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

University of Colorado researchers have described a new silicon chip that improves the resolution and scanning speed needed for a lidar system.
Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Gripper Handles Freely Moving Cables
The gripper’s soft, sensitive fingers could enable robots to help with tying knots, wire shaping, or surgical suturing.
Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Flexible Feet Help Robots Walk Faster
This technology can help robots walk up to 40 percent faster on uneven terrain such as pebbles and wood chips.
Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Fluid-Filled Frequency-Tunable Mass Damper
Applications include absorbers, tuned mass dampers, harmonic absorbers, and seismic dampers.
The battery design increases the number of possible cycles from tens to more than 100 with little degradation.
Using ceramic material and graphene, the toughness of solid-state lithium-ion batteries can be doubled.
New safety relay modules follow updated standards to give designers more options for a tailored electrical safety implementation.
Briefs: Green Design & Manufacturing
Nanosensors for Real-Time Plant Health Monitoring
This approach allows scientists to study the communication within plants, providing valuable insights to improve crop yields.
This gel-like material leads a path toward “mechanoceuticals.”
Briefs: Materials
Wraparound Sensors
These sensors monitor electrical loads from household appliances to support grid operations.
This approach could be used to cost-effectively make soft robots and wearable technologies.
These are important traits in electronics and electrical systems including electric cars, industrial drills, and electric grids.
Briefs: Energy
Semi-Liquid Metal Anode
Lithium batteries made using this electrode type could be much safer than typical lithium metal-based batteries.
This technique offers enhanced resolution and improved system reliability for mapping and obstacle recognition and navigation for vehicles.
The technology could help call attention to important traffic information when it’s dark, with potential benefits for both drivers and pedestrians.
An ultrafast image sensor with a built-in neural network can be trained to recognize certain objects.
The new technology demonstrates a 20 percent savings in fuel in typical passenger car low-load operating conditions.
Sensors in the hand can actually detect forces being transmitted through the thickness of the robot.
The new filament allows low-cost printers to produce parts with mechanical properties competitive with injection molded plastics.
Briefs: Aerospace
SMART Solar Sail
The miniaturized, autonomous, reconfigurable solar sail is capable of very fine maneuvering by small surface deformation.
Applications exist both on Mars and on Earth.
Briefs: Transportation
Bio-Inspired Propulsion
Frequencies and passive dynamics of vehicles moving in air or water help enhance propulsion performance.
A quantum material could offset energy demand of artificial intelligence.
Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Solid-State Lithium Battery
This thin film battery can be used for on-package power in mass market electric vehicles (EVs) and electronic devices.
A fleet of “roboats” could transport people, collect trash, and self-assemble into floating structures.
A new design enables artificial photosynthesis to generate fuel that can power homes and vehicles.
This method provides a fast way to assess rocket engine performance in a variety of operating conditions.
Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Cut-to-Length Electrical Cable Cuts Costs
Electrical cables are used in services such as power delivery, automation signaling, and communications.
This system can amplify a faint signal from a neighboring system even when that signal’s amplitude is as small as ten trillionths of a meter.

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