Tech Briefs

Custom Administration Reporting (gTracker)

A reporting tool was needed that could indicate the accuracy of search results by tracking the number of clicks required by users to find their desired search results. The application should also capture the number of times other links and like filtering components are clicked. The report should have the ability to display a specific date range. The application is configured to allow multiple interfaces to utilize the service, and can provide statistics per interface or across all interfaces for a consolidated view of search user behavior metrics.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Big data, Data acquisition and handling, Internet, Big data, Data acquisition and handling, Internet

Process Produces Renewable Car Tires from Trees and Grasses

This discovery could also impact other technologically advanced rubber-based products.

A team of researchers has invented a new technology to produce automobile tires from trees and grasses. Conventional car tires are viewed as environmentally unfriendly because they are predominantly made from fossil fuels. The car tires produced from biomass that includes trees and grasses would be identical to existing car tires, with the same chemical makeup, color, shape, and performance.

Posted in: Briefs, Green Design & Manufacturing, Tires and traction, Environmental technologies, Biological sciences, Manufacturing processes, Chemicals


Android is the primary software platform for mobile, networked devices such as tablets and smartphones. These devices are increasingly used for safety-critical functions that require verification of correct and robust behavior of applications. Such software written for the Android operating system is hard to test because applications are inherently concurrent, applications are usually being driven by asynchronous user input and network events, the application model is not amenable to unit testing, and the availability of sources for many commercial applications is missing. Safety-critical applications require verification by means of systematic exploration of all possible software behaviors. Conventional testing does not guarantee sufficient coverage, especially for concurrent applications.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Cyber security, Internet of things, Safety critical systems, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Cyber security, Internet of things, Safety critical systems, Test procedures

Flood Dashboard 2.0

Google Maps and Google Earth allow the development of customized displays, but such displays must be constructed by a software developer. The Flood Dashboard allows non-technical users to utilize a simple Web form to build and present custom displays. It is a Ruby on Rails 4 application that allows users to build custom geospatial displays, distribute bulletins, and show hydrological data in a clean Web display. This system allows users a greater situation awareness of hydrological activity that will hopefully enable decision-makers to respond more quickly and in a more informed manner to natural disasters.

Posted in: Briefs, Green Design & Manufacturing, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Terrain, Water, Displays, Displays, Disaster and emergency management, Emergency management

Enterprise Business Information System (EBIS) Data Warehouse Quality Inspector

A typical data warehouse may contain thousands of tables. Validating the data quality of all data warehouse content is an unmanageable and unmaintainable task if handled in an ad-hoc fashion. This software seeks to ensure that a data warehouse accurately reflects the contents of the business systems that feed it, in turn guaranteeing accuracy of business reports. Data anomalies can occur due to breaks in processes, unexpected changes to business rules, upgrades, unanticipated data relationships, or inadequate testing. Inspecting the data after each batch load for anomalous conditions allows IT to respond quickly to such issues, and to deliver a higher-quality product to end users.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Data management, Logistics

3D-Printed Heart-on-a-Chip with Integrated Sensors

This technique paves the way for more complex, customizable devices.

The first entirely 3D-printed organ-on-a-chip with integrated sensing has been built by a fully automated digital manufacturing procedure. The 3D-printed heart-on-a-chip can be quickly fabricated and customized, allowing researchers to easily collect reliable data for short-term and longterm studies.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Integrated circuits, Sensors and actuators, Integrated circuits, Sensors and actuators, Cardiovascular system, Medical equipment and supplies, Additive manufacturing

Wireless Tamper Detection Sensor and Sensing System

The sensors can detect and locate cracks, material strain, or impact damage.

NASA's Langley Research Center researchers have developed a wireless, connection-free inductor capacitor sensor system that can be placed on or embedded in materials and structures to monitor for and detect damage. The sensors can also be used to detect package tampering and pilfering. This innovation — SansEC (Sans Electrical Connections) — makes sensors more damage-resilient and more environmentally friendly to manufacture and use.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors, Capacitors, Sensors and actuators, Wireless communication systems, Capacitors, Sensors and actuators, Wireless communication systems, Maintenance, Repair and Service Operations, Maintenance, repair, and service operations, Prognostics

Network Geolocation Technology

This system is difficult to spoof, and does not generate false positives.

A network geolocation technology (NGT) can be used to determine the physical location of a networked Internet user, as well as accurately determine if an Internet user is in fact in the metropolitan service area that the user claims as his/her location. NGT is based on the laws of physics, and operates independent of an IP address lookup or any other pre-existing user network address profiles.

Posted in: Briefs, Software

Water-Saving Firefighting Nozzle

This nozzle extinguishes fires faster and with far less water than existing systems.

Fluorocarbon-based fire extinguishing agents are environmentally harmful since they cause depletion of the Earth's ozone layer. Fine Water Mist (FWM)-type systems have very favorable characteristics as replacements for existing Halon systems. Typically, these systems include nozzles for creating misting fluids using pressurized gas, and continue to show favor as a mechanism for fire prevention. In these systems, a liquid is typically directed into a central bore of the nozzle, which directs a flow of high-velocity gas. In some nozzles, the velocity and pressure of the gas are increased in a narrowed throat area of the bore, causing the atomization of the fluid into small droplets as the gas travels through the nozzle.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components

Robotic System for 3D-Printing the Basic Structure of an Entire Building

This technology could enable faster, cheaper, more adaptable building construction.

Materials that can be produced by 3D printing include not just plastics, but metal, glass, and even food. A new system called a Digital Construction Platform (DCP) was developed that can 3D-print the basic structure of an entire building. Structures built with the system could be produced faster and less expensively than traditional construction methods allow. A building could also be completely customized to the needs of a particular site and the desires of its maker. Even the internal structure could be modified in new ways; different materials could be incorporated as the process proceeds, and material density could be varied to provide optimum combinations of strength, insulation, or other properties. Ultimately, this approach could enable the design and construction of new kinds of buildings that would not be feasible with traditional building methods.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping

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