October 2018

On-Demand Webinars : Aerospace
Today’s Electric Aircraft

Today’s electric aircraft relies on configurations and technologies that are not even imagined for development of conventional aircraft. This new landscape is characterized by many architectural solutions that leverage electrical technologies in a variety of ways. This 90-minute Webinar from SAE International...

On-Demand Webinars : Transportation
Anti-Friction Coating Technology for Highly Demanding Automotive Applications

Consumers demand durability and reliability from their cars. Expectations for dependability aren’t lessened for high-stress components such as starter motors.

Blog : Green Design & Manufacturing
From Trash to Treasure: How to Convert ‘Fatberg’ Waste into Biofuel
From Trash to Treasure: How to Convert ‘Fatberg’ Waste into Biofuel
Have you heard of "fatbergs?" Researcher Asha Srinivasan explains how her team is turning masses of fat, oil, and grease into biofuel.
From Trash to Treasure: How to Convert ‘Fatberg’ Waste into Biofuel
Question of the Week : Green Design & Manufacturing
Would You Use Carl Yee’s ‘Disappearing Ink?’

Our second INSIDER story today features a purposefully “lousy ink” – one that slowly fades after being printed. The gradual disappearance of the ink allows the paper to be used again and again.

Read the article, and let us know what you think.

This week's Question: Would...

Blog : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Now Deploying from the ISS: A Harpoon, A Net, and Other Ideas for Cleaning Up Space Debris
Now Deploying from the ISS: A Harpoon, A Net, and Other Ideas for Cleaning Up Space Debris
Richard Duke spoke with Tech Briefs about the nature of the space-junk problem — and how his team plans to fix it.
Now Deploying from the ISS: A Harpoon, A Net, and Other Ideas for Cleaning Up Space Debris
On-Demand Webinars : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Progressing to Level 3 Autonomy: Sensor Integration with Machine Learning Autonomy

As personal vehicles move toward the increased sophistication of SAE Level 3 autonomy, more advanced sensors are required, as is their ability to collaborate onboard machine-intelligence capabilities. This 60-minute Webinar from the editors of SAE International...

On-Demand Webinars : Automotive
Connecting the Connected Car

The connected car has the power to shake up the auto industry as profoundly as the first Model T. The implications for the connected car revolution – and the outlook for its growth – are strongly positive. IHS Automotive predicts that sales of connected cars will grow by six-fold globally through 2020. By then,...

INSIDER : Motion Control
Tiny Curiosity Motor Identifies a Massive Martian Dust Storm
Tiny Curiosity Motor Identifies a Massive Martian Dust Storm

An unexpected source recently identified a global Martian dust storm. The source was an actuator, or motor, that powers a lid to a funnel that takes in samples of powdered Martian...

Tiny Curiosity Motor Identifies a Massive Martian Dust Storm
Blog : Green Design & Manufacturing
Want to Reduce Paper Consumption? ‘Disappearing Ink’ is No Joke
Want to Reduce Paper Consumption? ‘Disappearing Ink’ is No Joke
Carl Yee invented a new kind of "Invisible Ink," so he could print paper without the guilt.
Want to Reduce Paper Consumption? ‘Disappearing Ink’ is No Joke
Question of the Week : Materials
Will Paint-On coatings Become a Popular Way to Cool Down Buildings?

Our lead INSIDER story today featured a paint-on polymer that cools down buildings, through a process known as passive daytime radiative cooling.

Read the article, and let us know what you think.

This week’s Question: Will Paint-On coatings Become a Popular Way...

Blog : Imaging
How Will VR and AR Impact Automotive Manufacturers?
How Will VR and AR Impact Automotive Manufacturers?
How will the use of AR and virtual prototypes impact the role of automotive parts manufacturers? A reader asks our expert.
How Will VR and AR Impact Automotive Manufacturers?
INSIDER : Software
Robots Can Pick Up Any Object After Inspecting It
Robots Can Pick Up Any Object After Inspecting It

Students at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) developed Dense Object Nets (DON), a system that lets robots inspect random objects and visually understand...

Robots Can Pick Up Any Object After Inspecting It
INSIDER : Software
Students Create Computer Chip Security Fix
Students Create Computer Chip Security Fix

A tool developed by Dartmouth computer science graduate students tackles a widespread hardware hacking threat. They are coming to grips with a design flaw that ultimately falls into the province of...

