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: 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...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
High-Temperature Actuators Bend as They “Breathe”

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...

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...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Omni Jaw 5™ Powered Protrusion Cutter

In many manufacturing and construction activities, it is frequently necessary to remove a protrusion of material from a component or from a substrate surface. These removal operations include clipping...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Low-Cost Chip Extends Life of Battery Sensors

A voltage detector chip was developed that requires only a few trillionths of a Watt (picowatts) to activate other circuits, enabling engineers to design sensors that continuously listen, without...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Using Microwaves to Produce High-Quality Graphene

Engineers have developed a simple method for producing high-quality graphene that can be used in next-generation electronic and energy devices. The method essentially bakes the compound in a...

Briefs: Software
Custom Administration Reporting (gTracker)

A reporting tool was needed that could indicate the accuracy of search results by tracking the number of clicks required by users to find their desired search results. The application should also capture the number of times other links and like filtering components are clicked. The report should have...

A team of researchers has invented a new technology to produce automobile tires from trees and grasses. Conventional car tires are viewed as environmentally unfriendly because they...

Briefs: Software
PathDroid

Android is the primary software platform for mobile, networked devices such as tablets and smartphones. These devices are increasingly used for safety-critical functions that require verification of correct and robust behavior of applications. Such software written for the Android operating system is hard to test because applications...

Briefs: Green Design & Manufacturing
Flood Dashboard 2.0

Google Maps and Google Earth allow the development of customized displays, but such displays must be constructed by a software developer. The Flood Dashboard allows non-technical users to utilize a simple Web form to build and present custom displays. It is a Ruby on Rails 4 application that allows users to build custom...

Briefs: Software
Enterprise Business Information System (EBIS) Data Warehouse Quality Inspector

A typical data warehouse may contain thousands of tables. Validating the data quality of all data warehouse content is an unmanageable and unmaintainable task if handled in an ad-hoc fashion. This software seeks to ensure that a data warehouse accurately reflects the...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
3D-Printed Heart-on-a-Chip with Integrated Sensors

The first entirely 3D-printed organ-on-a-chip with integrated sensing has been built by a fully automated digital manufacturing procedure. The 3D-printed heart-on-a-chip can be quickly...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Wireless Tamper Detection Sensor and Sensing System

NASA's Langley Research Center researchers have developed a wireless, connection-free inductor capacitor sensor system that can be placed on or embedded in materials and structures to...

A network geolocation technology (NGT) can be used to determine the physical location of a networked Internet user, as well as accurately determine if an Internet user is in fact in the metropolitan service...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Water-Saving Firefighting Nozzle

Fluorocarbon-based fire extinguishing agents are environmentally harmful since they cause depletion of the Earth's ozone layer. Fine Water Mist (FWM)-type systems have very favorable characteristics as...

Materials that can be produced by 3D printing include not just plastics, but metal, glass, and even food. A new system called a Digital Construction Platform (DCP) was...

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