INSIDER: Green Design & Manufacturing
Beach Buoys Detect Water Contamination

Beachgoers may soon be able to know in a timely manner if the water is clean enough for swimming. The technology comes in the form of buoys that are deployed in the water near a beach. By combining...

Question of the Week
Would you use a “skin to screen” technology?

This week's Question: The SkinTrack technology featured in today’s lead story allows users to expand touchpad functionality to the back of the hand and lower arm. By wearing a ring, users can enable cursor movement, highlight numbers on a screen, or dial numbers on a keypad.

What do...

Molex, Lisle, IL, offers Soligie® printed electronic sensor systems that provide a thin, flexible alternative to rigid printed circuit boards (PCBs) or copper flex circuits in a range of applications in the...

INSIDER: Test & Measurement
Sensors Teach Dogs New Tricks

A team from North Carolina State University has developed and customized a suite of technologies that allows a computer to train a dog autonomously. Sensors in the custom harness monitor a dog’s posture, and...

Researchers from Northwestern University used a light-powered 3D printer to create a terahertz lens. The imaging component is made from a novel metamaterial that exhibits properties not readily...

Tactile handles forklifts, industrial trucks, and motorized carts are being developed that employ pressure sensors to detect the direction in which a user is pushing or pulling the...

Many machines such as turbines, oil drills, health monitors, and nuclear reactors require internal sensors to monitor physical states such as temperature. Researchers are...

A low-energy nuclear reaction imaging technique designed to detect the presence of weapons-grade uranium and plutonium in cargo containers arriving at U.S. ports was...

NASA and its partners are validating and advancing technologies that will assist the FAA as they develop the regulations to allow integration of unmanned aircraft into the National Airspace...

After a full week in Germany, Rittal Corporation (www.rittal.us), the world’s largest enclosure manufacturer and a leader in thermal management of electrical, electronic, and...

Question of the Week
Could tear-off screens catch on?

This week's Question: While LG and Samsung have worked to develop screens that roll and bend, a new patent from Google describes a screen that can be torn like a piece of paper. Images in the filing show an advertisement with coupons that can be pulled off and used in-store, as well as a drawing of a robot that...

Briefs: RF & Microwave Electronics
High-Data-Rate Platform to Capture and Analyze Raw Baseband Clock/Data

The Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) Testbed has a need to capture and analyze high-datarate (<2 Mbps required) baseband information sent over RF by the JPL Software-Defined Radio (SDR). An RF4425 front end, coupled with a MicroGate Synclink USB and custom C++...

Briefs: RF & Microwave Electronics
V-FASTR Radio Transient Classifier

The V-FASTR (VLBA Fast Transient Experiment) system was motivated by the desire to monitor the radio sky for interesting transient events. To be confident that no interesting extragalactic event is missed, every VFASTR candidate requires human review and evaluation. Candidates consist of pulsar pulses, spurious...

Briefs: RF & Microwave Electronics
Wideband, Dual-Polarized, Ultra-Low-Noise Focal Plane Array Feed for Active/Passive Microwave Remote Sensing

NASA missions utilize active, passive, or both, microwave sounders with a large reflector antenna as an important component. In most of these applications, design engineers have realized that desirable science requirements (spatial and...

Briefs: RF & Microwave Electronics
RF Source Modifications to Improve Performance of an Electronegative Plasma Thruster

In traditional gridded electrostatic ion thrusters, positively charged ions are generated from a plasma discharge of noble gas propellant and accelerated to provide thrust. A separate electron source, typically a neutralizer cathode that consumes propellant, is...

Briefs: RF & Microwave Electronics
Simple Impedance Matched Planar Microwave Blocking Filter

Thermal blocking filters find wide use in cryogenic applications ranging from quantum computing to ultra-low-noise detectors. They can be used to provide the environmental isolation between cooled devices and the warmer temperature supporting bias and readout circuitry. In particular,...

Briefs: RF & Microwave Electronics
Microwave Regenerative Sorbent-based Hydrogen Purifier (MRSHP)

The Microwave Regenerative Sorbent-based Hydrogen Purifier (MRSHP) is a unique microwave power-based technology demonstrator created for the purification of a hydrogen product stream produced by the Plasma Pyrolysis Assembly (PPA). The MRSHP prototype uses 2.45-GHz microwave power to...

Briefs: RF & Microwave Electronics
Low-Power Wireless Body Area Network (WBAN) Communication System

NASA seeks semi-passive, RFIDenabled wearable tags for inventory tracking and astronaut body area network applications. Wearable sensor tags can be printed on astronaut clothing or suits, and are powered by printed thin film batteries and/or via energy harvesting. Energy is...

Briefs: RF & Microwave Electronics
RF System MATLAB Model Simulation Using a Variety of Data Sources

During the development of the Soil Moisture Active-Passive (SMAP) High-Power Amplifier (HPA), a power glitch was observed with the characteristic of producing small 0.1-0.3 dB jumps in power across temperature. In order to troubleshoot this glitch behavior, a nonlinear model that...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Lightweight, Reusable Payload Launch and Transportation Latch

This innovation addresses the problem of automatic engagement and disengagement of payloads from their transport vehicle when lifted by a crane or other material handling device. The prior state-of-the-art is in material handling devices that require personnel to activate the latch,...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Structural Assembly Incorporating Integral Thermal Heat Spreader for Cold Plate Cooling

In a structural cold plate, typically there is a structural member such as a honeycomb panel or a brazed sandwich assembly that provides the structural strength, and at least one cold plate that cools equipment attached to the structural member. The cold...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Advanced Magnetostrictive Regulator, Valve, and Force-to-Angle Sensor

Typical aerospace rocket engines use valves to control the flow and pressures of propellant and pressurants. These typical valves are designed to operate with a mechanical, electromechanical, or pneumatic operator. They all have at least one, and often multiple, penetrations...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Circular Cross-Section Blades for a Sampling Device

To date, there are solutions that can collect samples by being deployed from a distance from a low-gravity body or using a touch-and-go approach. To increase precision collection of samples...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Clamshell Sampler

The Clamshell mechanism, with one quick action, acquires and retains a sample from a small body surface while minimizing sampling energy. The sampler has two quarter-sphere buckets that are driven into the small body...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Shape Memory Alloy Rock Splitter

A working prototype of a non-explosive, static rock splitter for space exploration using shape memory alloys (SMAs) as the driving member also has terrestrial applications. The static, compact,...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Passive, Low-Insertion-Force/High-Retention-Force Cam Plug Design for Sample Tube Sample Caging

AMars “sample caching rover” mission designed to collect, document, and package samples for future collection and return to Earth was recommended as the highest-priority mission for 2013–2022 by the 2011 Planetary Decadal Survey. A key premise...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Design Support and Analysis Tool for Pyrotechnically Actuated Valves

This software predicts flow through the initiator of a Primer Chamber Assembly Valve. These valves exhibited a potential failure mode for specific operating conditions where dual simultaneous firings of the initiator occurred. The software tool was able to identify a fluid...

The Deployable Extra-Vehicular Activity Platform (DEVAP) is a staging platform for egress and ingress attached to a lunar, Mars, or planetary surface habitat...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Two-Phase Thermal Switch

There is a wide range of spacecraft thermal management applications that require variable conductance devices such as thermal switches. These switches are used to help maintain the heat source (electronics)...

Question of the Week
Would You Use a ‘SwingBot?’

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