June 2017

News : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Handheld Laser Probe Detects Cancer in Real Time

An optical probe that detects cancerous brain cells in real time is impressive enough. Scientists in Montreal say they’ve developed one that is “infallible.”

News : Sensors/Data Acquisition
New at Sensors Expo: IoT Platform Collects Data via Bluetooth

Fujitsu Components America released its enhanced BlueBrain Sensor-Based IoT System Platform at the 2017 Sensors Expo & Conference, hosted in San Jose, CA. The BlueBrain platform is now available with boards that allow designers to create a wireless monitoring and data collection...

News : Photonics/Optics
Ultra-Thin Camera Says Good-Bye to the Lens

A new proof-of-concept design retires one of the most familiar parts of a traditional camera: the lens. By swapping out the glass lens with a tiny array of light receivers, a California Institute...

INSIDER : Manufacturing & Prototyping
3D Printed Tensegrity Object Can Change Shape

A team of researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology has developed a way to use 3D printers to create objects capable of shape change. The objects use tensegrity, a structural system of floating rods in compression and cables in continuous tension. The researchers fabricated the struts from...

INSIDER : Motion Control
Self-Learning Robot Hands Adapt to Grasp Objects

A new grasp system with robotic hands works without previously knowing the characteristics of objects. The system, which learns by trial and error, was developed by researchers at Bielefeld...

INSIDER : Materials
Crawling Robot is Powered by Moisture

Using an off-the-shelf camera flash, researchers at Jilin University, China, turned an ordinary sheet of graphene oxide into a material that bends when exposed to moisture. They then used this material to make a spider-like crawler and claw robot that move in response to changing humidity, without the need...

Question of the Week : Energy
Will solar paint catch on?

In today's lead INSIDER story, researcher Kourosh Kalantar-zadeh said of his "solar paint": "It will be widespread. It is a technology that can shift the energy economy to a hydrogen economy. This disruptive concept has the potential to change many of the current technologies as we know them." What do you think? Will...

News : Data Acquisition
Sound-Off: How Does Connectivity Improve Vehicle Design?

Vehicle connectivity enables suppliers and manufacturers to gather new kinds of customer-specific information. See how automotive OEMs — and construction equipment makers like Caterpillar — use connected data systems and sensors to identify product flaws and improve future design...

News : Energy
‘Solar Paint’ Produces Energy from Sunlight

A team from Australia’s RMIT University created a “solar paint” that generates its own energy. The sunlight-absorbing substance absorbs and splits water atoms, resulting in hydrogen that could someday be used to power fuel cells and conventional combustion engines.

News : Aerospace
Survey: Aerospace Engineers Seek Clarity on Cadmium

A survey of more than two hundred aerospace manufacturing professionals demonstrated a lack of understanding about cadmium, a highly toxic metal that is still being used frequently in the U.S. aerospace industry.

Question of the Week : Automotive
Will the "ifbattery" catch on?

A new story on TechBriefs.com this week featured an interview with Purdue University's John Cushman. The professor's "ifbattery" system may someday allow drivers to recharge their cars as quickly and easily as filling up a gas tank. What do you think? Will the "ifbattery" catch on?

Who's Who : Materials
Adam Sidor, NASA Research Fellow, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA

Thermal Protection Systems (TPS) — heatshields — form the outer surface of spacecraft and provide protection as the vehicle plunges through planetary atmospheres. Conformal ablative materials are currently being developed to improve TPS performance. Adam Sidor is...

News : Materials
Super-Strong 'Glassy Carbon' is Elastic and Electric

A new compressed form of glassy carbon opens up possibilities for applications requiring low weight and high strength — from aerospace parts to football helmets.

News : Data Acquisition
Sound-Off: 'Big Data' Best Practices

There was a time when the R&D powertrain group at Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) would log up to 500 GB of data per day. How do you sift through such a large number of files? Anjelica Warren, Product Marketing Manager at National Instruments, reviews ways to spend less time analyzing data and creating...

News : Energy
‘Instantly Rechargeable’ Battery Drives New Electric Car Possibilities

A new battery system may someday allow drivers to recharge their cars as quickly and easily as filling up a gas tank.

