July 2019

Blog: Robotics, Automation & Control
With Embedded App, 'Anyone Can Program Robots'
A new app opens up robotics to a large user base.
Special Reports: Aerospace
Apollo Commemorative Publication - July 2019

As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, Tech Briefs is proud to present this Special Report chronicling NASA's Apollo Program. It's filled with historic photos, videos, and audio...

Special Reports: Software
Modeling & Simulation - July 2019

Learn about the latest engineering simulation tools and applications in this compendium of recent articles from the editors of Tech Briefs, Aerospace & Defense Technology, Automotive Engineering, and...

Articles: Test & Measurement
The Sensors Behind the GEN II Wearable Device

The population is aging and more people need healthcare support, which is having a big impact on the overall cost of medical care. As a result, authorities and health insurance companies are...

Accurately measuring semiconductor properties of materials in small volumes helps engineers determine the range of applications for which these materials may be suitable in the...

Whereas hydrogen fuel cells (e.g., proton exchange membrane (PEM) and other fuel cells) generate electricity from the chemical reaction between pure hydrogen and oxygen, direct carbon fuel cells...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Fabricating Nanochips via Thermal Lithography

A process for fabricating atom-thin processors can be used to produce at the nanoscale for smaller and faster semiconductors.

Aydin Aysu, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor in the Electrical & Computer Engineering Department at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, where he helped develop a technique for...

Briefs: Internet of Things
Smartphone Test Spots Poisoned Water Risk

Researchers have developed a biosensor that attaches to a smartphone and uses bacteria to detect unsafe arsenic levels. The device generates easy-to-interpret patterns similar to volume-bars that display the level of contamination.

A system was developed that can remove radioactive cesium contamination from porous structures such as brick and concrete that are hard to clean, as well as contamination from...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Hybrid Transformer

Researchers have developed a hybrid transformer that has the benefit of a full planar transformer design but uses a wire-wound secondary winding to keep the parasitic winding capacitances lower. Alone, planar transformers...

5 Ws: Green Design & Manufacturing
5 Ws of PDK Recyclable Plastic
Who

Anyone who uses products made of plastic. The new recyclable plastic could be a good alternative to many nonrecyclable plastics in use today.

A continuous-testing device was developed that samples sweat as effectively as blood but in a noninvasive way and over many hours. After examining the use of saliva, tears, and...

Application Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Machining Capabilities Enhance Space-Related Programs
Insaco
Quakertown, PA
www.insaco.com

Since 1947, Insaco has been machining, grinding, and polishing ceramics, sapphire, and glass to meet and often exceed client...

Researchers have created highly stretchable supercapacitors for powering wearable electronics that consist of crumpled carbon nanotube (CNT) forests. The supercapacitors demonstrated solid performance...

Innovators at NASA’s Glenn Research Center have developed a new means of avoiding and mitigating icing events for aircraft flying above 14,000 feet, dramatically improving aviation...

Briefs: Test & Measurement
High-Throughput Friction and Wear Tester

There is a need for high-volume material testing/qualification but industry and researchers are currently limited by commercially available testing devices. Most wear testers can only handle one...

Just 54 years ago, the first photograph of Mars from a passing spacecraft appeared to show a hazy atmosphere. Now, decades of exploration on the planet itself has shown it to be a...

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

Aircraft currently fly based on coarse estimations of environment and aircraft state. Real-time measurements are traditionally restricted to laboratory environments (e.g. wind tunnel) due to the size and...

Facility Focus: Aerospace
NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center

On September 1, 1961, NASA requested appropriations for initial land purchases on Merritt Island on Florida’s east coast to support the Apollo Lunar Landing Program. Designers quickly began developing...

Application Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Humidity Measurement Devices for Mars Are Ready for Final Testing
Vaisala Corp. Helsinki, Finland
www.vaisala.com

The Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) is delivering pressure and humidity measuring devices based on Vaisala technology for use on NASA’s next robotic mission to Mars — the Mars 2020 rover. The pressure measurement...

For the first time in a generation, NASA is building a human spacecraft for deep-space missions that will usher in a new era of space...

Briefs: Lighting
3D Printing of Flexible Circuits

A process was developed for 3D printing that can be used to produce transparent and mechanically flexible electronic circuits. The electronics consist of a mesh of silver nanowires that can be printed in suspension and embedded in various flexible and transparent plastics (polymers). This technology can enable...

