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.

Solar fuels are created using only sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide (CO2). Researchers are exploring a range of target fuels, from hydrogen gas to liquid hydrocarbons, but...

NASA Langley Research Center, in collaboration with ATK Space Systems, has developed a method to reduce insect adhesion on metallic substrates, polymeric...

Briefs: Software
CornerStone Knowledge Acquisition and Synthesis Framework

In general, and especially in the “big data” era, there is often a failure to collect sufficient data about the data (metadata). This lack of metadata drastically reduces the potential use of the data, and the attempt to rectify this situation after the fact is often difficult, if not...

Briefs: Software
Middle-Out Graph Analytics

Graph analytics is a way of facilitating guided graph exploration through visual and interactive means. Unlike many graph visualization research efforts that focus predominantly on layout algorithms and rendering...

Briefs: Materials
Microfabricated Particles as MRI Contrast Agents

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has become an invaluable, widely used medical diagnostic and research tool, but despite numerous chemically synthesized image-enhancing agents, MRI still lacks the sensitivity and the multiplexing capabilities of optical imaging that benefit from colored...

Nanosolders allow for increased capabilities in the formation of soldered interconnections for heat-sensitive electronic packages. The desired characteristic of nanosolder is to have a low process...

NASA’s Langley Research Center scientists have developed a process for fabricating carbon nanotube (CNT) structural nanocomposites...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
3D Chip Combines Computing and Data Storage

Fields ranging from autonomous driving to personalized medicine are generating huge amounts of data. But just as the flood of data is reaching massive proportions, the ability of computer chips to...

Briefs: Propulsion
Rotary Piston Engine

There are many applications where a high power-to-weight engine is either necessary or helpful. Uses for this type of engine range from handheld power equipment, to motorcycles and aircraft — uses multiply when fuel efficiency, compactness, and versatility are added. Currently, there are few viable options available to...

Briefs: Propulsion
Green Liquid Monopropellant Thruster for In-Space Propulsion

Hydrazine has been the standard baseline liquid monopropellant for space propulsion over many decades since replacing hydrogen peroxide. Hydrazine was preferred over peroxide due to its easier storability and higher performance. Like peroxide, hydrazine can be readily decomposed by...

Briefs: Semiconductors & ICs
Shaper Design in CMOS for High Dynamic Range

Front-end electronics for capacitive sensors typically include a preamplifier followed by a filter. The preamplifier provides low-noise amplification of the signals induced in the sensor...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Tamper-Indicating Bolt

In storage and/or transport of certain items, the ability to detect tampering with a container or compartment for such items can be necessary and valuable. In the transport of hazardous substances or nuclear materials...

Software-Defined Networking (SDN) usually requires network administrators to be skilled in programming languages such as C++, Python, or Ruby. Many IT operators tasked with...

Briefs: Software
Robust Method for Data Protection and Change Detection

Methods exist for processing an original data sequence in order to generate information about the data for the purposes of integrity measurement, ownership demonstration, and authentication. The first category is digital watermarking, the second is data hashing, and the third is error...

Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory have developed a new X-ray technique to see inside continuously packed nanoparticles, also known as grains, to examine deformations and...

MIT researchers have developed a method for making extremely high-resolution images of tissue samples at a fraction of the cost of other techniques, yet with similar resolution. The new...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Cinematography on the Fly

In recent years, a host of Hollywood blockbusters, including “The Fast and the Furious 7,” “Jurassic World,” and “The Wolf of Wall Street,” have included aerial tracking shots provided by drone...

When women undergo lumpectomies to remove breast cancer, doctors try to remove all the cancerous tissue while conserving as much of the healthy breast tissue as possible. But currently there's no...

Researchers at Columbia University have made a significant step toward breaking the so-called “color barrier” of light microscopy for biological systems, allowing for much...

Optical lenses that can see features smaller than the wavelength of light cannot be made from conventional materials. Creating “hyperlenses” that can take ultra-sharp images needs both designer...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Neuroimaging Technique May Help Predict Autism Among High-Risk Infants

According to a recent study, functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging (fcMRI) may predict which high-risk, 6-month-old infants will develop autism spectrum disorder by age 2 years.

The National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NBIB) has developed a microscope that increases resolution and contrast in thick biological samples. The new...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Soft Robot “Walks” on Any Terrain

Traditional robots often feature isolated mechanical joints. These discrete components limit a rover’s ability to traverse sand, stone, and other challenging environments. A team at the University of...

Extreme temperatures are hard for mechanical components to endure without degrading. To address the problem, researchers at MIT worked with several other universities to develop a new way...

A team of researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology has developed a way to use 3D printers to create objects capable of dramatic expansion. The technology could someday be used in...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Flat, Triangular Modules Connect to Form Origami Robot

Origami robots are composed of thin structures that can fold and unfold to change shape. They are compact and lightweight, but have functional restrictions related to size, shape, and...

Inspired by arthropod insects and spiders, Harvard professor George Whitesides and Alex Nemiroski, a former postdoctoral fellow in Whitesides’ Harvard lab, used ordinary plastic drinking straws to...

Briefs: Software
High-Speed Network Protocol for Faster, More Reliable Emergency Response

Anew network protocol — the Multi Node Label Routing (MNLR) protocol — was developed to improve the information flow between emergency responders at the scene of an incident and decision-makers at the office of emergency management.

One-dimensional conductive particle assembly holds promise for a variety of practical applications; in particular, for a new generation of electronic...

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