News : Medical
Researchers control adhesive material remotely with light

Adhesive mechanisms in the natural world, as used by geckos and other animals when they walk upside down on the ceiling, have many advantages. They are strongly adhesive – without glues or residues. Scientists at Kiel University are researching how these mechanisms can be artificially...

News : Medical
‘Most stretchable 3D printable elastomer’ in the world

Due to its excellent material properties of elasticity, resilience, and electrical and thermal insulation, elastomers have been used in a myriad of applications. They are especially ideal for fabricating soft robots, flexible electronics, and smart biomedical devices that require soft,...

News : Information Technology
What’s New on Tech Briefs: Can You Answer Our Readers’ Big Questions?

New web-exclusive stories this month highlight soft robots, bio-printing successes, and opportunities to answer readers' questions.

Question of the Week : Energy
Can the Desolenator provide a solution for the global water crisis?

A new Tech Briefs Q&A highlighted an innovative water-purification system called the "Desolenator." Using only solar energy, the device provides clean water from any source. What do you think? Can the Desolenator provide a solution for the global water crisis?

News : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Sensors Detect Disease Markers in Breath

A small, thin square of organic plastic can detect disease markers in breath or toxins. The sensor chip can be used by patients and discarded.

INSIDER : Sensors/Data Acquisition
One Plug-In Sensor Does Work of Many

Researchers have developed a sensor package that monitors multiple phenomena in a room using machine-learning techniques. The prototype contained 19 different sensor channels, including sensors that indirectly detect sound, vibration, motion, color, light intensity, speed, and direction. The sensor board is...

News : Data Acquisition
Sound-Off: How Can Organizations Ensure Security in the Cloud?

A reader asks: "How can organizations that use cloud services maintain security of customer data?" See our expert's response — and write one of your own.

News : Energy
‘Creating the Future’: Water Purifier Requires Only Sunlight

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 780 million people do not have access to clean water sources. The inventor of a water-purification technology hopes to change that statistic and offer an affordable and sustainable way of addressing the global water...

News : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Wearable System Guides Visually Impaired Users

A new wearable system from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will help blind users navigate through indoor environments.

News : Medical
Assessing brain bleeding in head injuries with new device

In a clinical trial conducted among adults in 11 hospitals, researchers have shown that a hand-held EEG device approved in 2016 by the U.S. FDA that is commercially available can quickly and with 97 percent accuracy rule out if a person with a head injury is likely to have brain bleeding...

News : Medical
Giant shipworm could reveal clues about human medicine, bacterial infections

Northeastern professor Daniel Distel and his colleagues have discovered a dark, slithering 4-foot-long creature that dwells in the foul mud of a remote lagoon in the Philippines. They say studying the animal, a giant shipworm with pinkish siphons at one end and an...

News : Medical
New handheld fiber-optic probe brings endoscopic diagnosis of cancer closer to clinic

In an important step toward endoscopic diagnosis of cancer, researchers have developed a handheld fiber-optic probe that can be used to perform multiple nonlinear imaging techniques without the need for tissue staining. The new multimodal imaging probe uses an...

News : Medical
Cells grow more naturally in 'spaghetti'

The usual way of cultivating cells is to use a flat laboratory dish of glass. However, inside a human body, the cells do not grow on a flat surface but rather in three dimensions. This has lead researchers at Lund University in Sweden to develop a porous "spaghetti" of tissue-friendly polymers with...

Articles : Photonics/Optics
Drones Spot Gas Leaks From the Sky

ANAHEIM, CA. During this year’s SPIE Defense + Commercial Sensing 2017 conference, panelists from industry, academia, and government demonstrated how miniaturized sensing platforms, and the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) hosting them, can improve the detection of hazardous gas leakage.

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Self-Assembling, Reversible, Reagentless Biosensor

Recognition-based biosensors capable of specifically detecting chemicals, toxins, and bio-agents in their environment are of increasing importance. An important goal in biosensor evolution is production of nanoscale assemblies capable of continuously monitoring concentrations of target species...

Products : Sensors/Data Acquisition
New Products: June 2017 Sensor Technology

The following companies will be exhibiting at Sensors Expo & Conference 2017. The event, held in the San Jose, CA-based McEnery Convention Center, runs from June 27-29.

