October 2019

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 routing...

Blog : Electronics & Computers
AUSA 2019: Eyes in the Sky
AUSA 2019: Eyes in the Sky
It just wouldn’t be a military technology show without a few drones on display.
AUSA 2019: Eyes in the Sky
Blog : Electronics & Computers
AUSA 2019: Military Preps for Open Sensor Standards
AUSA 2019: Military Preps for Open Sensor Standards
SOSA, the Sensor Open Systems Architecture Consortium, held a press conference on Monday afternoon at AUSA 2019.
AUSA 2019: Military Preps for Open Sensor Standards
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.

News : Aerospace
AUSA 2019: A View From the Show Floor
AUSA 2019: A View From the Show Floor
Editor Bruce A. Bennett offers a look at the Association of the United States Army's 2019 Annual Meeting.
AUSA 2019: A View From the Show Floor
News : Aerospace
Answering Your Questions: How Will the Military Use Motion Control Technology?
Answering Your Questions: How Will the Military Use Motion Control Technology?
A Tech Briefs reader asks: What's next with military motion control?
Answering Your Questions: How Will the Military Use Motion Control Technology?
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...

Blog : Aerospace
Create the Future: A Drone That Folds to Fit Through Holes and Gaps
Create the Future: A Drone That Folds to Fit Through Holes and Gaps
A new drone “folds” itself into configurations that suit a given environment.
Create the Future: A Drone That Folds to Fit Through Holes and Gaps
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.

Blog : Energy
Create the Future: Water Desalination, Powered by Waves
Create the Future: Water Desalination, Powered by Waves
Inventor Olivier Ceberio found a new way to turn ocean waves into fresh water.
Create the Future: Water Desalination, Powered by Waves
Blog : Data Acquisition
Answering Your Questions: Why Not Use Fiber Optics for Car Connections?
Answering Your Questions: Why Not Use Fiber Optics for Car Connections?
Copper cables send data around today's vehicles. "Why not fiber optics?" asks a reader.
Answering Your Questions: Why Not Use Fiber Optics for Car Connections?
News : Motion Control
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 : Research Lab
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...

NASA Tech Needs : Photonics/Optics
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...

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

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, decommissioning of SF6 gas-insulated equipment,...

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

A Battery-Free Sensor for Underwater Exploration
INSIDER : Communications
Wearable Brain-Machine Interface Could Control a Wheelchair, Vehicle, or Computer
Wearable Brain-Machine Interface Could Control a Wheelchair, Vehicle, or Computer

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

Wearable Brain-Machine Interface Could Control a Wheelchair, Vehicle, or Computer
INSIDER : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Reconfigurable Electronics Show Promise for Wearable, Implantable Devices
Reconfigurable Electronics Show Promise for Wearable, Implantable Devices

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...

Reconfigurable Electronics Show Promise for Wearable, Implantable Devices
INSIDER : Semiconductors & ICs
Smaller, Cheaper, and More Dynamic Computer Chips
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 limits and a...

Smaller, Cheaper, and More Dynamic Computer Chips
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 : Imaging
Schlieren System Captures Brilliant Shockwave Images
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...

Schlieren System Captures Brilliant Shockwave Images
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Thin Nylon Films for Transparent Electronic Devices
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...

Thin Nylon Films for Transparent Electronic Devices
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...

Briefs : Propulsion
Software Accelerates Engine Development for Hypersonic Flight
Software Accelerates Engine Development for Hypersonic Flight

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

Software Accelerates Engine Development for Hypersonic Flight
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
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 : Electronics & Computers
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
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...

3D Printing of Magnetic Liquid Droplets
Briefs : Motion Control
Tiny “Walking” Motor Moves in Discrete Mechanical Steps
Tiny “Walking” Motor Moves in Discrete Mechanical Steps

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...

Tiny “Walking” Motor Moves in Discrete Mechanical Steps
Briefs : Materials
High-Speed 3D Printer for High-Performance Plastics
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...

High-Speed 3D Printer for High-Performance Plastics
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Lightweight Exosuit Combines Robotics and Functional Apparel
Lightweight Exosuit Combines Robotics and Functional Apparel

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....

Lightweight Exosuit Combines Robotics and Functional Apparel
Briefs : Test & Measurement
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 : Test & Measurement
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...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Atomically Thin Heat Shield Protects Electronic Devices
Atomically Thin Heat Shield Protects Electronic Devices

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...

Atomically Thin Heat Shield Protects Electronic Devices
Briefs : Materials
Immersion Precipitation 3D Printing for Porous Structures
Immersion Precipitation 3D Printing for Porous Structures

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

Immersion Precipitation 3D Printing for Porous Structures
Briefs : RF & Microwave Electronics
Wireless Transceiver Quadruples Speed of 5G
Wireless Transceiver Quadruples Speed of 5G

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...

Wireless Transceiver Quadruples Speed of 5G
Briefs : IoMT
Invisible Tags Write, Read, and Erase Using Light
Invisible Tags Write, Read, and Erase Using Light

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...

