Tech Briefs

App Enables Smartphone Camera to Screen for Pancreatic Cancer

The five-year survival rate of pancreatic cancer is one of the worst — 9 percent — in part because there are no obvious symptoms or non-invasive screening tools to catch a tumor before it spreads. One of the earliest symptoms of pancreatic cancer, as well as other diseases, is jaundice, a yellow discoloration of the skin and eyes caused by a buildup of bilirubin in the blood. The ability to detect signs of jaundice when bilirubin levels are minimally elevated — but before they're visible to the naked eye — could enable an entirely new screening program for at-risk individuals.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical
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Continuous Diagnostic System Predicts Industrial Robot Faults

Robots in production lines work with micrometer precision, unless a component fails. If, for example, the linear actuator used to precisely position a car body in front of an assembly robot is damaged, the robotic arm will no longer be able to position the car door exactly. The result is a misaligned door.

Posted in: Briefs, Automation
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Optofluidic 3D Printing

Optofluidic three-dimensional printing enables advancements and innovation in optical fibers and biomedical devices. This 3D printing approach uses axial plane optical microscopy (APOM) technology.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping
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ECTemp™

The health and fitness industry strives to provide customers with the best technologies and features available to help users train in the right zone and duration for best results. Core body temperature is a factor in this analysis, but has been largely unavailable due to the invasiveness of accurate sensors, and the variation between skin temperature and core body temperature. An accurate estimate of core body temperature is also valuable for occupations in which heat stress and heat illness are risk factors. Because of the difficulty in directly measuring core body temperature, a practical alternative was developed.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical
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Method for Inflating Uniformly Stiff Tubular Booms

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) developed a foam-rigidized, inflatable, tubular space boom that can be transported, deployed, and inflated at remote locations. The lightweight device consists of an inner and outer sleeve and, in its non-pressurized state, can be accordion-folded into a small storage canister. This allows for simple and compact transportation at a low cost.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping
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ScienceOrganizer: A Scientific Knowledge Management and Remote Experimentation Tool

The ScienceOrganizer system was designed to facilitate the work of geographically distributed NASA science teams by supporting the organization, administration, documentation, and execution of science projects and missions. The capabilities of ScienceOrganizer include the ability to conduct and monitor working experiments; locate, utilize, and publish experimental datasets; develop and share scientific software models; store scientific project information; document the scientific process; and co-visualize scientific data. Users access ScienceOrganizer through an intuitive Web-based interface that enables them to upload, download, and centrally organize project information including data, documents, images, and scientific records associated with laboratory and field experiments.

Posted in: Briefs, Software
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Smartphone Camera Measures Heart Health

Currently, a 45-minute ultrasound scan is required to provide detailed information about heart health. Researchers have discovered a method by which a smartphone camera can noninvasively provide the same information.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical
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High-Energy-Storage Capacitor

A method was created for electroless deposition of conformal ultrathin (<20 nm) metal oxides on the high-surface-area walls of commercial carbon nanofoam papers, typically 0.1–0.3 mm thick. The resulting ultrathin metal oxides rapidly take up and release electrons and ions, thereby storing energy at 300–600 Farads per gram of oxide, while the carbon nanofoam paper serves as a three-dimensional current collector and defines a pre-selected porous electrode architecture.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers
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Knowledge Preservation Management

The Knowledge Preservation Management (KPM) system allows for the capture, management, and Web-based access of manufacturing operations information. KPM also captures retirees' knowledge via transcript-enabled video-taped interviews, and with video data-mining advanced search capabilities. Access to this information is available directly to the operator on the factory floor or in an office, providing a complete, on-demand knowledge management and training capability.

Posted in: Briefs, Software
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Flexible Wearable Electronics Use Body Heat for Energy

Interest in wearable electronics for continuous, long-term health and performance monitoring is rapidly increasing. The reduction in power levels consumed by sensors and electronic circuits, accompanied by the advances in energy harvesting methods, allows for the realization of self-powered monitoring systems that do not have to rely on batteries.

Posted in: Briefs, Electronics & Computers
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