August 2019

Blog : Imaging
AI and Agriculture: How to Spot Bad Bananas — With a Phone
AI and Agriculture: How to Spot Bad Bananas — With a Phone
The Tumaini app will could help farmers spot pests and disease before it's too late.
AI and Agriculture: How to Spot Bad Bananas — With a Phone
On-Demand Webinars : Automotive
Automotive Glazing: Past, Present, and Future

The design and use of materials for automotive glazing have changed. This 60-minute Webinar explores the backdrop of dynamic design trends and performance requirements over the 100+ years that automobiles have been in existence. It looks at the early days in the auto industry and what the word...

On-Demand Webinars : Sensors/Data Acquisition
SOSA and Its Impact on OpenVPX

The new Sensor Open System Architecture (SOSA) being spearheaded by the Air Force, Army, and Navy seeks to develop standards and architectures that provide uniformity, interoperability, and open architectures while simultaneously driving down procurement and operational costs for new C4ISR platforms.

Blog : Aerospace
Answering Your Questions: What Kind of Spacecraft Will Bring Astronauts to the Moon in 2024?
Answering Your Questions: What Kind of Spacecraft Will Bring Astronauts to the Moon in 2024?
Lockheed Martin's Rob Chambers is working on a spacecraft that will bring astronauts back to the lunar surface.
Answering Your Questions: What Kind of Spacecraft Will Bring Astronauts to the Moon in 2024?
Question of the Week : Energy
Do You See Potential with Electrokinetic Power?

Scientists from Caltech and Northwestern University have found a way to generate electricity by combining saltwater with one of life's more undesirable compounds: rust.

Blog : Aerospace
Answering Your Questions: How is NASA Studying the Effects of Microgravity on the Human Body?
Answering Your Questions: How is NASA Studying the Effects of Microgravity on the Human Body?

NASA is planning a return to the Moon and an exploration-mission to Mars, but how will the human body hold up in microgravity for long...

Answering Your Questions: How is NASA Studying the Effects of Microgravity on the Human Body?
On-Demand Webinars : Aerospace
The Next Giant Leap: Back to the Moon and On to Mars
The Next Giant Leap: Back to the Moon and On to Mars

Humanity is moving out into the solar system, starting with a sustainable return to the Moon and then to Mars. This 60-minute Webinar from the editors of Tech Briefs Media will describe...

The Next Giant Leap: Back to the Moon and On to Mars
Blog : Photonics/Optics
Camera Sees Objects Around Corners (Even Better Than Before)
Camera Sees Objects Around Corners (Even Better Than Before)
A new-and-improved system from Stanford University captures light from a greater variety of surfaces, allowing a wider, farther imagery than ever before.
Camera Sees Objects Around Corners (Even Better Than Before)
Question of the Week : Software
Have You Used Machine Learning in Your Design Efforts?

A team from the University of Pittsburgh recently used machine-learning to create a butterfly-inspired, self-healing glass. Models from the San Francisco-based software company SigOpt helped engineers determine ideal characteristics for the material.

Blog : Energy
How to Generate Electricity — From Rust
How to Generate Electricity — From Rust

Scientists from Caltech and Northwestern University have found a way to generate electricity by combining saltwater with one of life's more undesirable compounds: rust.

How to Generate Electricity — From Rust
Motion Design : Aerospace
Shutoff Device Controls and Meters Flows in Harsh Environments
Shutoff Device Controls and Meters Flows in Harsh Environments

Millions of gallons of crude oil were released into the Gulf of Mexico during the seabed oil drilling catastrophe of 2010. Numerous strategies to stop or stem the oil flow...

Shutoff Device Controls and Meters Flows in Harsh Environments
Articles : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Build IIoT Networks with Smart Control and HMI Software
Build IIoT Networks with Smart Control and HMI Software

Programmable automation controllers (PACs) play the primary role in IIoT systems. Also referred to as machine controllers, PACs provide a centralized architecture; they act as the...

