Briefs : Physical Sciences
Using Laser Diodes to Characterize Force and Pressure Sensors

A proposed method of characterizing microphones and other pressure and force sensors would exploit the temporally varying forces of impingement of amplitude-modulated light beams from inexpensive laser diodes. What makes the method likely to be practical is the surprising fact that...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Improved Piezoelectrically Actuated Microvalve

Figure 1. The Previous Version of the Valve, like the present version, was opened by applying a voltage that caused the piezoelectric actuator to contract slightly.Efforts are underway to implement an improved design of the device described in "Normally Closed, Piezoelectrically Actuated Microvalve"...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Improved Continuity and Short-Circuit Tester

A relatively simple test circuit immediately and automatically provides indications of (1) the continuity (or the lack thereof) of the wires of a two-wire cable, plus (2) a short circuit (if any) between the wires. In the case of a coaxial cable, one of the wires can be the shield, the other wire, or...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Automated Detection of Streaks in Rocket-Engine Plumes

A high-speed observer (HSO) system comprising a high-frame-rate digital video camera and a high-speed computer that processes the camera output has been developed for use in monitoring the exhaust plume of the space shuttle main engine (SSME) during tests. The HSO system is designed to...

Briefs : Information Technology
Software for Analyzing Root Causes of Process Anomalies

Root Cause Analysis (RoCA) is a computer program that assists analysts in understanding the root causes of process anomalies. As used here, “process anomalies” includes incidents that have caused, or that can potentially cause, injuries to personnel, damage to facilities, abnormal...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Program Computes Pointing Corrections for a Radiotelescope

TLC is a computer program that determines corrections for radiotelescopepointing errors associated with tilts and elastic deformations. These errors occur because for rotation in azimuth, a radiotelescope is mounted on wheels that move on a circular track that deviates from perfect...

Briefs : Information Technology
Ex — Software for Numerical Computation in Native Oberon

“Ex” is the name of a library of software modules from which one can rapidly develop prototype or production versions of efficient numerical-computation application programs in the Native Oberon programming environment. Mathematical constructs that can be represented and processed by...

Briefs : Materials
Annealing for Tailoring Au/GaN Schottky-Barrier Height

Annealing has been found to be an effective means of tailoring the height of a Schottky barrier between gold and gallium nitride. This finding offers promise for the development of improved metal contacts on GaN semiconductors. Heretofore, the commercialization of GaN semiconductor devices...

Briefs : Materials
Ceramics Made From Wood

The term “ecoceramics” (a contraction of “environment-conscious ceramics”) denotes a class of ceramics made partly from wood-based products, which can include natural wood, sawdust, cardboard, and/ or paper. In addition to the environmental advantage of renewability of the carbonaceous ingredients, the concept of...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Lightweight, Low-Backlash Robot Wrist With Epicyclic Drive

A unique lightweight wrist with three degrees of rotational freedom has been developed as a prototype of wrists for future anthropomorphic robots that would perform a variety of tasks on Earth and in outer space. The three degrees of freedom (two rolling, one bending) intersect at the...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Ice-Melting Probe Using Steam and Jets of Hot Water

An improved probe has been proposed for burrowing vertically into ice for scientific exploration of polar icecaps, glaciers, and the like. The predecessor of the improved probe is a Philbert probe, which contains an electric heater to melt the ice in contact with it and thereby make it descend...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Two Techniques for Removing Core-Drill Debris

Two alternative techniques make it possible to remove core-drill debris more rapidly and efficiently than was previously possible. Either technique is a vast improvement over the prior art. For industries in which ultrasonic core drills are used, these two techniques are expected to result in savings...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Electrical Monitoring of Thicknesses of Semiconductor Wafers

A technique based on electrical-continuity measurements has been proposed as a means of monitoring and controlling the thicknesses of semiconductor wafers during lapping, polishing, and etching. The technique is expected to contribute to the development of microelectromechanical...

Briefs : Medical
X-Ray Measurement of Kinematics in Muscles and Limbs

An x-ray photogrammetric technique for minimally invasive measurement of displacements in muscles, limbs, and organs is undergoing development. This technique could be alternative or complementary to the use of strain sensors. Measurements obtained by this technique could also be compared...

Briefs : Medical
Advanced System for Growing Plants in Microgravity

The figure depicts the Biomass Production System (BPS), which is an advanced system that provides controlled conditions for growing, manipulating, sampling, and harvesting plants in microgravity for both commercial purposes and scientific research. The design of the BPS incorporates lessons...

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