September 2018

Special Reports: Transportation
Lightweighting - September 2018

Demands for weight reduction and better fuel efficiency in the automotive and aerospace industries are driving design innovations and the development of new lightweight, high-strength materials. To help you...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Technique Boosts Capacity of Computer Storage

The most dense solid-state memory ever created could soon exceed the capabilities of current computer storage devices by 1,000 times using a new technique. The same technology was used to manufacture atomic-scale circuits, allowing for quickly removing or replacing single hydrogen atoms. The...

Facility Focus: Green Design & Manufacturing
National Renewable Energy Laboratory

In 1977, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL, Golden, CO) started as the Solar Energy Research Institute (SERI), spurred by national concern during the 1973 oil embargo that caused long...

A thin material was developed that can control the redirection and reflection of sound waves with almost perfect efficiency. While many theoretical approaches to...

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...

A device and method have been developed to conduct compression and tensile tests on soft materials such as flocculated sediments, biopolymers, biological materials, and food stuffs. The device...

Briefs: Data Acquisition
Microtesting Rig

The measurement of mechanical behavior in very small samples whose dimensions are on the order of microns and below can offer advantages over conventional macroscopic testing in many instances. Motivations for investigating...

To further develop semiconductor technology, the field of molecular electronics is seeking to manufacture circuit components from individual molecules instead of silicon. Because of...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
High-Kinetic-Energy Penetrator Shielding and High-Wear-Resistance Materials Fabricated with Boron Nitride Nanotubes and BNNT Polymer Composites

In recent years, anti-penetration materials have been more widely used for armor, bulletproof vests, and micrometeoroid and orbital debris protection layers for space-suits, space vehicles, and...

The objective of this effort was to design, fabricate, integrate, and fly a nuclear thermal rocket without having to build massive ground test facilities. Furthermore, this nuclear rocket...

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are in the same vein when it comes to modern technology. Both deal with digital content relayed through an immersive environment or...

Briefs: Test & Measurement
Device Detects Explosives, Drugs, or Lead

Warfighters and law enforcement personnel encounter many situations where they need to assess and determine if a situation is hostile or benign. Currently available field explosive detection kits are...

Stanford Research Systems
Sunnyvale, CA
www.thinksrs.com

The Robotic External Leak Locator (RELL) — a collaboration between NASA's Johnson Space Center and Goddard Space Flight...

Briefs: Test & Measurement
Stray Energy Indicator for Pyrotechnic Applications

A compact and portable system is used to monitor and store real-time measurements of stray energy through a pyrotechnic firing circuit using infrared technology. The infrared sensor is mated to the NASA Standard Initiator simulator, and is calibrated such that the current input through the...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
3D-Printed Active Materials for Robots

The Army uses robots that are structurally rigid, making them impractical when performing military operations in highly congested and contested urban environments where covert maneuvering is critical...

Briefs: Nanotechnology
Faster Photons Could Make Data Totally Secure

Transferring data using light passed along fiber optic cables has become increasingly common over the past decades, but each pulse currently contains millions of photons. That means that in principle, a portion of these could be intercepted without detection. Secure data is already encrypted, but if...

The challenge of miniaturizing devices and systems is also achieving a broader dynamic range of detection for small signals such as sound, vibration, and radio...

Capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) and converting it to useful chemicals such as methanol could reduce both pollution and U.S. dependence on petroleum products. Catalysts are used to bring...

Over the past few years, deep learning algorithms have proven to be highly successful in solving complex cognitive tasks such as controlling self-driving cars and language...

Briefs: Test & Measurement
Carbon Dioxide Collection and Pressurization Technology

Mars is the ultimate destination for NASA's human exploration program. In Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) is a key technology required to enable such missions. The goals of using resources available at the exploration site are to reduce launch and delivered mass, reduce risk and cost,...

Products: Data Acquisition
New on the Market: September 2018
Data Acquisition System

The SLICE IP68 data acquisition system from DTS, Seal Beach, CA, measures physical signals in extreme test environments. It can embed in most test articles, and the rugged...

