October 2019

Question of the Week: Robotics, Automation & Control
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...

Briefs: Aerospace

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...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

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: Software
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...

Briefs: Software

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

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
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

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: Motion Control

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

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...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition

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: Software
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...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

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...

Briefs: Materials

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

Briefs: Internet of Things

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...

Briefs: Materials

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...

Briefs: Software

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...

Technology Leaders: Automotive
How can the automotive industry protect itself and its customers against digital attacks?
5 Ws: Photonics/Optics
Who

Anyone using standard, coated paper in conventional printers.

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
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

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...

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

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: Aerospace

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: RF & Microwave Electronics
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: Materials

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...

Articles: Defense
Program managers and engineers in the military markets need to know about the emergence of new display technologies in the consumer sector.
Facility Focus: Aerospace
NASA Armstrong flight-tests some of the nation’s most unique aircraft and aeronautical systems.
NASA Spinoff: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Developing meals for long-duration missions is leading to personalized 3D-printed food.
Briefs: Nanotechnology

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: Aerospace

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: Test & Measurement
See the new tech products being offered in October 2019.
Articles: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Permeable concrete, quick disconnects, and more
Briefs: Aerospace

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: Aerospace
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...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition

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

Articles: Photonics/Optics
The characteristics of hybrid drives present a practical solution when a position needs to be detected with high precision
Articles: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

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

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: Electronics & Computers
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: Internet of Things

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...

Products: Electronics & Computers
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: Internet of Things

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: Robotics, Automation & Control

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: Automotive

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...

INSIDER: Electronics & Computers

UCLA researchers at the Center for Heterogeneous Integration and Performance Scaling (CHIPS) say that computers powered by traditional integrated circuit chips are reaching their...

INSIDER: Sensors/Data Acquisition

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...

INSIDER: Internet of Things

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

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: Research Lab
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: Research Lab
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...

Blog: Data Acquisition
Copper cables send data around today's vehicles. "Why not fiber optics?" asks a reader.
Blog: Energy
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.

Blog: Motion Control
A new drone “folds” itself into configurations that suit a given environment.
Blog: Aerospace
A Tech Briefs reader asks: What's next with military motion control?
News: Aerospace
Editor Bruce A. Bennett offers a look at the Association of the United States Army's 2019 Annual Meeting.
White Papers: Transportation
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.

News: Electronics & Computers
SOSA, the Sensor Open Systems Architecture Consortium, held a press conference on Monday afternoon at AUSA 2019.
Blog: Aerospace
It just wouldn’t be a military technology show without a few drones on display.
Blog: Electronics & Computers
Ben Sharfi, CEO of General Micro Systems (GMS), says he has the Product of the Year. Do you agree?
Blog: Medical
The ULiSSES device preserves organs, without the ice chest.
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.

Blog: Transportation
The 'Biode' saves power by eliminating the need for AC/DC conversion.
White Papers: Automotive
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...

Blog: RF & Microwave Electronics
A minimal, map-less approach to drone navigation takes after the bee.
INSIDER: Robotics, Automation & Control

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...

Blog: Software

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