Glenn Research Center (Cleveland, OH) has designed a power supply for a cordless drill in which ultracapacitors, rather than batteries, are used to store energy. Whereas charging of batteries usually takes hours, ultracapacitors can be charged in seconds. Read more here .

Ames Research Center (Moffett Field, CA) has invented a simpler method of detecting a ribonucleic acid (mRNA) or deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) sequence. Tests can be performed using compact, portable, low-power equipment, enabling field analysis. Read more here .

Jet Propulsion Laboratory (Pasadena, CA) is working on an electric power generator in which the fuel cells consume neat methanol, in contradistinction to the dilute aqueous methanol solutions used in prior direct methanol fuel-cell systems. Size, mass, and parasitic power consumption would be reduced. Read more here .