Fabrics that resist water are essential for everything from rainwear to military tents, but conventional water-repellent coatings have been shown to persist in the environment and accumulate in our...

While widely used for terrestrial medical applications, handheld blood analyzers are not suitable for space missions due to the short shelf-life of...

Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH
www.wpafb.af.mil/afrl

Mars rovers are sophisticated, multi-instrumented pieces of equipment that travel...

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been used to teach wireless devices to sense people's postures and movement, even from the other side of a wall. RF-Pose uses a neural network to analyze...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Piezoelectric Thrust Vector Control for Hall Effect Thruster

The design of the CubeSat required precision pointing of the thrust vector through the spacecraft center of gravity to minimize fuel usage for attitude correction. Because the center of gravity shifts over the course of the mission, a means of adjusting the thrust vector was needed....

Briefs: Materials
Non-Toxic HAN Monopropellant Propulsion

A highly miniaturized, MR-143, green monopropellant thruster was developed for 1N thrust. Testing indicated the initial catalyst bed heater was insufficient. In subsequent development, the thruster was equipped with a more efficient catalyst bed heater. For reliable ignition of the advanced, non-toxic,...

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

Today, more than 8 billion devices are connected around the world, including medical devices, wearables, vehicles, and smart household and city technologies. Those devices are vulnerable to...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Antiferromagnetic-Based Memory Processes Data at Terahertz Speeds

Data travels down fiber-optic cables at frequencies of several terahertz. As soon as the data arrives on a PC or television, this speed must be throttled down to match the data processing speed of the device components; this speed currently is in the range of a few hundred...

Briefs: Transportation
Active Measurement Cancellation

A battery pack is only as strong as its weakest cell. As battery packs become larger and more integral to the stable operation of devices and systems, the need to monitor battery dependability and performance...

5 Ws: Test & Measurement
5 Ws of a Simple Nerve Gas Detector
Who

First responders, soldiers, and scientists in the field.

An international team of university researchers, led by Dr. Taylor, reports solving a major fabrication challenge for perovskite cells — the intriguing potential...

First responders often have trouble communicating with each other in emergencies. They may use different types of radios, they may be working in rural areas lacking wireless coverage, or they may be...

Briefs: Materials
Melt-Cast Explosive Material

The Environmental Protection Agency has listed trinitrotoluene (TNT) as a possible carcinogen, and exposure to the material has been linked to disorders of the blood, such as anemia, and abnormal liver function,...

The ability to measure the electronic conductivity of battery film coatings is a pressing need in the battery industry; however, these measurements can...

Briefs: Nanotechnology
Faster, More Efficient Information Processing

For decades, computer chips have been shrinking thanks to a steady stream of technological improvements in processing density. Experts have, however, been warning that we'll soon reach the end of the trend known as Moore's Law, in which the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Controlled Manufacture of Porous Silicon Carbide

Extremely fine porous structures with tiny holes — resembling a kind of sponge at the nano level — can be generated in semiconductors. A method was developed for the controlled manufacture...

The increasing variety of applications for the Internet of Things is driving predictions that the sales volume for sensors will reach 75 billion units by 2025. Applications unforeseen just five...

The Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory has developed a direct-current detector technology to help emergency responders safely detect high voltages, which they have...

Magnetic sensors play a key role in a variety of applications, such as speed and position sensing in the automotive industry and in biomedical applications....

Hybrid solutions that combine small photovoltaic (PV) panels with industrial grade rechargeable Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries provide long-term power for remote...

Wireless sensor networks frequently operate in hazardous areas where explosive atmospheres pose a safety risk to equipment and operators. The design of these systems must...

Digital Variable Impedance Transducer

With its user-friendly new graphical user interface (GUI) for easier setup and connectivity, and cloud-based data access/monitoring, the digiVIT digital...

For wireless networks that share time-sensitive information on the fly, it's not enough to transmit data quickly: that data also needs to be fresh. Consider the many sensors in your car. While it may...

