February 2020

Learn about the latest measurement technology designed to ensure accurate testing of helical compression and extension springs.
NASA Spinoff: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Biofeedback Loops Aim to Enhance Combat and Sports Training
Research in astronaut monitoring leads to virtual reality spinoffs.
Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
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.
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
Transistors Both Process and Store Information
The functional transistors are integrated with ferroelectric RAM.
This process turns carbon dioxide into carbon nanotubes with small diameters.
The switch is a major new step toward building a computer that uses light instead of electricity to process information.
This controller minimizes the burden on the power grid.
This system autonomously prepares samples for online automated analysis.
Briefs: Communications
Wraparound Self-Structuring Leaky-Wave Antenna (WSS-LWA)
This system has applications in the smart grid and military.
The ultra-fast method analyzes a wider range of materials than current thermal-based detection systems.
5G has the potential to provide connectivity for a range of different uses in manufacturing.
Articles: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Products of Tomorrow: February 2020
Life-saving sensors, soft hearing implants, and a new water-decontamination method
Facility Focus: Robotics, Automation & Control
Facility Focus: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Explore Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA's first space flight complex.
Briefs: Aerospace
Silicon Carbide Fiber Tows
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: Photonics/Optics
Polymer Coating Cools Down Buildings
This coating acts as a spontaneous air cooler and can be fabricated, dyed, and applied like paint.
Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
3D Printing of Plastics with Electrical Circuits
This innovation could lead to better drones, satellites, and biomedical devices.
Hybrid organic-inorganic materials transfer ultra-small, high-aspect-ratio features into silicon for next-generation electronic devices.
Filaments with embedded circuitry can be used to print complex shapes for biomedical and robotic devices.
Briefs: Test & Measurement
Ultrasensitive Vapor Detection System
This technology quickly and accurately identifies explosives, deadly chemicals, and illicit drugs.
Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Thermally Conductive Polymer Films
These materials may replace metals as lightweight, flexible heat dissipators in cars, computers, cellphones, and refrigerators.
This program enhances images and videos for smartphones, tablets, and PCs.
The flat structure morphs into another shape when temperature changes, enabling self-deploying tents or adaptive robotic fins.
Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Long-Distance LADAR System and Method
The system provides three-dimensional imagery of potential threats at closer ranges.
Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Underwater Telecom Cables Used as Seismic Network
Fiber-optic cables could help scientists study offshore earthquakes and the geologic structures hidden deep beneath the ocean surface.
Drexel Professor Genevieve Dion is coating yarn with the highly conductive, two-dimensional material MXene.
Briefs: Communications
CAESAR Plug-in for MagicDraw
Users can maintain the consistency of a flight system design.
With the new microlattice pads, players will have greater protection from both single hits and a series of impacts.
The films could be used in impact-resistant glazing, windscreens, and displays.
This atom-based receiver has the potential to be smaller and work better in noisy environments than conventional radio receivers.
In some cases, radio frequency signals may be more useful for caregivers than cameras or other methods to collect health and behavioral data.
Products: Electronics & Computers
New on the Market: February 2020
Low-viscosity plastic; coin cell holders; oxidation-resistant coatings; and more.
Equipment-free textile detectors could be used in public health, workplace safety, military, and rescue applications.
Briefs: Test & Measurement
Smartphone System Tests for Lead in Water
This inexpensive system can detect lead levels below EPA standards.
Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Modern Software Links Legacy Systems
Software portal solutions can connect legacy control systems and field devices to the cloud.
Briefs: Materials
Welding Ceramics with Lasers
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.
This mechanical gyroscope can advance motion sensing capabilities in consumer-sized applications.
Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Shape-Shifting Robot Uses New Locomotion Strategy
The robot is built entirely from smaller robots and can form a robophysical system that can move by itself.
Such grippers would be suited for human-robot partnership in assembly lines in the automotive, electronic packaging, and other industries.
Products: Test & Measurement
New Products: February 2020 Motion Design
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: Robotics, Automation & Control
Smart Manufacturing Control
Today's advanced smart CNC controls allow manufacturers to optimize the manufacturing process right on the factory floor
Briefs: Motion Control
Flexure for Self-Assembly

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...

