Tech Briefs

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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.

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control

Lightweight, inflatable robotic vehicles (rovers) that superficially resemble beach balls and that could be driven by wind and/or electric power are undergoing development. These rovers were...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

An electronic system that comprises airborne and ground-based subsystems generates data for a global real-time interactive map (GRIM) that displays the current position and...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

The Spacecraft Autonomous Navigation System using GPS for Earth Orbiters (SANS-GEO) computer program is designed to perform the navigation calculations that will enable the New...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

A method for reducing the number of bits of quantization of synaptic weights during training of an artificial neural network involves the use of the cascade back-propagation learning...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

The Multiple Interferometric Ranging Analysis using GPS Ensemble (MIRAGE) computer program processes spacecraft-tracking data to determine orbits of single satellites, or...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

A data-communication and -processing network of compact, laptop-computer-based portable stations communicating via the World Wide Web (WWW) has been proposed as a relatively...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

A mathematical model that includes layerwise finite elements has been developed for use in numerical simulation of the coupled electrical, mechanical, and thermal responses of...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

A new joint, proposed for use on an attachable debris shield for the International Space Station Service Module, has potential for commercial use in situations where hardware must be...

Briefs: Physical Sciences

Quasi-thermostatic gas-gap thermal switches have been proposed. These switches would operate automatically, would contain no moving parts, would not require power supplies or controls, would...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control

The Eclipse flight project was established to demonstrate a reusable-launch-vehicle concept developed by Kelly Space and Technology, Inc. An F-106 delta-wing aircraft was chosen as the...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

A focal-plane array (FPA) of GaAs-based quantum-well infrared photodetectors (QWIPs) that would detect images in two wavelength bands simultaneously is undergoing development. From ratios...

Briefs: Materials

GENOA is an advanced, completely integrated, hierarchical software package for computationally simulating the thermal and mechanical responses of high-temperature composite...

Briefs: Materials

Ion-beam-deposited surface layers of diamond-like carbon (DLC) on fine-grain chemical-vapor-deposited (CVD) diamond have been found to be effective in reducing friction and wear in a...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control

The figure illustrates various aspects of a proposed mechanism that would be mounted in an instrumented penetrator dart for use in acquiring a sample of soil. In operation, the dart would be...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Delta-Doped CCDs for Measuring Energies of Positive Ions

Research closely related to that reported in the preceding article has shown that δ-doped charge-coupled devices (CCDs) could be used to detect incident protons and perhaps other positive ions, and to measure the kinetic energies of the ions, down to about 1.25 keV. Prior to the...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control

Microscopic forced-flow heat-transfer systems containing heat exchangers, flow channels, electrostatically driven peristaltic pumps, and related components have been proposed. These...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

Charge-coupled devices (CCDs) of a type developed previously for imaging in ultraviolet light have been found to be useful as detectors of electrons and other charged particles with kinetic...

Briefs: Materials

Two poly(arylene ether phosphine oxide)s (PAEPOs) have been found to be suitable as matrix and coating materials for composite-material (matrix/fiber) tanks and pipes that contain...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control

A methodology for designing robots provides for satisfying both safety and performance requirements. Heretofore, most robot-design efforts have been focussed on maximizing performance, with only...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Linear-translation motors containing inertial-reaction masses driven by magnetostrictive actuator elements are undergoing development. These motors could be used to make fine position...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Pulse-tube Refrigerator Unit

Pulse-tube Refrigerators can be operated over a wide range of temperatures. These units can be used in numerous space and commercial refrigeration applications, including food refrigerator/freezers, laboratory freezers, and freeze dryers. Pulse-tube Refrigerators can also be used to cool detectors and electronic...

Briefs: Motion Control
Device for High-Pressure Fused Deposition of Engineering Polymers From Feed Rods

A more versatile delivery system for fused deposition has recently been developed. This system uses a very stiff, precise, and compact actuator to drive a small piston/cylinder extruder that has a heated nozzle. Because feed rods are used as the feed material, this...

Briefs: Materials

Two techniques have been proposed to reduce thermal-expansion mismatches between (a) substrates made of silicon, silicon-based ceramics, and silicon-based-ceramic composite...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

A hardware-command-decoding application-specific integrated circuit (HCD ASIC) is designed to decode digital command signals transmitted from a ground station to a spacecraft (uplink commands). Implemented in...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control

Mobile robots that would resemble earthworms have been proposed for use in exploring remote, hostile, or inaccessible terrain surface and subsurface environments. This class of robots would be a special case...

Briefs: Materials

A portable, self-contained, compact instrument measures and records transient electric fields generated by nearby lightning strikes. This instrument complements, and in many respects...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics

Devices containing planar arrays of micromachined, electrostatically adjustable Fabry-Perot interferometers are undergoing development. These devices could be designed, for...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

The column-loading input chip (CLIC) is a conceptual integrated-circuit chip that would serve as an interface between (1) any of various sources of image data and (2) a three-dimensional...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

The figure illustrates a dc-excited Anderson-loop circuit that includes (1) thermocouples for measuring the temperature of the strain gauge and (2) a signal-conditioning circuit that...

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