October 2019

Question of the Week : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Are You Encouraged by the Increasingly Sophisticated Capabilities of Today’s Robots?

Researchers from Boston Dynamics have stuck the landing and created a robot that can perform a full gymnastics routine. Watch the performance on Tech Briefs TV.

Special Reports : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Additive Manufacturing - October 2019

AM/3D Printing is fundamentally changing how products are prototyped and produced in aerospace, medical, automotive, and many other fields. To help you keep pace with the latest advances, we present this compendium of recent articles from the editors of Tech Briefs, Aerospace & Defense Technology, and...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Fluid-Filled Frequency-Tunable Mass Damper

Innovators at Marshall Space Flight Center developed the fluid-filled Frequency-Tunable Mass Damper (FTMD) technology that allows for significant distribution of loads while also providing a simple mechanism that allows for the capability to change its frequency of mitigation with negligible impact on...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Schlieren System Captures Brilliant Shockwave Images

Supersonic flight over land is generally prohibited because sonic booms created by shockwaves disturb people on the ground and can damage property. Armstrong innovators are working to...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Thin Nylon Films for Transparent Electronic Devices

Very thin nylon films were created that can be used in electronic memory components. The films are several hundreds of times thinner than a human hair and could be used in bendable...

Briefs : Software
UNIX Tools for Typesetting and Shell Programming

Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has developed software tools that extend the capabilities of the Groff typesetting system for UNIX. Groff, or GNU Troff, descends from the Troff formatter originally developed at AT&T Bell Labs. It operates on text files containing a mixture of unformatted text...

A numerical modeling tool allows for a better understanding of rotating detonation engines (RDEs).

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Lateral Kevlar Suspension Device (LKSD)

The Lateral Kevlar Suspension Device (LKSD) is made up of a support ring that has three spring-loaded tension assemblies equally spaced around the support ring. Connected to these tension assemblies is a band that supports a separate ring capable of holding a cylindrical shaped load.

Briefs : Energy
Chip Converts Wasted Heat to Usable Energy

Car engines, laptop computers, cellphones, and refrigerators all heat up with overuse. That heat can be captured and turned into energy using a method that produces electricity from heat. The technology uses a silicon chip, also known as a “device,” that converts more thermal radiation into...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
3D Printing of Magnetic Liquid Droplets

Systems such as magnetic data storage devices and MRI body scan machines rely on magnets made from solid materials. Now, using a modified 3D printer, scientists have made magnetic devices from...

A set of five tiny fundamental parts can be assembled into a wide variety of functional devices including a tiny “walking” motor that can move back and forth across a surface or...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
High-Speed 3D Printer for High-Performance Plastics

3D printers that build small parts layer by layer from melted plastic can take up to an hour to produce a pocket-sized piece. This process is far too slow for the mass-production of...

Between walking and running, human gaits can cover a wide range of speeds; for example, at low speeds, the metabolic rate of walking is lower than that of running in a slow jog....

Briefs : Software
System for Incorporating a Physiological Self-Regulation Challenge into Parcourse/Orienteering Type Games and Simulations

Although biofeedback is an effective treatment for various physiological problems and can be used to optimize physiological functioning in many ways, the benefits can only be attained through a number of training sessions,...

Briefs : Data Acquisition
Software Applications for the Control and Management of the Amine Swingbed Experiment

The Swingbed software applications provide for the control, command, fault detection, fault recovery, and telemetry monitoring aspects of the Amine Swingbed experiment. These software components are the Swingbed Loader Computer Software Configuration Item...

Excess heat given off by smartphones, laptops, and other electronic devices contributes to malfunctions and, in extreme cases, can even cause lithium batteries to explode. To guard...

Materials with controlled porosity have found diverse applications in separation, catalysis, energy storage, sensors and actuators, tissue engineering, and drug delivery. Multiple...

A new wireless transceiver was developed that boosts radio frequencies into 100-gigahertz territory, which is quadruple the speed of the upcoming 5G, or fifth-generation, wireless communications...

A method was developed that enables information to be contained in simple plastic foils with a thickness of less than 50 μm, which is thinner than a human hair. Organic luminescent molecules...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Dynamic Microstructures Move by Light and Temperature

3D printing via direct laser writing involves a computer-controlled focused laser beam that acts as a pen and creates the desired structure in the printer ink — a photoresist. In this...

