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.

Application Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
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...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Tiny Device Speeds up Memory While Saving Power

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...

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: Photonics/Optics
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...

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: Energy
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...

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