April 2019

Special Reports: Medical
Medical Manufacturing - April 2019

How are advances in 3D printing, robotic assembly, molding and other fabrication technologies shaping the future of medical device manufacturing? Find out in this Special Report – a compilation of recent...

Special Reports: RF & Microwave Electronics
RF & Microwave Electronics - April 2019

In this compendium of recent articles from the editors of Aerospace & Defense Technology and Tech Briefs, read about how high-frequency electronics advances are enabling new applications in space...

Special Reports: Test & Measurement
Automotive Manufacturing - April 2019

Factories are getting smarter thanks to advances in robotics, analytics, simulation, metrology and more. To help you keep pace with the latest developments, we present this compendium of recent articles...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Transforming Flat Elastomers into 3D Shapes

Mechanical systems such as engines and motors rely on two principal types of motions of stiff components: linear motion, which involves an object moving from one point to another in a straight...

Smarter, better, faster, less expensive — those words are the mantra of today’s global economy. As organizations seek to streamline operations and do more with less, they...

Articles: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Failsafe Linear Magnetic Brakes

Linear permanent magnet brakes, also known as eddy current brakes, are a failsafe, power-free deceleration system that is used in conjunction with a metal reaction plate. Ceramic or rare earth magnets are...

Fast-response, stiffness-tunable (FRST) soft actuators — or movable machine elements — were developed that could be used in soft robots.

Researchers, drawing inspiration from bacteria, have designed smart, bio-compatible microrobots that are highly flexible. Because these devices are able to swim through fluids and modify their shape...

By mixing carbon fibers into polymer-based brakes, researchers designed brakes that are self-lubricating. These new and improved brakes can prevent wear-and-tear and have better frictional...

When choosing a gas spring for a particular application, it’s imperative to have a basic understanding of the workings and terminology used when specifying gas springs. This article offers...

Application Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Keck Telescopes Get a Motion Control Upgrade

In the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii Island is surrounded by thousands of miles of thermally stable seas. The 13,796-foot Maunakea mountain summit has no nearby ranges to roil the upper...

Making electric cars lighter also involves reducing the weight of the motor. One way to do that is by constructing it from fiber-reinforced polymer materials. A new cooling concept...

Products: Motion Control
New Products: April 2019 Motion Design
Bearing Sensor

ABB (Zurich, Switzerland) introduced the ABB Ability™ smart sensor that enables health checks for bearings. The smart sensor technology provides an early indicator of...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Synthesizing Renewable Oils for Use in Lubricants

Industrial machinery, agricultural equipment, transportation vessels, and home applications depend on lubricants; however, they leave a heavy environmental footprint. Common lubricants, oils,...

Briefs: Medical
Technique Provides Rapid Assessment of Radiation Exposure

Researchers have developed a new technique that assesses radiation exposure in about an hour using an insulator material found in most modern electronics. The technique can be used to triage medical cases in the event of a radiological disaster.

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Thin, Durable Heating Patches

Thin, durable heating patches were created using intense pulses of light to fuse tiny silver wires with polyester. Their heating performance is nearly 70 percent higher than similar patches. The inexpensive...

Texas A&M professor Jaime Grunlan and his team are developing a new flame-retardant coating using renewable, nontoxic materials readily found in nature that...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Material Captures and Removes Toxic Atmospheric Gas

A metal-organic framework (MOF) material was developed that exhibits a selective, fully reversible, and repeatable capability to remove nitrogen dioxide gas from the atmosphere in ambient...

Researchers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center have developed a new dielectric material based on barium titanate nanopowder processed via spark plasma sintering (SPS). The rapid and...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Skin-Like Sensor Maps Blood-Oxygen Levels

A new type of oximeter — or blood-oxygen sensor — is made of organic electronics printed on bendable plastic that molds to the contours of the body. Unlike fingertip oximeters, it can detect...

Briefs: Aerospace
Regional Hydrologic Extremes Assessment System (RHEAS) Software

Drought is Africa’s principal type of natural disaster and is at the core of serious threats to the livelihoods of millions of people and the natural resources on which they depend. The economies of many African countries are based on agricultural activities that are controlled...

Recent technical advances have enabled flywheel energy storage systems (FESS) to become more compact and able to support higher-power applications. Due to their proven...

Ordinary WiFi can easily detect weapons, bombs, and explosive chemicals in bags at museums, stadiums, theme parks, schools, and other public venues using a low-cost suspicious...

Wearable biosensors for health monitoring lack a lightweight, long-lasting power supply. A new method was developed for making a charge-storing system that is easily integrated into...

Flexible and wearable sensors measure and track body motion, a task made more complex by the human anatomy’s numerous potential contortions. For a wearable sensor to work properly,...