Build IIoT Networks with Smart Control and HMI Software
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
New Piston Design Features Soft, Flexible Materials
New Piston Design Features Soft, Flexible Materials

Conventional pistons are made of a rigid chamber and a piston inside that can slide along the chamber’s inner wall while at the same time maintaining a tight seal. As a result, the piston...

New Piston Design Features Soft, Flexible Materials
Motion Design : Motion Control
Sensor-Packed Glove Learns Signatures of the Human Grasp
Sensor-Packed Glove Learns Signatures of the Human Grasp

Wearing a sensor-packed glove while handling a variety of objects, researchers compiled a dataset that enables an AI system to recognize objects through touch alone. The information...

Sensor-Packed Glove Learns Signatures of the Human Grasp
Articles : Communications
Cable Construction for Machine Vision Connectivity
Cable Construction for Machine Vision Connectivity

Along with the onslaught of Internet of Things (IoT) and wirelessly enabled devices, cloud connectivity has become a major benefit for a range of applications from commercial to military. As...

Cable Construction for Machine Vision Connectivity
Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Hybrid Robot Flies, Creeps, and Leaps Off Buildings
Hybrid Robot Flies, Creeps, and Leaps Off Buildings

There is great potential in using both drones and ground-based robots for situations like disaster response, but generally these platforms either fly or creep along the ground. The flying...

Hybrid Robot Flies, Creeps, and Leaps Off Buildings
Products : Manufacturing & Prototyping
New Products: August 2019 Motion Design
New Products: August 2019 Motion Design

Miniature Linear Translation Stages

PI, L.P. (Auburn, MA) offers the L-505 miniature linear translation stages for precision motion, alignment, and positioning applications where space is...

New Products: August 2019 Motion Design
Motion Design : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Stepper Motor Drives: Factors to Help Determine Proper Selection
Stepper Motor Drives: Factors to Help Determine Proper Selection

Stepper motors and stepper-based linear actuators are often selected for open-loop motion control devices and equipment. These can be found in a wide range of products and...

Stepper Motor Drives: Factors to Help Determine Proper Selection
Articles : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Products of Tomorrow: August 2019
Products of Tomorrow: August 2019

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...

Products of Tomorrow: August 2019
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Tiny Device Speeds up Memory While Saving Power
Tiny Device Speeds up Memory While Saving Power

Smart objects are required to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power. Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that...

Tiny Device Speeds up Memory While Saving Power
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Double-Sided Si(Ge)/Sapphire/III-Nitride Hybrid Structures
Double-Sided Si(Ge)/Sapphire/III-Nitride Hybrid Structures

NASA Langley Research Center has developed a double-sided Si(Ge)/ Sapphire/III-Nitride hybrid structure. This technology uses both sides of a sapphire wafer to build device...

Double-Sided Si(Ge)/Sapphire/III-Nitride Hybrid Structures
Briefs : Imaging
Full-Color Holograms Can Be Viewed With Low Light
Full-Color Holograms Can Be Viewed With Low Light

Researchers have created inexpensive, full-color, 2D and 3D holograms that are more realistic and brighter, and can be viewed at wider angles than current holograms.

Full-Color Holograms Can Be Viewed With Low Light
Briefs : Imaging
Decoding Multiple Frames from a Single, Scattered Exposure
Decoding Multiple Frames from a Single, Scattered Exposure

When light gets scattered as it passes through a translucent material, the emerging pattern of “speckle” looks as random as static on a television screen with no signal. But it...

Decoding Multiple Frames from a Single, Scattered Exposure
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Technique Identifies Electricity-Producing Bacteria
Technique Identifies Electricity-Producing Bacteria

Certain species of bacteria that exist in oxygen-deprived environments must find a way to breathe that doesn't involve oxygen. These microbes — which can be found deep within mines, at...

