July 2018

Products : Software
Product of the Month: July 2018

Altair, Troy, MI, released the 2018 versions of electromagnetic (EM) simulation software FEKO®, WinProp®, Flux®, and FluxMotor®. These electromagnetic solver...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Active Response Gravity Offload System

NASA has used two systems to train astronauts for weightlessness. The first is the Reduced Gravity Simulator that suspended the astronaut at an angle of 80.5 so that only 1/6th of his or her weight was supported by the ground, while the rest was supported by a pulley system. The other system, designed...

Plastics are excellent thermal insulators — a quality that can be an advantage in some applications. But this property is less desirable in products such as plastic...

A new hybrid energy storage controller is designed for a centralized control system that operates multiple energy storage devices (ESDs) and distributed generators to provide energy and...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
3D-Printed Device Produces Nanofiber Meshes

Nanofibers are useful for any application that benefits from a high ratio of surface area to volume, such as solar cells that maximize exposure to sunlight, or fuel cell electrodes that catalyze...

NASA Langley Research Center has developed a wireless, open-circuit SansEC (Sans Electrical Connections) sensor that can detect the presence of chemicals without being in contact...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Biodegradable Microsensors for Food Monitoring

Microsensors are used in many different applications such as the detection of poisonous gases. They are also integrated into miniaturized transmitter/receiver systems such as RFID chips. Since...

NASA's Langley Research Center has developed a SansEC Sensor technology for use with aerospace fuel delivery systems. The SansEC technology is a...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Nuclear Radiation-Detecting Device

A material was developed for nuclear radiation detection that could provide a significantly less expensive alternative to the detectors now in commercial use. Specifically, the high-performance material is...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Ultra-High-Temperature Polymer Additive Manufacturing

Polymer matrix composites are extremely attractive to researchers working on next-generation applications due to their lightweight properties and ability to withstand extreme conditions...

Briefs : Green Design & Manufacturing
OFFSET: A Global Carbon Cycle Game

The OFFSET video game was designed to teach children the basics of the carbon cycle in a fun and engaging way. The game play is a mix of Pong, Breakout, and RTS. The game has a retro-art style, and uses Game Center, so that players can compare scores with each other.

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Molten Target Sputtering (MTS) Deposition

The sputtering process has emerged as one of the major deposition techniques for thin film coating practices in research and industrial production. The process is limited by low deposition rates and...

Stereolithography — a method of 3D printing — uses an ultraviolet laser controlled by a computer-aided design system to trace patterns across the surface of a photoactive polymer solution. The...

Life Alert's “I've fallen and I can't get up®!” became one of the most famous infomercial catchphrases in the late 1980s. The company's device,...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Constant-Pressure, High-Throughput Membrane Permeation Testing System

Membrane technologies have shown tremendous potential for a variety of separations, and new applications are constantly appearing. These new applications require exploration of materials, operational conditions, and membrane synthesis procedures, and demand accurate and timely...

Recent findings indicate that frequent, short-term crew exposure to elevated CO2 levels, combined with other physiological impacts of microgravity, may lead to a...

Articles : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Products of Tomorrow: July 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...

Gas biosensors have been developed that “see” into soil and follow the behavior of the microbial communities in the soil. Genetically engineered bacteria was used...

Who

Patients in substance abuse treatment programs.

Briefs : Green Design & Manufacturing
Crystallization Method for Carbon Capture from Ambient Air

A method to capture carbon dioxide directly from ambient air offers a new option for carbon capture and storage strategies to combat global warming.

Products : Sensors/Data Acquisition
New on the Market: July 2018
Coupled Inductors

Coilcraft, Cary, IL, offers LPD8035V Series miniature, high-voltage, 1:1 coupled inductors that provide 1500 Vrms and one-minute isolation (hipot) between windings. The inductors are...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Volumetric 3D Printing

While additive manufacturing (AM), commonly known as 3D printing, is enabling engineers and scientists to build parts in configurations and designs never before possible, the impact of the technology has been limited...

Technological advancements in materials, sensors, and computing have driven demand for higher-performance satellites. Satellites need to be much more capable in a much smaller size with a...

Briefs : Materials
Reducing Moisture in Natural Fibers

Biological transformation focuses on the sustainable use of biological resources such as plants or microorganisms. In the future, it is expected to reduce reliance on fossil fuels such as oil, coal, or gas, and help tackle major challenges such as climate change and global population growth. It offers options...

