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2014 Create the Future Design: Consumer Products Category Winner

NanoFab Lab … In a Box!™ Michael Zach, Anirudha Sumant, and Jonathan Moritz EChem Nanowires Stevens Point, WI NanoFab Lab … In a Box!™ is a shoebox-sized kit that allows high school students to manufacture hi-tech patterned nanowires in the classroom. The educational kit provides a connection between the students’ curriculum and the emerging field of nanotechnology and nano manufacturing. Unlike traditional nanomanufacturing, this technology is a simple electroplating bath, power supply, and reusable Ultrananocrystalline Diamond Template (UDT) electrodes, designed to produce any pattern desired.

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2014 Create the Future Design: Electronics Category Winner

A Paradigm Shift for SMT Electronics: Micro-Coil Springs Interconnection for Ceramic and Plastic Grid Array Packaged Integrated Circuits Jim Hester and Mark Strickland NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL Micro-coil springs (MCS) provide flexible electrical interconnections and allow significant movement in the x, y, and z axes to counteract the thermal expansion and dynamic forces between a microcircuit and a printed circuit board. Micro-coil springs are able to withstand harsh thermal and vibration environments significantly better than the current state of the art.

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2014 Create the Future Design: Medical Category Winner

HemeChip for Early Diagnosis of Sickle Cell Disease Yunus Alapan, Ryan Ung, Megan Romelfanger, Asya Akkus, Connie Piccone, Jane Little, and Umut Gurkan Case Western Reserve University Cleveland, OH The Hemoglobin-Electrophoresis Biochip (HemeChip) can rapidly, easily, and conclusively identify the hemoglobin type in blood to diagnose Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) in newborns. The HemeChip can accurately identify hemoglobin type in a drop of blood. The ultimate goal is to reduce the footprint of hemoglobin screening for newborns down to the size of a credit card via HemeChip, which can be easily carried in a pocket together with a smartphone for mobile analysis.

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2014 Create the Future Design: Sustainable Technologies Category Winner

ecovent Systems — Make Every Room the Right Temperature Dipul Patel, Yoel Kelman, Nick Lancaster, Shawn Rose, and Brian Bowen ecovent Systems Boston, MA Most homes have only one thermostat, so they operate like a house with only one light switch — everything is either on or off. That leaves some rooms boiling hot while others are freezing cold. It’s uncomfortable, and it’s inefficient.

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2014 Create the Future Design Contest

The 2014 Create the Future Design Contest – sponsored by COMSOL, Inc., Mouser Electronics, and Tech Briefs Media Group (publishers of NASA Tech Briefs) – recognized innovation in product design in seven categories: Aerospace & Defense, Automotive/Transportation, Consumer Products, Electronics, Machinery/Automation/Robotics, Medical, and Sustainable Technologies. In this special section, you’ll meet the Grand Prize Winner, as well as the winners and Honorable Mentions in all seven categories, chosen from more than 1,000 new product ideas submitted from 61 countries. To view all of the entries online, visit www.createthefuturecontest.com.

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Engineers Harvest and Print Parts for New Breed of Aircraft

Student interns and engineers at NASA's Ames Research Center rapidly prototyped and redesigned aircraft using 3D-printed parts. The aircraft was custom-built by repurposing surplus Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). By lengthening the wings, the team was able to improve aerodynamic efficiency and help extend the flight time of small, lightweight electric aircraft. The prototype aircraft are constructed using components from Aerovironment RQ-14 Dragon Eye UAVs that NASA acquired from the United States Marine Corps via the General Services Administration's San Francisco office. Unmodified, these small electric aircraft weigh 5.9 pounds, have a 3.75-foot wingspan and twin electric motors, and can carry a one-pound instrument payload for up to an hour. After finalizing designs that featured longer and more slender wings and dual fuselages, the teams printed new parts including wing sections, nose cones, winglets, control surfaces, wing ribs and even propellers using the NASA Ames SpaceShop. The 3-D printed wing sections were reinforced using carbon fiber tubing or aluminum rods to give them extra strength without adding significant weight.Flying as high as 12,500 feet above sea level, multiple small converted Dragon Eye UAVs, including the specialized and highly modified “FrankenEye” platform, will study the chemistry of the eruption plume emissions from Turrialba volcano, near San Jose, Costa Rica. The goal of the activity is to improve satellite data research products, such as computer models of the concentration and distribution of volcanic gases, and transport-pathway models of volcanic plumes. Some volcanic plumes can reach miles above a summit vent, and drift hundreds to thousands of miles from an eruption site and can pose a severe public heath risk, as well as a potent threat to aircraft.SourceAlso: Learn about Real-Time Minimization of Tracking Error for Aircraft Systems.

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Solar Material Converts 90 Percent of Captured Light into Heat

A multidisciplinary engineering team at the University of California, San Diego developed a new nanoparticle-based material for concentrating solar power plants designed to absorb and convert to heat more than 90 percent of the sunlight it captures. The new material can also withstand temperatures greater than 700 degrees Celsius and survive many years outdoors in spite of exposure to air and humidity. “We wanted to create a material that absorbs sunlight that doesn’t let any of it escape. We want the black hole of sunlight,” said Sungho Jin, a professor in the department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. Jin, along with professor Zhaowei Liu of the department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering professor Renkun Chen, developed the Silicon boride-coated nanoshell material. The novel material features a “multiscale” surface created by using particles of many sizes ranging from 10 nanometers to 10 micrometers. The multiscale structures can trap and absorb light which contributes to the material’s high efficiency when operated at higher temperatures.SourceAlso: Read more Materials tech briefs.

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