Technology Leaders : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Maintaining Data Protection and Security for the Connected Car
How can the automotive industry protect itself and its customers against digital attacks?
Who

Anyone using standard, coated paper in conventional printers.

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Lightweight Sensing and Control System for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Monitoring

A new sensing and control system for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) allows for semi-autonomous flight. Pilots need not leave the ground to conduct routine monitoring and surveillance quickly and cost-effectively. Such systems are particularly useful during long flight...

An advanced manufacturing process was developed to produce nano-structured rods and tubes directly from high-performance aluminum alloy powder in a single step. Using a Solid Phase Processing...

Professor Negar Tavassolian is using vibration sensors to monitor heartbeats.
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Rose-Inspired Device Collects and Purifies Water

A new device, inspired by a rose, inexpensively collects and purifies water. The device is a new approach to solar steaming for water production — a technique that uses energy from sunlight...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
New Airplane Wing Assembled from Tiny Identical Pieces

A radically new kind of airplane wing, assembled from hundreds of tiny identical pieces, can change shape to control the plane’s flight, and could provide a significant boost in...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Technique Locates Robots and Humans in GPS-Challenged Environments

An algorithm enables localization of humans and robots in areas where GPS is unavailable. The Army needs to be able to localize agents operating in physically complex, unknown, and infrastructure-poor environments. This capability is critical to help find dismounted soldiers and...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
3D-Printed Liquid Lab-on-a-Chip

Researchers have 3D-printed an all-liquid device that, with the click of a button, can be repeatedly reconfigured on demand to serve a wide range of applications from making battery materials to screening drug...

Program managers and engineers in the military markets need to know about the emergence of new display technologies in the consumer sector.
NASA Armstrong flight-tests some of the nation’s most unique aircraft and aeronautical systems.
Developing meals for long-duration missions is leading to personalized 3D-printed food.

For decades, microchip transistors have become smaller, faster, and cheaper; however, miniaturization has reached a natural limit, as completely new problems arise when a length scale of only a...

NASA’s Langley Research Center developed an inexpensive, long-endurance, vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). It is capable of flying for 24 hours, landing in a 50 × 50...

Products : Electronics & Computers
New on the Market: October 2019
See the new tech products being offered in October 2019.
Permeable concrete, quick disconnects, and more

In the wake of recent developments that have reduced fan and jet noise contributions to overall jet-engine noise, aircraft designers are turning their attention toward reducing engine core...

Briefs : AR/AI
Neural Lander Uses AI to Land Drones Smoothly

Landing multi-rotor drones smoothly is difficult. Complex turbulence is created by the airflow from each rotor bouncing off the ground during a descent. This turbulence is not well understood nor is it easy to compensate for, particularly for autonomous drones. That is why takeoff and landing are...

Researchers at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center are pioneering shape-sensing technologies that seek to maximize structural integrity and efficiency. A new and...

The characteristics of hybrid drives present a practical solution when a position needs to be detected with high precision

In the digital age, the measurement of rotation of a mechanical shaft on a motor or a rotating instrument knob needs to be done quickly and efficiently....

Briefs : Motion Control
Smartphone App Programs Robots

A smartphone app was developed that allows a user to easily program any robot to perform a mundane activity such as picking up parts from one area and delivering them to another. The app, called VRa, uses...

While most cars today run on 12-volt DC batteries, cars in the future will run on 48 volts. This increased voltage could affect ball bearing performance.
Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
High-Sensitivity, Low-Noise MEMS Accelerometer

A high-sensitivity and low-noise MEMS accelerometer was developed using multi-layer metal structures composed of multiple metal layers. The accelerometer achieves 1 μG level resolution that has...

Products : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
New Products: October 2019 Motion Design
Brushless Servo Motor

maxon precision motors (Taunton, MA) released the EC-i30 20W brushless servomotor with integrated electronics. With an integrated 4-quadrant speed controller, the motor is...

Briefs : Motion Control
Miniature Stretchable Pump

Soft robots have a distinct advantage over rigid robots: they can adapt to complex environments, handle fragile objects, and interact safely with humans. Made from silicone, rubber, or other stretchable polymers,...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Automated System Generates Robotic Parts

An automated system designs and 3D-prints complex robotic parts that are optimized according to an enormous number of specifications. The system fabricates actuators — devices that mechanically...

