find their way into bombs and missiles in the future."

FTFY.

Better Gyros = better INS greater than Iran (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41840009)

I suspect this is an attempt to use very short optical wave-lengths in order to improve the resolution of the interference patern. Just like the improved resolution possible in chip fab with UV lasers.

Cool idea: MUX multiple frequencies and using multi-mode fiber to get a broader accuracy range.
Sounds like a science experiment: get 1000 meters of multimode and leave it on it's spool. Put the spool on a boat. Half silvered mirror, Purple laser pointer, webcam, OpenCV coloredBlobDetector + minEnclosingCircle.

Yeah But (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about 2 years ago | (#41841415)

We already know how to build an optical gyroscope. Most of the money, in this case, is going toward finding a better string. Why do you think those guys are always going on about string theory?

What? No Acronym? (1)

Lab Rat Jason (2495638) | about 2 years ago | (#41842909)

Fast Light Optical Gyroscope... FLOG? Wonder if Felicia Day threatened to sue for IP infringement.

missiles/drones/satellites (1)

illestov (945762) | about 2 years ago | (#41844489)

I have been working on optical gyroscopes for the last three years, they are nothing new, and they are already being widely used in satellites , missiles, drones and etc, the idea has been around for a long time, what this horrible article is referring to is newly funded research to enhance their sensitivity and accuracy. Currently, they have to use up to 8 (depending on accuracy needed) gyroscopes per missile/satellite to get enough resolution. Hopefully this research will yield cheaper and more accurate systems. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fibre_optic_gyroscope [wikipedia.org]

Just the initial estimated price... (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 2 years ago | (#41844581)

So a nifty new gyro for $1.80? Must just be the initial cost estimate.

After they get into the details I'm sure that cost will go up by a lot....

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>