Who's Who
Amy Keith, Environmental Engineer, Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, AL

Environmental engineer Amy Keith and her team developed a low-cost detector of contaminants in plants and surrounding groundwater. The non-destructive technology scans the surface of a leaf for spectral signatures. NASA currently seeks a development partner for the...

News : Software
"Fused Reality" Combines Simulation and Flying to Train Pilots

There are two ways for pilots to gain proficiency in an airplane and evaluate its handling qualities: climb into the cockpit and take off, or practice in a ground-based simulator. Now, it is possible to combine the best of both through a new technology called Fused Reality that is...

News : Government
Researchers Urge Changes to Design of Commercial Aircraft Engines

Virginia Tech researchers are urging changes in how commercial aircraft engines are designed in the wake of a possible new threat to passenger aircraft safety: drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, being sucked into turbofan engines at high speeds. Such an impact would be...

News : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Mapping Human Movement to Improve Rehabilitative Robotics

The Biomechatronics Group at MIT is using a data-driven approach to study the mechanics and control of human walking, with the goal of applying the findings to hardware control. PhD student David Hill is developing a model that could be used to improve assistive devices that can help...

News : Motion Control
Nanoclutch Transmits Torque at Small Scales

When driving a car, the clutch mechanically carries the torque produced by the engine to the chassis of the vehicle – a coupling that has long been tested and optimized in such macroscopic machines, giving us highly efficient engines. At microscopic length scales, different physics need to be...

News : Aerospace
NASA’s Green Propellant Spacecraft Moves Toward Launch

The propulsion subsystem for NASA's Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM) has been integrated onto the spacecraft, moving the mission another major step toward scheduled launch in 2016. The propulsion subsystem will be the primary payload on the mission’s spacecraft. The mission will...

Question of the Week
Is robo-journalism valuable?

This week's Question: Lars Eidnes, a Norwegian developer, recently created software that uses Recurrent Neural Networks (RNN)—a form of “deep learning”—to write new "clickbait” headlines. After training the software with several million articles from BuzzFeed, Gawker, Jezebel, the Huffington Post, and...

Articles : Electronics & Computers
New Wearable Technology Can Sense Appliance Use

In today’s smart home, technologies can track how much energy a particular appliance like a refrigerator or television or hair dryer is gobbling up. What they don’t typically show is which person in the house actually flicked the switch. But that may change soon. A new wearable technology...

Articles : Electronics & Computers
Thermal Invisibility Cloak Actively Redirects Heat

Light, sound, and now, heat. Just as optical invisibility cloaks can bend and diffract light to shield an object from sight, and specially fabricated acoustic metamaterials can hide an object from sound waves, a recently developed thermal cloak can render an object thermally invisible by...

Articles : Electronics & Computers
Fortifying Computer Chips for Space Travel

Space is cold, dark, and lonely. Deadly, too, if any one of a million things goes wrong on your spaceship. It’s certainly no place for a computer chip to fail, which can happen due to the abundance of radiation bombarding a craft. Worse, ever-shrinking components on microprocessors make computers more...

Products : Electronics & Computers
OEM Controllers

Divelbiss Corporation (Frederickstown, OH) has introduced enhanced models of the Versatile Base (VB-2000) family of OEM controllers. Programmed using the no-cost Divelbiss EZ Ladder Toolkit in Ladder Diagram, Function Block, and Structured Text, and based on P-Series PLC on a ChipTM technology, the VB-2XXX family is mounted using...

Products : Electronics & Computers
Fast Ethernet Transceiver

Avago Technologies (San Jose, CA) announced an ultra-low power (255 mW typ, 405 mW max) Fast Ethernet small form-factor pluggable (SFP) fiber optic transceiver module device, the AFBR-57E6APZ, designed for industrial automation, controls and networking applications. The device features a redesigned chip set for LED...

Products : Electronics & Computers
Wireless RF Modules

Lemos International Co. Inc. (Barrington, RI) has introduced new wireless RF modules that can be used to design up to a 40 node alarm system, offering alarm outputs at each location for sounder and or strobe light. An optional display indicates location of alarm activation. With the display board you are also able to detect...

Products : Electronics & Computers
Pressure Sensor Evaluation Kit

All Sensors Corporation (Morgan Hill, CA) has developed a new pressure sensor evaluation kit that allows design engineers to easily evaluate pressure sensors via fast prototype connection and testing. This evaluation kit offers the following features: ZIF socket allows instant electrical connection; real-time...

