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 : Connectivity
Efficient Hexagonally Sampled Image Processing
Efficient Hexagonally Sampled Image Processing

It has been known since the early 1960s that hexagonal sampling is the optimal sampling approach for isotropically band-limited images, providing a 13.4% improvement in sampling efficiency over...

Efficient Hexagonally Sampled Image Processing
Briefs : Communications
Wearable Monitor Continuously Measures Breath Rate and Volume
Wearable Monitor Continuously Measures Breath Rate and Volume

Researchers developed a wearable, disposable respiration monitor that provides high-fidelity readings on a continuous basis. It's designed to help children with asthma and cystic...

Wearable Monitor Continuously Measures Breath Rate and Volume
Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Lunar Surface Manipulation System
Lunar Surface Manipulation System

NASA's Langley Research Center offers a novel lifting and precision positioning device with hybrid functional characteristics of both crane-type lifting devices and robotic manipulators. The design of the...

Lunar Surface Manipulation System
Briefs : Wearables
Microneedles Extract Fluid for Wearable Sensors
Microneedles Extract Fluid for Wearable Sensors

Interstitial fluid is clear, colorless, and similar to blood plasma. Continual sampling of important biomarkers in interstitial fluid could help monitor and diagnose many diseases and...

Microneedles Extract Fluid for Wearable Sensors
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Automated Object Detection in an Image

Recent developments in machine vision have demonstrated remarkable improvements in the ability of computers to properly identify objects in a viewing field. Most of these advances rely on color-texture analyses that require target objects to possess one or more highly distinctive, local features that can be...

Briefs : RF & Microwave Electronics
Microfocus, Dual-Energy Imaging System Improves Contaminant Detection

Contamination of food with fragments of bone, metal, glass, or other foreign material is a major concern in the food industry. Current inspection technologies often miss very small fragments embedded in meat or other soft materials or lead to ambiguous results that require...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Technique for 3D-Printing of Replacement Organs
Technique for 3D-Printing of Replacement Organs

Bioengineers have cleared a major hurdle on the path to 3D-printing replacement organs with a new technique for bioprinting tissues. It allows scientists to create entangled vascular networks...

Technique for 3D-Printing of Replacement Organs
Briefs : Automotive
Microscale Electro-Hydrodynamic (EHD) Modular Cartridge Pump

The EHD pump uses electric fields to move a dielectric fluid coolant in a thermal loop to dissipate heat generated by electrical components with a low-power system. The pump has only a few key components and no moving parts, increasing the simplicity and robustness of the system. In...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Deployable Emergency Shutoff Device Blocks High-Velocity Fluid Flows

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center has developed a device and method for blocking the flow of fluid from an open pipe. The device plugs, controls, and meters the flow of gases and liquids. Anchored with friction fittings, spikes, or explosively activated fasteners, the device...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
More Sensitive Measurement of Semiconductor Material Quality
More Sensitive Measurement of Semiconductor Material Quality

Accurately measuring semiconductor properties of materials in small volumes helps engineers determine the range of applications for which these materials may be suitable in the...

More Sensitive Measurement of Semiconductor Material Quality
Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Smartphone Test Spots Poisoned Water Risk

Researchers have developed a biosensor that attaches to a smartphone and uses bacteria to detect unsafe arsenic levels. The device generates easy-to-interpret patterns similar to volume-bars that display the level of contamination.

Briefs : Data Acquisition
Noninvasive Device Tests Sweat Continuously for Hours
Noninvasive Device Tests Sweat Continuously for Hours

A continuous-testing device was developed that samples sweat as effectively as blood but in a noninvasive way and over many hours. After examining the use of saliva, tears, and...

Noninvasive Device Tests Sweat Continuously for Hours
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Aircraft Engine Icing Event Avoidance and Mitigation
Aircraft Engine Icing Event Avoidance and Mitigation

Innovators at NASA’s Glenn Research Center have developed a new means of avoiding and mitigating icing events for aircraft flying above 14,000 feet, dramatically improving aviation...

Aircraft Engine Icing Event Avoidance and Mitigation
Briefs : Test & Measurement
High-Throughput Friction and Wear Tester
High-Throughput Friction and Wear Tester

There is a need for high-volume material testing/qualification but industry and researchers are currently limited by commercially available testing devices. Most wear testers can only handle one...

