Tech Briefs

Resonance-Actuation of Microshutter Arrays

This innovation uses MEMS technology to selectively capture spectra of distant objects.The field of view required for future missions is much larger than for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). Researchers at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center have created a new actuation scheme to reduce mass and complexity of the microshutters used on the NIRSpec instrument. This new development implements pulsed electrostatic actuation in place of magnetic actuation.

Posted in: Briefs, Photonics, Optics, Sensors and actuators, Product development, Refractory materials

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Point Mechanic Piezoelectric Sensor System

This passive, low-cost system detects extremely small vibrations.

Posted in: Briefs, Sensors, Measurements, Architecture, Sensors and actuators, Vibration, Reliability

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Wireless Electrical Device Using Open-Circuit Elements Having No Electrical Connections

This technology produces sensors for axial load force, linear displacement, rotation, strain, pressure, torque, and motion sensing.NASA Langley Research Center has developed a wireless, connection-free, open-circuit technology that can be used for developing electrical devices such as sensors that need no physical contact with the properties being measured. At the core of the technology is the SansEC (Sans Electrical Connections) circuit, which is damage-resilient and environmentally friendly to manufacture and use. The technology uses a NASA award-winning magnetic field response measurement acquisition device to provide power to the device and, in the case of a sensor application, to acquire physical property measurements from them. This fundamental new approach using open circuits enables applications such as sensors for axial load force, linear displacement, rotation, strain, pressure, torque, and motion sensing, as well as unique designs such as for a wireless keypad or wireless rotational dial, or for energy storage.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Integrated circuits, Sensors and actuators, Wireless communication systems, Electric power, Magnetic materials

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Designing Stronger Concrete

Plasticity at small scales boosts concrete's utility as the world's most-used material by letting it constantly adjust to stress, decades or centuries after hardening. To find out why, Rice University researchers performed an atom-level computer analysis of tobermorite, a naturally occurring crystalline analog to the calcium-silicate-hydrate (C-S-H) that makes up cement, which in turn holds concrete together. By understanding the internal structure of tobermorite, they hope to make concrete stronger, tougher, and better able to deform without cracking under stress.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Finite element analysis, Composite materials, Materials properties, Test procedures

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Designing Materials with Reprogrammable Shape and Function

Researchers from Harvard University's John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and the Wyss Institute of Biologically Inspired Engineering have developed a general framework for designing reconfigurable metamaterials — materials whose function is determined by structure, not composition.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Research and development, Materials properties, Smart materials, Biomechanics

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Designing and 3D Printing Customized Insoles for Diabetics

Insoles for diabetics have traditionally been handmade by makers of orthopedic shoes. In the future, these specialist shoemakers will be able to produce insoles more cost effectively using new software and 3D printers.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Diseases, Prostheses and implants, Additive manufacturing, Productivity

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Software Improves Medication Adherence for Heart Stent Patients

MyIDEA (My Interventional Drug-Eluting Stent Education App) software was developed by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) who study data-simplification to improve clinical outcomes. The tablet computer application helps heart patients with drug-eluting stents take their medications correctly.

Posted in: Briefs, Software, Computer software and hardware, Cardiovascular system, Medical equipment and supplies, Education, Education and training, Pharmaceuticals

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