February 2020

Technology Leaders: Test & Measurement
Learn about the latest measurement technology designed to ensure accurate testing of helical compression and extension springs.
NASA Spinoff: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Research in astronaut monitoring leads to virtual reality spinoffs.
Briefs: Materials
3D Printing Technique Produces “Living” 4D Materials
3D/4D printing is merged with a chemical process to produce “living” resin, which has potential for recycling and biomedicine.
Briefs: Imaging
This system places virtual objects within real-world backgrounds on cellphone screens and lets people interact with those objects by hand as if they were really there.
Briefs: Electronics & Computers
The functional transistors are integrated with ferroelectric RAM.
Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
This process turns carbon dioxide into carbon nanotubes with small diameters.
Briefs: Electronics & Computers
The switch is a major new step toward building a computer that uses light instead of electricity to process information.
Briefs: Electronics & Computers
This controller minimizes the burden on the power grid.
Briefs: Test & Measurement
This system autonomously prepares samples for online automated analysis.
Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Wraparound Self-Structuring Leaky-Wave Antenna (WSS-LWA)
This system has applications in the smart grid and military.
Briefs: Test & Measurement
The ultra-fast method analyzes a wider range of materials than current thermal-based detection systems.
Articles: Robotics, Automation & Control
5G has the potential to provide connectivity for a range of different uses in manufacturing.
Articles: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Life-saving sensors, soft hearing implants, and a new water-decontamination method
Facility Focus: Materials
Explore Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA's first space flight complex.
Briefs: Materials
This rapid processing method produces stronger materials and heals lower-quality fibers.
Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Breathalyzer Detects Marijuana
The device determines if a driver is under the influence of marijuana.
Briefs: Electronics & Computers
This coating acts as a spontaneous air cooler and can be fabricated, dyed, and applied like paint.
Briefs: Aerospace
This innovation could lead to better drones, satellites, and biomedical devices.
Briefs: Materials
Hybrid organic-inorganic materials transfer ultra-small, high-aspect-ratio features into silicon for next-generation electronic devices.
Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Filaments with embedded circuitry can be used to print complex shapes for biomedical and robotic devices.
Briefs: Test & Measurement
This technology quickly and accurately identifies explosives, deadly chemicals, and illicit drugs.
Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
These materials may replace metals as lightweight, flexible heat dissipators in cars, computers, cellphones, and refrigerators.
Briefs: Aerospace
This program enhances images and videos for smartphones, tablets, and PCs.
Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
The flat structure morphs into another shape when temperature changes, enabling self-deploying tents or adaptive robotic fins.
Briefs: Photonics/Optics
The system provides three-dimensional imagery of potential threats at closer ranges.
Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Fiber-optic cables could help scientists study offshore earthquakes and the geologic structures hidden deep beneath the ocean surface.
Q&A: Materials
Drexel Professor Genevieve Dion is coating yarn with the highly conductive, two-dimensional material MXene.
Briefs: Aerospace
CAESAR Plug-in for MagicDraw
Users can maintain the consistency of a flight system design.
5 Ws: Materials
With the new microlattice pads, players will have greater protection from both single hits and a series of impacts.
Briefs: Imaging
The films could be used in impact-resistant glazing, windscreens, and displays.
Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
This atom-based receiver has the potential to be smaller and work better in noisy environments than conventional radio receivers.
Briefs: Test & Measurement
In some cases, radio frequency signals may be more useful for caregivers than cameras or other methods to collect health and behavioral data.
Products: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Low-viscosity plastic; coin cell holders; oxidation-resistant coatings; and more.
Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Equipment-free textile detectors could be used in public health, workplace safety, military, and rescue applications.
Briefs: Test & Measurement
This inexpensive system can detect lead levels below EPA standards.
Briefs: Communications
Software portal solutions can connect legacy control systems and field devices to the cloud.
Briefs: Electronics & Computers
This technology could be used to create smartphones that don't scratch or shatter, metal-free pacemakers, and electronics for space and other harsh environments.
Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
This mechanical gyroscope can advance motion sensing capabilities in consumer-sized applications.
Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
The robot is built entirely from smaller robots and can form a robophysical system that can move by itself.
Briefs: Automotive
Such grippers would be suited for human-robot partnership in assembly lines in the automotive, electronic packaging, and other industries.
Products: Test & Measurement
Encoder

The AI25 hazardous series AI25 encoder from Dynapar (Gurnee, IL) is suited for Class 1 Division 2 applications where a Zone 1 or Division 1 encoder may have previously been...

Articles: Motion Control
Today's advanced smart CNC controls allow manufacturers to optimize the manufacturing process right on the factory floor
Briefs: Motion Control

Conventional fastening mechanisms like nails, bolts, and welds are subject to manufacturing and inspection tolerances, differential thermal growth, and other sources of error that lead to over-constraint, among...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
These soft robots can be rolled up and carried in a pocket.
Application Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida is home to one of the largest buildings in the world — the massive Vehicle Assembly Building — and also hosts a number of one-of-a-kind facilities. The...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Systems of tiny robots could build high-performance structures, from airplanes to space settlements.
Articles: Communications
Machine and system designers now have greater options in choosing a motor to meet motion control requirements.
Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
This robot “blood” stores energy, transmits force, operates appendages, and provides structure, all in an integrated design.
Briefs: Motion Control
Such machines, only a few tens of micrometers across, could be used in the human body to perform small operations.
Articles: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Special Reports: Aerospace
Rugged Computing - February 2020

From the battlefield to the extreme environment of space, electronics and computing advances enable missions in the harshest conditions. To help you keep pace with the latest developments, we present this...