Students Create Computer Chip Security Fix
Blog : Materials
An Alternative to Air Conditioning: A Paint-On Polymer That Cools Down Your Building
An Alternative to Air Conditioning: A Paint-On Polymer That Cools Down Your Building
A new solution, applied like paint, cools down rooftops, buildings, water tanks, vehicles, and even spacecraft.
An Alternative to Air Conditioning: A Paint-On Polymer That Cools Down Your Building
Question of the Week : Sensors/Data Acquisition
What NASA Spin-Off Stands Out to You?

NASA technologies have led to many of the commercial products and innovative solutions we use every day, from memory foam and freeze-dried foods to exercise equipment and water purifiers. The October issue of Tech Briefs showcased a number of these NASA spinoffs.

Read the Tech Briefs feature article,...

Podcasts : Imaging
Here's an Idea: Asteroids
Here's an Idea: Asteroids
To spot asteroids requires a community — one made up of everyone from NASA professionals to amateur astronomers to engineers at government labs.
Here's an Idea: Asteroids
Blog : Sensors/Data Acquisition
How Robert Holmes Finds Near-Earth Asteroids from His Home-Built Observatories
How Robert Holmes Finds Near-Earth Asteroids from His Home-Built Observatories
Robert Holmes spoke with Tech Briefs about his path from "amateur" astronomer to NASA pro.
How Robert Holmes Finds Near-Earth Asteroids from His Home-Built Observatories
News : Materials
'Invisible Glass’ Takes First Prize in ‘Create the Future’ Contest
'Invisible Glass’ Takes First Prize in ‘Create the Future’ Contest
The grand-prize-winning nanotechnology coating imparts anti-reflection and water-repellency capabilities to surfaces made of silicon, glass ,and some plastics, including Teflon.
'Invisible Glass’ Takes First Prize in ‘Create the Future’ Contest
Question of the Week : Medical
Can Digital-Health Apps Reliably Change Patient Behavior?

Last week on TechBriefs.com, a reader had the following question for our medical-device expert:

Blog : Robotics, Automation & Control
A Closer Look at Bats, Hummingbirds Offers New Ideas for Flying Robots
A Closer Look at Bats, Hummingbirds Offers New Ideas for Flying Robots
Rivers Ingersoll spoke with Tech Briefs about why it is so important to have an up-close understanding of the hummingbird and nectar bat.
A Closer Look at Bats, Hummingbirds Offers New Ideas for Flying Robots
Question of the Week : Test & Measurement
Are You Currently Using Mechanical Test Equipment to Measure Strain?

One way to measure strain and deformation in a material is through digital image correlation and non-contact sensors. Next week, in a live webinar presentation, speakers from Trilion Quality Systems and MTS Systems Corp. will review how customers have used their imaging and...

Articles : Motion Control
Motion Control in Factories: Choosing the Right Solution
Motion Control in Factories: Choosing the Right Solution

The need for Ethernet-based communication within the factory has grown over the past 10 years. Detailed information about the tasks and performance of machines at every stage is...

Motion Control in Factories: Choosing the Right Solution
Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Technique Allows Mobile Robots to Navigate Autonomously
Technique Allows Mobile Robots to Navigate Autonomously

A technique was developed to quickly teach robots novel traversal behaviors with minimal human oversight. The technique allows mobile robot platforms to navigate autonomously in...

Technique Allows Mobile Robots to Navigate Autonomously
Articles : Motion Control
Single-Axis Motion Control Systems: Multi-Sourced vs. Single-Sourced
Single-Axis Motion Control Systems: Multi-Sourced vs. Single-Sourced

In today’s fast-paced industrial settings, speed and efficiency are key. Reducing time spent on sourcing, installing, and testing motion control systems can play a big...

Single-Axis Motion Control Systems: Multi-Sourced vs. Single-Sourced
Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Popcorn-Driven Robotic Actuators
Popcorn-Driven Robotic Actuators

When heated, popcorn can expand more than 10 times in size, change its viscosity by a factor of 10, and transition from regular to highly irregular granules with surprising force. These unique qualities can...

Popcorn-Driven Robotic Actuators
Briefs : Motion Control
Robotic Modules Modify Their Environment for Specific Tasks
Robotic Modules Modify Their Environment for Specific Tasks

Given the exact parameters of the task at hand, a robot can assemble a car door or pack a box faster and more efficiently than a human, but such purpose-built machines are not...