Articles : Sensors/Data Acquisition
MEMS Move Wearables Beyond Touch Interfaces

We use touch, the dominant user interface for years, to tap keyboards on laptops and tablets, to communicate with our car’s portable GPS, and to text friends and take photos from our smartphones.

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Chip-Based Power Measurement Sensor

Phone signals spend at least some time traveling over fiber-optic cables. To ensure that the information gets where it needs to go, and to help researchers find better ways to ferry this information around, it’s necessary to reliably measure radiation power through these fibers. In order to calibrate a...

Briefs : Aerospace
Space Radiation Detector with Spherical Geometry

NASA’s Glenn Research Center has developed and patented the Compact Full-Field Ion Detector System (CFIDS), a radiation particle detection system that provides information on the kinetic energies, directions, and electric charges of subatomic particles. The integrated package consists of a...

Articles : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Sensors’ Role Evolves as New Wearables Emerge

Microelectromechanical system (MEMS)-based components, such as sensors and actuators, began penetrating the wearable products market about a decade ago, when the first accelerometers replaced mechanical springs in pedometers and step counters.

Application Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
3D Printing Enables Customized Magnets

Polymer-bonded magnets are valuable for many sensor applications that require the production of unique and reproducible field profiles, not necessarily fields with the highest strength.

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Low-Pressure Plasma Cleaning of Aerospace Components Using Breathing/Compressed Air

A method for precision cleaning of aerospace components is needed that does not use hazardous or environmentally harmful commodities. Historically, precision cleaning methods have utilized solvents that have contributed to the depletion of the ozone layer or had...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Digital Beamforming Interferometry

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center has developed a new radar approach that uses a single phased array antenna and a single-pass configuration to generate interferograms, known as Digital Beamforming Interferometry. A digital beamforming radar system allows the implementation of nonconventional radar techniques,...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Chain Drive Dust Conveyer

The Mars 2020 coring drill will generate a significant amount of dust and debris (known as fines) due to the volume of milled material displaced by the corer's annulus. These cuttings must be removed to ensure that the drill does not jam. The typical method involves fluids, which may not work on Mars due to the...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Autonomous Combustion-Powered Hopping Robot

Robots are conventionally made mobile by rolling on wheels; however, wheeled robots have limited ability to traverse large obstacles. Obstacles much taller than the robot's wheels can prevent passage, and obstacles with significant horizontal gaps, such as trenches, can also prevent passage. One...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Fabrication of BSA 14-23 Superhydrophobic Sponges as Efficient Oil and Organic Liquid Absorbents

Oil spills have become an environmental problem due to the growth of offshore oil exploration, production, and transportation. There are several methods that have been used to clean up oil spills such as chemical dispersants, water skimming, and...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Suspended Platform Improves Efficiency in Large-Scale Manufacturing

The Flying Carpet is a platform of any shape, size, or material that is suspended by a four-point cable system. The platform can serve as a movable scaffolding and worker positioning system that enables workers to maneuver themselves, parts, and tools throughout a large work...

Articles : Materials
Products of Tomorrow: June 2017

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 innovation.

Briefs : Materials
Combination Structural Support and Thermal Protection System

NASA's Langley Research Center has developed a system that provides both structural support and protection attributes in a failsafe manner. This innovation incorporates the use of a pre-ceramic polymer (PCP) composite structure that when overheated or exposed to fire or plasma will...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
BiBlade Sampling Chain

The BiBlade sampler has been developed for potentially acquiring samples from the surface of a planetary body. The tool could conceivably be used in both in situ and notional sample return missions to planetary bodies including asteroids, comets, and moons. While the tool was designed for planetary sampling missions, it...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Recovering Metals from Electronic Waste

End-of-life electronic devices such as smartphones, computers, televisions, and other electronics contain significant amounts of valuable metals including base metals (zinc, tin, lead, nickel, and copper), precious metals (silver, gold, and palladium), and rare earth magnets (neodymium, yttrium, samarium)....

