December 2019

Articles : Robotics, Automation & Control
Collaborative Automation: It's More Than Just the Cobot
“Cobots” allow companies of almost any size to automate processes that were previously out of reach.
Sensing technology will help to transform manufacturing floors into the connected factories of the future.
A technology uses a combination of WiFi signals and accelerometer technology to track devices in near-real-time.
A synthetic skin enables robots to sense their own bodies and surroundings
Briefs : Motion Control
Self-Contained Wheel Unit
Researchers have developed a self-contained wheel unit that combines a wheel and an electric motor.
Briefs : Motion Control
Precision Low-Speed Motor Controller
The technology can be used in commercial motors, robotic systems, and hybrid and electric vehicles.
Application Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Docking System Enables Safe Rendezvous in Space
The ESA has commissioned its industry partners to design a new docking system called the International Berthing and Docking Mechanism (IBDM).
Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Algorithm Gives Robots a Faster Grasp
The algorithm speeds up the planning process that robots use to adjust their grip on objects.
Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Artificial Skin Provides Haptic Feedback
The skin could help rehabilitation and enhance virtual reality by instantaneously adapting to a wearer's movements.
Products : Test & Measurement
New Products: December 2019 Motion Design
Actuators, Encoders, Gripping Tools, and More
Salty air the Dutch city of Harlingen causes exposed metal parts to corrode.
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
MMOD Impact Detection and Location
This system uses fiber optic strain sensing to detect and locate micrometeoroid/orbital debris.
Products : Manufacturing & Prototyping
New on the Market: December 2019
Adhesives, flame-retardant compounds, vision measurement, and more...
With the rise in electrification and design complexity, aerospace original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) need to look for new methodologies to mitigate compliance risk.
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Superconductivity in a Nickel Oxide Material
Made with “Jenga chemistry,” the material could help in understanding how high-temperature superconductors work.

Radar technologies were originally designed to identify and track airborne military targets. Today, they're more often used to detect motor vehicles, weather formations,...

The reader uses a frequency multiplexer to boost its ability to accurately locate a greater number of RFID tags.
Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Potassium-Oxygen Battery Stores Clean Energy

Researchers have developed a more efficient, more reliable potassium-oxygen battery with a cathode that stores the energy produced by a chemical reaction in a metal-oxygen or metal-air battery....

5 Ws : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
5 Ws of EarEcho
The biometric tool uses modified wireless earbuds to authenticate smartphone users
Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Embedded Fiber Optic Sensors (EFOS)

Current laser interferometry pressure pulse detection techniques use the shock-induced change in index of refraction to track detonation and/or shock fronts in a single fiber optic by reflecting laser...

As lithium-ion battery production doubles, more viable energy storage solutions are needed.

Innovators at NASA Johnson Space Center have developed a calorimeter that is able to measure the total heat generated when specific types of Lithium-ion (Li-ion) cells are...

This lightweight material brings strength and durability to complex shapes.
Facility Focus : Test & Measurement
Facility Focus: NASA John H. Glenn Research Center
Glenn's research facilities have contributed to decades of technology advances.
Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Packaging for SiC Sensors and Electronics
This packaging provides protection for SiC sensors and electronics in harsh, hightemperature environments.
Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Free-Space Fiber Optic Laser Rod
This approach removes the limitation on peak power densities that exists for fiber lasers.
Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Shape Memory Alloy Art (SMArt)
This hands-on, educational tool highlights the properties of SMA wire.
Briefs : Propulsion
De-Orbit Device for SmallSats
This retractable de-orbit device facilitates targeted re-entry, attitude and orbital control, and collision avoidance.
Life support research for astronauts enabled a solution to one aspect of climate change.
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Metallization for SiC Semiconductors
This technology provides simultaneous ohmic contacts and the process to make them.
Briefs : Medical
Human Torso Simulator
The simulator could help in the development of new back braces.
This optical switch controls the direction of light passing through optical fibers faster and more efficiently.
Articles : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Products of Tomorrow: December 2019
Products include an aerosol scattering sensor; metal foam; and a new coated drug capsule.
A combination of additives shows promise for boosting battery performance in very cold or hot weather.
This method also reverse-engineers computer chips to detect the chip’s purpose.
This multifunctional hybrid laminate composite can be used for residential and commercial construction.
This invention is a highly stable, heat-treatable, and tunable material.
Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Device Creates Electricity from Snowfall
The nanogenerator also acts as a weather station.
Q&A : Electronics & Computers
Q&A: Refrigeration by Twisting Fibers
Changing directions of twist and coiling changes whether a material cools or heats.
Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Photovoltaic-Powered Sensors
RFID-based devices work in indoor and outdoor lighting conditions and could transmit data for years before they need to be replaced.
The method could impact optical imaging, vision correction, and disease diagnosis.
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Optically Fixable Shape Memory Polymers
These polymers can combine thermal and optically fixable shape memory.
Briefs : Defense
Unpowered, Lightweight Ankle Exoskeleton
This low-profile ankle exoskeleton integrates into a shoe and fits under clothing.
This technology could lead to the creation of fully functional quantum computers.
Squid skin inspires a new material with heat-regulating properties.
Articles : Electronics & Computers
Innovators Recognized for Creating the Future 2019
Top prizes in the 2019 contest were awarded on November 8 in New York City.
When combined with saltwater, rust can be a source of electricity.
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Transport Method Boosts Capacity of Heat Exchangers
A simple modification can improve the capability of turbulent heat exchangers by 500%.
This technology has applications in sonar, range measuring, directional-force sensors, flow meters, and vibration/noise sensing and control.
This innovation dynamically provides fast signal processing and precision measurement.
Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Washable Sensor Can Be Woven Into Materials
The device could impact composites manufacturing and health monitoring.
Briefs : Materials
Durable Polyimide Aerogels
Stronger and flexible, polyimide aerogels provide insulation and structural support.
Products : Electronics & Computers
Product of the Month: December 2019 Tech Briefs
The GNV-720 and GNV-725 humidity temperature meters from Global Specialties feature three environmental sensors.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have developed a new method for producing atomically thin semiconducting crystals that could one day enable more...