Robotic Modules Modify Their Environment for Specific Tasks
Application Briefs : Data Acquisition
Unique Lift System Enables Installation and Servicing of Large Telescope Mirrors
Unique Lift System Enables Installation and Servicing of Large Telescope Mirrors

The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), under construction atop 8,737-foot El Peñón peak in northern Chile, is a partnership project of the National...

Unique Lift System Enables Installation and Servicing of Large Telescope Mirrors
Products : Motion Control
New Products: October 2018 Motion Design
New Products: October 2018 Motion Design

Multi-Voltage Motors

Simotics SD Pro low-voltage motors from Siemens (Munich, Germany) are suited for mains-fed operation or with a converter for voltages up to 690 volts. There is generally...

New Products: October 2018 Motion Design
Technology Leaders : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Key Considerations When Selecting a Connector Solution
Key Considerations When Selecting a Connector Solution

Electronics industry trends develop and change, technologies emerge and improve, and new applications bring new requirements and challenges. While this obviously has an impact on the...

Key Considerations When Selecting a Connector Solution
Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Conformal Metasurface Coating Eliminates Crosstalk and Shrinks Waveguides
Conformal Metasurface Coating Eliminates Crosstalk and Shrinks Waveguides

Researchers have developed a method to simultaneously control diverse optical properties of dielectric waveguides by using a two-layer coating, each layer with a...

Conformal Metasurface Coating Eliminates Crosstalk and Shrinks Waveguides
Q&A : Medical
Q&A: UCSD's Sheng Xu Builds a Stretchable Health-Monitoring Patch

A team led by UCSD has built a stretchable electronic patch that can be worn on the skin like a bandage and used to wirelessly monitor a variety of physical and electrical signals, from respiration and body motion, to temperature and eye movement, to heart and brain activity. The...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
3D-Printing Light Receptors on a Hemispherical Surface
3D-Printing Light Receptors on a Hemispherical Surface

Researchers have 3D-printed an array of light receptors on a hemispherical surface. This discovery could lead to a “bionic eye” that could someday help blind people see or sighted...

3D-Printing Light Receptors on a Hemispherical Surface
Products : Software
New on the Market: October 2018
New on the Market: October 2018

Temperature Transmitters

The Sitrans TH320/420 and TR320/420 WirelessHART (Highway Addressable Remote Transducer Protocol) temperature transmitters from Siemens, Erlangen, Germany, are available for a...

New on the Market: October 2018
Articles : Data Acquisition
Products of Tomorrow: October 2018
Products of Tomorrow: October 2018

This column presents technologies that have applications in commercial areas, possibly creating the products of tomorrow. To learn more about each technology, see the contact information provided for that...

Products of Tomorrow: October 2018
Briefs : Automotive
Evaluating Effects of Exhaust Heat Recovery Systems on Fuel Economy and Emissions
Evaluating Effects of Exhaust Heat Recovery Systems on Fuel Economy and Emissions

The exhaust heat recovery system (EHRS) in an automobile captures the thermal energy from exhaust and transfers it to the engine coolant. As the car warms up,...

Evaluating Effects of Exhaust Heat Recovery Systems on Fuel Economy and Emissions
Briefs : Materials
Technique Creates Adaptive Materials
Technique Creates Adaptive Materials

A technique that enables on-demand control of composite behavior could enable a variety of new capabilities for future rotorcraft design, performance, and maintenance. The focus of the research was on...

Technique Creates Adaptive Materials
Briefs : Energy
Power Line Detection System for Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Electrical power lines pose a serious crash hazard to helicopters and other air-based vehicles, especially small aerial vehicles such as unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). This is because power lines are so widespread, hard to see, and strung at roughly the same height above the ground at...

Articles : Aerospace
NASA at 60: 1958-2018 Decades of Discovery
NASA at 60: 1958-2018 Decades of Discovery

For six decades, NASA has led the peaceful exploration of space, making discoveries about our planet, our solar system, and our universe. At home, NASA research has made great advances in aviation,...

NASA at 60: 1958-2018 Decades of Discovery
Briefs : Test & Measurement
Configuration Enables RFID Tags to Work as Sensors

The detection and localization of gas releases, such as methane from leaking natural gas pipelines or nitrogen oxides from failing electrical equipment, require high sensitivity to the target gas and insensitivity to non-target gases. Infrared (IR) absorption spectroscopy gives highly specific...

