Tech Briefs

Sensors & Test

Access our comprehensive library of technical briefs on sensors and test, from engineering experts at NASA and government, university, and commercial laboratories.

Latest Tech Briefs

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
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 : Electronics & Computers
Motion-Powered, Fireproof Sensor
Motion-Powered, Fireproof Sensor

Researchers have created a motion-powered, fireproof sensor that can track the movements of firefighters, steelworkers, miners, and others who work in high-risk environments where they cannot always be seen....

Motion-Powered, Fireproof Sensor
Briefs : Wearables
Soft Robotics Perception System
Soft Robotics Perception System

A perception system for soft robots was developed that is inspired by the way humans process information about their own bodies in space and in relation to other objects and people. The system includes a...

Soft Robotics Perception System
Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Flying Robot Mimics Rapid Insect Flight
Flying Robot Mimics Rapid Insect Flight

Flying animals both power and control flight by flapping their wings. This enables small natural flyers such as insects to hover close to a flower but also to rapidly escape danger. Animal flight has...

Flying Robot Mimics Rapid Insect Flight
Briefs : Imaging
Facial Recognition Technology Works in the Dark
Facial Recognition Technology Works in the Dark

Thermal cameras like forward looking infrared (FLIR) sensors are actively deployed on aerial and ground vehicles, in watch towers, and at check points for surveillance purposes. More recently,...

Facial Recognition Technology Works in the Dark
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Battery-Free Sensor for Underwater Use
Battery-Free Sensor for Underwater Use

To investigate oceans, researchers aim to build a submerged network of interconnected sensors that sends data to the surface. Supplying constant power to scores of sensors designed to stay for long...

Battery-Free Sensor for Underwater Use
Briefs : Aerospace
Web-Based Technology Assesses Structural Health
Web-Based Technology Assesses Structural Health

Understanding how cars, planes, bridges, and other structures handle vibrations and dynamic loads can be critical to their design and performance. Researchers have developed a new way to...

Web-Based Technology Assesses Structural Health
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Wind Event Warning System
Wind Event Warning System

NASA Langley Research Center developed a wind event warning technology that provides a practical early warning system (5-10 minutes) for a severe change in the wind vector. Events such as gusts, shear, microbursts,...

Wind Event Warning System
Briefs : Medical
Simulating Softness for Haptic Interfaces
Simulating Softness for Haptic Interfaces

Researchers have developed a formula that enables them to recreate different levels of perceived softness. Based on the results from their experiments, they created equations that can calculate how...

Simulating Softness for Haptic Interfaces
Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Method Makes Transistors and Electronic Devices from Thread
Method Makes Transistors and Electronic Devices from Thread

A transistor has been made from linen thread, enabling the creation of electronic devices made entirely of thin threads that could be woven into fabric, worn on the skin, or...

Method Makes Transistors and Electronic Devices from Thread
Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Researchers Turn off Backscattering, Aim to Improve Optical Data Transmission
Researchers Turn off Backscattering, Aim to Improve Optical Data Transmission

Engineers at the University of Illinois have found a way to redirect misfit light waves to reduce energy loss during optical data transmission. In a study,...

Researchers Turn off Backscattering, Aim to Improve Optical Data Transmission
Briefs : Data Acquisition
Optical Neural Network Could Lead to Intelligent Cameras
Optical Neural Network Could Lead to Intelligent Cameras

UCLA engineers have made major improvements on their design of an optical neural network — a device inspired by how the human brain works — that can identify objects or process...

Optical Neural Network Could Lead to Intelligent Cameras
Briefs : Test & Measurement
Undercooled Metal Technology for Flexible Electronics
Undercooled Metal Technology for Flexible Electronics

Undercooled metal technology was developed that features liquid metal (in this case, Field's metal, an alloy of bismuth, indium, and tin) trapped below its melting point in polished,...

Undercooled Metal Technology for Flexible Electronics
Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Smart Electronic Skin for Robots and Prosthetics

Humans use the sense of touch to accomplish almost every daily task such as picking up a cup of coffee or shaking someone’s hand. Without it, humans can even lose their sense of balance when walking. Similarly, robots need to have a sense of touch in order to interact better with humans but...