Technique Identifies Electricity-Producing Bacteria
Briefs : Imaging
Visualizing Motion of Water Molecules for Liquid-Based Electronics

A high-resolution inelastic x-ray scattering technique was used to measure the strong bond involving a hydrogen atom sandwiched between two oxygen atoms. This hydrogen bond is a quantum-mechanical phenomenon responsible for various properties of water, including viscosity, that...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Cryogenic Hydraulically Actuated Isolation Valve

Researchers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center have developed a cryogenic isolation valve that utilizes the upstream line pressure of cryogenic fluids for actuation. Previously, the use of cryogenic fluids for actuation systems had been too difficult to control and resulted in unsafe operating...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Nitinol-Actuated, Normally Open Valve Assembly (NOVA)

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center has developed the NOVA zero-leak, permanent isolation valve that helps prevent leaks in space propulsion systems with operating pressures less than or equal to 500 psia. The actuator is made from nitinol, a heat-activated, non-explosive, shape memory alloy and...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Organic Semiconductor Thin-Film Sensors Detect Disease Markers in Breath
Organic Semiconductor Thin-Film Sensors Detect Disease Markers in Breath

Organic semiconductors (OSCs) have emerged as a new class of electronic materials promising a wide range of applications including organic field-effect transistors...

Organic Semiconductor Thin-Film Sensors Detect Disease Markers in Breath
Briefs : Medical
Technique for 3D-Printing of Replacement Organs
Technique for 3D-Printing of Replacement Organs

Bioengineers have cleared a major hurdle on the path to 3D-printing replacement organs with a new technique for bioprinting tissues. It allows scientists to create entangled vascular networks...

Technique for 3D-Printing of Replacement Organs
Briefs : Energy
Combustion Gas Heat Exchanger
Combustion Gas Heat Exchanger

Two very challenging problems facing the U.S. and the world are energy security and global climate change, largely due to dependence on fossil fuels. Cost-effective technologies have been developed that are...

Combustion Gas Heat Exchanger
Briefs : Materials
Tuning Material Color and Thermal Properties Separately
Tuning Material Color and Thermal Properties Separately

The color of a material can often tell how it handles heat. With clothing, for example, the darker the pigment, the warmer you're likely to feel on a hot day. Likewise, the more...

Tuning Material Color and Thermal Properties Separately
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
High-Temperature Dielectric Nanocomposite

A nanocomposite was developed that could be a superior high-temperature dielectric material for flexible electronics, energy storage, and electric devices. The nanocomposite combines one-dimensional polymer nanofibers and two-dimensional boron nitride nano-sheets. The nanofibers reinforce the...

Briefs : Medical
Endovascular Variable Aortic Control Catheter
Endovascular Variable Aortic Control Catheter

The Air Force has developed improved devices for hemostatic management of patients with life-threatening blood loss from an arterial wound or surgery. Current aortic occlusion devices...

Endovascular Variable Aortic Control Catheter
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
System Provides “Electric Eyesight” for Autonomous Vehicles
System Provides “Electric Eyesight” for Autonomous Vehicles

Autonomous vehicles relying on light-based image sensors often struggle to see through blinding conditions such as fog. Sub-terahertz wavelengths, which are between microwave...

System Provides “Electric Eyesight” for Autonomous Vehicles
Briefs : Imaging
Technique Makes Objects Invisible to Image Detection Systems
Technique Makes Objects Invisible to Image Detection Systems

Adversarial techniques were developed that can make objects “invisible” to image detection systems that use deep-learning algorithms. These techniques can also trick systems...

Technique Makes Objects Invisible to Image Detection Systems
Who's Who : Internet of Things
Q&A: “Neural Lander” Uses AI to Land Drones Smoothly

Soon-Jo Chung is Bren Professor of Aerospace in the Division of Engineering and Applied Science (EAS) at Caltech and research scientist at Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He and his team developed a method for using a deep neural network to help autonomous drones “learn” how to land more...

Briefs : Materials
Fire-Retardant Coating Uses Renewable, Nontoxic Materials

Researchers developed a new kind of flame-retardant coating using renewable, nontoxic materials readily found in nature. The coating could provide more effective fire protection for several widely used materials. The coatings offer the opportunity to reduce the flammability of...

