October 2019

Question of the Week: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
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.

Special Reports: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Additive Manufacturing - October 2019

AM/3D Printing is fundamentally changing how products are prototyped and produced in aerospace, medical, automotive, and many other fields. To help you keep pace with the latest advances, we present this...

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...

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...

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...

Briefs: Aerospace
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...

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

Briefs: Aerospace
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

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...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
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...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
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...

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....

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
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...

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...

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

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...

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...

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...

How can the automotive industry protect itself and its customers against digital attacks?
5 Ws: Materials
5 Ws of Paper Unprinting
Who

Anyone using standard, coated paper in conventional printers.

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
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

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...

Professor Negar Tavassolian is using vibration sensors to monitor heartbeats.
Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
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...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
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...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
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: Electronics & Computers
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...

Program managers and engineers in the military markets need to know about the emergence of new display technologies in the consumer sector.
NASA Armstrong flight-tests some of the nation’s most unique aircraft and aeronautical systems.
Developing meals for long-duration missions is leading to personalized 3D-printed food.

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...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
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...

Products: Electronics & Computers
New on the Market: October 2019
See the new tech products being offered in October 2019.
Permeable concrete, quick disconnects, and more

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...

Briefs: AR/AI
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...

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

The characteristics of hybrid drives present a practical solution when a position needs to be detected with high precision

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....

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
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...

Articles: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
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.
Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
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...

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 is...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
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,...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
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...

Products: Manufacturing & Prototyping
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...

Special Reports: Electronics & Computers
RF & Microwave Electronics - October 2019

In this compendium of recent articles from the editors of Aerospace & Defense Technology, Tech Briefs and Medical Design Briefs, read about how advances in RF electronics are enabling new...

White Papers: Electronics & Computers
AI for Embedded Defense is Here

Embedded, many-core, AI-capable rugged supercomputing is now ready for defense applications, in a rugged, deployable form factor. This white paper describes how the GVC1001 ultra-high performance graphics,...

White Papers: Power
How to Determine Creepage and Clearance Requirements for 48-Volt Applications

This white paper provides OEMs with TE’s approach for evaluating connectors for 48-volt applications that are designed with reference to UL 840 and IEC 60664-1...

INSIDER: Sensors/Data Acquisition
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...

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...

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

INSIDER: Sensors/Data Acquisition
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...

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: Physical Sciences
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...

News: Physical Sciences
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...

White Papers: Robotics, Automation & Control
How to Validate Autonomous VTOL Safety

Prepared for Takeoff? When market share is up for grabs, virtual VTOL testing is the only way to fly. ANSYS offers the industry’s most complete simulation solution for accelerating autonomous aircraft...

White Papers: Materials
High performance protection for chassis and large components with complex geometries

The chassis of a car has an important role to play: It consists of many components which form a complex system that is responsible for passenger comfort,...

Copper cables send data around today's vehicles. "Why not fiber optics?" asks a reader.
Inventor Olivier Ceberio found a new way to turn ocean waves into fresh water.
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.

White Papers: Defense
Revolutionize Your Design and Test Workflow

Agile software development profoundly transformed software development in the 1900s. Far more than a process; Agile created a new way to work.

A new drone “folds” itself into configurations that suit a given environment.
A Tech Briefs reader asks: What's next with military motion control?
Editor Bruce A. Bennett offers a look at the Association of the United States Army's 2019 Annual Meeting.
White Papers: Medical
Highly Configurable, Open-Source Stereolithography Printing

The Stratasys V650 Flex offers the speed and precision of stereolithography printing in a large, open-source, configurable architecture. It’s built for production with a proven...

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.

