Microfluidic Extraction of Biomarkers Using Water as Solvent

Terahertz modulation of permittivity of water would enable solvation of molecules of interest.

A proposed device, denoted a miniature microfluidic biomarker extractor (μ-EX), would extract trace amounts of chemicals of interest from samples, such as soils and rocks. Traditionally, such extractions are performed on a large scale with hazardous organic solvents; each solvent capable of dissolving only those molecules lying within narrow ranges of specific chemical and physical characteristics that notably include volatility, electric charge, and polarity. In contrast, in the μ-EX, extractions could be performed by use of small amounts (typically between 0.1 and 100 μL) of water as a universal solvent.

Posted in: Briefs, MDB, Briefs, Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Bio-Medical, Medical, Patient Monitoring, Soils, Water, Chemicals, Test equipment and instrumentation

Safety & Security Category Winner

Electronic Fog, Frost, and Ice Prevention Technology

Don Skomsky
Integrity Engineering, Inc.
West Chester, PA

This electronic device prevents condensation, frost, and ice from forming on any surface. It predicts when fog, frost, and/or ice is about to form on a surface (windows, mirrors, lenses, visors, etc.), and prevents it from ever forming by eliminating the conditions that support it. It works equally well in hot or cold temperatures, in arid to extremely humid conditions, and even in the rain and under water. Applications for the device include windshields; ski, swimming, and safety goggles; HAZMAT, SCUBA, firefighter, and pilot masks; and motorcycle, racing, and astronaut helmet visors.

Since it is entirely electronic, the device requires no sprays, wipes, fans, or any other user intervention. Because it is predictive and not reactive, it requires an extremely small amount of energy. There are no moving parts and nothing to wear out. In a sports goggle application (trademarked Zoggles™), the device is built into the goggle itself, resulting in a goggle that is lightweight, sleek, and stylish. When activated by a touch of a switch, the Smart-System electronics maintains Zoggles in “sleep mode,” conserving energy until such time that fog, frost, or ice is about to form. Immediately, Zoggles awakens, performs its prevention task, and resumes sleeping, until needed again at a later time. All energy is supplied by small rechargeable NiMH batteries, which power Zoggles for at least 8 hours of extremely active use in very cold temperatures.

The device has been tested in numerous applications, the most rigorous being during the ascent of Mount Everest in 2006, with a summit of 29,029 feet. In specially prepared units, Zoggles protected the mountain climbers’ vision in the -35ºF, 60-MPH weather conditions without fogging, frosting, or icing.

For more information, contact the inventor at IntegEngg@erols.com.

Honorable Mentions

Ten-Second Advance Deceleration Warning Device

Fritz Braunberger
Vision Works IP Corp.
Sequim, WA

StrobeWise™ provides an additional 1 to 10 seconds of warning time (over and above brake lights) to following vehicles, warning them of a slowing or stopping event. The system monitors vehicle speed 1,000 times per second and flashes a center-high-mounted amber strobe rearward upon deceleration detection. It continually flashes when the vehicle is stationary, mitigating stationary-vehicle rear-end collisions. The system mounts on the inside rear window or externally on rear-windowless trucks. It retrofits on nearly all vehicles made later than 1993.

Emergency Drop in Water Recovery Preparation Unit

Anna Epelbaum
Management Services Co.
Champaign, IL

This device functions from solar energy and/or portable fuels such as butane and propane. The unit may be transported to any emergency site where it then begins to process water once set up with any water source within 35 feet. The device loads water from rivers, ponds, lakes, streets, or sewers, and then filters the water. It uses advanced ozone bubbles and ultraviolet radiation, as well as activated carbon, to repatriate the water into drinkable form. The water is then distributed in RFID-coded one-gallon bottles. The empty bottle may be returned to the machine for re-filling and re-sealing an unlimited number of times.

Posted in: Articles, Electronics, Design processes, Security systems, Security systems, Product development

Miniature Control Chip Drives James Webb Telescope Signal

SIDECAR ASIC microprocessor-controlled chip
Teledyne Imaging Sensors
Camarillo, CA

The electronics that will convert analog signals to digital signals on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), being built by Northrop Grumman and managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, have been miniaturized to take up less space and to weigh less. The electronics also will provide better images of objects in space when they are sent back to scientists on Earth.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Electronics, Sensors, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Sensors and actuators, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Sensors and actuators

Taking Advantage of Parallel Parametric Testing

The production of many electronic devices begins with wafer processing. In addition to complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) integrated circuits (ICs), this can include such diverse devices as radio frequency (RF) components based on III-V compounds and chemical detectors based on carbon nanotube (CNT) field effect transistors (FETs). In both R&D and production applications, there is a great deal of effort devoted to increasing device test throughput in order to shorten the time to market and reduce costs.

Posted in: Articles, Electronics, Test & Measurement, Electronic equipment, Integrated circuits, Semiconductor devices, Electronic equipment, Integrated circuits, Semiconductor devices, Research and development, Production

30 Years of Electronics & Semiconductors

In celebration of the 30th Anniversary of NASA Tech Briefs, our features in 2006 highlight a different technology category each month, tracing the past 30 years of the technology, and continuing with a glimpse into the future of where the technology is headed. Along the way, we include insights from industry leaders on the past, present, and future of each technology. This month, we take a look at the past 30 years of Electronics & Semiconductors.

Posted in: Articles, Electronics, Semiconductors & ICs, Electronic equipment, Semiconductor devices, Electronic equipment, Semiconductor devices, Technical reference, Technical review, Semiconductors

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