Invisible Tags Write, Read, and Erase Using Light
Briefs : Materials
Dynamic Microstructures Move by Light and Temperature
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...

Dynamic Microstructures Move by Light and Temperature
Technology Leaders : Transportation
Maintaining Data Protection and Security for the Connected Car
Maintaining Data Protection and Security for the Connected Car
How can the automotive industry protect itself and its customers against digital attacks?
Maintaining Data Protection and Security for the Connected Car
5 Ws : Photonics/Optics
5 Ws of Paper Unprinting
5 Ws of Paper Unprinting

Who

Anyone using standard, coated paper in conventional printers.

5 Ws of Paper Unprinting
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...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Manufacturing Process for Aluminum Alloys
Manufacturing Process for Aluminum Alloys

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...

Manufacturing Process for Aluminum Alloys
Q&A : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Q&A: Wearable Motion Sensors Could Save Unborn Babies
Professor Negar Tavassolian is using vibration sensors to monitor heartbeats.
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Rose-Inspired Device Collects and Purifies Water
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...

Rose-Inspired Device Collects and Purifies Water
Briefs : Aerospace
New Airplane Wing Assembled from Tiny Identical Pieces
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...

New Airplane Wing Assembled from Tiny Identical Pieces
Briefs : Software
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 : Manufacturing & Prototyping
3D-Printed Liquid Lab-on-a-Chip
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...

3D-Printed Liquid Lab-on-a-Chip
Articles : Materials
Mobile Rugged Displays for Situational Awareness
Mobile Rugged Displays for Situational Awareness
Program managers and engineers in the military markets need to know about the emergence of new display technologies in the consumer sector.
Mobile Rugged Displays for Situational Awareness
Facility Focus : Propulsion
Facility Focus: NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center
Facility Focus: NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center
NASA Armstrong flight-tests some of the nation’s most unique aircraft and aeronautical systems.
Facility Focus: NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center
NASA Spinoff : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Deep-Space Food Science Research Improves 3D Printing
Deep-Space Food Science Research Improves 3D Printing
Developing meals for long-duration missions is leading to personalized 3D-printed food.
Deep-Space Food Science Research Improves 3D Printing
Briefs : Materials
Ultrathin Transistors for Faster Computer Chips
Ultrathin Transistors for Faster Computer Chips

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...

Ultrathin Transistors for Faster Computer Chips
Briefs : Aerospace
Aircraft Vertical Takeoff and Landing
Aircraft Vertical Takeoff and Landing

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...

Aircraft Vertical Takeoff and Landing
Products : Test & Measurement
New on the Market: October 2019
New on the Market: October 2019
See the new tech products being offered in October 2019.
New on the Market: October 2019
Articles : Aerospace
Products of Tomorrow: October 2019
Products of Tomorrow: October 2019
Permeable concrete, quick disconnects, and more
Products of Tomorrow: October 2019
Briefs : Test & Measurement
Compact, Lightweight, CMC-Based Acoustic Liner
Compact, Lightweight, CMC-Based Acoustic Liner

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...

Compact, Lightweight, CMC-Based Acoustic Liner
Briefs : Motion Control
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...

Briefs : Aerospace
Structure Deformation Calculation Program for Structural Shape Monitoring
Structure Deformation Calculation Program for Structural Shape Monitoring

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

Structure Deformation Calculation Program for Structural Shape Monitoring
Articles : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Smart, Hybrid Actuators Combine Nanometer Precision, Large Forces, and Long Travel Ranges with High Dynamics
Smart, Hybrid Actuators Combine Nanometer Precision, Large Forces, and Long Travel Ranges with High Dynamics
The characteristics of hybrid drives present a practical solution when a position needs to be detected with high precision
Smart, Hybrid Actuators Combine Nanometer Precision, Large Forces, and Long Travel Ranges with High Dynamics
Articles : Photonics/Optics
How to Use Rotary Encoders to Quickly Convert Mechanical Rotation into Digital Signals
How to Use Rotary Encoders to Quickly Convert Mechanical Rotation into Digital Signals

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....

How to Use Rotary Encoders to Quickly Convert Mechanical Rotation into Digital Signals
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Smartphone App Programs Robots
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...

Smartphone App Programs Robots
Articles : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Avoiding Electrical Damage with Conductive Lubrication
Avoiding Electrical Damage with Conductive Lubrication
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.
Avoiding Electrical Damage with Conductive Lubrication
Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
High-Sensitivity, Low-Noise MEMS Accelerometer
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...

High-Sensitivity, Low-Noise MEMS Accelerometer
Products : Motion Control
New Products: October 2019 Motion Design
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...

New Products: October 2019 Motion Design
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Miniature Stretchable Pump
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,...

Miniature Stretchable Pump
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Automated System Generates Robotic Parts
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...

Automated System Generates Robotic Parts
Products : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Product of the Month: October 2019 Tech Briefs
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...

Product of the Month: October 2019 Tech Briefs
Question of the Week : Manufacturing & Prototyping
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.