High-Throughput Friction and Wear Tester
Briefs : Data Acquisition
Sensor Network for Air Vehicles
Sensor Network for Air Vehicles

Aircraft currently fly based on coarse estimations of environment and aircraft state. Real-time measurements are traditionally restricted to laboratory environments (e.g. wind tunnel) due to the size and...

Sensor Network for Air Vehicles
Briefs : Automotive
Automated Guided Wave System for In-Process Cure Monitoring of CFRP Composite Laminates
Automated Guided Wave System for In-Process Cure Monitoring of CFRP Composite Laminates

In the polymer composites industry, cure cycles are typically developed from trial-and-error or a more effective processing science approach to reduce...

Automated Guided Wave System for In-Process Cure Monitoring of CFRP Composite Laminates
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Graphene Lid Extends Photoemission Electron Microscopy to Liquids
Graphene Lid Extends Photoemission Electron Microscopy to Liquids

By capping liquids with graphene (an ultrathin sheet of pure carbon), researchers can easily image and analyze liquid interfaces and the surface of nanometer-scale objects...

Graphene Lid Extends Photoemission Electron Microscopy to Liquids
Briefs : Test & Measurement
New Technique Tests for Viral Infections

Currently, most U.S. medical offices and hospitals use the ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) test to determine whether or not a person has a viral infection. It’s a common test but ELISA’s sensitivity is relatively low, so clinicians need a fairly high number of antibodies in a person’s...

Briefs : AR/AI
Face-Tracking Robot
Face-Tracking Robot

A robot is being developed that tracks facial movements to perform human tasks. The robot resembles large, squiggly arms holding tiny cameras. Sitting in a rolling office chair across from one of the arms, the robot's...

Face-Tracking Robot
Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Breakthrough Could Enable Infrared Cameras for Electronics, Self-Driving Cars
Breakthrough Could Enable Infrared Cameras for Electronics, Self-Driving Cars

There's an entire world our eyes miss, hidden in the ranges of light wavelengths that human eyes can't see. But infrared cameras can pick up this light emitted as...

Breakthrough Could Enable Infrared Cameras for Electronics, Self-Driving Cars
Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Integrated Silicon Photonic Switch Demonstrates Lowest Signal Loss Ever in High-Speed Data Transmission
Integrated Silicon Photonic Switch Demonstrates Lowest Signal Loss Ever in High-Speed Data Transmission

Experimental photonic switches developed at UC Berkeley have shown promise toward the goal of fully optical, high-capacity switching for...

Integrated Silicon Photonic Switch Demonstrates Lowest Signal Loss Ever in High-Speed Data Transmission
Briefs : Imaging
Bringing Human-Like Reasoning to Driverless Car Navigation
Bringing Human-Like Reasoning to Driverless Car Navigation

With the aim of bringing more human-like reasoning to autonomous vehicles, MIT researchers have created a system that uses only simple maps and visual data to enable driverless cars...

Bringing Human-Like Reasoning to Driverless Car Navigation
Briefs : Medical
Combining Origami and 3D Printing to Make Complex Structures in One Step
Combining Origami and 3D Printing to Make Complex Structures in One Step

There are many different types of 3D printing technologies. The most familiar — inkjet — has been around for some 20 years. But until now, it has been difficult to...

Combining Origami and 3D Printing to Make Complex Structures in One Step
Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Self-Assembled Micro-Organogels Enable 3D Printing of Silicone Structures
Self-Assembled Micro-Organogels Enable 3D Printing of Silicone Structures

For the millions of people every year who have or need medical devices implanted, an advancement in 3D printing technology could enable significantly quicker...

Self-Assembled Micro-Organogels Enable 3D Printing of Silicone Structures
Briefs : Aerospace
Wafer-Level Microchannel Fabrication Process for Lab-on-a-Chip Devices
Wafer-Level Microchannel Fabrication Process for Lab-on-a-Chip Devices

Microchannels fabricated into a silicon-Pyrex wafer with a diameter of 75 m and total channel length of 40, 60, 80, or 100 mm — characterized by specialized microbeads...

Wafer-Level Microchannel Fabrication Process for Lab-on-a-Chip Devices
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Stretchable Power Source for Wearables
Stretchable Power Source for Wearables

Researchers have created highly stretchable supercapacitors for powering wearable electronics that consist of crumpled carbon nanotube (CNT) forests. The supercapacitors demonstrated solid performance...

Stretchable Power Source for Wearables