Question of the Week : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Will Self-Assembling 'M-Blocks' Catch On?

A team at MIT created self-assembling robotic cubes that can climb and roll over each other into set formations.

INSIDER : Test & Measurement
Compact Depth Sensor Inspired by Spiders

Inspired by spiders, researchers at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), have developed a compact and efficient depth sensor that could be used onboard...

Rutgers engineers have embedded high performance electrical circuits inside 3D-printed plastics, which could lead to smaller and versatile drones and better-performing small...

At any moment in Delhi, India, a resident might start their car, releasing exhaust that floats into the atmosphere. In northwest India, a...

New ceramics expand on ways to more efficiently use heat radiation.
On-Demand Webinars : Medical
New Developments in Catheter Shaft Components – Part 2

This Webinar focuses on advancements in catheter shaft componentry with a deeper dive into film cast technology. Specifically, we will hone in on polyimide and lubricious polyimide.

On-Demand Webinars : Green Design & Manufacturing
Rapid, Selective Volatile Emissions Testing for Vehicles and Components

Regulators and consumers demand increasingly lower levels of harmful volatile emissions in motor vehicle passenger cabins, pushing manufacturers toward more comprehensive testing – from component level to finished vehicles – to ensure conformance and avoid costly...

On-Demand Webinars : Materials
Enhance Product Design and Dependability with Advanced Coating Technologies

For decades, engineers have been tasked with designing new products that are not only smaller and lighter than previous generations, but they must also operate in increasingly challenging environments. These challenges are true in many industries, including...

A wireless, wearable monitor built with stretchable electronics could allow comfortable, long-term health monitoring of adults, babies, and small children without concern for...

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

A unique new flexible and stretchable device, worn against the skin and capable of producing electrical energy by transforming the compounds present in sweat, has been developed and...

Parylene coatings are being used in the medical industry and even space. Our expert explains why.

A new concept for an aluminum battery has twice the energy density as previous versions, is made of abundant materials, and could lead to reduced production costs and environmental impact. The...

Question of the Week : Electronics & Computers
Will ‘Unbreakable Batteries’ Find a Place in Electronics and Vehicles?

Increasingly, lithium-ion batteries are supporting portable electronics, electric vehicles, and grid storage.

A highly sensitive rectifying element in the form of a nanowire backward diode can convert low-power 100 nanowatt microwaves into usable electricity. The newly developed...

The challenge of building an energy future that preserves and improves the planet is a massive undertaking. Scientists and politicians have recognized...

On-Demand Webinars : Automotive
Collaborative Robot Applications in the Automotive Industry

Smaller, easier to program, quick to implement, and typically one-third the cost of industrial bots, collaborative robots are more than being noticed in the industry. Recently a global director of manufacturing engineering integration at a major automotive OEM was quoted as...

On-Demand Webinars : Aerospace
Update on Civil Certification of Multicore Processing Systems in Commercial Avionics

The transition from traditional federated systems to consolidated multicore platforms gives aerospace suppliers a competitive edge. This 60-minute Webinar examines the industry’s remarkable journey bringing multicore processing to avionics systems as...

INSIDER : Robotics, Automation & Control
Intelligent Microrobot Moves Without A Visible Force

Researchers developed a microrobot that measures a few micrometers across and resembles a paper bird made with origami. It flaps its wings or bends its neck and retracts its head via magnetism. The movements take place within milliseconds; programming of the nanomagnets only takes a few...

On-Demand Webinars : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Metal 3D Printing

Having proven its capability and future potential in producing plastic-based parts, 3D printing has also been progressing steadily in metal. Recent market analysis reports stake material and printer sales in the metal 3D sector to be growing at rates of over 30% and 45%, respectively – fastest among all 3D printing...

Blog : Electronics & Computers
Countdown: The Top Stories of 2019

Tech Briefs in 2019 celebrated historic NASA anniversaries, new ways to power electronics, and innovative hacks of our “smartest” technologies.

Blog : Robotics, Automation & Control
How to Fix Satellites — With Satellites
If a satellite breaks in orbit, there's not much that can be done. A professor envisions a new idea for refueling and repair.
Tech Talks : Automotive
An Advanced Solution for Hydrodynamic Film Challenges

Seals are responsible for nearly one-quarter of all lost mechanical energy in traditional transmissions, and manufacturers have increasingly turned to new low-friction transmission seals to save fuel, lower emissions, and extend the operating life of industrial powertrains. This...

Question of the Week : Materials
Can Gels Stop Wildfires?

A preventive treatment developed by Stanford researchers could greatly reduce the incidence and severity of wildfires. The cellulose-based, gel-like fluid protects against fires and stays on target vegetation through rain, wind, and other environmental exposure. Watch the demo on Tech Briefs TV.

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?