August 2019

In a major step toward developing portable scanners that can rapidly measure molecules in pharmaceuticals or classify tissue in patients’ skin, researchers have created an imaging...

Black carbon, commonly known as soot, is a significant contributor to global warming and is strongly linked to adverse health outcomes. Produced by the incomplete...

INSIDER: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Convert Power Faster and More Efficiently

University of Illinois electrical engineers have used beta-gallium oxide to clear another hurdle in high-power semiconductor fabrication. Beta-gallium oxide is readily available and promises to...

Scientists have visualized the electronic structure in a microelectronic device for the first time, opening up opportunities for finely tuned,...

White Papers: Electronics & Computers
Cybersecurity for Intel Processor-Based Embedded Systems

The need for reliable, secure, protected data is top of mind in any mission-critical application, from safeguarding assets to ensuring proper system operation. What does it mean to...

Special Reports: Electronics & Computers
Power Electronics & Battery Technology - August 2019

This compendium of recent articles from the editors of Tech Briefs and Aerospace & Defense Technology looks at the latest advances in power electronics and energy storage.

Application Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Shutoff Device Controls and Meters Flows in Harsh Environments

Millions of gallons of crude oil were released into the Gulf of Mexico during the seabed oil drilling catastrophe of 2010. Numerous strategies to stop or stem the oil flow...

Programmable automation controllers (PACs) play the primary role in IIoT systems. Also referred to as machine controllers, PACs provide a centralized architecture; they act as the...

Conventional pistons are made of a rigid chamber and a piston inside that can slide along the chamber’s inner wall while at the same time maintaining a tight seal. As a result, the piston...

Wearing a sensor-packed glove while handling a variety of objects, researchers compiled a dataset that enables an AI system to recognize objects through touch alone. The information...

Along with the onslaught of Internet of Things (IoT) and wirelessly enabled devices, cloud connectivity has become a major benefit for a range of applications from commercial to military. As...

There is great potential in using both drones and ground-based robots for situations like disaster response, but generally these platforms either fly or creep along the ground. The flying...

Products: Motion Control
New Products: August 2019 Motion Design
Miniature Linear Translation Stages

PI, L.P. (Auburn, MA) offers the L-505 miniature linear translation stages for precision motion, alignment, and positioning applications where space is...

Stepper motors and stepper-based linear actuators are often selected for open-loop motion control devices and equipment. These can be found in a wide range of products and...

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...

Smart objects are required to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power. Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that...

NASA Langley Research Center has developed a double-sided Si(Ge)/ Sapphire/III-Nitride hybrid structure. This technology uses both sides of a sapphire wafer to build device...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Full-Color Holograms Can Be Viewed With Low Light

Researchers have created inexpensive, full-color, 2D and 3D holograms that are more realistic and brighter, and can be viewed at wider angles than current holograms.

When light gets scattered as it passes through a translucent material, the emerging pattern of “speckle” looks as random as static on a television screen with no signal. But it...

Certain species of bacteria that exist in oxygen-deprived environments must find a way to breathe that doesn't involve oxygen. These microbes — which can be found deep within mines, at...

Briefs: Semiconductors & ICs
Visualizing Motion of Water Molecules for Liquid-Based Electronics

A high-resolution inelastic x-ray scattering technique was used to measure the strong bond involving a hydrogen atom sandwiched between two oxygen atoms. This hydrogen bond is a quantum-mechanical phenomenon responsible for various properties of water, including viscosity, that...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Cryogenic Hydraulically Actuated Isolation Valve

Researchers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center have developed a cryogenic isolation valve that utilizes the upstream line pressure of cryogenic fluids for actuation. Previously, the use of cryogenic fluids for actuation systems had been too difficult to control and resulted in unsafe operating...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Nitinol-Actuated, Normally Open Valve Assembly (NOVA)

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center has developed the NOVA zero-leak, permanent isolation valve that helps prevent leaks in space propulsion systems with operating pressures less than or equal to 500 psia. The actuator is made from nitinol, a heat-activated, non-explosive, shape memory alloy and...

