Tech Briefs

Mechanical/​Mechatronics

Access our comprehensive library of mechanical and mechatronics technical briefs, from engineering experts at NASA and government, university, and commercial laboratories.

Latest Tech Briefs

Briefs : Energy
Catalysis Approach Reduces Carbon Dioxide to Methane
Catalysis Approach Reduces Carbon Dioxide to Methane
This approach is a cost-effective way to convert carbon dioxide gas into methane.
Catalysis Approach Reduces Carbon Dioxide to Methane
Briefs : Green Design & Manufacturing
Recovery of Mercury and Rare Earth Elements from Fluorescent Lamp Phosphors
Recovery of Mercury and Rare Earth Elements from Fluorescent Lamp Phosphors
This method will enable safer fluorescent light recycling.
Recovery of Mercury and Rare Earth Elements from Fluorescent Lamp Phosphors
Briefs : Aerospace
SiC-Based Microstructures for Sensors
SiC-Based Microstructures for Sensors
Ultra-thin SiC microstructures enable batch fabrication of MEMS, NEMS, pressure sensors, and biosensors.
SiC-Based Microstructures for Sensors
Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Modular Toolbox Builds Safe Robots
Modular Toolbox Builds Safe Robots
Various components are used to assemble robots that are more aware of their surroundings.
Modular Toolbox Builds Safe Robots
Briefs : Test & Measurement
Process Turns Sand and Plant Materials into a Water Filtration Tool
Process Turns Sand and Plant Materials into a Water Filtration Tool

According to the United Nations, 2.1 billion people lack access to safely managed drinking water services and the majority live in developing nations. A process was...

Process Turns Sand and Plant Materials into a Water Filtration Tool
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Particle Robot Works as a Cluster of Simple Units
Particle Robot Works as a Cluster of Simple Units
Loosely connected disc-shaped “particles” can push and pull one another, moving together to transport objects.
Particle Robot Works as a Cluster of Simple Units
Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Robot Performs Complex Maneuvers
Robot Performs Complex Maneuvers
An upgraded mini robot can leap over obstacles with ease.
Robot Performs Complex Maneuvers
Briefs : Materials
The Planetary Tides Simulation Facility for Simulation Tidal Strain in Planetary Ice Analogs
The Planetary Tides Simulation Facility for Simulation Tidal Strain in Planetary Ice Analogs
Applications include modeling of tidal stress response of icy satellites as well as fatigue of terrestrial ice shelves.
The Planetary Tides Simulation Facility for Simulation Tidal Strain in Planetary Ice Analogs
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Microrobot Powered by Soft Muscles
Microrobot Powered by Soft Muscles
This microrobot with soft actuators can crash, fall, and collide without being damaged.
Microrobot Powered by Soft Muscles
Briefs : Nanotechnology
Micro Device Detects Ebola Virus Using Bio-Sensors
Micro Device Detects Ebola Virus Using Bio-Sensors
The device can be used to pre-screen for the virus using gene-editing assays before those infected can travel and expose others.
Micro Device Detects Ebola Virus Using Bio-Sensors
Briefs : Energy
Pinpointing Consumption “Sweet Spot” Makes Formation Flight More Fuel-Efficient
Pinpointing Consumption “Sweet Spot” Makes Formation Flight More Fuel-Efficient
A new method of estimating the optimal trailing aircraft position in a formation increases fuel savings.
Pinpointing Consumption “Sweet Spot” Makes Formation Flight More Fuel-Efficient
Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Magneto-Optic Biosensor Using Bio-Functionalized Magnetic Nanoparticles
Magneto-Optic Biosensor Using Bio-Functionalized Magnetic Nanoparticles
This technology is a novel, rugged, and economic diagnostic and sensor platform technology.
Magneto-Optic Biosensor Using Bio-Functionalized Magnetic Nanoparticles
Briefs : Nanotechnology
Thin Heat Shield for Superfast Aircraft
Thin Heat Shield for Superfast Aircraft
A carbon nanotube heat shield can better protect extremely fast aircraft.
Thin Heat Shield for Superfast Aircraft
Briefs : Energy
Power System for Hybrid Heavy-Duty Trucks
Power System for Hybrid Heavy-Duty Trucks
Electric motors and gas-alcohol engines could slash pollution levels and greenhouse gases from long-haul trucks.
Power System for Hybrid Heavy-Duty Trucks
Briefs : Green Design & Manufacturing
Viable, Environmentally Friendly Alternative to Polystyrene Foam
Viable, Environmentally Friendly Alternative to Polystyrene Foam
This plant-based material can be manufactured using water as a solvent instead of other harmful solvents.
Viable, Environmentally Friendly Alternative to Polystyrene Foam
Briefs : Aerospace
Hardening Lightweight Metal Foams with Nanocoating
Hardening Lightweight Metal Foams with Nanocoating
Load-bearing structures in cars and airplanes could be manufactured from the metal foam.
Hardening Lightweight Metal Foams with Nanocoating
Briefs : Test & Measurement
Dynamic Mechanical Strain-Induced Temperature Gradient Coating
Dynamic Mechanical Strain-Induced Temperature Gradient Coating
The non-destructive coating has applications in structural health monitoring, aerospace, automotive, and military/defense.
Dynamic Mechanical Strain-Induced Temperature Gradient Coating
Briefs : Propulsion
CubeSat Form Factor Thermal Control Louvers
CubeSat Form Factor Thermal Control Louvers
These louvers provide passive thermal cooling for CubeSats.
CubeSat Form Factor Thermal Control Louvers
Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU): Methylotrophic Microorganisms Expressing Soluble Methane Monooxygenase Proteins
In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU): Methylotrophic Microorganisms Expressing Soluble Methane Monooxygenase Proteins
This technology enables methane metabolism by yeast.
In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU): Methylotrophic Microorganisms Expressing Soluble Methane Monooxygenase Proteins
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Self-Contained Wheel Unit
Self-Contained Wheel Unit
Researchers have developed a self-contained wheel unit that combines a wheel and an electric motor.
Self-Contained Wheel Unit
Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Precision Low-Speed Motor Controller
Precision Low-Speed Motor Controller
The technology can be used in commercial motors, robotic systems, and hybrid and electric vehicles.
Precision Low-Speed Motor Controller
Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Algorithm Gives Robots a Faster Grasp
Algorithm Gives Robots a Faster Grasp
The algorithm speeds up the planning process that robots use to adjust their grip on objects.
Algorithm Gives Robots a Faster Grasp
Briefs : Motion Control
Artificial Skin Provides Haptic Feedback
Artificial Skin Provides Haptic Feedback
The skin could help rehabilitation and enhance virtual reality by instantaneously adapting to a wearer's movements.
Artificial Skin Provides Haptic Feedback
Briefs : Aerospace
Continuous Fiber Composite for Use in Gears
Continuous Fiber Composite for Use in Gears
This lightweight material brings strength and durability to complex shapes.
Continuous Fiber Composite for Use in Gears
Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Shape Memory Alloy Art (SMArt)
Shape Memory Alloy Art (SMArt)
This hands-on, educational tool highlights the properties of SMA wire.
Shape Memory Alloy Art (SMArt)
Briefs : Aerospace
De-Orbit Device for SmallSats
De-Orbit Device for SmallSats
This retractable de-orbit device facilitates targeted re-entry, attitude and orbital control, and collision avoidance.
De-Orbit Device for SmallSats
Briefs : Test & Measurement
Human Torso Simulator
Human Torso Simulator
The simulator could help in the development of new back braces.
Human Torso Simulator
Question of the Week
Would You Ride in a Flying Car?