Articles : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
NASA at 60: The First A
NASA at 60: The First A

The first “A” in NASA stands for aeronautics — the science of travel through the air. It's as much about flying on airplanes and arriving safely at a destination as it is about astronauts in space. NASA's roots...

NASA at 60: The First A
Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Acoustic Beamforming Array Using Feedback-Controlled Microphones for Tuning and Self-Matching of Frequency Response
Acoustic Beamforming Array Using Feedback-Controlled Microphones for Tuning and Self-Matching of Frequency Response

NASA's Langley Research Center, in collaboration with Michigan State University (MSU), has developed a microphone array that...

Acoustic Beamforming Array Using Feedback-Controlled Microphones for Tuning and Self-Matching of Frequency Response
Briefs : Test & Measurement
Optical Mass Sensor for Multi-Phase Flows
Optical Mass Sensor for Multi-Phase Flows

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center is offering opportunities for its new fiber optic mass flow sensor system. Capable of measuring multi-phase flows in a pipe, the technology is minimally invasive,...

Optical Mass Sensor for Multi-Phase Flows
Briefs : Materials
Bio-Renewable Process Creates “Green” Plastic
Bio-Renewable Process Creates “Green” Plastic

Plastics are often derived from petroleum, contributing to reliance on fossil fuels, and driving harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

Bio-Renewable Process Creates “Green” Plastic
Facility Focus : Imaging
Facility Focus: Idaho National Laboratory
Facility Focus: Idaho National Laboratory

In 1951, the first nuclear reactor in Idaho was built, starting a legacy at what is now Idaho National Laboratory (INL). INL is the site where 52 pioneering nuclear reactors were designed and...

Facility Focus: Idaho National Laboratory
Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Compact, High-Resolution Rotary Position Sensor
Compact, High-Resolution Rotary Position Sensor

It is often desirable to sense the angular position of a rotating part. Numerous kinds of rotation sensors have been developed over the years; one type is a capacitive sensor, where a...

Compact, High-Resolution Rotary Position Sensor
Briefs : Medical
Engineering Soft Materials that Mimic Neural Tissue
Engineering Soft Materials that Mimic Neural Tissue

A process for engineering next-generation soft materials with embedded chemical networks that mimic the behavior of neural tissue lays the foundation for soft active matter with highly...

Engineering Soft Materials that Mimic Neural Tissue
Briefs : Imaging
Generating Light-Induced Electrical Current in Atomically Thin Nanomaterials
Generating Light-Induced Electrical Current in Atomically Thin Nanomaterials

When hit with light, semiconductors (materials that have an electrical resistance in between that of metals and insulators) generate an electric current....

Generating Light-Induced Electrical Current in Atomically Thin Nanomaterials
Articles : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
NASA at 60: Celebrating Success

Over the past 60 years, NASA scientists and engineers have developed many advanced technologies and processes. But NASA has also partnered with industry, using commercially available products to complete its missions. Here, some of those companies join NASA in celebrating these collaborative successes.

Articles : Sensors/Data Acquisition
NASA at 60: From Space to Earth
NASA at 60: From Space to Earth

The benefits of NASA's space exploration efforts are not limited to the cosmos. NASA technologies provide innovative solutions for people around the world. NASA missions have generated thousands of spinoffs...

NASA at 60: From Space to Earth
Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Switch Controls Light on a Nanoscale for Faster Information Processing
Switch Controls Light on a Nanoscale for Faster Information Processing

Photons, or units of light, are faster than electrons and could, therefore, process information faster from smaller chip structures. A switch was designed that bypasses a...

Switch Controls Light on a Nanoscale for Faster Information Processing
Briefs : Test & Measurement
Air Traffic Management (ATM) System
Air Traffic Management (ATM) System

As the demand for air transportation increases, the capacity of the current U.S. ATM system will eventually be stressed to its limits. New technologies in communication, navigation, and surveillance (CNS),...

Air Traffic Management (ATM) System
Briefs : Photonics/Optics
“Soft Hardware” Cloth Has Built-In Electronic Devices
“Soft Hardware” Cloth Has Built-In Electronic Devices

Optical fibers have been traditionally produced by making a cylindrical object called a preform — essentially, a scaled-up model of the fiber — and then heating it. Softened...