Growing demand for electric vehicles and more sustainable forms of transport means finding new forms of energy storage such as batteries, supercapacitors, and fuel cells. Currently, a major...

Briefs: Green Design & Manufacturing
Plastic-Degrading Enzyme

Eight million metric tons of plastic waste, including polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles, enter the oceans each year, creating huge manmade islands of garbage. Experts estimate that by 2050, there will be as much waste plastic in the ocean by mass as there are fish. A bacterium, Ideonella sakaiensis 201-F6, can...

Application Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Laser Measurement Sensors Solve High-Speed Package Profiling
Banner Engineering
Plymouth, MN
www.bannerengineering.com

Sorting parcels and packages prior to delivery is an essential step in shipping and handling. Order...

The first mass-produced electric vehicles (EVs) hit the road late in 2010 with the introduction of the Nissan Leaf, which remains the world’s top-selling,...

Application Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Metal 3D Printing for Complex Heat Exchangers
Renishaw
West Dundee, IL
www.renishaw.com

HiETA develops metal additive manufacturing (AM) methods for the production of complex, lightweight structures for heat management...

Emergency situations such as trying to escape heavy smoke from fire could leave the sense of touch as the only way to find an exit. Rather than trying to look at a smartphone screen, a...

NASA Langley Research Center has developed new methods for fabricating hollow nanoparticles using dendrimer molecules. Dendrimers are used as templates to control the size, stability, and solubility...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Extrans Permeation Measurement System

Many applications in science and industry require an apparatus that creates a controlled amount of a fluid introduced into another fluid. For instance, some material corrosion testing applications...

The traditional approach for wireless sensors involves interrogators that communicate with each other (i.e., the two boxes “talk” to each other). In contrast, surface acoustic wave...

Facility Focus: Electronics & Computers
Facility Focus: Battelle Memorial Institute

Battelle Memorial Institute was founded in the early part of the 20th century as a charitable trust focused on research in metallurgy and allied industries. Founder Gordon Battelle studied...

5 Ws: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
5 Ws of the Heart Energy Harvester
Who

Millions of people who rely on pacemakers, defibrillators, and other livesaving implantable devices powered by batteries that need to be replaced every five to 10 years.

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a method in which a metal matrix composite (MMC) material is incorporated into a metallic structure during a one-step...

Articles: Test & Measurement
Products of Tomorrow: April 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...

Protolabs
Maple Plain, MN
www.protolabs.com

Mankind first set foot on the Moon in 1969; nearly five decades have now passed. Today, NASA is developing the Orion...

GPS signals do not penetrate very deeply or at all in water, soil, or building walls, and therefore can’t be used by submarines or in underground activities such as surveying mines. GPS also...

Briefs: Communications
System Enables Direct Data Transmission Between Underwater and Airborne Devices

Today, underwater sensors cannot share data with those on land, as both use different wireless signals that only work in their respective mediums. Radio signals that travel through air die very rapidly in water. Acoustic signals, or sonar, sent by underwater devices...

A heat-rejecting film was developed that could be applied to a building’s windows to reflect up to 70 percent of the Sun’s incoming heat. The film remains highly transparent...

Spinoff is NASA’s annual publication featuring successfully commercialized NASA technology. This commercialization has contributed to the development of products and services in...

Briefs: Aerospace
Signal Combiner for Wideband Communication

NASA’s Glenn Research Center has devised an efficient new method of combining primary and secondary signals with minimal loss and noise. With its ability to reduce system noise, this novel signal combiner delivers the best opportunity to receive a desired signal not easily distinguished from...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Pre-Treatment Solution for Water Recovery

The Pre-Treatment Solution for Water Recovery technology was developed by NASA Johnson Space Center innovators to increase the amount of potable water recovered from the International Space Station’s urine processor assembly system. The solution increased the water recovery rate in the ISS distiller...

Products: Test & Measurement
New on the Market: April 2019
Wave Springs

Smalley, Lake Zurich, IL, announced a Nested Spirawave Wave Springs series. The multiple-turn, flat wire wave springs are coiled in parallel to produce two to three times as much force as...

Along with intensity and color, polarization is a property of light that can provide useful information for scene analysis; however, the human eye and most cameras cannot detect...

Briefs: Test & Measurement
Wear-Resistant Platinum Gold Alloy

From cellphones to satellites, industry spends millions on traditional gold alloy electrical contact coatings. While gold and other metal alloys have been an industry standard to protect metal components...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Wake Vortex Avoidance System and Method

NASA Langley Research Center scientists have developed a microphone that detects infrasound, i.e., acoustic waves ranging from 20-Hz frequencies down to DC. Infrasound is emitted in a number of...