Briefs : Energy
Bi-Directional Energy Cascades and the Origin of Kinetic Turbulence in the Solar Wind

The kinetic turbulence of solar wind originates in the solar corona. The solar wind carries the fluctuations and escapes from the corona along the open magnetic field lines, and enters into the interplanetary space. The energy exchange among waves and particles...

NASA Spinoff : Data Acquisition
Remote Sensing for Smarter Forest Fire Fighting

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...

Briefs : Software
Global Series Solutions of Nonlinear Differential Equations with Shocks using Walsh Functions

An orthonormal basis set is introduced for use in generating global solutions to nonlinear differential equations with shocks. By global, it is meant that a single series solution is generated that is valid over the entire domain, not a separate...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Correcting the Antenna Temperature of an Earth-Observing Microwave Instrument for Extraterrestrial Contamination

Microwave antennas deployed for spaceborne radiometers are diffraction-limited, with typical beam efficiency of about 90%, and provide relatively poor selectivity against radiation from celestial bodies (Moon, Sun, galaxy) when they...

Application Briefs : Test & Measurement
Autonomous Vehicles and the Burden of Testing
AB Dynamics
Wiltshire, England
www.abdynamics.com

Autonomous vehicles cannot be tested for every eventuality that might transpire in their operating environment. As the technology...

Briefs : Aerospace
Space Habitability Observation Reporting Tool (iSHORT)

As documented by the Human Research Program, there is a need for tools to aid in assessing habitability in space vehicles/habitats. Currently, human factors and habitability feedback is collected during post-mission debriefs that may occur up to several months following the end of a mission....

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Geodesolver for the Geodesic Equation

NASA has a need to determine the distribution of dark matter around planets like Earth. Doing so necessitates the ability to repeatedly solve the geodesic equation in simulations of weakly interacting particles streaming through bodies described by a Schwarzschild metric. Geodesolver numerically solves the...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Passive In-Situ Gas and Chemical Sensor

In many chemical processes, it is often desirable to detect the presence, quantity, and/or qualities of certain chemicals of interest; for example, in many closed chemical processes (either batch or...

Briefs : Green Design & Manufacturing
Protein Mat Soaks Up Chemical Pollution

Despite years of effort to stabilize proteins outside of their native environments, scientists have made limited progress in combining proteins with synthetic components like fibers without...

Innovators at NASA's Glenn Research Center have adapted a process to apply thermal and environmental barrier coatings using a unique combination of a plasma spray (PS) process and...

A polymer was discovered that possesses many of the same characteristics as plastics, such as light weight, heat resistance, strength, and durability. But the new polymer, unlike...

Trilinear Line Scan Cameras

Teledyne e2v (Milpitas, CA) has announced its next generation of line scan cameras — the high-resolution ELiiXA+ trilinear color range. These new 8k pixel...

Over the past decade, researchers have been working to create nanoscale materials and devices using DNA as construction materials through a process called DNA origami. A single long “sca...

“Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement. If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand...

Researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas have solved a longstanding problem that has been plaguing the scanning tunneling microscope for more than 35 years: How to prevent...

Today’s high-resolution laser scanning confocal microscopes (LSCM), also referred to simply as laser scanning microscopes, are powerful high-magnification surface metrology instruments with...

Application Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Military Optics Technology

The demand for innovative solutions to enhance the safety of military personnel is continually on the rise. This includes the need to improve the performance of military vehicles and aircraft, in terms of both...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Seeing the Brain’s Electrical Activity

Neurons in the brain communicate via rapid electrical impulses that allow the brain to coordinate behavior, sensation, thoughts, and emotion. Scientists who want to study this electrical activity...

The term “smart camera” has been used for decades, but there has been little agreement on the actual definition. This article will use the term “smart” as the Merriam Webster dictionary defines it:...

The task of creating a streetlamp optical system has changed over the last 20 years and due to this change, so has optical design software. Let’s compare the task of...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Lens-Free Fluorescent Microscope

Rice engineers have developed a wide-field microscope thinner than a credit card, small enough to sit on a fingertip and capable of micrometer resolution over a volume of several cubic millimeters.

A mere 20 years ago, machine vision system designers did all they could to avoid color imaging applications due to higher costs and greater system and software complexity. But as...

Briefs : Transportation
See Objects Hidden Around Corners

A driverless car is making its way through a winding neighborhood street, about to make a sharp turn onto a road where a child’s ball has just rolled. Although no person in the car can see that ball, the...