Products : Internet of Things
Product of the Month: October 2019 Tech Briefs

Toposens, Sunnyvale, CA, released the TS3, a 3D ultrasonic sensor suitable for autonomous systems including robotics, autonomous vehicles, and other positioning applications that require...

INSIDER : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Smaller, Cheaper, and More Dynamic Computer Chips

UCLA researchers at the Center for Heterogeneous Integration and Performance Scaling (CHIPS) say that computers powered by traditional integrated circuit chips are reaching their...

Medical implants of the future may feature reconfigurable electronic platforms that can morph in shape and size dynamically as bodies change or even transform to...

Combining new classes of nanomembrane electrodes with flexible electronics and a deep learning algorithm could help disabled people wirelessly control an...

INSIDER : Electronics & Computers
A Battery-Free Sensor for Underwater Exploration

To investigate the vastly unexplored oceans covering most of our planet, researchers aim to build a submerged network of interconnected sensors that send data to the surface — an...

On-Demand Webinars : Transportation
Transforming the Grid: New Technologies for the Transmission and Distribution Industry

In conjunction with SAE

Today’s transmission and distribution industry is being confronted with significant new challenges including regulations to increase renewable energy generation, heavier power demands, an aging infrastructure,...

News : Physical Sciences
Superluminal Jets and Time Reversibility

Astrophysicists Jon Hakkila of the College of Charleston and Robert Nemiroff of the Michigan Technological University have published research indicating that blasts that create gamma-ray bursts may actually exceed the speed of light in surrounding gas clouds, but do so without violating Einstein's theory...

News : Motion Control
Ringing of a Newborn Black Hole

If Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity holds true, then a black hole, born from the cosmically quaking collisions of two massive black holes, should itself "ring" in the aftermath, producing gravitational waves much like a struck bell reverberates sound waves. Einstein predicted that the particular...

News : Research Lab
Using Light to Speed Up Computation

A group of researchers in Japan has developed a new type of processor known as PAXEL, a device that can potentially bypass Moore's Law and increase the speed and efficiency of computing. PAXEL, which stands for photonic accelerator, is placed at the front end of a digital computer and optimized to perform...

Copper cables send data around today's vehicles. "Why not fiber optics?" asks a reader.
Inventor Olivier Ceberio found a new way to turn ocean waves into fresh water.
Question of the Week : Energy
Will Wave-Powered Desalination Catch On?

Today's lead INSIDER story demonstrated how ocean waves can be used to turn seawater into freshwater.

A new drone “folds” itself into configurations that suit a given environment.
On-Demand Webinars : Robotics, Automation & Control
Military Robotics

While drones are relatively new additions to the military's stable of high-tech robotic systems, ground-based robots have been in use for more than a decade. From detecting, defusing, and disposing of explosives to working side-by-side with soldiers in the field, robots have found a myriad of applications within the...

A Tech Briefs reader asks: What's next with military motion control?
Editor Bruce A. Bennett offers a look at the Association of the United States Army's 2019 Annual Meeting.
Question of the Week : Aerospace
Will NASA’s New Wing Bring Greater Flexibility to Aircraft Design?

Researchers at NASA Ames Research Center and MIT have a radically new idea for an aircraft wing: hundreds of tiny subassemblied bolted together to form a constantly deformable lattice.

SOSA, the Sensor Open Systems Architecture Consortium, held a press conference on Monday afternoon at AUSA 2019.
Blog : Aerospace
AUSA 2019: Eyes in the Sky
It just wouldn’t be a military technology show without a few drones on display.
On-Demand Webinars : Robotics, Automation & Control
The Importance of Signal Routing to Maximize Automated Test System Performance and Reliability

When designing an automated test system, an important but often overlooked task is the development of a signal routing subsystem that connects the test instrumentation and switching elements to the device under test. Implementing a signal...

Blog : Electronics & Computers
AUSA 2019: A Really Cool Computer
Ben Sharfi, CEO of General Micro Systems (GMS), says he has the Product of the Year. Do you agree?
The ULiSSES device preserves organs, without the ice chest.
On-Demand Webinars : Aerospace
Model-Based Measurement Data Management Aims High for Aerospace and Defense

In conjunction with SAE

When it comes to aerospace and defense technology, the stakes are high. And so are the demands for maintaining conformance and optimizing processes when collecting and analyzing measurement data. How can you integrate advanced 3D...