Special Reports: Materials
Advanced Materials - February 2020

Breakthroughs in plastics, composites, metals, and other materials technologies are enabling exciting new applications in industries ranging from aerospace to automotive to medical. Read more in this...

Products: Imaging
Varjo™ Technologies announced a 2D/3D immersive "Workspace."
INSIDER: Sensors/Data Acquisition

To further shrink electronic devices and to lower energy consumption, the semiconductor industry is interested in using 2D materials, but manufacturers need a...

INSIDER: Electronics & Computers

Scientists at Linköping University (Linköping, Sweden) have described a method to manufacture transistors using gallium nitride and aluminum nitride that have the ability to withstand voltages as...

INSIDER: Electronics & Computers

Nagoya University scientists have succeeded in designing a laser diode that emits deep-ultraviolet light. It emits the world's shortest lasing wavelength, at 271.8 nanometers, under pulsed electric current...

INSIDER: Electronics & Computers

A team of engineers at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has boosted the performance of its previously developed 3D inductor technology by adding as much as three...

White Papers: Materials
Polaris Continues to Set the Pace Thanks to 3D Printing

Polaris is renowned for its high-quality snowmobiles, off-road vehicles and motorcycles. The company continues to innovate and develop new products – but producing a diverse set of...

Blog: Software
Researchers from the University of Illinois are looking at all the different ways to create a non-pneumatic automotive tire.
Question of the Week: Electronics & Computers
In the Near Future, Will Computers Use Light Instead of Electricity?

This month in Tech Briefs: Researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology have developed an optical switch that routes light from one computer chip to another in just 20 billionths of a second — faster than any other similar device.

Blog: Transportation
See what caught Bruce A. Bennett's eye during Day 1 of Photonics West 2020 in San Francisco.
Blog: Test & Measurement
Editor Bruce A. Bennett shares his observations from SPIE Photonics West, including the emergence of LiDAR.
INSIDER: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Rutgers University engineers have developed an automated way to produce polymers, making it much easier to create advanced materials aimed at improving human health. While a human researcher...

INSIDER: Robotics, Automation & Control

A bulk-machined “Pop-Up” MEMS process was developed for creating mesoscale machines up to several centimeters in dimension.

Blog: Imaging
“We’re analyzing rocks from space, atom by atom,” says researcher Jennika Greer.
Question of the Week: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Do the 5G Benefits Outweigh the Risks?

A feature article in this month’s Tech Briefs explored how the fifth-generation mobile network known as 5G will support the creation of increasingly “smart” factories – ones that allow manufacturers to further improve factory automation, human/machine interfaces, and mobility.

White Papers: Aerospace
Recommended Compression and Tension Adapters for Force Calibration

Want to learn more about force measurement errors and the impact the wrong adapters can have? The wrong adapters can produce measurement errors up to 20 times that of when...

Blog: Robotics, Automation & Control
See what the SuperCam will do when it arrives on Mars in 2021.
Question of the Week: Materials
Will Cooling Coatings Catch On?

This month’s Tech Briefs featured a potential alternative to the air conditioner: A painted-on polymer coating that can cool down a building.

White Papers: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Bottom-line Reasons for Using Additive Manufactured Production Tooling

High fabrication costs, long lead times and the cost to carry inventory don’t need to be the rule of the day when it comes to making production tooling. Additive...

White Papers: Automotive
Understanding Thermal Gap Filler Pads, PCB Deflection, and Stress

This paper focuses on the characteristics of gap fillers and how they impact a printed circuit board (PCB) including compression characteristics of various types of gap...

Dynamic White Papers: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Precision Bellows Couplings: 3 Secrets to their Success

This 10-minute presentation discusses how precision bellows couplings can help machines run faster and more accurately if three key issues are addressed. They are sizing, misalignment tolerances, and proper handling. Bellows couplings are used for transmitting dynamic precision...

White Papers: Test & Measurement
Digital Transformation Do-Over: How to Restart on the Right Foot

Don’t give up on digital transformation projects that have not delivered as expected. The root cause of failure often lies in data preparation. This tech brief explains how...

Blog: Energy
An energy breakthrough from the City University of Hong Kong finds power in a single drop of water – up to 140 volts, in fact.
Question of the Week: Energy
Will Rain Become a Viable Energy Source?

Our lead INSIDER story today demonstrated the power of a droplet energy generator – specifically the system’s ability to light up 100 LEDs with just a small amount of water.

Blog: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
How does testing a metal 3D-printed part compare to testing a casted one? That's the elephant in the room, says industry pro Kevin Brigden.
Blog: Aerospace
University of Washington engineer James Koch observed patterns in a promising, but often-unpredictable rocket part: The rotating detonation engine.
White Papers: Test & Measurement
Miniature Cartridge Heaters

Miniature cartridge heaters are designed to fit applications where space is at a premium. They are available in low, medium and high watt densities. Applications including medical devices, printers, monitoring...

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