News : Software
Researchers Test Robot's 'Light Touch'

Using an air-fluidized bed trackway filled with poppy seeds or glass spheres, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology systematically varied the stiffness of the ground to mimic a variety of surfaces, from hard-packed sand to powdery snow. By studying how running lizards, geckos, crabs, and a...

Question of the Week
Is "neuromarketing" valuable for consumers?

This week’s Question: Last week, Japanese retailer Uniqlo debuted UMood, a brain-wave analysis system designed to match the right T-shirt to a specific customer. After the shopper puts on an electroencephalography (EEG) headset, the technology's algorithm employs five metrics — interest, like,...

News : Photonics/Optics
Embedded Optical Sensors Make Robotic Hands More Dexterous

Researchers have developed a three-fingered soft robotic hand with embedded, stretchable fiber optic strain sensors. By using fiber optics, the researchers were able to embed 14 strain sensors into each of the fingers in the hand, giving it the ability to determine where its fingertips...

News : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Wearable Electronic Health Patches Continuously Monitor the Body

A team of researchers in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin has invented a method for producing inexpensive and high-performing wearable patches that can continuously monitor the body’s vital signs for human health and performance...

News : Test & Measurement
Sensors Detect Corrosion Risk in Concrete Structures in Real Time

Researchers from the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV) have developed a new sensor system that detects quickly and nondestructively the risk of corrosion in the concrete structure of the buildings. The information provided allows engineers to anticipate well in advance any...

News : Energy
Solar-Powered Water Purification System Supports Remote Village

For nearly two years, residents of the remote Mexican village of La Mancalona, most of whom are subsistence farmers, have operated and maintained a solar-powered water purification system engineered by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Question of the Week
Are video games good for the brain?

This week’s Question: A new study published from the Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences found action video games—which require players to navigate complex 3D settings, account for quick-moving targets, and switch between focused and distributed attention—are most beneficial to...

Articles : Photonics/Optics
Making 3D Objects Disappear

Invisibility cloaks are a staple of science fiction and fantasy, from Star Trek to Harry Potter, but don’t exist in real life. Or do they? Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California (UC) Berkeley have devised an...

News : Photonics/Optics
New Spectroscopy Method Captures Reactions in Photosynthesis

A new spectroscopy method is bringing researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) closer to understanding – and artificially replicating – the solar water-splitting reaction at the heart of photosynthetic energy production. Understanding the step-by-step mechanism of...

Articles : Energy
New Solar Energy Storage Technique Could Boost Solar Cell Usage

Researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology have developed a relatively inexpensive and simple way to split water into hydrogen and oxygen through a new electrodeposition method. The method produces highly efficient solar cells that can gather solar energy for use...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Live-Cell Microscopy and Traction Force Measurements with Simulated Microgravity “Clinochip”

The deleterious effects of microgravity are undeniable: reduced bone mineral density, muscle atrophy, vascular remodeling, etc. These health issues may derive from both systemic factors, and from direct alterations to intracellular components and in...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Comparison of Three Methods for Measuring Distortion in Optical Windows

The primary function of a window is to allow observation of, and protection from, a potentially hazardous environment. Yet, from the window designer’s point of view, ensuring protection from weather conditions in home windows; from wind, temperature, and airborne debris in...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Measurement of O-phthalaldehyde (OPA)

O-phthalaldehyde (OPA) is a high-level disinfectant commonly used, for example, for sterilization of heat-sensitive medical instruments; it demonstrates effective microbicidal activity against a wide range of microorganisms (including mycobacteria, gramnegative bacteria, and spores). On the International...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Improved Combustion Products Monitor for the ISS

Fire safety in space vehicles is of utmost importance, especially for manned flight. On the International Space Station (ISS), events that may lead to fires, especially smoldering, must be detected quickly and their location found. The analyzer used on the ISS must be automated, portable, and...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Decomposition Technique for Remaining Useful Life Prediction

Technology has been developed that provides a way to compute the remaining useful life (RUL) of a component or system. The estimation of the RUL of a degraded or faulty component is at the center of condition-based maintenance, and prognostics and health management. It gives operators...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Strain Gage for Highly Elastic, Low-Modulus Materials

Researchers at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center have developed and tested a new strain gage that makes significant strides in the state of the art, particularly salient given the requirements of new structural components on aerospace vehicles. Conventional foil technology presents a...

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