Briefs : Wearables
Wearable Motion Sensors Measure Fetal Heartbeat

A technique was developed that could allow expectant parents to hear their baby’s heartbeat continuously at home with a non-invasive and safe device that is potentially more accurate than any fetal heartrate monitor currently available in the market.

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Form-Fitting Nanoscale Sensors
Form-Fitting Nanoscale Sensors

A method was developed to make atom-flat sensors that seamlessly integrate with devices to report on what they perceive. Electronically active 2D materials, touted for their strength, are difficult to move to...

Form-Fitting Nanoscale Sensors
Briefs : RF & Microwave Electronics
Passive Smart Container
Passive Smart Container

Although Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology is being used widely for pallet and box-level tracking in the commercial sector, significant technology gaps remain for tracking dense quantities at the item...

Passive Smart Container
Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Mathematical Technique Quickly Tunes Next-Generation Lenses
Mathematical Technique Quickly Tunes Next-Generation Lenses

Most of us know optical lenses as curved, transparent pieces of plastic or glass, designed to focus light for microscopes, spectacles, cameras, and more. For the most part, a...

Mathematical Technique Quickly Tunes Next-Generation Lenses
Briefs : Wearables
Printed Electronics for Electrified Tattoos and Personalized Biosensors
Printed Electronics for Electrified Tattoos and Personalized Biosensors

A fully print-in-place technique for electronics could enable technologies such as high-adhesion, embedded electronic tattoos and bandages with patient-specific...

Printed Electronics for Electrified Tattoos and Personalized Biosensors
Briefs : Materials
Toughening Stretchable Fibers Using a Metallic Core
Toughening Stretchable Fibers Using a Metallic Core

Researchers have developed a fiber that combines the elasticity of rubber with the strength of a metal, resulting in a tougher material. The fibers consist of a gallium metal core...

Toughening Stretchable Fibers Using a Metallic Core
Briefs : Test & Measurement
Diamond Technology Enables Low-Cost Medical Imaging
Diamond Technology Enables Low-Cost Medical Imaging

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines are employed to locate cancerous tumors and aid in the development of treatment plans, while nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) machines are used to...

Diamond Technology Enables Low-Cost Medical Imaging
Briefs : Test & Measurement
X-ray Measurement Approach Could Improve CT Scanners

A new measurement approach could lead to a better way to calibrate computed tomography (CT) scanners, potentially streamlining patient treatment by improving communication among doctors.

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Tiny Lensless Endoscope Captures 3D Images of Objects Smaller Than a Cell
Tiny Lensless Endoscope Captures 3D Images of Objects Smaller Than a Cell

Researchers have developed a new self-calibrating endoscope that produces 3D images of objects smaller than a single cell without a lens or any optical, electrical, or...

Tiny Lensless Endoscope Captures 3D Images of Objects Smaller Than a Cell
Briefs : RF & Microwave Electronics
Method Produces Three-Dimensional, Curved Electronics
Method Produces Three-Dimensional, Curved Electronics

Contact lenses that can monitor the wearer’s health and correct eyesight use embedded electronics. These, and other curved devices such as solar cells and electronics, could be...

Method Produces Three-Dimensional, Curved Electronics
Briefs : Energy
Thin Nylon Films for Transparent Electronic Devices
Thin Nylon Films for Transparent Electronic Devices

Very thin nylon films were created that can be used in electronic memory components. The films are several hundreds of times thinner than a human hair and could be used in bendable...

Thin Nylon Films for Transparent Electronic Devices
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Lightweight Exosuit Combines Robotics and Functional Apparel
Lightweight Exosuit Combines Robotics and Functional Apparel

Between walking and running, human gaits can cover a wide range of speeds; for example, at low speeds, the metabolic rate of walking is lower than that of running in a slow jog....

Lightweight Exosuit Combines Robotics and Functional Apparel
Briefs : Test & Measurement
Software Applications for the Control and Management of the Amine Swingbed Experiment

The Swingbed software applications provide for the control, command, fault detection, fault recovery, and telemetry monitoring aspects of the Amine Swingbed experiment. These software components are the Swingbed Loader Computer Software Configuration Item...