Before becoming an astronaut candidate in 1996, Mike Massimino was busy earning degrees — an undergraduate degree from Columbia University and four additional degrees from...

Briefs: Energy
Multistep Self-Assembly for Reconfigurable Materials

Self-assembling synthetic materials come together when tiny, uniform building blocks interact and form a structure; however, nature lets materials like proteins of varying size and shape assemble, allowing for complex architectures that can handle multiple tasks.

On May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy announced before a special joint session of Congress the dramatic and ambitious goal of sending an American safely to the Moon...

In the polymer composites industry, cure cycles are typically developed from trial-and-error or a more effective processing science approach to reduce...

There are many different types of 3D printing technologies. The most familiar — inkjet — has been around for some 20 years. But until now, it has been difficult to...

For the millions of people every year who have or need medical devices implanted, an advancement in 3D printing technology could enable significantly quicker...

By capping liquids with graphene (an ultrathin sheet of pure carbon), researchers can easily image and analyze liquid interfaces and the surface of nanometer-scale objects...

Shear Assisted Processing and Extrusion (ShAPE™) allows creation of wire, bar, and tubular extrusions that show significant improvement in material properties; for example, magnesium extrusions have...

Techniques to prevent frost and ice formation on surfaces rely heavily on heating or on liquid chemicals that need to be repeatedly reapplied because they easily wash away. Even advanced...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
New Technique Tests for Viral Infections

Currently, most U.S. medical offices and hospitals use the ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) test to determine whether or not a person has a viral infection. It’s a common test but ELISA’s sensitivity is relatively low, so clinicians need a fairly high number of antibodies in a person’s...

Articles: Communications
Products of Tomorrow: July 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...

Nearly 70 percent of the energy produced in the United States each year is wasted as heat. Much of that heat is less than 100 °C and emanates from things like computers, cars, or...

Products: Imaging
New on the Market: July 2019
Sensor Controller

The induSENSOR MSC7401 sensor controller from Micro-Epsilon, Ortenburg, Germany, is used for displacement and distance measurements and is operated with LVDT and LDR measuring gauges...

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a new aircraft design with the engine nacelle over the wing, improving engine ground clearance and freeing landing gear design. While...

Microchannels fabricated into a silicon-Pyrex wafer with a diameter of 75 m and total channel length of 40, 60, 80, or 100 mm — characterized by specialized microbeads...

The Moon is a treasure chest of science. The lunar samples returned during the Apollo program dramatically changed our view of the solar system, yet they just scratch the...

On July 20, 1969, humans walked on another world for the first time in history. After a landing that included dodging a lunar crater and boulder...

Briefs: Imaging
Face-Tracking Robot

A robot is being developed that tracks facial movements to perform human tasks. The robot resembles large, squiggly arms holding tiny cameras. Sitting in a rolling office chair across from one of the arms, the robot's...

Fully Automated Beam Monitoring System

Ophir-Spiricon (North Logan, UT) has announced Ophir® BeamWatch® Integrated, a fully automated, non-contact laser...

Traditionally, prism-based cameras are often selected over trilinear cameras when it comes to bulk material scanning, as the inherent line-shift of a trilinear camera can...

There's an entire world our eyes miss, hidden in the ranges of light wavelengths that human eyes can't see. But infrared cameras can pick up this light emitted as...

The critical angle lens reflector has commercial applications that supersede ordinary mirrored reflectors. The physics of the critical angle lens reflector are based on the optics...

Application Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Automotive Lidar Trends

Real-time 3D lidar is poised to be the third leg of the trifecta of sensor technologies enabling both advanced driver-assistance (ADAS) and autonomous vehicles. The other two pieces are cameras and radar. David Hall,...

Experimental photonic switches developed at UC Berkeley have shown promise toward the goal of fully optical, high-capacity switching for...

Application Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Optimizing Image Sensors for Security Cameras

Performance of image sensors for security cameras must be geared to low-light sensitivity, high signal to noise ratio, and high temperature performance. Security image sensors are typically...

With the aim of bringing more human-like reasoning to autonomous vehicles, MIT researchers have created a system that uses only simple maps and visual data to enable driverless cars...

For many years now, CMOS (Complementary, Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor) based sensors have dominated the high-speed imaging market. Cameras are being released with ever-higher headline...

