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 : Communications
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...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Lightweight Sensing and Control System for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Monitoring

A new sensing and control system for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) allows for semi-autonomous flight. Pilots need not leave the ground to conduct routine monitoring and surveillance quickly and cost-effectively. Such systems are particularly useful during long flight...

Briefs : AR/AI
Neural Lander Uses AI to Land Drones Smoothly

Landing multi-rotor drones smoothly is difficult. Complex turbulence is created by the airflow from each rotor bouncing off the ground during a descent. This turbulence is not well understood nor is it easy to compensate for, particularly for autonomous drones. That is why takeoff and landing are...

Briefs : Aerospace
Structure Deformation Calculation Program for Structural Shape Monitoring
Structure Deformation Calculation Program for Structural Shape Monitoring

Researchers at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center are pioneering shape-sensing technologies that seek to maximize structural integrity and efficiency. A new and...

Structure Deformation Calculation Program for Structural Shape Monitoring
Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
High-Sensitivity, Low-Noise MEMS Accelerometer
High-Sensitivity, Low-Noise MEMS Accelerometer

A high-sensitivity and low-noise MEMS accelerometer was developed using multi-layer metal structures composed of multiple metal layers. The accelerometer achieves 1 μG level resolution that has...

High-Sensitivity, Low-Noise MEMS Accelerometer
Briefs : Software
System for Incorporating a Physiological Self-Regulation Challenge into Parcourse/Orienteering Type Games and Simulations

Although biofeedback is an effective treatment for various physiological problems and can be used to optimize physiological functioning in many ways, the benefits can only be attained through a number of training sessions,...

Briefs : Materials
Compact, Lightweight, CMC-Based Acoustic Liner
Compact, Lightweight, CMC-Based Acoustic Liner

In the wake of recent developments that have reduced fan and jet noise contributions to overall jet-engine noise, aircraft designers are turning their attention toward reducing engine core...

Compact, Lightweight, CMC-Based Acoustic Liner
Briefs : Test & Measurement
Antenna Near-Field Probe Station Scanner

Antenna characterization techniques are often expensive and time-consuming. NASA’s Glenn Research Center developed a highly versatile and automated system to perform characterization of single or multiple small circuit antennas, printed on-wafer or on other substrates, by measuring the antenna’s...

Briefs : Data Acquisition
Self-Configurable Radio Receiver System and Method

A self-configurable radio receiver system was developed for relaying communication signals from multiple deep space assets. Most conventional radio receivers are hardwired to receive a specific type of signal and are incapable of receiving other types of signals without preconfiguration...

Briefs : Wearables
Soft, Wearable Health Monitor with Stretchable Electronics
Soft, Wearable Health Monitor with Stretchable Electronics

A soft and conformable health monitor can broadcast electrocardiogram (ECG), heart rate, respiratory rate, and motion activity data as much as 15 meters to a portable recording...

Soft, Wearable Health Monitor with Stretchable Electronics
Briefs : Materials
Portable Electrochemical Sensing System
Portable Electrochemical Sensing System

An electrochemical sensing system that significantly improves the ability to rapidly and accurately detect heavy metals in biological and environmental samples was developed. Using a simple blood...

Portable Electrochemical Sensing System
Briefs : Communications
Terahertz Data Links Without Direct Line of Sight
Terahertz Data Links Without Direct Line of Sight

Today’s cellular networks and Wi-Fi systems rely on microwave radiation to carry data but the demand for more bandwidth is quickly becoming more than microwaves can handle. That has...

Terahertz Data Links Without Direct Line of Sight
Briefs : Imaging
Mobile, Dual-Comb Device for Methane Leak Detection
Mobile, Dual-Comb Device for Methane Leak Detection

Accurately detecting, locating, and quantifying leaks of methane — the main component of natural gas and a major fuel source worldwide — is critically important for both environmental...

Mobile, Dual-Comb Device for Methane Leak Detection
Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Material for Faster Computer Memory

Scientists are studying bismuth ferrite (BFO) material that has the potential to store information much more efficiently than is currently possible. BFO could also be used in sensors, transducers, and other electronics.