Briefs : Materials
Composite Insulated Conductor

NASA's Langley Research Center has developed a new class of polyimide composite electrical insulation materials for wires, cable, and bus pipe. These new insulation materials have been shown to withstand a 12-hour gas flame test while maintaining structural and electrical circuit integrities. These extreme...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Solder Bond Packaging for High-Voltage Pulsed Power Devices

The huge demand for switching components exceeding silicon's (Si) current density limitation of 200 A/cm2 has pushed the enhancement of alternative semiconductor materials such as silicon carbide (SiC), gallium nitride, and diamond. The enhanced material properties of SiC,...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Omnidirectional Mobile Robot with Two Moving Parts

SIMbot is an updated version of the ballbot, an elegantly simple robot whose tall, thin body moves on top of a sphere slightly smaller than a bowling ball. SIMbot features a motor with just one moving part: the ball. The other active moving part of the robot is the body itself.

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Interactive Robot Control System and Method of Use

Researchers at NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC), in collaboration with General Motors and Oceaneering, have designed a state-of-the-art, highly dexterous, humanoid robot: Robonaut 2 (R2). R2 is made up of multiple systems and sub-components: vision systems, image-recognition systems, sensors,...

Briefs : Software
Launch Trajectory Acquisition System (LTAS) Source Slaving Selector (LS3)

The LTAS Source Slaving Selector application was developed to transmit LTAS data in User Datagram Protocol (UDP) packets using the LTAS data from one of multiple incoming UDP streams. Users select the data stream via a graphical user interface (GUI), which also displays a...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Positioning Stage

Assembly of optic-electronic devices requires precision alignment of optical fibers with lasers or sensors, and then bonding. A worker looking through a microscope at the end of a fiber conventionally executes this precision alignment and bonding process.

Articles : Research Lab
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

In 1928, physics professor Ernest O. Lawrence left his faculty position at Yale University for a job at the University of California's Berkeley campus. While at Berkeley, Lawrence invented a unique particle accelerator called a cyclotron that would prove his hypothesis: whirling charged particles around to...

Briefs : Materials
Multifunctional Platelet Composites for Tin Whisker Mitigation

To comply with the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive, pure tin is replacing lead-tin alloys in commercial electronic devices. Unfortunately, tin can grow whiskers that can lead to electrical short circuits or metal vapor arcing, both of which threaten the long-term...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Additive-Manufactured, Very Lightweight, Diamond Turned Aspheric Mirror

Industrial-grade, lightweight mirrors used in military and aeronautics have tight specifications brought on by demanding performance parameters. For example, a mirror that is used in an orbiting telescope would have to be extremely lightweight, stiff, and be configured to...

Articles : Electronics & Computers
Virtual Fabrication and Assembly Documentation

Over the years, the term “virtual” has become associated with many different domains. Virtual machines are now commonplace as a substitute for physical laptops or desktops, allowing for the emulation of computer systems. Of course, virtual reality is in the news daily as new headsets, apps, and...

Briefs : Materials
Electrically Conductive, Optically Transparent Polymer/Carbon Nanotube Composites

NASA's Langley Research Center researchers have developed a novel method for making carbon nanotubes that are very uniform in size. A template is used to guide the carbon nanotube growth so that all nanotubes are uniform in size. The carbon nanotubes can be used...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Chip-Sized Terahertz Modulator for Faster Data Transmission

Tufts University engineers have invented a chip-sized, high-speed modulator that operates at terahertz (THz) frequencies at room temperature and at low voltages without consuming DC power. The discovery could transmit data at significantly higher speeds than currently possible.

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Integrated High-Speed Torque Control System for a Robotic Joint

Researchers at the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC), in collaboration with General Motors and Oceaneering, have designed a state-of-the-art, highly dexterous, humanoid robot: Robonaut 2 (R2). R2's nearly 50 patented and patent-pending technologies have the potential to be...

Briefs : Software
Acoustic Propagation and Emulation Toolset (APET)

Currently, APET includes a modified version of the Rotorcraft Noise Model (RNM, version 7). It also includes the newly developed Spectral Attenuation Method (SAM), which contains the Ray Tracing Program (RTP) and two versions of a Green's Function Parabolic Equation (GFPE) code. The third...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Developing a Satellite-Based Autonomous Vehicle Control System

The rapid rise of global interest in the field of autonomous driving is ushering in a new era of automobiles. With many vehicles already offering autonomous preventative safety systems, the addition of improved road infrastructure could increase the reliability and maturity of...