Briefs : Imaging
Efficient Hexagonally Sampled Image Processing
Efficient Hexagonally Sampled Image Processing

It has been known since the early 1960s that hexagonal sampling is the optimal sampling approach for isotropically band-limited images, providing a 13.4% improvement in sampling efficiency over...

Efficient Hexagonally Sampled Image Processing
Application Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Moisture Sensor Based on NASA Humidity Sensor
Moisture Sensor Based on NASA Humidity Sensor
Roscid Technologies
Woburn, MA
https://www.roscidtechnologies.com

Roscid Technologies has agreed to licensing terms with NASA to commercialize a NASA-designed humidity sensor....

Moisture Sensor Based on NASA Humidity Sensor
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Method Uses Ultraviolet Light to Control Fluid Flow and Organize Particles
Method Uses Ultraviolet Light to Control Fluid Flow and Organize Particles

A new method uses ultraviolet light to control the flow of fluids by encouraging particles — from plastic microbeads, to bacterial spores, to pollutants — to...

Method Uses Ultraviolet Light to Control Fluid Flow and Organize Particles
Briefs : Imaging
Automated Object Detection in an Image

Recent developments in machine vision have demonstrated remarkable improvements in the ability of computers to properly identify objects in a viewing field. Most of these advances rely on color-texture analyses that require target objects to possess one or more highly distinctive, local features that can be...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Nickel Titanium Alloy Ball Bearings
Nickel Titanium Alloy Ball Bearings

Innovators at NASA's Glenn Research Center have developed a new method for making small-diameter, high-grade ball bearings that are less than 0.25” in diameter thanks to the development of a new alloy...

Nickel Titanium Alloy Ball Bearings
Briefs : Medical
Wearable Monitor Continuously Measures Breath Rate and Volume
Wearable Monitor Continuously Measures Breath Rate and Volume

Researchers developed a wearable, disposable respiration monitor that provides high-fidelity readings on a continuous basis. It's designed to help children with asthma and cystic...

Wearable Monitor Continuously Measures Breath Rate and Volume
Articles : Electronics & Computers
Module or Discrete Power?
Module or Discrete Power?

Engineers today are feeling the pressure to get more done in less time, be experts in multiple disciplines, and use their resources more efficiently to maximize profits. This environment is shifting the way...

Module or Discrete Power?
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Lunar Surface Manipulation System
Lunar Surface Manipulation System

NASA's Langley Research Center offers a novel lifting and precision positioning device with hybrid functional characteristics of both crane-type lifting devices and robotic manipulators. The design of the...

Lunar Surface Manipulation System
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Inductive Power Transfer for Spaceflight Systems

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center has developed technology that uses inductive power transfer (IPT) for wireless power interfaces between spaceflight elements (such as the payload, vehicle, and pad). Current spaceflight systems require traditional hardwire connections for power interfaces. This...

Products : Energy
New on the Market: August 2019
New on the Market: August 2019

Circular Connectors

Binder USA, Camarillo, CA, introduced the 720 Series of miniature circular connectors with a snap-in IP67 twin distributor. The distributor — a single male connector into two...

New on the Market: August 2019
Briefs : Materials
Textile Cools or Insulates Automatically
Textile Cools or Insulates Automatically

Researchers have created a fabric that automatically regulates the amount of heat that passes through, depending on conditions; for example, when conditions are warm and moist — such as those of a...

Textile Cools or Insulates Automatically
Briefs : Medical
Microneedles Extract Fluid for Wearable Sensors
Microneedles Extract Fluid for Wearable Sensors

Interstitial fluid is clear, colorless, and similar to blood plasma. Continual sampling of important biomarkers in interstitial fluid could help monitor and diagnose many diseases and...

