A comprehensive library of technical briefs from engineering experts at NASA and major government, university, and commercial laboratories covering all aspects of innovations in electronics, software, photonics, imaging, motion control, automation, sensors, test, materials, manufacturing, mechanical, and mechatronics.

Spine deformities, such as idiopathic scoliosis and kyphosis (also known as “hunchback”), are characterized by an abnormal curvature in the spine. The children with these spinal...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Large-Scale Robotic Inkjet Printing System

Painting of surfaces having numerous facets and/or curved surfaces is a time-consuming process that requires the application of several coats (layers) of paint. Such surfaces are often found on...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
3D Inks Can Be Erased Selectively

3D printing allows for the efficient manufacture of complex geometries. A very promising method is direct laser writing in which a computer-controlled focused laser beam acts as a pen and produces the...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Optical Gyroscope-on-a-Chip

Gyroscopes are devices that help vehicles, drones, and wearable and handheld electronic devices know their orientation in three-dimensional space. Originally, gyroscopes were sets of nested wheels, each spinning...

The global bearings market is expected to grow significantly due to increasing commercial and industrial machinery and manufacturing activity. Bearings are used in virtually...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Shape Memory Alloy Rock Splitters (SMARS)

Glenn's revolutionary Shape Memory Alloy Rock Splitters (SMARS) device is fabricated from nickel-titanium-halfnium (NiTiHf), nickel-titanium-zirconium compositions, or a combination. These compositions contain a secondary, nanometer-sized precipitate phase that is produced through processes of...

Many of today's silicon-based electronic components contain 2D materials such as graphene. Incorporating 2D materials like graphene — which is composed of a single-atom-thick layer of carbon atoms...

Typical direct-injection engines, such as diesel engines, can produce soot due to fuel-rich combustion conditions. Filters and catalytic converters are currently used to reduce soot and harmful...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Low-Light Night Vision Imaging and Video Capture

Conventional night vision goggles all use image intensification (I2) tube technology that multiplies ambient, visible, and near-infrared light several thousands of times, allowing a user to see and operate in very-low-light conditions. One shortcoming of I2 tube night vision devices is that they...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Sensor Combination Detects People by Smell

Trained rescue dogs are the best disaster workers — their sensitive noses help them track down people buried by earthquakes or avalanches. But dogs need breaks. A new measuring device is always...

Briefs: Test & Measurement
Ionization-Based Multidirectional Flow Sensor

One significant area of research in fuel cell technology includes systems in which a fuel cell is combined with another power generation device (a turbine, for example) to create a hybrid system that combines the advantages of the two standalone systems, resulting in a high fuel-to-electricity...

Briefs: Test & Measurement
Real-Time Ion Mobility Sensor System

A real-time ion mobility sensor developed to detect contaminants and explosives is reliable, sensitive, robust, and inexpensive. The technology improves sensitivity and reduces false alarms for threat agents, and can identify chemicals with a sensitivity of five parts per billion.

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Ultralight Gloves Provide Realistic Haptic Feedback

Engineers and software developers are seeking to create technology that lets users touch, grasp, and manipulate virtual objects while feeling like they are actually touching something in...

A process has been developed that enables the production of a 2-mm flat camera. The lens is partitioned into 135 tiny facets, similar to the eyes of an insect. The facetVISION camera is...

Printable metal tags have been developed that could be attached to everyday objects to turn them into “smart” Internet of Things (IoT) devices. The tags are made from...

Medical image registration is a common technique that involves overlaying two images, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, to compare and analyze anatomical differences in great...

Briefs: Data Acquisition
Optimetric Measurements Over Coherent Free-Space Optical Communication

High-precision ranging (optimetric) instruments are highly desired for both space navigation and communications as well as gravitational-based science missions. Traditionally, these measurements are made with instruments solely dedicated to ranging (i.e. Doppler shift of a...

Heat treatment, also known as annealing, is a common step in the semiconductor fabrication process. A buildup of radiation-induced localized charge within the...

The first laser based on the wave physics phenomenon called bound states in the continuum (BIC) has been developed. The technology could revolutionize the development of surface...

Briefs: Energy
New Catalyst for Plastic Production Also Creates Hydrogen

Researchers have developed a new, low-cost catalyst for plastic production that turns a biorefinery product into a starting material for the synthesis of plastics, which could represent a sustainable alternative to widespread PET. At the same time, hydrogen can also be formed during the...

NASA's Langley Research Center has developed the SHEARLESS composite boom with a final cross-section shape that is lenticular and is flexible enough to...

Briefs: Test & Measurement
Gated Chopper Integrator (GCI)

Microvolt-level signals require gains of at least a thousand. Offsets and noise in the amplifier chain will be amplified by the same amount, which can saturate the amplifier or swamp the signal so it is not resolvable. Other methods use chopping and/or autozero techniques to lower the offset and noise. The key...

NASA's Glenn Research Center has developed a novel solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) with five times the specific power density of currently available SOFCs. This highly efficient SOFC can operate on a...

Briefs: Test & Measurement
Wide-Area Chemical Sensor

The detection and localization of gas releases, such as methane from leaking natural gas pipelines or nitrogen oxides from failing electrical equipment, require high sensitivity to the target gas and insensitivity...

Briefs: Test & Measurement
Device Detects Subatomic-Scale Motion

It is relatively easy to measure small movements of large objects, but is much more difficult when the moving parts are on the scale of nanometers, or billionths of a meter. The ability to accurately...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Portable Acousto-Optic Spectrometers

Spectrometers are widely used for applications such as chemical analysis, remote sensing, quality control, environmental monitoring, spaceborne measurements, and optical measurements. Most spectrometers...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Dynamic Optical Grating Device for Modulating Light

NASA Langley Research Center has developed a novel optical grating device that dynamically modulates light and is capable of controlling the spectral properties and propagation of light...

Briefs: Test & Measurement
Inductive Non-Contact Position Sensor

The Inductive Non-Contact Position Sensor is a highly accurate sensor for motion control applications. The sensor was designed to monitor the precise movements of an optical inspection system that...

Today's photovoltaic power systems are generally comprised of a single photovoltaic module or multiple modules connected by combinations of series and parallel circuits as a photovoltaic array....

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