Whether you're tracking your steps, monitoring your health, or sending photos from a smart watch, you want the battery life of your wearable device to last as long as possible. NASA's Jet...

Advances in magnet technology have enabled researchers at MIT to propose a new design for a practical compact tokamak fusion reactor — and it’s one that might be realized...

INSIDER: Electronics & Computers
New Technology Could Reduce Wind Energy Costs

Engineers from the University of Sheffield have developed a novel technique to predict when bearings inside wind turbines will fail, which could make wind energy cheaper. The method uses...

Question of the Week
Will virtual reality apps catch on?

This week's Question: After its acquisition of Oculus VR, the social network Facebook is working on a stand-alone video app that would support 360-degree, or "spherical" videos. CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who has called virtual reality the next "computing platform" after mobile devices, imagines that the Oculus...

INSIDER: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Design Tool Converts CAD Files into Visual Models

A new system from researchers at MIT and the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya in Israel automatically turns CAD files into visual models that users can modify in real time. Once the design meets the user’s specifications, he or she hits the print button to send it to a 3D printer.

Question of the Week
Will an aquatic barrier clean up the ocean?

This week's Question: According to recent research from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, there are currently 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic in the world's oceans. The Ocean Cleanup, an organization seeking to rid waters of plastic waste, has plans to build a massive aquatic...

INSIDER: Test & Measurement
NASA Flight-Tests Sample Return Capsule

A prototype capsule that one day will return science experiments to Earth was tested by releasing it from a high-altitude balloon. Technology like this capsule could one day return biological...

To facilitate diagnosis in remote, low-resource settings, researchers have developed a paper-based device that changes color, depending on whether the patient has Ebola, yellow fever,...

INSIDER: Semiconductors & ICs
New Technology Can Expand LED Lighting

Highly efficient, light-emitting diodes (LEDs) could slash the world’s electricity consumption. They are already sold in stores, but more widespread adoption of the technology has been hindered by...

Quantum dots are nanoparticles of semiconductor that can be tuned to glow in a rainbow of colors. Since their discovery in the 1980s, these remarkable nanoparticles have held out tantalizing prospects for all...

INSIDER Product: Lighting
Wireless Occupancy Sensors

Dialight (Farmingdale, NJ) has unveiled its new wireless occupancy sensor, a battery-powered plug-and-play sensor designed to integrate seamlessly with any Dialight smart lighting system. Using Pyroelectric...

INSIDER Product: Lighting
Networked Lighting Controls

Hubbell Building Automation (Austin, TX) NXTM networked lighting controls now have added daylighting capability. The NXDS daylight sensor auto-configures with the NX Room Controller. The NXDS daylight sensor is...

INSIDER Product: Lighting
LED Driver

Innovations in Optics, Inc. (Woburn, MA) has introduced the Model 5000A-100 LED Driver/Controller for powering its patented and patent-pending High Power LED Light Engines. The 5000A-100 LED Driver provides constant current in...

INSIDER Product: Lighting
Intelligent Lighting System

The BrainLight series by EVT (Karlsruhe, Germany) is an intelligent lighting system that allows the user to control both color and brightness, as well as create and save individual lighting patterns. At present...

A team of scientists from the National University of Singapore (NUS) has found that blue light emitting diodes (LEDs) have strong antibacterial effects on major foodborne...

INSIDER: Materials
Self-Healing Spacecraft Material Plugs Holes in Seconds

Although shields and sophisticated maneuvers could help protect space structures, scientists have to prepare for the possibility that debris could pierce a vessel. NASA and a team from the University of Michigan developed a new material that heals itself within seconds and could prevent...

R&D: Robotics, Automation & Control
Micro-Tentacles Help Robots Handle Delicate Objects

Engineers from Iowa State University developed micro-tentacles that enable robots to handle delicate objects.

“Most robots use two fingers. To pick things up, they have to squeeze,” said Jaeyoun (Jay) Kim, an Iowa State University associate professor of electrical and computer...

Position feedback sensors for hydraulic or pneumatic cylinders have used one of three traditional technologies: magnetostrictive, variable resistance, and variable inductance. As the...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Detection of Gases and Vapors Present at Low Concentrations

A nanostructure-based mechanism was developed for sensing the presence of, and estimating concentration values of, specified chemical components in a sample gas to which the mechanism is exposed, where the concentrations may be as low as five parts per billion. The mechanism receives a...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Broadband Photon-Counting Microwave Kinetic Inductance Detector

The planar Microwave Kinetic Inductance Detector (MKID) is very compact and allows a large number of detectors to be fabricated simultaneously and implemented in a focal plane of a telescope using a minimal number of wiring interfaces. In this detector, the incident power is guided...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Micro-LIDAR for Flow Velocimetry

A miniature light detection and ranging (LIDAR) velocimetry sensor has been developed to analyze high-velocity and boundary layer flows in real-world conditions. Using Rayleigh scattering, as opposed to the more common particle scattering, the patent-pending sensors provide multiple flow parameters without the...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Sensitive, Specific Molecular Detection of Single Bacteria Cells

A unique amplification chemistry was developed that allows highly specific isothermal detection of bacteria, and presumably eukaryotic cells, at sub-single-cell sensitivities. This is based on the ability to detect rRNA (ribosomal RNA) rather than DNA, as is typical. The difference...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Optical Hotspot Conductive Fluid Flow Sensor

The Optical Hotspot Flow Sensor (OHFS) enables optical measurement of electrically conductive liquid metal flow rate by exploiting the electrically conductive nature of liquid metals or any other conductive fluid to enable thermal tagging of liquid flow in tubes (US Patent 7,409,875). It is well...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Low-Cost Backup RPOD System

Advanced Optical Systems, Inc. (AOS) developed a low-cost Rendezvous, Proximity Operations, and Docking (RPOD) system that has applications for the future NASA Orion vehicle. Docking operations between the space shuttle and the International Space Station (ISS) required the coordination of real-time sensor data...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Free-Space, Coupled, Multi- Element Detector for Deep Space Optical Communication

High-data-rate deep space optical communication (DSOC) links are desired by NASA and other space agencies to support future advanced science instruments, live high-definition (HD) video feeds, telepresence, and human exploration of Mars and beyond. Optical...

Modern mechanical carbon materials are being used in a wide variety of applications, including aircraft gear boxes, air turbine motor starters, and main shaft seals for both aircraft...

Briefs: Materials
Strong and Flexible Carbon Fiber Reinforced Phenolic Composites

A new class of phenolic and carbon-fiber-reinforced phenolic composites has been developed for thermal protection systems. The new materials have the advantage of being lightweight, strong, and tough, yet heat resistant and flexible. They retain excellent mechanical strength at high...

Briefs: Materials
Hybrid Laminate Composite for Harsh Environments and High-Performance Applications

A multi-functional composite laminate material has been developed for structural and thermal applications for use in durable cryogenic fuel tanks for transportation vehicles and/or in the construction of habitats. The technology focuses on aerogel and fiber...

Briefs: Materials
Surface-Modified Nanoparticles Made From High-Molecular-Weight Carboxylic Acids

An improved class of alumoxanes and a method of synthesizing them have been invented. Alumoxanes are aluminum oxy hydroxide particles that have been modified with compounds containing carboxylic acid groups. For typical applications in which alumoxanes are required...

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