Microneedles Extract Fluid for Wearable Sensors
Briefs : Imaging
Method Adjusts Structure of Dyes to Create Colorful Fluorescent Molecules
Method Adjusts Structure of Dyes to Create Colorful Fluorescent Molecules

Until about 20 years ago, scientists relied on chemical fluorescent dyes to make biological molecules visible. To look inside cells, stain organelles, and perform...

Method Adjusts Structure of Dyes to Create Colorful Fluorescent Molecules
Briefs : Medical
Implanted Wireless Nerve Stimulator
Implanted Wireless Nerve Stimulator

In 2016, UC Berkeley engineers demonstrated the first implanted, ultrasonic, neural dust sensors. Now, taking the next step, the smallest-volume wireless nerve stimulator was developed, called StimDust...

Implanted Wireless Nerve Stimulator
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Light-Activated Micro-Pump
Light-Activated Micro-Pump

Even the smallest mechanical pumps have limitations, from the micro-fabrication techniques required to make them to the fact that there are limits on their size. A laser-driven photoacoustic microfluidic pump was...

Light-Activated Micro-Pump
Articles : Robotics, Automation & Control
Simulation of Autonomous Vehicles
Simulation of Autonomous Vehicles

The emergence of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and Automated Driving (AD) systems is gradually preparing consumers for a time where they relinquish control of their vehicles. A heated source of...

Simulation of Autonomous Vehicles
Briefs : Energy
Two-Dimensional Materials Improve Efficiency of Lithium-Air Batteries
Two-Dimensional Materials Improve Efficiency of Lithium-Air Batteries

Lithium-air batteries are poised to become the next replacement for currently used lithium-ion batteries that power electric vehicles, cell-phones, and computers....

Two-Dimensional Materials Improve Efficiency of Lithium-Air Batteries
5 Ws : Wearables
5 Ws of the Wearable Cooling and Heating Patch
5 Ws of the Wearable Cooling and Heating Patch

Who

The patch — which serves as a personal thermostat — provides personalized cooling and heating at home, work, or on the go by cooling or warming the user's skin to a comfortable...

5 Ws of the Wearable Cooling and Heating Patch
Briefs : Materials
Controlling Thermal Conductivity of Polymers with Light
Controlling Thermal Conductivity of Polymers with Light

Polymers are regularly used as thermal insulators and can even be used as thermal conductors to enable efficient heating or cooling. A new type of polymer was created that demonstrates...

Controlling Thermal Conductivity of Polymers with Light
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Data-Compression Technique Speeds Computer Programs

Data compression leverages redundant data to free up storage capacity, boost computing speeds, and provide other perks. In current computer systems, accessing main memory is very expensive compared to actual computation. Because of this, using data compression in the memory helps improve...

Briefs : Imaging
Surgeons Use Augmented Reality to Reconnect Blood Vessels
Surgeons Use Augmented Reality to Reconnect Blood Vessels

Following severe trauma, patients may have tissue damage or open wounds that require reconstructive surgery using fasciocutaneous flaps. These flaps of tissue, which are taken from...

Surgeons Use Augmented Reality to Reconnect Blood Vessels
Briefs : Energy
Hybrid Cathodes Could Boost Energy Capacity of Lithium Batteries
Hybrid Cathodes Could Boost Energy Capacity of Lithium Batteries

Today's lithium-ion batteries use cathodes (one of the two electrodes in a battery) made of a transition metal oxide. Batteries with cathodes made of sulfur are considered a...

Hybrid Cathodes Could Boost Energy Capacity of Lithium Batteries
Articles : Test & Measurement
Facility Focus: National Energy Technology Laboratory
Facility Focus: National Energy Technology Laboratory

The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratory — with sites in Anchorage, AK; Albany, OR; Morgantown, WV; and Pittsburgh, PA...

Facility Focus: National Energy Technology Laboratory
Articles : Medical
Image-Analysis Software Sees Cancer in 3D
Image-Analysis Software Sees Cancer in 3D

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...

