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: Test & Measurement
Non-Destructive Additive Manufacturing Characterization Coupon

Additive manufacturing (AM) material assurance has relied upon traditional test coupons and testing methods that work well for wrought materials, but fail to address the unique and not as well-known characteristics of AM parts. A new standardized, integrated test coupon was designed...

Briefs: Medical
Methods for Characterizing Nonlinear Fields of a High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound Source

Minimally invasive and non-invasive therapeutic ultrasound treatments can be used to ablate, necrotize, and/or otherwise damage tissue. High-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU), for example, is used to thermally or mechanically damage tissue. HIFU thermal...

Briefs: Software
AMMOS-PDS Pipeline Service (APPS)

APPS provides a multi-mission instrument data and metadata (i.e. label) transformation service that interfaces local or remote Mission Data provider’s data processing pipeline/end-products and the PDS (Planetary Data System) data archive to ensure compliance to standards in a schedule/cost-efficient manner...

Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a high-resolution live imaging technique that can be used for early detection of retinal diseases such as age-related macular degeneration,...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Additive Manufacturing Facility for Utilization Primarily in Microgravity Environments

The purpose of this innovation is to create the ability to manufacture off Earth, primarily in a microgravity environment. This additive manufacturing facility (AMF) will have the capability to build tools, parts, experimental hardware, and upgrade hardware...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Joining of Ti, Mo, and Ni Terminated Thermoelectric Segments via Brazing

The joining of low- and high-temperature thermoelectric materials (with ZT optimized to specific temperature ranges) to each other in a segmented configuration can lead to enhanced device efficiency. The resulting joints between these materials must be both chemically and...

Engineers have invented a new architecture for quantum computing based on novel “flip-flop” qubits. The new chip design allows for a silicon quantum processor that can be...

A software system was developed that helps robots more effectively act on spoken instructions — no matter how abstract or specific those instructions may be — from people who...

Briefs: Materials
Process Turns Carbon Dioxide into 3D Graphene with Microporous Surface

The conversion of carbon dioxide to useful materials usually requires high energy input due to its ultrahigh stability. A heat-releasing reaction between carbon dioxide and sodium was developed to take carbon dioxide and turn it into 3D graphene with micropores across its...

From phone camera snapshots to life-saving medical scans, digital images play an important role in the way humans communicate information. But digital images are subject to a range of...

As 3D printing has become a mainstream technology, studies have investigated printable structures that will fold themselves into useful three-dimensional shapes when heated...

Briefs: Imaging
Dual-Field-of-View Multiband Optics

Multi-spectral-band systems are steadily emerging as a desired feature in a camera system. Each spectral band offers different image characteristics. Shorter-wavelength spectral bands provide the potential for better resolution due to the smaller impact of diffraction on the size of the optics blur. This means...

Briefs: Software
Soil Moisture Active-Passive Project Spacecraft Flight Software

The Soil Moisture Active-Passive (SMAP) Project Spacecraft Flight Software controls all aspects of command and data handling (CDH) in the SMAP spacecraft. Required capabilities include uplink and command, telemetry and downlink, vehicle attitude control, science instrument control,...

Doctors currently rely on external ultrasound probes, combined with pre-operative imaging scans, to visualize soft tissue and organs during minimally invasive procedures, as the miniature surgical...

Briefs: Materials
Electromagnetic Metamaterial with Wide Angular and Broadband Spectral Absorption

Propagation in a waveguide requires proper termination of signals to prevent reflections from interfering with the desired circuit functionality. Conventional termination designs for a two-dimensional planar waveguide topology provide maximum signal suppression in...

Briefs: Medical
Smart Artificial Limbs

Traditional leg prosthetics enable amputees to maintain mobility and lead more active lives. Leg prosthetics most commonly fit amputees’ residual limbs via a socket that encloses the limb like a wooden clog. Because the socket exerts pressure on the limb’s soft tissue, pain and chafing, sores and blisters, and...

In order to store information in the conventional magnetic memories of electronic devices, the material’s small magnetic domains are oriented “up” or “down” by using...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
3D-Printed Objects Connect to WiFi Without Electronics

CAD models have been developed that enable objects to be 3D-printed out of commercially available plastics; these objects can wirelessly communicate with other smart devices, including a...

Briefs: Software
Deterministic Annealing Clustering

This software partitions a dataset into clusters of data using the Deterministic Annealing algorithm, a more sophisticated clustering technique than usually available in scientific and commercial software. The results provided are deterministic, i.e. unique (within the machine precision tolerance), whereas...

Engineers have fabricated transparent, gel-based robots that move when water is pumped in and out of them. They are made entirely of hydrogel — a tough, rubbery, nearly...

NASA Langley Research Center has developed fluorinated alkyl ether-containing epoxies designed as an anti-insect coating. The robust and durable coating was developed...

A novel tool was developed that allows users to qualify small-diameter bearings before incorporating them into components. The High-Sensitivity, Environmentally Isolated Bearing...

The foodborne pathogen Escherichia coli O157 causes an estimated 73,000 illnesses and 60 deaths every year in the United States. Better safety tests could help avoid some of the illnesses...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
System Enables Robots to Understand Contextual Commands

Today’s robots can accomplish many repetitive tasks, but their inability to understand the nuances of human language makes them mostly useless for more complicated requests. For example, if a specific tool is placed in a toolbox and a robot is asked to “pick it up,” it would be...

Magnesium is 75 percent lighter than steel, 33 percent lighter than aluminum, and is the fourth most common element on Earth behind iron, silicon, and oxygen. But despite its light...

Researchers at NASA have developed new methods to manufacture carbon materials (e.g., nanotubes, graphene) with holes through the graphitic surface of the particles. The...

Wind turbine designers are working to provide blade designs that allow a turbine connected to the blades or rotor to effectively convert wind into electricity. The blades must also be...

Currently there is no reliable way to determine, during tumor-removal surgery, whether the excised tissue is completely cancer-free at its margins — the proof that...

Measurement devices that can withstand the acid rains on Venus, radiation in space, and the heat of car engines are being developed to improve research in these extreme...

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