Briefs : Materials
Microrobots Activated by Laser Pulses for Treating Tumors
Microrobots Activated by Laser Pulses for Treating Tumors

Microrobots that can deliver drugs to specific spots inside the body while being monitored and controlled from outside the body have been developed that also can treat tumors in the...

Microrobots Activated by Laser Pulses for Treating Tumors
Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Laser-Pointing System Transmits Data from Tiny Satellites
Laser-Pointing System Transmits Data from Tiny Satellites

Since 1998, almost 2,000 shoebox-sized satellites known as CubeSats have been launched into space. Due to their small frame and the fact that they can be made from off-the-shelf...

Laser-Pointing System Transmits Data from Tiny Satellites
Briefs : Energy
Compact Antenna Enables Communication Where Radios Fail
Compact Antenna Enables Communication Where Radios Fail

A pocket-sized antenna was developed that could enable mobile communication in situations where conventional radios don’t work such as underwater, through the ground, and over very...

Compact Antenna Enables Communication Where Radios Fail
Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Robot “Eye” Provides 360° Field of View
Robot “Eye” Provides 360° Field of View

The production of precision products depends on robot control systems knowing the location of the adhesive bonding head or welding head to the nearest millimeter at all times. This means the robot...

Robot “Eye” Provides 360° Field of View
Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Spotting Objects Amid Clutter
Spotting Objects Amid Clutter

A new MIT-developed technique enables robots to quickly identify objects hidden in a three-dimensional cloud of data, reminiscent of how some people can make sense of a densely patterned “Magic Eye” image if...

Spotting Objects Amid Clutter
Briefs : Data Acquisition
New Sensor Could Shake Up Earthquake Response Efforts
New Sensor Could Shake Up Earthquake Response Efforts
Berkeley Lab technology could reduce time needed to declare buildings affected by earthquakes safe and sound.
New Sensor Could Shake Up Earthquake Response Efforts
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Miniature Spring Performance Tester
Miniature Spring Performance Tester

In order to qualify miniature springs, manufacturers of these systems rely on commercially available testers that are designed for large-scale springs (>0.5" diameter). Commercially available spring...

Miniature Spring Performance Tester
Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Graphene Field Effect Transistors for Radiation Detection (GFET-RS)

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center developed novel transistor technology based on a single graphene layer coupled to a radiation absorber substrate. Unlike conventional charge-sensing detectors, the GFET-RS utilizes the sensitive dependence of graphene conductance on local change...

Briefs : Transportation
Taking a City’s Pulse with Moveable Sensors
Taking a City’s Pulse with Moveable Sensors
Suppose you have 10 taxis in Manhattan. What portion of the borough’s streets do they cover in a typical day?
Taking a City’s Pulse with Moveable Sensors
Briefs : Test & Measurement
Simultaneous Imaging and Friction Measurement with an In-Situ Tribometer
Simultaneous Imaging and Friction Measurement with an In-Situ Tribometer

Different instruments are needed to study the interaction of contact surfaces at different length scales. Tribometers measure the coefficient of friction but they...

Simultaneous Imaging and Friction Measurement with an In-Situ Tribometer
Briefs : Test & Measurement
Precise Temperature Measurements with Invisible Light
Precise Temperature Measurements with Invisible Light

A portable, stable, standards-quality radiation thermometer was invented that can measure temperatures between -50 °C (-58 °F) to 150 °C (302 °F). The corresponding infrared...

Precise Temperature Measurements with Invisible Light
Briefs : Test & Measurement
Measuring Stickiness of Microscale Surfaces
Measuring Stickiness of Microscale Surfaces

At the scale of bridges or buildings, the most important force that engineered structures need to deal with is gravity. But at the scale of microelectro-mechanical systems (MEMS) — devices like...

Measuring Stickiness of Microscale Surfaces
Briefs : Test & Measurement
3D-Printed Polymer-Based Foam Structure Responds to Shock Waves
3D-Printed Polymer-Based Foam Structure Responds to Shock Waves

A 3D-printed polymer-based foam structure was developed that responds to the force of a shock wave to act as a oneway switch, a long sought-after goal in shock research. The...

3D-Printed Polymer-Based Foam Structure Responds to Shock Waves