Tech Briefs

Mechanical/​Mechatronics

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

Latest Tech Briefs

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Briefs: Power
A Sustainable Engine with Reduced Assembly Costs
Boom Supersonic, the company building supersonic planes, is developing Symphony, a new propulsion system designed and optimized for its Overture supersonic airliner.
Briefs: Communications
Intrigued to see if many limbs could be helpful for locomotion in this world, a team at the Georgia Institute of Technology is using a centipede's style of movement to its advantage. They developed a new theory of multilegged locomotion and created many-legged robotic models.
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Briefs: Design
The ventilators are simpler and cheaper to make than those currently available.
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Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
A team at ETH Zurich has developed an ultrasonically actuated glass needle that can be attached to a robotic arm. This lets them pump and mix minuscule amounts of liquid and trap particles.
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Briefs: Aerospace
A team of MIT engineers is creating a one-megawatt motor that could be a key stepping-stone toward electrifying larger aircraft. The team has designed and tested the major components of the motor.
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Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Researchers at The Ohio State University have developed new software to aid in the development, evaluation, and demonstration of safer autonomous, or driverless, vehicles. Called the Vehicle-in-Virtual-Environment (VVE) method, it allows the testing of driverless cars in a perfectly safe environment.
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Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
A Software Model Makes Transport Robots Smarter
Imagine a team of humans and robots working together to process online orders — real-life workers strategically positioned among their automated coworkers who are moving intelligently back and forth in a warehouse space. This could become a reality sooner than later, thanks to researchers at the University of Missouri.
Briefs: Energy
NASA engineers have developed a new approach to mitigating unwanted motion in floating structures. Ideally suited to applications including offshore wind energy platforms and barges, the innovation uses water ballast as a motion damping fluid.
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Briefs: Electronics & Computers
An ultra-small actuator has nanometer-scale precision.
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Briefs: Design
The innovation can provide a wide range of damping forces, a linear damping function and/or an extended dynamic range of attenuation, providing broad flexibility in configuration size and functional applicability.
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Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Integrating sensors into rotational mechanisms could make it possible for engineers to build smart hinges that know when a door has been opened, or gears inside a motor that tell a mechanic how fast they are rotating. Engineers have now developed a way to easily integrate sensors into these types of mechanisms.
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Briefs: Green Design & Manufacturing
To improve efficiency, it is necessary to characterize and reduce flow separation on curved surfaces.
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Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Taking inspiration from nature, a team of researchers at Queen Mary’s School of Engineering and Materials Science has successfully created an artificial muscle that seamlessly transitions between soft and hard states while also possessing the remarkable ability to sense forces and deformations.
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Briefs: Materials
The tiny motors mimic how rock climbers navigate inclines.
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Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
A catalytic reaction causes a two-dimensional, chemically coated sheet to spontaneously morph into a three-dimensional gear.
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Briefs: Motion Control
Achievable coils increase the capabilities of the micromotors.
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Briefs: Materials
NASA Ames Research Center has developed a novel technology that provides an autonomous, miniaturized fluidic system for lipid analysis.
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Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
To enable key aerospace R&D applications, NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a single-piece flow-through transducer design capable of measuring all six components adding in the Axial force measurement.
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Briefs: AR/AI
The skin could help rehabilitation and enhance virtual reality by instantaneously adapting to a wearer's movements.
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Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
A team of researchers has designed a new system of fluid-driven actuators that enable soft robots to achieve more complex motions. The researchers accomplished this by taking advantage of the very thing — viscosity — that had previously stymied the movement of such robots.
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Briefs: Nanotechnology
The device uses soft robotics, ultra-thin electronics, and microfluidics.
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Briefs: Propulsion
Biomimicking Hummingbirds for Better Drones
Hummingbirds have extreme aerial agility and flight forms, which is why many drones and other aerial vehicles are designed to mimic hummingbird movement.
Briefs: Green Design & Manufacturing
To improve efficiency, it is necessary to characterize and reduce flow separation on curved surfaces.
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Briefs: Motion Control
This mechanism improves rotordynamic stability in turbomachinery.
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Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Potential uses include MEMS accelerometers, vibration monitoring, and other precision motion control applications.
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Briefs: Design
The technology was developed as an alternative to existing options for in-space aeroponic food production applications.
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Briefs: Tubing & Extrusion
The tool straightens thin, malleable 4-mm metal tubes like those used for fuel, pneumatic, or hydraulic pressurized lines.
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Briefs: Motion Control
The tiny device accurately measures acceleration in smaller navigation systems and other devices.
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Briefs: Design
To overcome the limitations of using cleaning agents, sprays, or bulky high-cost sterilizing systems, NASA developed the Ultraviolet Germicidal Door Handle.
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