Organic semiconductors (OSCs) have emerged as a new class of electronic materials promising a wide range of applications including organic field-effect transistors...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Technique for 3D-Printing of Replacement Organs

Bioengineers have cleared a major hurdle on the path to 3D-printing replacement organs with a new technique for bioprinting tissues. It allows scientists to create entangled vascular networks...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Combustion Gas Heat Exchanger

Two very challenging problems facing the U.S. and the world are energy security and global climate change, largely due to dependence on fossil fuels. Cost-effective technologies have been developed that are...

The color of a material can often tell how it handles heat. With clothing, for example, the darker the pigment, the warmer you're likely to feel on a hot day. Likewise, the more...

Briefs: Nanotechnology
High-Temperature Dielectric Nanocomposite

A nanocomposite was developed that could be a superior high-temperature dielectric material for flexible electronics, energy storage, and electric devices. The nanocomposite combines one-dimensional polymer nanofibers and two-dimensional boron nitride nano-sheets. The nanofibers reinforce the...

The Air Force has developed improved devices for hemostatic management of patients with life-threatening blood loss from an arterial wound or surgery. Current aortic occlusion devices...

Autonomous vehicles relying on light-based image sensors often struggle to see through blinding conditions such as fog. Sub-terahertz wavelengths, which are between microwave...

Adversarial techniques were developed that can make objects “invisible” to image detection systems that use deep-learning algorithms. These techniques can also trick systems...

Soon-Jo Chung is Bren Professor of Aerospace in the Division of Engineering and Applied Science (EAS) at Caltech and research scientist at Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He and his team...

Briefs: Materials
Fire-Retardant Coating Uses Renewable, Nontoxic Materials

Researchers developed a new kind of flame-retardant coating using renewable, nontoxic materials readily found in nature. The coating could provide more effective fire protection for several widely used materials. The coatings offer the opportunity to reduce the flammability of...

It has been known since the early 1960s that hexagonal sampling is the optimal sampling approach for isotropically band-limited images, providing a 13.4% improvement in sampling efficiency over...

Application Briefs: Test & Measurement
Moisture Sensor Based on NASA Humidity Sensor
Roscid Technologies
Woburn, MA
https://www.roscidtechnologies.com

Roscid Technologies has agreed to licensing terms with NASA to commercialize a NASA-designed humidity sensor. Roscid...

A new method uses ultraviolet light to control the flow of fluids by encouraging particles — from plastic microbeads, to bacterial spores, to pollutants — to...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Automated Object Detection in an Image

Recent developments in machine vision have demonstrated remarkable improvements in the ability of computers to properly identify objects in a viewing field. Most of these advances rely on color-texture analyses that require target objects to possess one or more highly distinctive, local features that can be...

Innovators at NASA's Glenn Research Center have developed a new method for making small-diameter, high-grade ball bearings that are less than 0.25” in diameter thanks to the development of a new alloy...

Researchers developed a wearable, disposable respiration monitor that provides high-fidelity readings on a continuous basis. It's designed to help children with asthma and cystic...

Technology Leaders: Software
Module or Discrete Power?

Engineers today are feeling the pressure to get more done in less time, be experts in multiple disciplines, and use their resources more efficiently to maximize profits. This environment is shifting the way...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Lunar Surface Manipulation System

NASA's Langley Research Center offers a novel lifting and precision positioning device with hybrid functional characteristics of both crane-type lifting devices and robotic manipulators. The design of the...

Briefs: Aerospace
Inductive Power Transfer for Spaceflight Systems

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center has developed technology that uses inductive power transfer (IPT) for wireless power interfaces between spaceflight elements (such as the payload, vehicle, and pad). Current spaceflight systems require traditional hardwire connections for power interfaces. This...

Products: Communications
New on the Market: August 2019
Circular Connectors

Binder USA, Camarillo, CA, introduced the 720 Series of miniature circular connectors with a snap-in IP67 twin distributor. The distributor — a single male connector into two...

Briefs: RF & Microwave Electronics
Textile Cools or Insulates Automatically

Researchers have created a fabric that automatically regulates the amount of heat that passes through, depending on conditions; for example, when conditions are warm and moist — such as those of a...

Interstitial fluid is clear, colorless, and similar to blood plasma. Continual sampling of important biomarkers in interstitial fluid could help monitor and diagnose many diseases and...