Briefs: Test & Measurement
Transparent Test Patch Determines Food Contamination

A transparent test patch, printed with harmless molecules, signals food contamination as it happens. The patch can be incorporated directly into food packaging, where it can monitor the contents for harmful pathogens such as E. coli and Salmonella. The new technology has the potential to...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Virtual Test Laboratory

The mechanical properties of sheet metal materials are directional. Their deformation behavior and their strength differ significantly depending on the viewing direction; for example, in the direction of rolling, or...

Briefs: Data Acquisition
Passive RFID Tag with Long Range and Wide Coverage Capabilities

Researchers at NASA Johnson Space Center have developed the RFID Tag with Long Range and Wide Coverage Capabilities technology that allows a RFID tag to direct a RFID reader beam signal back in the direction of arrival. This technology requires no added power to provide telemetry...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Measurement Technique for Continuous-Wave, Modulated, and Pulsed Monochromatic Radiation

In many applications, such as remote sensing of atmospheric trace gases, monochromatic radiation with multiple discrete wavelengths is required. To date, there no instrument or technique that measures the wavelength jitters and fluctuations in real time.

Innovators at NASA’s Glenn Research Center have developed a hybrid telescope antenna system — Teletenna — to deliver high-data-rate communication over great distances. Teletenna has...

Titanium is as strong as steel but about twice as light. These properties depend on the way a metal’s atoms are stacked but random defects that arise in the...

Briefs: Materials
Self-Healing, Fluid-Inspired Material

Even tiny cracks can cause bridges to collapse, pipelines to rupture, and fuselages to detach from airplanes due to hard-to-detect corrosion in tiny cracks, scratches, and dents. A new coating strategy for metal self-heals within seconds when scratched, scraped, or cracked. The novel material could prevent...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Laser Ranging Can See 3D Objects Melting in Fires

Optical range measurements, already used in manufacturing and other fields, may help overcome practical challenges posed by structural fires, which are too hot to measure with conventional...

Many devices use light to probe the quantum states of atoms in a vapor confined in a small cell. Atoms can be highly sensitive to external conditions, and therefore make superb detectors....

Products: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Product of the Month: April 2019 Tech Briefs

nanotron, Munich, Germany, introduced 360° Edge Analytics tools and location-aware wireless sensors for manufacturing and healthcare. The products automatically extract event information...

Tech Talks: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Precision Metal Parts with Photochemical Etching

Metal parts are part of almost every electronic, rocket, and medical procedure. The parts need to be reliably precise in order for the application to work successfully. This Tech Talk examines the process of photochemical etching and how it creates exact-to-print metal components. Topics...

White Papers: Test & Measurement
Learn How to Select the Right Digital Output for Your Encoder

When specifying an encoder for your application, choosing the right digital output is critical. With the wrong signal format, your system won't understand what your encoder is...

Question of the Week: Manufacturing & Prototyping
What's the most interesting or spontaneous prototype you've ever made?

It took two and a half years, 60 prototypes, and even some of his children's craft foam, but former designer and sensor pro Curtis Ray found a way to stop his snoring. He built a "smart" sleep mask equipped with an accelerometer, a microprocessor, a Bluetooth connection, a...

White Papers: Electronics & Computers
Thermal Management Solutions

As power density of electronic components has increased, so has the impact of thermal loading and temperature rise on these electronics. Smaller electronic components and increasingly dense packaging in...

White Papers: Electronics & Computers
Hermetic Feedthroughs Block Moisture in Tomorrow's Electronics

From automotive electronic control units to weather satellites and defense systems, electronics failures can bring communications and critical functions to a sudden halt. Experts...

The dyed threads change color when they detect a variety of gases.
Question of the Week: Robotics, Automation & Control
Have You Used Collaborative Robots?

Last week, a Tech Briefs reader asked our expert: "Can collaborative robots help manufacturers looking to scale their business?"

Researchers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology have devised a strategy to support high-speed mobile data access using the millimeter-wave spectrum for a fifth-generation (5G)...

In the field of inorganic semiconductors, dimensions below 100 nanometers are already standard. However, organic semiconductors have not been able to keep up. In...

On day one of the Automate show in Chicago, Stäubli introduced its new TS2 four-axis robots to the North American market.
Dr. Peter Cavanagh talks with Tech Briefs about his journey in the 1980s as he turned a running shoe into a tracking computer.
White Papers: Energy
Power Management Solutions for Alternative Energy

Our new developer kit contains the information and resources you need to make informed product decisions when designing power management systems for alternative energy. Just fill out the...

