Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Carbon Nanotubes as Resonators for RF Spectrum Analyzers

Electromechanical resonators of a proposed type would comprise single carbon nanotubes suspended between electrodes (see Figure 1). Depending on the nanotube length, diameter, and tension, these devices will resonate at frequencies in a range from megahertz through gigahertz. Like the...

Briefs : Medical
Growth Conditions To Reduce Oxalic Acid Content of Spinach

A controlled environment agricultural (CEA) technique to increase the nutritive value of spinach has been developed. This technique makes it possible to reduce the concentration of oxalic acid in spinach leaves. It is desirable to reduce the oxalic acid content because oxalic acid acts...

Briefs : Medical
Hydrofocusing Bioreactor for Three-Dimensional Cell Culture

The hydrodynamic focusing bioreactor (HFB) is a bioreactor system designed for three-dimensional cell culture and tissue-engineering investigations on orbiting spacecraft and in laboratories on Earth. The HFB offers a unique hydrofocusing capability that enables the creation of a...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Signal-Conditioning Amplifier Recorders

Signal-conditioning amplifier recorders (SCAmpRs) have been proposed as a means of simplifying and upgrading the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) Ground Measurement System (GMS), which is a versatile data-acquisition system that gathers and records a variety of measurement data before and during the launch of a...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
SpaceWire Driver Software for Special DSPs

A computer program provides a high-level C-language interface to electronics circuitry that controls a SpaceWire interface in a system based on a space qualified version of the ADSP-21020 digital signal processor (DSP). SpaceWire is a spacecraft-oriented standard for packet-switching data-communication...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Nanoconverters for Powering Nanodevices

Proposed integrated-circuit modules called "nanoconverters" would derive DC power from impinging electromagnetic beams having frequencies in the terahertz range. Nanoconverters are composed of microscopic antennas and diodes (see Figure 1) resembling rectennas that have been developed to perform the same...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Contactless Rotary Electrical Couplings

Rotary electrical couplings based on induction (transformer action) rather than conduction between rotating and stationary circuitry have been invented. These couplings provide an alternative to slip rings and contact brushes.

Mechanical imperfections of slip-ring and brush contact surfaces and/or...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
MOS Circuitry Would Detect Low-Energy Charged Particles

Metal oxide semiconductor (MOS) circuits for measuring spatially varying intensities of beams of low-energy charged particles have been developed. These circuits are intended especially for use in measuring fluxes of ions with spatial resolution along the focal planes of mass spectrometers....

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Software for Remote Monitoring of Space-Station Payloads

Telescience Resource Kit (TReK) is a suite of application programs that enables geographically dispersed users to monitor scientific payloads aboard the International Space Station (ISS). TReK provides local ground support services that can simultaneously receive, process, record,...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Relating Downlink Data Products to Uplink Commands

An improved data-labeling system provides for automatic association of data products of an exploratory robot (downlink information) with previously transmitted commands (uplink information) that caused the robot to gather the data. Such association is essential to correct and timely analysis of...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Accurate Spring Testing

Virtually all spring manufacturers must test their products with some kind of load testing machine. Testing ensures that the product is produced and shipped within the customer's specifications. Or does it? Disputes over test results still occur that can cause a multitude of costly problems: returned product, delayed...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Compliant Gripper for a Robotic Manipulator

The figure depicts a prototype of a robotic-manipulator gripping device that includes two passive compliant fingers, suitable for picking up and manipulating objects that have irregular shapes and/or that are, themselves, compliant. The main advantage offered by this device over other...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Hybrid Aerial/Rover Vehicle

A proposed instrumented robotic vehicle called an "aerover" would fly, roll along the ground, and/or float on bodies of liquid, as needed. The aerover would combine features of an aerobot (a robotic lighter-than-air balloon) and a wheeled robot of the "rover" class. An aerover would also look very...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Tool For Friction Stir Tack Welding of Aluminum Alloys

A small friction-stir- welding tool has been developed for use in tack welding of aluminum-alloy workpieces. It is necessary to tack-weld the workpieces in order to hold them together during friction stir welding because (1) in operation, a full-size friction-stir-welding tool exerts a large...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Improving Plating by Use of Intense Acoustic Beams

An improved method of selective plating of metals and possibly other materials involves the use of directed high-intensity acoustic beams. The beams, typically in the ultrasonic frequency range, can be generated by fixed- focus transducers (see figure) or by phased arrays of transducers excited,...

