May 2020

Technology Leaders: Photonics/Optics
Tackling Aircraft Laser Strikes from the Ground
To reduce the increasing frequency of attacks, the ground-based Laser Aircraft Strike Suppression Optical System (LASSOS) has been developed by researchers from the MIT Lincoln Laboratory.

Ever since Henry Ford introduced the first moving production line to the industry in 1913, automotive manufacturers have been constantly striving to streamline their processes,...

Technology Leaders: Photonics/Optics
The Configurable Laser — A Universal Manufacturing Tool
Laser technology will remain at the forefront of tomorrow’s digital manufacturing processes.
Special Reports: Robotics, Automation & Control
Medical Manufacturing and Outsourcing - May 2020

How are advances in automation/robotics, welding, 3D printing, and other fabrication technologies shaping the future of medical device manufacturing? Find out in this Special Report – a...

Special Reports: Electronics & Computers
Electronics Design & Assembly - May 2020

The latest advances in chip and board-level design and manufacturing are spotlighted in this compendium of recent articles from the editors of Tech Briefs and Aerospace & Defense Technology...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Analyzing Wear and Tear of Metal
A new method could enable vehicles and equipment to better withstand high temperatures, loads, and speeds.
Next-generation devices made with a “peel and stack” method could include electronic chips worn on the skin.
Bandages with integrated pH and temperature sensors, and electronically triggered drug release, improve healing.
Facility Focus: Electronics & Computers
Facility Focus: NASA Ames Research Center
This NASA center hosts the world’s greatest collection of wind tunnels and flight simulation facilities
This method uses fiber optic probes for measurement of semiconductors, optical coatings, magnetic read/write heads, and precision machines.
This fast, flexible tool allows researchers to quickly compare and prioritize strategies for converting biomass to fuels and products.
Q&A: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Q&A: Turning Trash into Valuable Graphene
A new process will reduce the cost of manufacturing graphene by a factor of more than 100.
With the recent boom in touch-based, polymer display substrates must be fingerprint-resistant.
Xilinx is now applying AI to the in-cabin environment.
The nonlinear camera captures high-resolution images of the interior of solid objects using terahertz (THz) radiation.
Engineers have developed a new scanning technique inspired by the natural world that can detect corroding metals in oil and gas pipelines.
Photodetectors, ultrafast lasers, energy sensors, and more.
A team is exploring new materials for telecommunications and LIDAR applications.

The last thing you probably do when a fly buzzes toward you is marvel at its graceful wing and body kinematics. But that’s exactly what researchers at Cornell University’s Itai Cohen Group...

Researchers described a new strategy of designing metamolecules.
Application Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Properly Designing and Specifying Aspheric Lenses
Aspheric lenses greatly improve the performance and efficiency of a wide range of optical applications.
Products: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Product of the Month: May 2020 Tech Briefs
The ADISRA SmartView 4.0 HMI allows builders to see what's going on in their machines.
This diffuser provides double the pumping efficiency in one-quarter the space.
Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Spin Capacitor for Energy-Efficient Electronics
The capacitor could enable a new generation of electronics that will require less power and generate less heat.
Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
VoroCrust v.1.0 Meshing Software
This program generates a mesh that conforms to a complex model without clipping.
Briefs: Electronics & Computers
System Provides Cooling with No Electricity
This passive device relies on a layer of material that blocks incoming sunlight but lets heat radiate away.
An inexpensive 3D-printed microfluidics device could be used to personalize cancer treatment.
The material consists solely of components that have already been shown to work well in the body.
A ceramic sensor could be embedded into structures such as bridges and aircraft to monitor their health.
The AI system can help shorten the time required for 2D material-based electronics to be ready for consumer devices.
This instrument has applications in medical equipment, robotics, and satellites.
Briefs: Software
Computational Model Predicts Human Behavior
This analytic model shows how groups of people influence individual behavior.
This device could enable rapid, inexpensive liquid biopsies to help detect cancer and develop targeted treatment plans.
Products: Sensors/Data Acquisition
New on the Market: May 2020
Sealing connection tools, oscilloscopes, snap-action switches, and more...
Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
High-Efficiency Laser for Silicon Chips
Applications include optical data transfer, infrared and night-vision systems, environmental sensors, and breath analysis for medical diagnosis.
Articles: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Executive Roundtable: 3D Printing
Tech Briefs posed questions to 3D printing/AM industry execs, to get their views on issues like metal printing, new materials, and environmental sustainability.
Briefs: Medical
Mobile, Wearable EEG Device with Nanowire Sensors
This low-cost electroencephalogram (EEG) device provides research-grade signal quality.
Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Autonomic and Apoptotic Highly Distributed System
Applications include distributed computer systems, computer security, and commercial satellite systems.
Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Ultrasonic System to Assess Compartment Syndrome
Applications include emergency medicine, combat casualty care, and sports injuries.
Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Electric Nanoscale Device Sees Through Walls
Applications include imaging, sensing, wireless communications, and medical treatments.
Landers to small bodies such as comets and asteroids can use this program to estimate the terrain richness of the previously unmapped small body.
The technique could be used to improve navigation for robots, drones, or pedestrians.
Briefs: Wearables
Wearable Air Conditioning
This on-skin electronic device provides a personal air conditioner without electricity.
Briefs: RF & Microwave Electronics
Wirelessly Powered, Leadless Pacemaker
This device could give doctors a new therapeutic option for treating patients with conditions such as heart failure.
Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Organic Material for Printed Electronics
The material combines two polymers with different properties.
This diagnostic device allows doctors to detect cancer quickly from a droplet of blood or plasma.
Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Protocol Improves Storage Efficiency and Output Speed of Computer Systems
This approach enables computer systems to retrieve data much faster.
Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Defects Enable High-Performance Infrared Photodetectors
A highly sensitive, CMOS-compatible, broadband photodetector was created by tailoring material defects.
The material could enable applications such as antennas that change frequencies on the fly or gripper arms for delicate or heavy objects.
5 Ws: Sensors/Data Acquisition
5 Ws of the Infant Smart Jumpsuit
A smart jumpsuit accurately measures the spontaneous and voluntary movement of infants
A liquid crystal elastomer can be programmed to exhibit controllable, dynamic behavior without the need for complex electronic components.
Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Shape Memory Alloy Mechanisms for CubeSats
This lightweight and efficient mechanism enables retention, release, and deployment of solar arrays and antennas.
The method slashes battery testing times — a key barrier to longer-lasting, faster-charging batteries for electric vehicles.
Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Method Enables Conductive Gels to Stick When Wet
A new way of making polymers adhere to surfaces may enable better biomedical sensors and implants.
The domino effect is used to design deployable systems that expand quickly with a small push and are stable and locked into place after deployment.
NASA’s LED lighting system enables food and other crops to be grown indoors in places like skyscrapers.
This new design could conserve energy used for defrosting airplanes, appliances, and more.
It can be used both in small, portable devices for field inspections and in very large detectors that use arrays of crystals.
Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Foldable Mechanical Devices
These “developable mechanisms” are built into the surfaces of structures.
This framework determines regional landslide probability in near real time.
This gel releases short gene sequences into the heart muscle to heal it following a heart attack.
Articles: Materials
Products of Tomorrow: May 2020
A cryptographic ID tag, a high-reliability NASA switch, and a stretchable thermoelectric generator...
Blog: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
NASA's 'VITAL' Ventilator Gets FDA Approval