Until about 20 years ago, scientists relied on chemical fluorescent dyes to make biological molecules visible. To look inside cells, stain organelles, and perform...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Implanted Wireless Nerve Stimulator

In 2016, UC Berkeley engineers demonstrated the first implanted, ultrasonic, neural dust sensors. Now, taking the next step, the smallest-volume wireless nerve stimulator was developed, called StimDust...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Light-Activated Micro-Pump

Even the smallest mechanical pumps have limitations, from the micro-fabrication techniques required to make them to the fact that there are limits on their size. A laser-driven photoacoustic microfluidic pump was...

Articles: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Simulation of Autonomous Vehicles

The emergence of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and Automated Driving (AD) systems is gradually preparing consumers for a time where they relinquish control of their vehicles. A heated source of...

Lithium-air batteries are poised to become the next replacement for currently used lithium-ion batteries that power electric vehicles, cell-phones, and computers....

Who

The patch — which serves as a personal thermostat — provides personalized cooling and heating at home, work, or on the go by cooling or warming the user's skin to a comfortable...

Polymers are regularly used as thermal insulators and can even be used as thermal conductors to enable efficient heating or cooling. A new type of polymer was created that demonstrates...

Briefs: Software
Data-Compression Technique Speeds Computer Programs

Data compression leverages redundant data to free up storage capacity, boost computing speeds, and provide other perks. In current computer systems, accessing main memory is very expensive compared to actual computation. Because of this, using data compression in the memory helps improve...

Following severe trauma, patients may have tissue damage or open wounds that require reconstructive surgery using fasciocutaneous flaps. These flaps of tissue, which are taken from...

Today's lithium-ion batteries use cathodes (one of the two electrodes in a battery) made of a transition metal oxide. Batteries with cathodes made of sulfur are considered a...

Facility Focus: Test & Measurement
Facility Focus: National Energy Technology Laboratory

The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratory — with sites in Anchorage, AK; Albany, OR; Morgantown, WV; and Pittsburgh, PA...

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

Briefs: Transportation
Microscale Electro-Hydrodynamic (EHD) Modular Cartridge Pump

The EHD pump uses electric fields to move a dielectric fluid coolant in a thermal loop to dissipate heat generated by electrical components with a low-power system. The pump has only a few key components and no moving parts, increasing the simplicity and robustness of the system. In...

Articles: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Image Warping Caused by Heat-Induced Turbulence

It is well known from astronomical imaging that various atmospheric conditions and weather effects have an impact on image quality. This is due to local changes of the refractive index of the...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Deployable Emergency Shutoff Device Blocks High-Velocity Fluid Flows

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center has developed a device and method for blocking the flow of fluid from an open pipe. The device plugs, controls, and meters the flow of gases and liquids. Anchored with friction fittings, spikes, or explosively activated fasteners, the device...

Researchers have created technology that is 10 times more reliable than current methods of producing unclonable digital fingerprints that can be used to...

Researchers have created wearable technology to convert mechanical energy into electrical energy. It presents a step toward the practical realization of self-powered, human-integrated technologies.

Methanol is a key feedstock for the production of chemicals, some of which are used to make products such as plastics, plywood, and paints. Methanol also can fuel vehicles or be reformed to...

Briefs: RF & Microwave Electronics
Microfocus, Dual-Energy Imaging System Improves Contaminant Detection

Contamination of food with fragments of bone, metal, glass, or other foreign material is a major concern in the food industry. Current inspection technologies often miss very small fragments embedded in meat or other soft materials or lead to ambiguous results that require...

Products: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Product of the Month: August 2019 Tech Briefs

nTopology, New York, NY, offers the nTop Platform, a unifying technique for design, simulation, and manufacturing data to be intelligently embedded directly into a part. The approach...

Scientists from Caltech and Northwestern University have found a way to generate electricity by combining saltwater with one of life's more undesirable compounds: rust.

Question of the Week: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Have You Used Machine Learning in Your Design Efforts?

A team from the University of Pittsburgh recently used machine-learning to create a butterfly-inspired, self-healing glass. Models from the San Francisco-based software company SigOpt helped engineers determine ideal characteristics for the material.

A new-and-improved system from Stanford University captures light from a greater variety of surfaces, allowing a wider, farther imagery than ever before.