Briefs : Information Technology
Integrated Formulation of Beacon-Based Exception Analysis for Multimissions

Further work on beacon-based exception analysis for multimissions (BEAM), a method of real-time, automated diagnosis of a complex electromechanical systems, has greatly expanded its capability and suitability of application. This expanded formulation, which fully...

Briefs : Information Technology
Self-Supervised Dynamical Systems

Some progress has been made in a continuing effort to develop mathematical models of the behaviors of multi- agent systems known in biology, economics, and sociology (e.g., systems ranging from single or a few biomolecules to many interacting higher organisms). This effort at an earlier stage was reported in...

Briefs : Information Technology
Software for Better Documentation of Other Software

The Literate Programming Extraction Engine is a Practical Extraction and Reporting Language- (PERL-) based computer program that facilitates and simplifies the implementation of a concept of self- documented literate programming in a fashion tailored to the typical needs of scientists. The...

Briefs : Information Technology
Using a Portfolio of Algorithms for Planning and Scheduling

The Automated Scheduling and Planning Environment (ASPEN) software system, aspects of which have been reported in several previous NASA Tech Briefs articles, includes a subsystem that utilizes a portfolio of heuristic algorithms that work synergistically to solve problems. The nature of...

Briefs : Information Technology
Software for Automated Reading of STEP Files by I-DEAS™

A program called "readstep" enables the I-DEAS computer- aided-design (CAD) software to automatically read Standard for the Exchange of Product Model Data (STEP) files. (The STEP format is one of several used to transfer data between dissimilar CAD programs.) Prior to...

Briefs : Information Technology
P-Code-Enhanced Encryption-Mode Processing of GPS Signals

A method of processing signals in a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver has been invented to enable the receiver to recover some of the information that is otherwise lost when GPS signals are encrypted at the transmitters. The need for this method arises because, at the option of the...

Briefs : Information Technology
Determining Direction of Arrival at a Y-Shaped Antenna Array

An algorithm computes the direction of arrival (both azimuth and elevation angles) of a lightning-induced electromagnetic signal from differences among the times of arrival of the signal at four antennas in a Y-shaped array on the ground. In the original intended application of the...

Briefs : Information Technology
Efficient Processing of Data for Locating Lightning Strikes

Two algorithms have been devised to increase the efficiency of processing of data in lightning detection and ranging (LDAR) systems so as to enable the accurate location of lightning strikes in real time. In LDAR, the location of a lightning strike is calculated by solving equations for...

Briefs : Materials
Annealing Would Improve β" — Alumina Solid Electrolyte

A pre-operational annealing process is under investigation as a potential means of preventing a sudden reduction of ionic conductivity in a β"—alumina solid electrolyte (BASE) during use. On the basis of tests described below, the sudden reduction of ionic conductivity, followed by a...

Briefs : Materials
Low-Power RIE of SiO₂ in CHF₃ To Obtain Steep Sidewalls

A reactive-ion etching (RIE) process has been developed to enable the formation of holes with steep sidewalls in a layer of silicon dioxide that covers a silicon substrate. The holes in question are through the thickness of the SiO2 and are used to define silicon substrate...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Docking Fixture and Mechanism for a Protective Suit

A suitlock assembly that comprises a docking fixture and mechanism has been invented to facilitate and accelerate donning and doffing of a sealed protective suit and/or to enable ingress and egress between the protective suit and a sealed vessel. The sealed protective suit could be a space...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Solution-Adaptive Program for Computing 2D/Axi Viscous Flow

A computer program solves the Navier- Stokes equations governing the flow of a viscous, compressible fluid in an axisymmetric or two-dimensional (2D) setting. To obtain solutions more accurate than those generated by prior such programs that utilize regular and/or fixed computational...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Thermo-Electron Ballistic Coolers or Heaters

Electronic heat-transfer devices of a proposed type would exploit some of the quantum-wire-like, pseudo-superconducting properties of single-wall carbon nanotubes or, optionally, room- temperature- superconducting polymers (RTSPs). The devices are denoted thermo-electron ballistic (TEB) coolers or...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Proton Collimators for Fusion Reactors

Proton collimators have been proposed for incorporation into inertial- electrostatic- confinement (IEC) fusion reactors. Such reactors have been envisioned as thrusters and sources of electric power for spacecraft and as sources of energetic protons in commercial ion-beam applications. An artist's concept...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Floating Probe Assembly for Measuring Temperature of Water

A floating apparatus denoted a temperature probe aquatic suspension system (TPASS) has been developed for measuring the temperature of an ocean, lake, or other natural body of water at predetermined depths. These types of measurements are used in computer models to relate remotely sensed...

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