“Soft Hardware” Cloth Has Built-In Electronic Devices
Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Efficient Semiconductor Material for Thermal Management
Efficient Semiconductor Material for Thermal Management

Computer processors have continued to shrink down to nanometer sizes where there can be billions of transistors on a single chip. This phenomenon is described under Moore's Law, which...

Efficient Semiconductor Material for Thermal Management
Articles : Electronics & Computers
Quantum Computing: Learning to Speak a Whole New Technology
Quantum Computing: Learning to Speak a Whole New Technology

Imagine trying to use a computer that looks and acts like no computer you've ever seen. There is no keyboard or screen. Code designed for a normal computer is useless. The...

Quantum Computing: Learning to Speak a Whole New Technology
Briefs : Aerospace
Wing Shape Design Reduces Vortex and Wake
Wing Shape Design Reduces Vortex and Wake

It's common to see line-shaped clouds in the sky, known as contrails, trailing behind the engines of a jet airplane. What's not always visible is a vortex coming off of the tip of each wing — like...

Wing Shape Design Reduces Vortex and Wake
Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Polymer Nanofiber-Based Reversible Nano-Switch/Sensor Schottky Diode (nanoSSSD) Device

Innovators at NASA's Glenn Research Center have developed a unique nano-structure device that operates as a nano-switch/sensor for detecting toxic gases and ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Conventional microsensors are limited by their short life, high cost and...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Fabricating Battery Electrodes Using 3D Printing
Fabricating Battery Electrodes Using 3D Printing

Additive manufacturing (3D printing) can be used to manufacture porous electrodes for lithium-ion batteries, but because of the nature of the manufacturing process, the design of these...

Fabricating Battery Electrodes Using 3D Printing
Briefs : Materials
3D Printing Enables Bulk Creation of Metallic Glass Alloys
3D Printing Enables Bulk Creation of Metallic Glass Alloys

Researchers have demonstrated the ability to create amorphous metal (metallic glass) alloys on large scales using 3D printing technology. Metallic glasses lack the crystalline...

3D Printing Enables Bulk Creation of Metallic Glass Alloys
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Soft, Pliable, 3D Stretchable Electronics
Soft, Pliable, 3D Stretchable Electronics

By stacking and connecting layers of stretchable circuits on top of one another, soft, pliable 3D stretchable electronics were fabricated that can pack a lot of functions while staying thin and small...

Soft, Pliable, 3D Stretchable Electronics
5 Ws : Manufacturing & Prototyping
5 Ws of Electronic Stickers
5 Ws of Electronic Stickers

Who

Billions of objects ranging from smartphones and buildings, to machine parts and medical devices, to furniture and office supplies — any object that has a need to communicate with or sense other...

5 Ws of Electronic Stickers
Articles : Manufacturing & Prototyping
3D Printer Aims to Accelerate Materials Development
3D Printer Aims to Accelerate Materials Development

Spinoff is NASA's annual publication featuring successfully commercialized NASA technology. This commercialization has contributed to the development of products and services in the fields...

3D Printer Aims to Accelerate Materials Development
Briefs : Aerospace
Insect-Inspired Drone Deforms Upon Impact
Insect-Inspired Drone Deforms Upon Impact

Origami manufacturing has led to considerable advances in the field of foldable structures with innovative applications in robotics, aerospace, and metamaterials; however, existing origami are either...

Insect-Inspired Drone Deforms Upon Impact
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Hybrid Silicone-Fabric Sensor for Wearable Robots
Hybrid Silicone-Fabric Sensor for Wearable Robots

Wearable technologies are exploding in popularity in both the consumer and research spaces, but most of the electronic sensors that detect and transmit data from wearables are made of hard,...

Hybrid Silicone-Fabric Sensor for Wearable Robots
Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Algorithm Enables Drones to Work in a Coordinated Approach

An algorithm was developed that enables a team of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to communicate and work toward a common goal. The tool could be used to improve security or capture images simultaneously over a large area.

Products : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Product of the Month: October 2018
Product of the Month: October 2018

SEGGER Microcontroller Systems, Gardner, MA, introduced emPack, a complete operating system for IoT devices and embedded systems. It is delivered in source code for 8-, 16-, and 32-bit microcontrollers and...

Product of the Month: October 2018