NASA is planning a return to the Moon and an exploration-mission to Mars, but how will the human body hold up in microgravity for long...

White Papers: Test & Measurement
Characterizing & Troubleshooting Jitter with Oscilloscopes

Jitter is a common way to express performance of a clock circuit. Learn how to interpret timing and jitter measurements, and how advanced jitter measurements can improve timing...

Question of the Week: Electronics & Computers
Do You See Potential with Electrokinetic Power?

Scientists from Caltech and Northwestern University have found a way to generate electricity by combining saltwater with one of life's more undesirable compounds: rust.

White Papers: Semiconductors & ICs
Solder Bridging & Common Soldering Problems

A solder bridge forms an electrical short that can be disastrous for a PCB. Learn common causes of solder soldering problems and how to prevent these issues from delaying your PCB assembly...

Lockheed Martin's Rob Chambers is working on a spacecraft that will bring astronauts back to the lunar surface.
White Papers: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Technology and Benefits of Linear Position Sensors with Advanced Inductive Technology

This white paper describes new and improved technology that offers engineers specific advantages in speed, accuracy and reliability over previous linear...

White Papers: Semiconductors & ICs
Calibre in the Cloud: Unlocking Massive Scaling and Cost Efficiencies

Cloud processing provides design companies an opportunity to reduce time to market and speed up innovation while maintaining or lowering operating costs. As companies look...

The Tumaini app will could help farmers spot pests and disease before it's too late.
White Papers: Medical
EU MDR and the Impact on Chemical Substances in Medical Products

Jitter is a common way to express performance of a clock circuit. Learn how to interpret timing and jitter measurements, and how advanced jitter measurements can improve timing...

Researchers from Newcastle University continue to explore the source of Mars' mysterious methane.
Question of the Week: Electronics & Computers
Will Comfort-Adjusting Clothing Catch On?

Researchers from the University of Maryland have created a fabric that automatically regulates the amount of heat passing through. The engineered yarn expands and collapses based on temperature and humidity, cooling and warming a wearer as needed. What do you think?

How much does windshield glazing matter when cars drive themselves?
"Actually it was not something we really planned!" Dr. Andrew Salmon told Tech Briefs.
Tech Talks: Electronics & Computers
Harness Architectures: The Link Between Physical and Logical

The volume of electronics in vehicles is growing exponentially as more and more technology is added. This has in turn added complexity to the way electronic sub-systems in a vehicle are connected to each other. While tools exist to help design the wiring within a vehicle, there...

White Papers: Robotics, Automation & Control
How to Solve Customer OEM Sensor Problems

HBM provides custom-engineered solutions for a wide variety of OEM applications. This paper will explain the process behind a custom designed sensor solution from initial scope to performance...

INSIDER: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Mini Stretchable Pump for Soft Robots

Most soft robots are actuated by rigid, noisy pumps that push fluids into the machines’ moving parts. Because they are connected to these bulky pumps by tubes, these robots have limited autonomy...

INSIDER: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Wearable Motion Sensors Could Save Unborn Babies

A technique was developed that could allow expectant parents to hear their baby’s heartbeat continuously at home with a non-invasive and safe device that is potentially more accurate...

White Papers: Aerospace
GORE® PYRAD® Self-Extinguishing Fabric Technology

GORE® PYRAD® fabric technology is uniquely engineered to extinguish flames as they are encountered. After being exposed to heat and flames, the laminate maintains its physical integrity...

Question of the Week: Test & Measurement
Beyond Camouflage, Do You See Other Applications for Artificial ‘Chameleon Skin?’

A Cambridge University team developed an artificial "chameleon skin" that changes color when exposed to light. The material supports a range of applications, including active camouflage, large-scale dynamic displays, and maybe even medical diagnostics.

Blog: Sensors/Data Acquisition
How to Make a Transistor – From Thread

Tufts University engineers are making transistors from a material you’re more likely to see in a fabric store than in the field of electronics.

A reader asks an industry expert why adhesives are a better option for battery assembly in electric vehicles.
White Papers: Test & Measurement
Capacitive Sensors for Displacement, Distance and Position

Capacitive sensors are used whenever high precision measurement results are required. They measure vibration, oscillation, deflection, expansion, displacement, deflection,...

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

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