On-Demand Webinars : Manufacturing & Prototyping
How to 3D Print Parts with Demanding Tolerances

Just because your 3D printer has a high resolution doesn’t mean your parts will be accurate or precise. Understanding material options and how to optimize the part-to-print workflow is essential to get the most value out of 3D printing.

Question of the Week : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Will ‘Print-in-Place’ Electronics Become a Mainstream Medical Tool?

The Duke University team says its “print-in-place” advancement could lead to embedded electronic tattoos and custom bandages with patient-specific biosensors.

On-Demand Webinars : Automotive
Leveraging Advanced Manufacturing Technologies for Automotive Lightweighting

Advanced manufacturing technologies have unlocked new levels of performance and personalization in the automotive industry. However, legacy software tools have hindered the adoption of these new manufacturing technologies, with hours wasted filleting models,...

The 'Biode' saves power by eliminating the need for AC/DC conversion.
On-Demand Webinars : Propulsion
The Future of Commercial Vehicle Propulsion: Diesel vs. Electrification

Diesel engine makers and suppliers are ramping up their electrification efforts aimed at on-highway commercial vehicles and off-highway equipment. However, they have no plans to abandon the tried-and-true internal-combustion engine any time soon. Industry experts...

On-Demand Webinars : Test & Measurement
From sensor to cloud: Do you know the crucial parameters in your measuring chain?

Expressions like IoT, Cloud and Industry 4.0 are common today. However, essential for every measurement is understanding the basics of the entire measuring chain. False or low-quality data doesn't improve just because it's located in a cloud, and even the...

On-Demand Webinars : Electronics & Computers
How to Make Sure More Electronics in Autonomous Vehicles Won't Mean More Problems

It’s expected that self-driving cars, compared to current vehicles, will see a massive increase in the amount of electronics used, from the addition of cameras, radars, LiDARs, and other perception devices, to the multiplication of ECUs, and the wiring...

On-Demand Webinars : Software
NVH Simulation for Electric/Connected-Vehicle Development and Analysis

With vehicle electrification expanding, there is less noise coming from the driveline. Electrification creates quieter vehicles, and quieter vehicles require more attention to noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) attenuation. This one-hour Technical Webinar from the...

On-Demand Webinars : Software
Modeling Microfluidic Devices with COMSOL Multiphysics®

Learn how to enhance your modeling and design processes for lab-on-a-chip and organ-on-a-chip devices, or any other microfluidic systems, in this webinar featuring consulting firm Veryst Engineering.

A minimal, map-less approach to drone navigation takes after the bee.
Webinars : Medical
SERS: Fast, Portable Identification of Trace Opioids

Rapid identification and quantification of opioid drugs is of great importance in the face of an ongoing opioid epidemic in the United States. Yet techniques for trace analysis of these opioids, particularly for fentanyl, an extremely potent synthetic drug of abuse and the main driver...

INSIDER : Robotics, Automation & Control
“Pushy” Robots Learn How to Move Objects

MIT researchers have compiled a dataset that captures the detailed behavior of a robotic system physically pushing hundreds of different objects. Using the dataset, robots “learn” pushing...

Livox uses machine learning to ease communication.

Webcasts

Upcoming Webinars: Photonics/Optics

High-Powered Directed Energy Laser Projects: Destroy the Target,...

Upcoming Webinars: Photonics/Optics

Optical Coating Design

Upcoming Webinars: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Rapid Decompression and Sealed Containers: Why Choose Magnet...

Upcoming Webinars: Motion Control

Advantages of Smart Servo Steppers vs. Smart Brushless Servos

Upcoming Webinars: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Large Cable, Large Problems: Considerations for Innovation

Upcoming Webinars: Robotics, Automation & Control

Collaborative Robots: Are They as Safe as They Sound?

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INSIDER: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

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Briefs: Test & Measurement

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Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping

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Briefs: Physical Sciences

Magnetostrictive Heat Switches Actuated by Flux Tubes

Blog: Robotics, Automation & Control

Medical Robots' Role Expands as COVID-19 Outbreak Continues

Blog: Data Acquisition

Readers Select 2019 Products of the Year