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: Green Design & Manufacturing
Portable Electrochemical Sensing System

Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have developed an inexpensive electrochemical sensing system that significantly improves the ability to rapidly and accurately detect heavy...

A low-cost sensor technology, called Chemical Identification by Magneto-Elastic Sensing (ChIMES), uses target response materials (TRMs) as actuators in magneto-elastic (M-E) sensors...

A new approach to time-of-flight imaging that increases its depth resolution 1,000-fold has been presented by the MIT Camera Culture group. That type of resolution could make...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Tamper Sensor for Safeguarding Radiological Sources

Panoramic irradiators are commonly used to disinfect and sterilize products such as medical supplies, cosmetic raw materials, food, food containers, and medical supplies. The irradiators...

Briefs: Medical
Wearable Microneedles

A new painless and minimally invasive microneedle technology can extract large volumes of pure interstitial fluid for further study. Developed at Sandia Labs and the University of New Mexico, the microneedles are a few...

Food allergies are extremely common. In the US, Federal regulations require packaged foods to disclose the presence of some of the most common allergens such as gluten, nuts, and milk products, which is...

Briefs: RF & Microwave Electronics
Remote Detection of Electronic Devices

Non-Linear Junction Detection is a well-known technique for detecting electronics that utilize semiconductor (solid-state) junctions. The current state of the art for finding hidden electronics — such as electronic eavesdropping devices — using this technology has a maximum range of about 2 m, and more...

Researchers have found a versatile workaround to create chemical compounds that could prove useful for medical imaging and drug development. While studying chemical...

Terahertz radiation — the band of the electromagnetic spectrum between microwaves and visible light — has promising applications in medical and industrial imaging and chemical...

High-speed images of a common laser-based metal 3D printing process, coupled with newly updated computer models, have revealed the mechanisms behind material redistribution, a phenomenon that...

It's difficult to see the details of atomic and topographical changes that lead to battery failure. However a team of researchers developed a method to see reactions leading to...

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center is building a small CubeSat that uses an 85-m2 solar sail deployed from a central location to capture the push of photons...

In designing a hand-actuated microspine gripper, a ratcheting locking mechanism was required that had discrete points of locking engagement. The mechanism had to actuate...

The advent of cryocooler technology ushers in an era where a cryogenic environment is created and maintained locally. It is no longer necessary to transport cryogen from a factory where it is produced to the...

Briefs: Green Design & Manufacturing
Green Approach for Toughening Thermosetting Reactive Resins

Thermosetting reactive resin systems such as epoxy, bismaleimide, and polyimide classes of material are brittle. The origin of brittleness is attributed to the high crosslinking density that exists in the fully cured forms of these materials. Traditionally, the toughness of these resins...

Metamaterials with zero, or even negative refractive index for sound offer new possibilities for acoustic imaging and for the control of sound at sub-wavelength scales. The...

Briefs: Aerospace
NWRA AVOSS Wake Vortex Prediction Algorithm Version 3.1.1

The Northwest Research Associates (NWRA) Aircraft Vortex Spacing System (AVOSS) Prediction Algorithm computes trailing vortex trajectories and circulation decay in a plane perpendicular to the path of the aircraft that has generated the vortices. Underlying the algorithm are the following...

A new type of mechanical instrument was developed to perform complex, minimally invasive procedures, also known as laparoscopic surgery. The technology could lead to less trauma for...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
System and Method for Identifying Electrical Properties of Integrated Circuits

Integrated circuit (IC) design can be divided into three stages: circuitry as specified, circuitry as designed, and circuitry as manufactured. Circuitry as specified is a somewhat abstract circuit design made with knowledge of the latest state-of-the-art integrated...

Briefs: Medical
Cell Processing Cartridge for Miniature Cytometer

Portable flow cytometers, especially in handheld or briefcase sizes, have not been available. One reason is the need to support complex, high-pressure fluidics and process cells using a centrifuge and mixing device. A need existed for point-of-care and/or point-of-analysis flow cytometry.

Computers use different kinds of memory technologies to store data. Long-term memory — typically a hard disk or flash drive — needs to be dense in order to store as much data as...

Materials scientists are looking to nature — at the discs in human spines and the skin of ocean-diving fish — for clues about how to design materials with both flexibility and stiffness. The...

Briefs: Test & Measurement
Flexible Silicon-on-Polymer Chip

A new, flexible, silicon-on-polymer chip was developed to augment new networked realities such as the Internet of Things. Typical silicon-based integrated circuits are brittle, rigid components packaged in a way that protects them. When these devices are put into a flexible form factor, rigidity is a negative...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Memristors Enable Quick-Learning Neural Network

Inspired by brains, neural networks are composed of neurons (or nodes) and synapses, which are the connections between nodes. To train a neural network for a task, a neural network takes in a...

NASA is preparing for the next generation of CubeSats that are propelled and will make directional maneuvers. The new gimbal mount provides a seat for the motor, and controls the position of the...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Shape Memory Alloy Art (SMA-Art) Shapes

Shape memory alloys (SMAs) have the unique ability to recover large deformations in response to thermal, mechanical, and/or magnetic stimuli. This behavior occurs by virtue of a crystallo-graphically...

Currently, most 3D-printed organ models are made using hard plastics or rubbers. This limits their application for accurate prediction and replication of the organ’s physical...

High-tech refrigerators have been used to reach temperatures as close to absolute zero as possible — 0 kelvin or -273.15 °C. Physicists aim to cool equipment to as close to absolute zero as...

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a landing gear cavity modification that reduces noise produced during aircraft approach and landing. The modification is an innovative stretchable...

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