Products : Electronics & Computers
Product of the Month: June 2017

Phoenix Contact, Middletown, PA, introduced VL2 1000 industrial PCs equipped with Intel® Atom™ Bay Trail processors that are available as box or panel PCs. The VL2 1000 includes a choice of 7", 9", 12.1", 15.6", 18.5", and 21.5" display sizes with capacitive-touch interface, allowing swiping,...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Wearable Robotic System for Minimally Invasive Surgery

Researchers developed a wearable robotic system for minimally invasive surgery (also known as keyhole surgery) that will offer surgeons natural and dexterous movement, as well as the ability to sense, see, control, and safely navigate through the surgical environment. The need for better...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Technique Provides Security for Multi-Robot Systems

Multi-robot systems deployed in real-world applications are exposed to the same issues that computer systems face. A cybersecurity attack on a robot has the consequences of an attack on a computer system, with the added risk that the robot could be controlled to take potentially damaging...

Briefs : Software
AUTONOMIE Automotive System Design Software

AUTONOMIE is a MATLAB-based software environment and framework for automotive control system design, simulation, and analysis. It simulates subsystems, systems, or an entire vehicle, and predicts and analyzes fuel efficiency and performance. The software performs analyses and tests for virtual...

Briefs : Software
Numerical Method to Predict the Evaporation Time of a Water Droplet Attached to a Solid Boundary in the Presence of Fluid Flow

One of the objectives of the In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) RESOLVE project was to extract water from lunar regolith by heating and then capturing and quantifying the released water. A potentially large error in...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Functionalization of Carbon Nanotubes

Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have attracted much attention due to their extraordinary mechanical and unique electronic properties. CNTs are being studied for applications in high-strength/low-weight composites and other applications. In order to alter the CNT properties for particular applications, chemical...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Carbon Fiber and Fiber Metal Laminate Composites Reinforced with Metallic Glass

Carbon fiber (CF) and carbon fiber composites have gained widespread use in recent years due to their unique combination of high strength and stiffness-to-weight ratio. To improve their mechanical properties, CF is sometimes used as a laminate, usually with...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Development of a Sodium LiDAR for Spaceborne Missions

Laser and electro-optic technologies are under development to remotely measure sodium (Na) by adapting existing LiDAR technology with spaceflight heritage. The developed instrumentation will serve as the core for planning a heliophysics mission targeted to study the composition and dynamics...

Briefs : Materials
Space Vehicle Heat Shield Having Edgewise Strips of Ablative Material

An alternate heat shield concept for the Orion space vehicle is to use interlocking blocks of Phenolic Impregnated Carbon Ablator (PICA). The blocks are independent from one another and there is a defined gap inches between the blocks. That gap poses serious problems to the...

Articles : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Wire Sensors Detect Dangerous Conditions in the Clouds

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 of health and medicine, consumer goods, transportation, public safety, computer technology, and...

Briefs : Materials
Mechanically Strong, Thermally Stable, and Electrically Conductive Nanocomposite Structure and Method of Fabricating Same

NASA's Langley Research Center has developed a method for producing multifunctional, structural, thermally stable nanocomposites with aligned carbon nanotubes. The invention improves upon current state-of-the-art graphite...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Micro Acoustic Resonant Chambers for Heating/Agitating/Mixing (MARCHAM)

To measure organics in a fluid sample, one either has to bring the sample in the form of a colloid to the instrument, or extract the organics from the sample and bring the liquid extract to the instrument. The disclosed technique enables both extraction and transport of the...

Briefs : Software
Generation of Cut- and Split-Cells for Face-Piercing Geometry in Embedded-Boundary Cartesian Methods

This innovation addresses several critical issues in the construction of cut control volumes using embedded-boundary Cartesian mesh generators. The innovation considers the case of a surface triangulation intersecting the face of a Cartesian hex...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Invertible Time Invariant Linear Filtering (InTILF) Method for Pattern Detection and Modeling of Stochastic One- or Two-Dimensional Data

X-ray astronomy offers the opportunity to observe important phenomena, including the early accretion of massive black holes and detecting diffuse ionized intergalactic gas that is heated to X-ray temperatures...

Articles : Manufacturing & Prototyping
How Metal 3D Printing is Redefining Part Design

It's one of the basic rules of manufacturing: As part complexity increases, so do machining and assembly costs. But what if there were a different way to produce metal parts — one with fewer limitations than traditional milling, turning, and grinding processes, and able to build complex parts in...