The Fused Analytic Desktop Environment (FADE) provides analysts in information-driven fields with a range of analysis technologies — capable of handling ad-hoc data sources — integrated into a...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Near-Zero-Power Temperature Sensor

A temperature sensor was developed that runs on 113 picowatts of power — about 10 billion times smaller than a Watt. The technology could enable devices that can be powered by harvesting energy from...

Facility Focus : Materials
Los Alamos National Laboratory

Established in 1943, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in New Mexico was site Y of the Manhattan Project for a single purpose: to design and build an atomic bomb, which took just 27 months. The Los Alamos...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Real-Time Airborne Particle Analyzer

Particle analysis is useful for determining chemical compositions in a wide range of disciplines, from ascertaining the source of a petroleum sample to duplicating a fragrance. The technique is appealing...

Positional sensors have applications where a very accurate measurement of position is needed over a limited range. One example of such an application is in manipulation of a...

Laser-induced graphene (LIG) has been used to write graphene patterns onto food and other materials to quickly embed conductive identification tags and sensors into the products...

Polymer membrane separators play a crucial function in many energy and water technologies including energy storage, hydrogen generation through water electrolysis, and...

Mobile or transportable power supply and distribution systems are needed for various types of work that require electrical power in a field or outdoor environment — such as construction and environmental...

A limitation of today's ultrasound devices is that they are difficult to use on objects that don't have perfectly flat surfaces. Conventional ultrasound probes have...

Briefs : Materials
Blocking/Deblocking Resin Systems

Similar to resin systems currently used in composites for aerospace structural applications such as toughened epoxies, this innovation is a modification to traditional resin chemistry to prevent polymerization and crosslinking of the resin when heated and pressed in an autoclave or other common resin curing...

The wetting behavior of a liquid on a solid surface is a phenomenon of significant practical importance. The angle of liquid-to-solid contact is important in areas such as adhesion,...

Computers and software play a major role in force measurement and quality control. Whether in the engineering lab, quality control inspection area,...

NASA's Glenn Research Center has developed a novel Double-acting Extremely Light Thermo-Acoustic (DELTA) converter that operates at high frequencies (>400 Hz) with greatly...

Jim Batdorf tells Tech Briefs about his unique career path, from chemical engineer to distiller of solar-powered spirits.
Question of the Week : Communications
Could Touch be the New Avenue for Communications?

Our lead story in today’s INSIDER highlights a 'general-purpose' tactile system designed to deliver information using text or speech symbols.

See five of the new products released this week at Sensors Expo 2018.

Engineers today are using their creativity to build a variety of superhero-like technologies that enhance our human capabilities, including exosuits, invisibility cloaks, and wall-scaling...

Question of the Week : Materials
Which Superpower Do You Want Most?

Our latest episode of “Here’s an Idea” showcased a variety of technologies designed to give the human user a kind of “superpower”: a Spider-Man-like adhesive; an Iron Man suit; a Jet Pack; and (thermal) invisibility.

CMOS Image Sensor

Teledyne e2v (Chelmsford, UK) recently announced its Emerald 67 megapixel, the newest member of its Emerald CMOS image sensor family. The new sensor features a...

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s (LLNL) National Ignition Facility (NIF) laser system has set a new record, firing 2.15 megajoules (MJ) of energy to its target chamber –...

A research project designed to enable more precise imaging of space objects has moved from lab bench testing to field testing at the John Bryan State Park observatory,...

Northern Arizona University assistant professor Ryan Behunin collaborated with a team of physicists from Yale and the University of Texas at Austin in discovering an innovative...

Talking about your feelings can be difficult. Now imagine if you’re a robot.

Researchers at Purdue University and the University of Virginia have designed peelable electronic films that can be cut and pasted onto any object, offering new sensing capabilities to...

Researchers at MIT have created cell-sized robots that may someday be used to inspect and analyze hard-to-reach locations, from oil pipelines to the human body.

INSIDER : Materials
Future Robots Powered by Light

A novel actuating material – nickel hydroxide-oxyhydroxide –can be powered by visible (Vis) light, electricity, and other stimuli. The material actuation can be instantaneously triggered by visible...

Engineers from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and Oak Ridge National Laboratory are teaching computers to quickly detect microscopic radiation damage.
Question of the Week : Robotics, Automation & Control
A Role for Cell-Sized Robots?

Today's lead INSIDER story highlighted cell-sized robots developed by a team at MIT. The researchers say the nanobots could someday support oil-pipeline inspection or medical diagnostics.

By introducing some new ingredients to the flow battery, Stanford University scientists are advancing a new way to store wind and solar electricity.

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?