A low-cost, low-complexity ventilator developed by NASA engineers at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) received approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this week.

See how NASA engineer Mike Buttigieg is creating a device that will free up ventilators for patients with COVID-19

Low-Power Sealed Laser

Luxinar (Kingston Upon Hull, UK) has introduced the SR 08s for marking, scribing and kiss cutting applications requiring average rather than peak power. The...

Question of the Week: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Will Biosensors Be Used Effectively in Crowded Environments?

A team used to making pollutant-detection systems is adapting their technologies to spot coronavirus.

Tech Talks: Automotive
Overcoming the Major Challenges of ADAS Development and Validation Infrastructure

The automotive industry is in the midst of a highly competitive transitional period, with the ultimate goal of fully autonomous or “driverless” vehicles likely to be realized within a decade, but both the scale and intensity of this goal are...

A research team has used the Molecular Foundry, a Department of Energy Office of Science user facility, to create miniature lasers. These lasers are stable and work continuously. What...

Stanford University researchers created an inverse design codebase called SPINS that can help researchers explore different design methodologies to...

The future’s getting brighter for solar power. Researchers from CU Boulder have created a low-cost solar cell with one of the highest power-conversion efficiencies to...

An empty airport tells you more than you might think.

Question of the Week: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Will ‘Flexoskeletons’ Catch On?

Engineers at the University of California San Diego have found a new way to make soft, flexible, 3D-printed robots. The “flexoskeletons” are both made of a rigid material and a thin sheet of polycarbonate that acts as a flexible base. Watch the demo on Tech Briefs TV.

What do you think? Will...

A proof-of-concept soft robot has a cheetah-like gait that avoids the usual crawl.
A team at Georgia Tech has discovered a Velcro-like way of mass-producing gecko-inspired adhesives.
Question of the Week: Robotics, Automation & Control
Will Soft Robots Reach Cheetah-Like Speeds?

Our lead INSIDER story today featured a proof-of-concept robot that moves at almost 3 body lengths a second.

The Los Angeles, CA-based company Nanotech Energy is using graphene to prevent thermal runaway and create a non-flammable battery.
Researchers have tested a new imaging method to understand the brain as an individual develops Alzheimer's disease.
Simon Fraser University researchers will use their pioneering imaging technology – called Mango, for its bright color – to develop coronavirus testing kits.
A new tool for medical professionals may help shed light on tumors.
Novel biosensors allow the simultaneous study of both neuronal activity and transcription factor dynamics.
Question of the Week: Materials
How Would You Use Gecko-Inspired Adhesion?

A team at Georgia Tech has discovered a Velcro-like way of mass-producing gecko-inspired adhesives. Principal investigator Prof. Michael Varenberg believes his team’s technology can someday be used on pick-and-place industrial machines, wall-scaling cleaners, and even small repair robots that travel...

White Papers: Nanotechnology
Introduction to 3D Printing with PµSL

Small devices that require high precision, high resolution, and high accuracy are all around us. From the electronic connectors in cellphones to the tiny valves in medical pumps, these devices aren’t...

White Papers: Imaging
Compact, Smooth, Repeatable Accuracy: NSK Motorized Ball Screw Actuator

NSK’s MBSA series combines a precision-ground ball screw with an ultra-accurate stepping motor. It’s the ideal integrated solution for medical devices and laboratory...

White Papers: Test & Measurement
White Paper: 4 Approaches to Solve Today's Obsolescence Challenges in Aerospace and Defense

Test engineers spend as much as 50 percent of their time (or even more in some cases) actively dealing with obsolescence in their test program sets....

New software sets the stage for A.I.-enabled robotic prostheses that predict user terrain and initiate mechanical changes accordingly.

Videos