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NASA Engineering Cooperative student Jon Tylka interviews NASA Astronaut Steve Bowen about Nondestructive Evaluation applied to spaceflight and his previous undersea experiences.


NDE Wave & Image Processor

Don J. Roth

August 2008
User can obtain software installer via

The Cylinder CT Data Unwrapper Reslicer (CT-CURS) - Version 2 Has Been Released.
The installer for the executable software is downloadable from NASA's Technology Transfer Server at

The NDE Wave & Image Processor software application was created to allow advanced visualization, processing, and analysis of NDE and Health Monitoring waveform- and image-based data. The software is wholly focused on the NDE professional but can also be used with other applications such as for signal processing of RF signals, and for image processing of many types of images including those medical.  This software offers the user advanced wavelet-based technologies for both signal and image processing in addition to many other conventional and advanced capabilities. The capabilities are provided in a useable, interactive, commercial-grade graphical user interface. This software takes the user one-level higher in terms of interactiveness, versatility and user-friendliness as compared to other popular software environments and is unique in its capability as an integrated signal and image processing system.  It bests programs such as ImageJ as it has much of that program’s significant capability but adds significant signal processing capability. Additionally, an extensive interactive model-based curve fitting facility has been included to allow fitting of spectroscopy data such as from Raman Spectroscopy.  This will be expanded in the future to allow curve fitting of more types of NDE waveform-based data.

Ultrasonic, microwave, terahertz, and radar nondestructive evaluation imaging systems generally require the acquisition of waveforms at each scan point to form an image. For such systems, signal and image processing methods are commonly required to extract information and to improve visibility of defects in the image. Since some similarity exists between all waveform-based NDE methods, it would seem a common software platform containing multiple signals and image processing techniques to analyze the waveforms and images makes sense where multiple techniques, scientists, engineers, and organizations are involved.  Other NDE methods such as digital X-ray, computed tomography, shearograpy, acoustography or thermography use detector arrays or other means to capture full-field image data directly without scanning or acquiring wave data. Since many NDE images tend to require post-processing of their results in order to improve image quality and resolution of flaws, the images and image sets generated from all of these methods also can benefit from a uniform platform from which to perform image processing.   This software provides a single, integrated environment for total NDE data visualization, processing and analysis.   This is especially useful in cross-center or cross-organization team projects.  For team leads, this means simplified processing and analysis of all data types without the use of multiple tools or formats.  For other team members, this means easy access to modifications and upgrades, as well as the ability to use the latest SOA algorithms, such as wavelet processing.

The software was designed by NDE experts, for NDE experts, with ease of use, flexibility, minimum GUI clutter, and cross-compatibility in mind. Images can be formed from large waveform-based data sets in as fast as milliseconds under optimized conditions. Advanced signal and image processing routines including digital filtering and wavelet processing are provided in a useable interface that requires minimal training. Maximum visual interactivity was desired so the user can observe data processing results in real time when possible.  Advanced and basic options are included to allow use by a wide range of users. Batch processing is included for signal and image processing capability so that an optimized sequence of processing operations can be applied to entire folders of signals, spectra, and images. Special thanks are given to the contributors of ideas for the software routines and to National Instruments for interface ideas borrowed from some of their express technologies.

The current model for the software is to distribute as an executable.  At this time, NASA and the author choose not to distribute the source code.   This may change in the future.  The main modules are coded as event-based state machines and thus allow for ease of maintenance and upgradeability.  If the source is released at a future time, the author can provide a set of instructions for adding capability.  It is hoped that this software can be updated with new routines and options in order to serve the NDE community as best as possible.  Suggestions for GUI enhancement and new routines are welcome.  This effort thus provides the spirit of open source.

System Requirements

  • 1 GHz or faster processor
  • 1 GB RAM or more (data files on order of 100 MB) (2 GB or more needed for raw data files 400 MB and larger).  Best bet is to keep data files < 250 MB as some users have reported ‘out of memory’ errors with larger data sets.
  • 100 MB of available hard-disk space for installation including sample data sets to test
  • Windows XP or later. The software has been tested on Windows XP.
  • Reasonably good video graphic capability so that gate draws and drags are smooth.
  • Some temporary files can be created during certain processes so hard drive space should have minimum of 1 GByte free as an estimate. The temporary files are destroyed at each run.
  • As of 11/07, display screen of 19” minimum is recommended. The program can be used on smaller laptop screens but the various windows will need to be repositioned manually more often since less screen space is available. Plans to allow automatic display scaling for any display size are being investigated and considered.
  • National Instruments Vision Run-time License ($300 one-time lifetime license cost).  The product can be used in evaluation mode for 30 days without activation.  To use beyond 30 days, a Vision run-time lifetime license serial# can be purchased from National Instruments ((888) 280-7645).

Note: Recent state-of-the-art code additions have resulted in the compatibility of this software restricted to Windows-based OS.  It is hoped to overcome this limitation for MAC and Linux in the future.

Software Installation & Activation

  1. User can obtain software installer via Files sent will include the 1) Installer, 2) a readme.rtf file, and 3) the user manual.
  2. Close all your other open programs and Open ‘Installer’ Folder followed by opening ‘Volume’ Folder.
  3. Double-click on setup.exe.  If a prior version of the software is on the computer, that version will be uninstalled.  If automatic software uninstall is not performed, go to “Add/Remove Programs” in Control Panel, search for ‘NDE Wave & Image Processor,’ and uninstall it.  After uninstall, you need to double-click on setup.exe once again to install the new software.

    The Vision toolkit installation should run immediately and automatically after main installation.  If you obtain a system message regarding use of command line options, just click ‘OK’. This toolkit requires activation using the license serial# purchased. Follow the on-screen instructions for activation.  If you are on a network-connected computer, the easiest way is to do it automatically and for this you will be prompted for the serial#.  An activation number will be generated from the serial# entry during the activation process.

    The first run of the software will spawn a dialog that asks if you want to evaluate or activate. Click on ‘Evaluate’ if that is what you choose to do. To activate manually after the evaluation period, purchase the license serial#, and go to ‘Start’, ‘Programs’, ‘National Instruments’, ‘License Manager’.  License Manager will open and navigate down the listbox to Vision 8.5 NI Vision Run-Time. Follow the instructions.

  4. After install, you will be asked to restart your computer.
  5. Currently, an extra step is required for first time installation so that the advanced signal processing functions will work properly.  The install location subdirectory DATA will contain the DLLs LVWA.dll, WACore.dll, WARef.dll, and nirpc.dll. These DLLs need to be placed into the c:\windows\system32 or c:\WINNT\system32 directory.
  6. Once one installation is performed, unless the developer environment is upgraded on our end, future releases will involve out an updated executable (.exe) and updated manual for which the user would overwrite the older versions of these in the install directory.
  7. Go to the installation directory and create a shortcut on your desktop by right-clicking on the NDE Wave & Image Processor.exe and executing ‘Send to Desktop (create shortcut)’.

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Last Updated: March 6, 2013