The 3D-printing process has a number of steps. Find out where CT scanning should fall.
Question of the Week: Robotics, Automation & Control
Would You Want to Work Alongside a 'Handle' Robot?

Another video featured on Tech Briefs TV this week demonstrated a robot from Boston Dynamics called "Handle." The bipedal wheeled robot takes on material handling tasks like pallet building and truck unloading for warehouse logistics. Take a look for yourself.

White Papers: Electronics & Computers
Environment and PCBs

We assume that PCBs are made to endure all types of environments. However, unless designed and manufactured appropriately for its specific situation, the environment can shorten the life of a PCB. By taking careful and...

Researchers created transparent polythene sheets that have a strength greater than aluminum – at a fraction of the weight.
White Papers: Robotics, Automation & Control
Green Light on Lidar

For driverless cars to see mainstream adoption, engineers must solve lidar design challenges including detection range and field of view, adaptability to environmental factors, and safety. Engineering teams are debating...

A new 3D printed device turns snowfall into electricity.

NASA has selected two new Space Technology Research Institutes (STRIs) to advance space habitat designs using resilient and autonomous systems. The proposals create two multi-disciplinary,...

INSIDER: Robotics, Automation & Control
AI-Based Human-Friendly Robot

Blue – a low-cost, human-friendly robot – was designed with durable, plastic parts and high-performance motors that total less than $5,000 to manufacture and assemble. Its arms are sensitive to outside...

INSIDER: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Student-Built Satellite Tests 3D Printing

A group of undergrad students at Virginia Tech has built a CubeSat satellite with a 3D-printed side panel that includes temperature gauges to test how the material will hold up in space. The...

Podcasts: Test & Measurement
Here's an Idea: Sports
In this episode, we explore how sensors are being used to detect concussions, track player performance, and even provide new opportunities to bet.
White Papers: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Complimentary White Paper on the Basics of Bellows Couplings

In case you haven't read it yet, R+W would like to recommend this short technical article describing the how and why of torsionally rigid bellows couplings. This white paper will...

White Papers: Automotive
How mmWave Radar Will Influence Autonomous Driving Systems

Automotive radar is today’s leading sensing technology for increasing driving safety in all environmental conditions. Advanced automotive radar takes advantage of 76 –...

White Papers: Robotics, Automation & Control
Tolerance Rings Can Save Your Design When Mounting Ball Bearings

These unique circular fasteners can secure and mount ball bearings within housings or to shafts by exerting radial holding forces. A series of equally spaced waves or...

Question of the Week: Transportation
Will Flying Cars Support 'Sustainable Mobility?'

This week on Tech Briefs TV: A study published in Nature Communications found that flying cars could play a role in sustainable mobility for longer trips. See what the University of Michigan authors had to say. See what the University of Michigan authors had to say.

Some parts should be CNC machined, and some parts should be 3D printed. Our expert compares the two manufacturing processes.

For the first time, researchers have 3D printed a unique material that demonstrates optical transparency in the mid-infrared range: chalcogenide glass.

White Papers: Medical
Benefits of Using Glass Components in Biotechnology, Medical Device, Point-of-Care & Pharmaceutical Industries

Glass is a clean and inexpensive material that is easily manufactured for One-Time Use Applications frequently required in the...

Tech Talks: Automotive
Transitioning from Physical to Virtual Automotive Testing Using Virtual Microcontrollers

New, more powerful microcontrollers are becoming available to serve the increasing performance, application-specific needs, and software content demand of automotive domain controllers in powertrain and ADAS. Developers of such systems need to start...

White Papers: Power
IC Design: Preparing for the Next Node

Despite the rumors of Moore’s law dying or falling behind, it seems that most of the semiconductor industry continues to push forward to new process nodes and increasingly complex designs. The...

White Papers: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Rugged Network Attached Storage – your questions answered!

This document provides a review of Network Attached Storage (NAS) applications, and discusses the features which should be considered when specifying a NAS requirement. NAS Devices...

INSIDER: Robotics, Automation & Control
Soft Robots Created with 3D Printers

Recent advances in material science have enabled the fabrication of robots with deformable bodies or the ability to reshape when touched, but the complex design, fabrication, and control of soft...

White Papers: Robotics, Automation & Control
Extending Your Robot's Reach: Learn How to Use Linear Axis Systems to Increase the Positioning Range

The future of manufacturing and automation will focus on reducing manual operations, extending machinery ranges, increasing productivity,...

Taxi! A steady stream of AUVSI XPONENTIAL attendees got to see Bell's new air vehicle up close.
You think riding your Harley Davidson is exciting? Try the ElectraFly.

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