Articles: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Key Trends in Custom Optics for Aerospace

The convergence of “new” materials, improved free-form shape fabrication, and changes in the aerospace marketplace has transformed the previously static field of custom optics into a very dynamic...

Scientists at the University of Sheffield have been working with HiPERCAM, a high-speed, multicolor camera, which is capable of taking more than 1,000 images per...

Dewesoft, Whitehouse, OH, introduced single-channel KRYPTON data acquisition modules for use in harsh environments such as exposure to extreme temperatures, water spray or submersion, or...

Many of the technologies we use today – space blankets, hearing aids, food packaging – began on the Apollo 11 mission.
A reader asks our industry expert: Will air taxis be influenced by military UAV standards?
White Papers: Automotive
Modeling Corrosion and Corrosion Protection

Nearly every man-made structure contains metal that is susceptible to corrosion, a chemical process that causes costly and dangerous damage. To combat these issues, mathematical modeling and...

Question of the Week: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Will ‘4D Knitting’ Lead to Better Robots and Wearables?

Carnegie Mellon University researchers have demonstrated "4D knitting. The computationally-controlled machines are being used to make a variety of soft textile objects.

White Papers: Power
How to Prevent Arc Flash to Protect Life and Productivity

Arc flash is the explosive release of energy triggered by a phase-to-phase or phase-to-ground short circuit. When an arc flash event occurs, air becomes a conductor and carries...

White Papers: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Training Future Medical Professionals with Smart, Force-Sensing Devices

Medical actions like palpation during routine physical exams and emergency procedures like CPR both rely on human contact. Applying the appropriate amount of force is...

White Papers: Transportation
Camera Selection for Vehicle & Transportation Applications

The intersection of mobility and security represents a particularly attractive area for video imaging devices. These applications require high-performance digital cameras for object...

Researchers from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and Lebedev Physical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences have designed and tested a prototype...

In free space, the light wave of a laser beam spreads on an exactly straight line. Under certain circumstances, however, a much more complicated behavior occurs. If the movement of the wave is...

Jigang Wang patiently explained his latest discovery in quantum control that could lead to superfast computing based on quantum mechanics. He mentioned light-induced...

Blue Pulsed Laser Diode Module

OSI Laser Diode (LDI) (Edison, NJ) launched a blue 450-nm pulsed laser diode module that includes an electrostatic discharge (ESD) protection...

White Papers: Aerospace
Defense Manufacturing Just Got Smarter

In aerospace and defense manufacturing, speed, accuracy and efficiency are essential. Factory intelligence — seamless collaboration between people and machines — is a highly effective way to achieve...

MIT's new way of automatically creating actuators is a bit like solving a Rubik's Cube.
Question of the Week: Aerospace
Did You Watch the Moon Landing?

On July 20, 1969, American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin became the first humans ever to land on the Moon. Fifty years later, we celebrate their achievement, and we want to hear from you.

A team from the University of Pittsburgh looked to the butterfly to create a glass that is self-healing, liquid-repellant, and anti-fogging.
Our readers ask: How do you know that you have the right anode? How can you inspect the electrolyte or electrode material?
Podcasts: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Here's an Idea: Apollo 11
In this special edition of Here's an Idea, we explore the many tools and materials that began as one small step toward the Moon.
White Papers: Automotive
Ebook: AI Sensing for a Safer Tomorrow

This Ebook from Dell EMC® explores the evolution of AI in the automotive industry and how sensor data is used to continuously improve vehicle safety. Includes insights into the array of Deep Neural...

White Papers: Medical
How to Assemble Your Microfluidic Test Device - Automated or By Hand

When you’re a medical designer building a Point-of-Care microfluidic test device, you need to precisely control the alignment of layer components. A new white paper from...

Over the past decade, a major trend in electronics has been the development of sensors, displays, and smart devices that are seamlessly integrated onto the human body....

News: Manufacturing & Prototyping
People with Mobility Issues Set to Benefit from Wearable Devices

The lives of thousands of people with mobility issues could be transformed thanks to ground-breaking research by scientists at the University of Bristol.

A team of researchers from Carnegie Mellon University, in collaboration with the University of Minnesota, has made a breakthrough in the field of noninvasive robotic device...

A reader asks: What role will emulation play in the verification of modern automotive solutions?

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...

A new approach developed at MIT to building robots is based on a set of five millimeter-scale components, all of which can be attached to each other by a standard connector. Using this simple...

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