SOSA, the Sensor Open Systems Architecture Consortium, held a press conference on Monday afternoon at AUSA 2019.
It just wouldn’t be a military technology show without a few drones on display.
News: Electronics & Computers
AUSA 2019: A Really Cool Computer
Ben Sharfi, CEO of General Micro Systems (GMS), says he has the Product of the Year. Do you agree?
The ULiSSES device preserves organs, without the ice chest.
White Papers: FDA/Regulatory
ETQ White Paper: Supplier Quality is Only as Strong as Your Weakest Link

As your supplier list grows, so does the looming risk of a supplier quality failure. With even one recall able to decimate stock value and brand reputation,...

White Papers: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Minimize Supply Chain Risk: Detecting Counterfeit Components

Counterfeit components continue to pose a great threat to electronics manufacturing. The Department of Defense provided guidelines for electronic component counterfeit detection...

Question of the Week: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Will ‘Print-in-Place’ Electronics Become a Mainstream Medical Tool?

The Duke University team says its “print-in-place” advancement could lead to embedded electronic tattoos and custom bandages with patient-specific biosensors.

White Papers: Connectivity
Thermal Modeling for High Power Charging of Electric Vehicles

Powertrain electrification, automation and increasing autonomy and the emergence of new mobility business models are the three dominant worldwide trends that are shaping the...

The 'Biode' saves power by eliminating the need for AC/DC conversion.
White Papers: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Specialized Sensors Perform in Extreme Environments

Demand for sensors that can operate in extreme conditions is increasing, in response to an overall industry trend toward additional product performance testing and monitoring. It takes an...

White Papers: Defense
Artificial Intelligence in Software-Defined SIGINT Systems

As wireless protocols grow more complex, spectrum environments become more contested and electronic warfare increases in sophistication. Read how you can combine artificial...

White Papers: Materials
NEW! Adhesive & Sealant White Paper for Battery and Hybrid Electric Vehicles

A comprehensive industry-authored white paper detailing adhesives and sealants in HEVs and BEVs – battery cells, modules, packs, motors; links to guides for body...

White Papers: Robotics, Automation & Control
Securing the Connected Car: Application Code Matters

Connected car application developers have seen a shift from static, fixed function, device specific applications to a “cloud” connected world, vulnerable to the whims of bad actors and...

White Papers: Robotics, Automation & Control
Finding the Right Approach: How to Test a Vehicle’s ECU

Modern vehicles can contain over 100 ECUs controlling everything from the drivetrain to the ADAS systems. Each ECU needs to be tested individually as well as in conjunction with other...

A minimal, map-less approach to drone navigation takes after the bee.
Webinars: Medical
SERS: Fast, Portable Identification of Trace Opioids

Rapid identification and quantification of opioid drugs is of great importance in the face of an ongoing opioid epidemic in the United States. Yet techniques for trace analysis of these opioids, particularly for fentanyl, an extremely potent synthetic drug of abuse and the main driver...

INSIDER: Robotics, Automation & Control
“Pushy” Robots Learn How to Move Objects

MIT researchers have compiled a dataset that captures the detailed behavior of a robotic system physically pushing hundreds of different objects. Using the dataset, robots “learn” pushing...

White Papers: Manufacturing & Prototyping
3D Printers Lead to Fast ROI, More Revenue, and Greater Profitability for Fast-Growing Design Firm

Product design firms must be creative, responsive to customer needs, adaptable, and have a solid understanding of fundamental design...

Livox uses machine learning to ease communication.
Question of the Week
Will Self-Erasing Chips Catch On?

Webcasts

Upcoming Webinars: Automotive

Metal Injection Molding’s Role in Automotive

Upcoming Webinars: Materials

Technical Ceramics: The Powerhouse of Advanced Materials

Upcoming Webinars: Software

PPAP Reviews Using AI and Machine Learning

Upcoming Webinars: Motion Control

Customizing Actuators Using COTS Drive Components for Martian...

Upcoming Webinars: Robotics, Automation & Control

2020 Create the Future Contest Awards

Upcoming Webinars: RF & Microwave Electronics

Advancement of Spectrum Analysis Techniques for Tracking,...

Videos