Briefs : Software
High-Speed Particle Image Velocimetry

Particle flow fields of high particle concentration are found in many commercial applications, including chemical processing, energy conversion, pharmaceutical processing, food processing, and biomedical applications. This technology will allow, for the first time, the measurement of particle motion within...

Briefs : Materials
Improved Cast Stainless Steel Alloys

At high temperatures, currently available cast stainless steel alloys used for engine component applications do not have the long-term stability of their original castings, and are lacking in their ability to resist deformation and cracking from extreme temperature changes. There is a need for high-strength,...

Briefs : Motion Control
Advanced Tool Drive System (ATDS) Camera Positioning Mechanism (CPM)

Robotic servicing of a satellite in low earth orbit (LEO) or geosynchronous Earth orbit (GEO) requires advanced systems capable of meeting the harsh environments of space. To support this effort, the Goddard Space Flight Center Satellite Servicing Capabilities Office (SSCO) has...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Compact, Lightweight Trap Vent

This compact, lightweight trap vent is used to minimize the pressure differential of a high-altitude, balloon-borne detector. The vent allows the pressure to equalize rapidly, yet does not allow any light to enter the detector.

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Linear Rope Brake System for Aerial Delivery

There are instances when items (e.g., supplies) need to be lowered from an aerial vehicle to the ground. For example, the United States military often lowers supplies from a rotary winged aircraft (e.g., a helicopter) to ground troops. In some instances, there is even a need to deliver mission...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Origami-Inspired Robot Fits in Tight Spaces

Researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) were inspired by origami when they developed the Pop-Up Flat Folding Explorer Robot (PUFFER). Its lightweight design — which can hitch a ride aboard a rover — can flatten itself, tucking in its wheels and crawling into places that larger robots...

Products : Motion Control
New Products: June 2017 Motion Design

Load Adaptor

Zero-Max (Plymouth, MN) introduced the Model 650 Overhung Load Adaptor that's designed to provide more radial and axial load support for hydraulic motors and pumps. The SAE B Model 650 is in the middle of the company's range of load adaptor sizes ranging from the smallest 200 SAE A...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Software Interface Simplifies Robot Control

The traditional interface for remotely operating robots works well for roboticists. They use a computer screen and mouse to independently control six degrees of freedom, turning three virtual rings and adjusting arrows to get the robot into position to grab items or perform a specific task. But for...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Composite C-Channel Incrementally Adjustable Fluid Control System

The ability to selectively adjust levels and flow rates in fluid control systems is a fundamental aspect of dredged material and fluid management, and necessary to numerous farm and industrial processes. Historically, fluid management structures such as gates and weirs offer...

Articles : Motion Control
Sizing and Selecting Linear Motion Systems

Virtually all manufacturing processes incorporate some type of linear motion. A common mistake that designers make when sizing and selecting linear motion systems is to overlook critical application requirements in the final system. This can lead to redesigns, and may also result in an over-engineered...

Application Briefs : Motion Control
Oil Sheer Clutch Cuts Downtime for Metal Stamping Press

In the metal stamping business, precision, repeatability, and uptime are key. But stamping accuracy suffers when improper tension on the coil feeders incorrectly supplies metal to the presses, resulting in off-spec parts and increased rejections. ART Technologies of Fairfield, OH, relies on...

Articles : Motion Control
Piezo Technology in Pneumatic Valves

Pneumatic valves made with piezo technology offer many advantages. They are small, lightweight, extremely precise, durable, fast, and save energy. Piezo valves do not need energy to maintain a switching status, and therefore generate almost no heat. What's more, piezo valves can potentially be operated...

Articles : Motion Control
Adding Simple Vision Systems to Collaborative Robots

Adding vision to a collaborative robot can open a world of possibilities for automation applications. With a vision system, a robot can inspect parts, check specific features of a part, recognize a part to pick it up, count items, adjust its path using visual feedback, color sort, and so on....

News : Automotive
Sound-Off: Will Vehicles Go from Metal to Plastic?

A reader asks: "In the next 5 years, which areas of the vehicle will see a conversion from metal to plastic?" Tech Briefs invites you to share your thoughts and “Sound Off!”

Technology Leaders