Tech Briefs

Lateral Displacement Device for Blood Cell Separation

This device has side microchannels where the particles are separated and collected. Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas Separation of particles based on size is one of the essential components in biochemical analysis, environmental assays, and industrial and biomedical applications. Filtration is one of the most frequently used techniques to separate particles. A mechanical filter can be used to remove, filter, or collect particles. This filtering and collection of particles can be used for sampling of particles, chemical detection, and/or biological cell analysis.

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Using a Blood Clot in Microfluidic Valving Applications

This type of valve is satisfactory for most microfluidic applications for on-chip blood analysis. Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas The lack of reliable microvalves impedes many lab-on-a-chip applications for blood analysis. On the other hand, blood clotting — the formation of solid blood aggregate to stop bleeding — provides a natural valving mechanism. It is therefore very attractive to use this mechanism for microfluidic control when blood is available. In fact, the blood clot has many interesting mechanical properties. For example, the fibrin fibers in blood clots have extensibility as high as 330% and an elastic modulus around 8 MPa. However, the study of implementing blood clots as an engineering material, especially in the MEMS area, is lacking.

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Drug-Encapsulated Prosthetic Enhancement

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas This invention places a drug delivery system inside a prosthetic implant to circumvent the physical issues encountered after fitting the implant. Implants being relatively large in size would be able to house the drug-carrying device inside them without compromising the structural integrity or the functionality of the prostheses. Capsules containing multiple reservoirs filled with different drugs could be released simultaneously. This application could further be extended to using such drug-carrying capsules in cardiovascular stents through which slow and sustained release of drugs could be achieved to prevent inflammation in the short term, and restenosis in the long term. Once the capsule has drained out, the drug inside will remain in the implant and can be considered a part of the implant for the future. The implant reservoir may also be refilled via minor surgery until needed.

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Portable Resting State Detection System Using Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy

Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia The ability to distinguish between high and low levels of task engagement is important for detecting and preventing performance decrements during safety-critical operational tasks in the real world. Examples of such tasks include commercial aviation, monitoring for air traffic control, executing spacewalks, performing surgery, and driving. Since accident-causing errors can be made even by skilled professionals, the ability to monitor cognitive state measures for low levels of task engagement in real time could be useful for developing an “early warning system” for detecting and preventing performance errors before they occur.

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BALFIT Version 3.1 Multivariate Regression Analysis and Regression Model Optimization Software

Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California The software package BALFIT was developed for both the processing of wind tunnel strain-gage balance data and the analysis of more general multivariate experimental data sets. The software uses automatically generated regression models for the analysis. These optimized regression models are the result of the application of a math model search algorithm to a given multivariate data set. This important feature of BALFIT greatly reduces the time it takes to do an analysis. It has also made the prediction of the dependent variable values more reliable because widely accepted objective metrics are used for the regression model term selection.

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Mariana Text Classification System

Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California Support Vector Machines (SVM) can be used as a binary classifier for a wide range of data and problems. For text, it is often used to determine automatically if a document belongs to a given topic category. Automatic and reliable classification of documents can be an invaluable tool for industries that monitor problem reports, accident reports, maintenance logs, and corrective action reports that span different specialties.

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Marshall MRMS Mosaic Python Toolkit (MMM-Py)

Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama This Python script will allow the user to read, analyze, and display National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Multi-Radar/Multi-Sensor(MRMS) mosaic tile files containing mosaic radar reflectivities on a national 3D grid. Simple diagnostics and plotting, as well as computation of composite reflectivity, are available.

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