Tech Briefs

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 : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Energy-Storing Material Folds Onto Itself

Eagles can store energy in their feet without having to continuously contract their muscles to then jump high or hold on to prey. New materials have been created that can store energy this way. The...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Super-Resolution Image Reconstruction (SRIR)

Many low-cost sensors (or cameras) may spatially or electronically under-sample an image. Similarly, cameras taking pictures from great distances, such as aerial photos, may not obtain detailed...

Briefs : Medical
Machine Learning Method Detects Heart Disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In the U.S., one in every four deaths is a result of heart...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Method Trains Robots to Collaborate Through Demonstration

Robots that are adapted to respond to physical human-robot interaction (pHRI) traditionally treat such interactions as disturbances, and resume their original behaviors when the...

Briefs : Materials
Synthesis and Development of Polyurethane Coatings Containing Fluorine Groups for Adhesive Applications

Accumulation of insect strikes on the leading edge of airplane wings is a more serious problem than one might realize. Depending on the magnitude, such accumulation changes the aerodynamic characteristics of the wing, causing a change from...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Cell-Sized Robots Sense Their Environment

Colloids — insoluble particles or molecules anywhere from a billionth to a millionth of a meter across — are so small they can stay suspended indefinitely in a liquid or even in air. Robots about...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Inorganic Compound for Use in Quantum Computing

Quantum computers will be able to solve problems well beyond the reach of existing computers while working much faster and consuming vastly less energy. An inorganic compound was developed that...

Briefs : Materials
Bacteria-Fighting Polymers Created with Light

Hundreds of polymers that could kill drug-resistant superbugs in novel ways can be produced and tested using light. The new method may help identify antimicrobials for a range of applications from personal care to coatings.

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
One-Dimensional Material with High Current Density

Current density is the amount of electrical current per cross-sectional area at a given point. As transistors in integrated circuits become smaller and smaller, they need higher and higher...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Retinal Prosthesis Stimulates Nerve Cells

Fabricated using inexpensive and widely available organic pigments used in printing inks and cosmetics, an artificial retina was developed that consists of tiny pixels like a digital camera sensor on...

Briefs : Data Acquisition
A Robust Waveguide Millimeter-Wave Noise Source

A noise source is an enabling technology for passive millimeter-wave remote sensing applications such as atmospheric sounding, and precipitation and ice cloud measurements. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center has developed a packaged noise source that will allow calibration of the front end at the...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Ultra-Thin Camera Creates Images Without Lenses

Traditional cameras — even those on the thinnest cellphones — cannot be truly flat due to their optics. The lenses require a certain shape and size in order to function. A new camera design...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Two-Dimensional Semiconductor Materials Created Using Artificial “Superlattices”

One current method to build a semiconductor superlattice — materials comprised of alternating layers of ultra-thin, two-dimensional sheets only one or a...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
On-Chip Optical Filter Processes Wide Range of Light Wavelengths

MIT researchers have designed an optical filter on a chip that can process optical signals from across an extremely wide spectrum of light at once, something never before...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Next-Generation Photodetector Camera to Deploy During Robotic Servicing Demonstration Mission

An advanced, highly compact thermal camera that traces its heritage to one now flying on NASA's Landsat 8 has been mounted in a corner of NASA's...

Briefs : Transportation
Photonic Communication Comes to Computer Chips

With novel optoelectronic chips and a new partnership with a top silicon-chip manufacturer, MIT spinout Ayar Labs aims to increase speed and reduce energy consumption in computing, starting with...

Briefs : Imaging
New Camera Gives Surgeons a Butterfly's-Eye View of Cancer

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Washington University in St. Louis have developed a surgical camera inspired by the eye of the morpho butterfly. The...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Shrimp-Inspired Camera May Enable Underwater Navigation

The underwater environment may appear to the human eye as a dull-blue, featureless space. However, a vast landscape of polarization patterns appear when viewed through a camera that is...

Briefs : Imaging
Novel Optics for Ultrafast Cameras Create New Possibilities for Imaging

MIT researchers have developed novel photography optics that capture images based on the timing of reflecting light inside the optics instead of the traditional approach...

Briefs : Motion Control
Technique Allows Mobile Robots to Navigate Autonomously

A technique was developed to quickly teach robots novel traversal behaviors with minimal human oversight. The technique allows mobile robot platforms to navigate autonomously in...

Briefs : Medical
Popcorn-Driven Robotic Actuators

When heated, popcorn can expand more than 10 times in size, change its viscosity by a factor of 10, and transition from regular to highly irregular granules with surprising force. These unique qualities can...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Robotic Modules Modify Their Environment for Specific Tasks

Given the exact parameters of the task at hand, a robot can assemble a car door or pack a box faster and more efficiently than a human, but such purpose-built machines are not...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Conformal Metasurface Coating Eliminates Crosstalk and Shrinks Waveguides

Researchers have developed a method to simultaneously control diverse optical properties of dielectric waveguides by using a two-layer coating, each layer with a...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
3D-Printing Light Receptors on a Hemispherical Surface

Researchers have 3D-printed an array of light receptors on a hemispherical surface. This discovery could lead to a “bionic eye” that could someday help blind people see or sighted...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Evaluating Effects of Exhaust Heat Recovery Systems on Fuel Economy and Emissions

The exhaust heat recovery system (EHRS) in an automobile captures the thermal energy from exhaust and transfers it to the engine coolant. As the car warms up,...

Briefs : Aerospace
Technique Creates Adaptive Materials

A technique that enables on-demand control of composite behavior could enable a variety of new capabilities for future rotorcraft design, performance, and maintenance. The focus of the research was on...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Power Line Detection System for Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Electrical power lines pose a serious crash hazard to helicopters and other air-based vehicles, especially small aerial vehicles such as unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). This is because power lines are so widespread, hard to see, and strung at roughly the same height above the ground at...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Configuration Enables RFID Tags to Work as Sensors

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 to non-target gases. Infrared (IR) absorption spectroscopy gives highly specific...

Briefs : Aerospace
Acoustic Beamforming Array Using Feedback-Controlled Microphones for Tuning and Self-Matching of Frequency Response

NASA's Langley Research Center, in collaboration with Michigan State University (MSU), has developed a microphone array that...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Optical Mass Sensor for Multi-Phase Flows

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center is offering opportunities for its new fiber optic mass flow sensor system. Capable of measuring multi-phase flows in a pipe, the technology is minimally invasive,...

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Webcasts

Upcoming Webinars: Software

Electric Drive Noise and Vibration Analysis

Upcoming Webinars: Medical

What Is A Sterilization Dose Audit and How are they Performed

Upcoming Webinars: Electronics & Computers

Solutions for Digital Battery Engineering

Upcoming Webinars: Green Design & Manufacturing

How to Optimize Environmental Monitoring Using Direct Mass...

Upcoming Webinars: Green Design & Manufacturing

How to Optimize Environmental Monitoring Using Direct Mass...

Upcoming Webinars: Electronics & Computers

Design and Simulation of an Inverter Power Module for Electric...

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