Image-Analysis Software Sees Cancer in 3D
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Microscale Electro-Hydrodynamic (EHD) Modular Cartridge Pump

The EHD pump uses electric fields to move a dielectric fluid coolant in a thermal loop to dissipate heat generated by electrical components with a low-power system. The pump has only a few key components and no moving parts, increasing the simplicity and robustness of the system. In...

Articles : Photonics/Optics
Image Warping Caused by Heat-Induced Turbulence
Image Warping Caused by Heat-Induced Turbulence

It is well known from astronomical imaging that various atmospheric conditions and weather effects have an impact on image quality. This is due to local changes of the refractive index of the...

Image Warping Caused by Heat-Induced Turbulence
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Deployable Emergency Shutoff Device Blocks High-Velocity Fluid Flows

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center has developed a device and method for blocking the flow of fluid from an open pipe. The device plugs, controls, and meters the flow of gases and liquids. Anchored with friction fittings, spikes, or explosively activated fasteners, the device...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Technology Produces Unclonable Digital Fingerprints for Internet of Things Devices
Technology Produces Unclonable Digital Fingerprints for Internet of Things Devices

Researchers have created technology that is 10 times more reliable than current methods of producing unclonable digital fingerprints that can be used to...

Technology Produces Unclonable Digital Fingerprints for Internet of Things Devices
Briefs : Energy
Wearable Liquid Unit Harvests Energy
Wearable Liquid Unit Harvests Energy

Researchers have created wearable technology to convert mechanical energy into electrical energy. It presents a step toward the practical realization of self-powered, human-integrated technologies.

Wearable Liquid Unit Harvests Energy
Briefs : Energy
Process Directly Converts Methane to Methanol
Process Directly Converts Methane to Methanol

Methanol is a key feedstock for the production of chemicals, some of which are used to make products such as plastics, plywood, and paints. Methanol also can fuel vehicles or be reformed to...

Process Directly Converts Methane to Methanol
Briefs : Imaging
Microfocus, Dual-Energy Imaging System Improves Contaminant Detection

Contamination of food with fragments of bone, metal, glass, or other foreign material is a major concern in the food industry. Current inspection technologies often miss very small fragments embedded in meat or other soft materials or lead to ambiguous results that require...

Products : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Product of the Month: August 2019 Tech Briefs
Product of the Month: August 2019 Tech Briefs

nTopology, New York, NY, offers the nTop Platform, a unifying technique for design, simulation, and manufacturing data to be intelligently embedded directly into a part. The approach removes...

Product of the Month: August 2019 Tech Briefs
INSIDER : Nanotechnology
Scientists Have Visualized the Electronic Structure in a Microelectronic Device
Scientists Have Visualized the Electronic Structure in a Microelectronic Device

Scientists have visualized the electronic structure in a microelectronic device for the first time, opening up opportunities for finely tuned, high-performance...

Scientists Have Visualized the Electronic Structure in a Microelectronic Device
INSIDER
Convert Power Faster and More Efficiently
Convert Power Faster and More Efficiently

University of Illinois electrical engineers have used beta-gallium oxide to clear another hurdle in high-power semiconductor fabrication. Beta-gallium oxide is readily available and promises to...

Convert Power Faster and More Efficiently
INSIDER : Data Acquisition
New Sensor Network Reveals Telltale Patterns in Neighborhood Air Quality
New Sensor Network Reveals Telltale Patterns in Neighborhood Air Quality

Black carbon, commonly known as soot, is a significant contributor to global warming and is strongly linked to adverse health outcomes. Produced by the incomplete...

New Sensor Network Reveals Telltale Patterns in Neighborhood Air Quality
INSIDER : Imaging
Tiny Laser is an Important Step Toward New Sensors
Tiny Laser is an Important Step Toward New Sensors

In a major step toward developing portable scanners that can rapidly measure molecules in pharmaceuticals or classify tissue in patients’ skin, researchers have created an imaging system...

Tiny Laser is an Important Step Toward New Sensors