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

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
Robots Assemble Large Structures from Little Pieces
Systems of tiny robots could build high-performance structures, from airplanes to space settlements.
Machine and system designers now have greater options in choosing a motor to meet motion control requirements.
This robot “blood” stores energy, transmits force, operates appendages, and provides structure, all in an integrated design.
Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Intelligent Microrobots
Such machines, only a few tens of micrometers across, could be used in the human body to perform small operations.
Articles: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Valves for Pneumatic Cylinders and Actuators
Know your valve options.
Special Reports: Electronics & Computers
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...

Varjo™ Technologies announced a 2D/3D immersive "Workspace."

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

INSIDER: Semiconductors & ICs
New Method Gives Robust Transistors

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...

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...

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: Electronics & Computers
Specifying Modular Connectors

Specifying a new connector is a complicated process and designing a custom connector is not always within your budget. With modular connectors gaining popularity to overcome this challenge, manufacturers have...

White Papers: Aerospace
High Efficiency Electric Propulsion Design and Testing

This whitepaper outlines the design process and presents verification testing of an electric ducted fan for small UAV integration. Flight time estimation is made from performance testing...

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.

See what caught Bruce A. Bennett's eye during Day 1 of Photonics West 2020 in San Francisco.
Editor Bruce A. Bennett shares his observations from SPIE Photonics West, including the emergence of LiDAR.
INSIDER: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Robot and Software Create Advanced Materials

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: Manufacturing & Prototyping
“Pop-Up” Technique Fabricates Microrobots

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

“We’re analyzing rocks from space, atom by atom,” says researcher Jennika Greer.
Question of the Week: Communications
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: Connectivity
New Ways to Increase Productivity with ‘Smart’ Systems

Cyber-physical systems (CPS) like the Festo Motion Terminal promise to increase production, simplify value chain processes and future-proof plants. In a new white paper, we explore...

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...

See what the SuperCam will do when it arrives on Mars in 2021.
On-Demand Webinars: Aerospace
Maximize Productivity and Minimize Costs with New Aerospace Structural Adhesives

Cost-out initiatives are affecting many manufacturers and operators throughout the aerospace value chain. Improving assembly productivity, reducing weight, and extending the lifetime of parts can contribute to a reduction in costs.

Question of the Week: Electronics & Computers
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: Design
Evaluating Connectors for Gigabit and 10-Gigabit Ethernet in Military and Aerospace Applications

As military and aerospace applications move toward Gigabit and 10G networks, standard military connector technology has not kept pace. To...

White Papers: Motion Control
The cMT-CTRL01 IIoT PLC

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is both the present and future of manufacturing. Part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0, IIoT utilizes smart machines and real-time analysis. IIoT is a...

On-Demand Webinars: Manufacturing & Prototyping
3D Printed Metals Are Not All the Same

As metal 3D printing has become a more popular means for the rapid prototyping and production of metal parts, it can be difficult to navigate the various technologies and materials. What kind of parts can you expect from a metal 3D printer, and do they vary from system to system?

White Papers: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Why Quality Matters

The pressure to cut costs, increase margins and invest in transformative technologies often leaves little left to spend on quality. However, these pressures encourage a status quo approach to quality that results in...

White Papers: FDA/Regulatory
Delving Deeper into FDA Warning Letters

Provides insight into the issuance of FDA warning letters and what the FDA is expecting to see in your response to show your intentions to address the compliance issues. This will provide hands on...

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...

On-Demand Webinars: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Testing and Inspecting 3D-Printed Parts

As additive manufacturing and the 3D printing of production parts become more commonplace in the automotive, aerospace, and medical industries, these parts will require more advanced inspection and testing to ensure they meet requirements for structural strength and stability. Whether plastic or...

White Papers: Design
Electronic Latching Solutions for Aircraft Interiors

As Aircraft OEMs concentrate on upgrading cabin interiors, engineers are beginning to investigate new electronic latching solutions for access panels, storage bins, lavatories and galleys....

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: Defense
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...

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.

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.
On-Demand Webinars: Software
Using Simulation to Design Robust Adhesively Bonded Structures

Engineers are increasingly relying upon adhesive bonding to improve the mechanical performance of their structures and devices. For example, the automotive industry is using adhesives to make vehicles lighter and thus more fuel efficient. In the electronics industry, novel...

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...

Question of the Week
Would You Use a ‘SwingBot?’

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