When it comes to the “smell test,” the nose isn't always the best judge of food quality. Now in a study appearing in ACS’ journal Nano Letters, scientists...

Infrared spectroscopy is the benchmark method for detecting and analyzing organic compounds. However, that requires complicated procedures and large, expensive instruments, making...

What had been a peaceful and productive mission for the six men aboard the Russian space station Mir, including U.S. astronaut Jerry Linenger, nearly became a tragic...

Stanford and Seoul National University researchers have developed an artificial sensory nerve system that can activate the twitch reflex in...

Researchers at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering have demonstrated that deep learning, a powerful form of artificial intelligence, can discern and enhance...

Articles: Electronics & Computers
What's Ahead for Machine Vision Cameras?

Throughout the history of the electronics industry, the old refrain that systems will continuously become faster, simpler, and cheaper has remained true. In the early days of computer vision, a frame...

Optics are employed in virtually every area of military operations, from vision systems and target designators used by troops on the ground, through guidance systems utilized in...

Embedded Imaging Platforms

Critical Link LLC (Syracuse, NY) recently introduced an Embedded Vision Development Kit (VDK) that integrates Basler's dart BCON camera with...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
COSMIC Impact: Next-Gen X-Ray Microscopy Platform

A next-generation X-ray beamline now operating at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) brings together a unique set of capabilities to measure the...

Articles: Electronics & Computers
Advanced Materials Help Lasers Beat the Heat

Laser diodes are one of a number of different types of electronic devices that generate heat during normal operation. Some power applied to such devices is lost as heat energy. To ensure stable...

Optoelectronic engineers in China and Hong Kong have manufactured a special type of liquid crystal display (LCD) that is paper-thin, flexible, light, and tough. With this, a daily...

Researchers have developed an inkjet printing technique that can be used to print optical components such as waveguides. Because the printing approach can also fabricate...

Application Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Three Popular Machine Vision Standards

Advancements in machine vision have augmented industrial automation and provided a platform to advance imaging-based automatic inspection and analysis applications. This technology, however, comes with...

Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence, North Kingstown, RI, announced a new release of HxGN SMART Quality software that combines connectivity, statistical evaluation, and resource...

Before launching their latest science experiment, University at Buffalo researchers bought more than 200 types of tea, chocolate, herbs, and other foodstuffs. The goal wasn't to stock up...

A new approach to structural coloration is more freeform than you might expect.

If you want to get the greatest benefit from a beam of light—whether to detect a distant planet or to remedy an aberration in the human eye—you need to be able to measure it. Well, a...

New solar energy research from Arizona State University demonstrates that silicon-based tandem photovoltaic modules, which convert sunlight to electricity with higher efficiency...

CMOS Image Sensor

Teledyne e2v (Chelmsford, UK) has announced Snappy 2 megapixel, a new CMOS image sensor designed for barcode reading and other 2D scanning applications. The...

INSIDER: Photonics/Optics
Engineers Create a Camera With No Lens

In the future, your car windshield could become a giant camera sensing objects on the road. Or each window in a home could be turned into a security camera.

Question of the Week: Electronics & Computers
Are You Dealing with Power Failures?

Energy demands are increasing as consumer, industrial, and data communications markets require greater power distribution.

News: Test & Measurement
Air Quality Sleuths: Salt Lake's Light Rail Trains

The light rail network in the Salt Lake City area already does a lot to improve air quality. Its three lines move more than 67,000 people a day along 45 miles of track, saving countless car trips and sparing the air tons upon tons of petroleum-powered pollutants.

News: Automotive
Sensor Research: Magnetic Transducer Element With Vortex State

Many modern technological applications are based on magnetic forces. Examples are moving components in electric vehicles and storing data on hard disks. Magnetic fields are also used as sensors to detect other magnetic fields. In the automotive industry, for example, more precise...

News: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Fleet of Aerial, Surface, and Underwater Robots Map Ocean Front

Using multiple autonomous vehicles simultaneously, an interdisciplinary team of scientists and engineers returns to the U.S. after exploring the North Pacific Subtropical front – a sharp boundary where cold fresh waters from the north meet warm salty waters from the south. The...

News: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Even One Automated, Connected Vehicle Can Improve Safety

Connected cruise control uses vehicle-to-vehicle communication to let automated vehicles respond to multiple cars at a time in an effort to save energy and improve safety. University of Michigan researchers have demonstrated its effectiveness on public roads, even when just one automated...

A readers asks two 3D-printing veterans: "What is your advice to someone starting out with additive manufacturing?"
Blog: Green Design & Manufacturing
NASA’s Curiosity Rover Finds a New Way to Drill Down
A NASA researcher spoke with Tech Briefs about the importance of the Curiosity rover's latest find on Mars.
A connectors expert reviews standards and certifications; assembly tooling; and physical space issues.
Podcasts: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Here's an Idea: Vibration Communication
The haptics field is wide open, and researchers are finding new and exciting ways to send a message through touch.
Learn about certification, support, supply chain and other facts to consider when choosing a connector supplier.
Question of the Week: Materials
Have You Used Light-Curable Materials?

Manufacturers have turned to light-cure formulations to protect and improve a variety of components in the aerospace and defense industry, including image sensors, proximity systems, and printed circuit boards.

In a live webinar at 2 pm ET tomorrow, experts will discuss the advantages and benefits...

Researchers discovered that an on-and-off kind of thermal regulation is possible if you look to the squid.
A reader asks: "Why do organizations struggle to see 3D printing or additive manufacturing for more than prototyping? "

New research from Idaho National Laboratory suggests that electric vehicle drivers could face longer charging times when temperatures drop. The reason: cold...

A team of semiconductor researchers based in France has used a boron nitride separation layer to grow indium gallium nitride (InGaN) solar cells that were...

INSIDER: Electronics & Computers
New App Will Extend Smartphone Battery Life

The built-in multi-window feature released with the new Android operating system allows users to have multiple windows and files open at the same time, similar to a laptop, but this results in...

A rechargeable battery technology developed at the University of Michigan could double the output of today’s lithium ion cells, drastically extending electric vehicle...

Question of the Week: Electronics & Computers
Are the Possibilities for Squid Proteins 'Potentially Endless?'

Our second INSIDER story today featured a new switching effect for thermal conductivity.

Professor Patrick Hopkins and his colleagues discovered that a responsive protein from squid ring teeth contained properties supporting an on-and-off kind of thermal regulation. When the...

INSIDER: Motion Control
Controlling Nanomotors with Light

Engineers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed the first method for selecting and switching the mechanical motion of nanomotors among multiple modes with simple visible light as the...

Traditional videos and photos for studying motion are two-dimensional, and don’t show the underlying 3D structure of the person or subject of interest. So, researchers are using an...

NASA's Lindley Johnson explains how the exciting business of asteroid detection does have its moments that are “like any other office job.”

Design engineers in the aerospace industry are constantly challenged to improve fit and function of components used in commercial and military aircraft. Parts used in these aircraft...

Electropolishing has become a common metal finishing process used in the aerospace industry to help improve the overall quality of metal components. These components...

It’s common, especially in the aerospace industry, for parts that are fracture critical to be Liquid Penetrant Inspected (LPI) prior to installation. Also known as Dye Penetrant...

Is there more to the "Internet of Medical Things" than just data gathering? A reader asks our experts.
Question of the Week
Would You Use a ‘SwingBot?’

Webcasts

On-Demand Webinars: Automotive

Metal Injection Molding’s Role in Automotive

Upcoming Webinars: Materials

Technical Ceramics: The Powerhouse of Advanced Materials

Upcoming Webinars: Software

PPAP Reviews Using AI and Machine Learning

Upcoming Webinars: Motion Control

Customizing Actuators Using COTS Drive Components for Martian...

Webinars: Robotics, Automation & Control

2020 Create the Future Contest Awards

Upcoming Webinars: RF & Microwave Electronics

Advancement of Spectrum Analysis Techniques for Tracking,...

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