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
A Systems Engineering Approach to Architecture Development

Architecture development often is conducted prior to system concept design when there is a need to determine the best-value mix of systems that works collectively in specific scenarios and time frames to accomplish a set of mission area objectives. Conducted prior to Pre-Phase A of the...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Reconfigurable Chaos-Based Microchips

Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed nonlinear chaos-based integrated circuits that enable computer chips to perform multiple functions with fewer transistors. These integrated...

Briefs: Energy
Fuel Cell Power Management

An innovation from NASA Glenn Research Center increases the efficiency and versatility of fuel cell stacks for power generation. To meet the requirements of a fuel cell system, engineers have typically added direct-current-to-direct-current (DC-to-DC) converters that reduce the voltage produced at the ends of the fuel...

Sandia National Laboratories researchers designed a cooling system for supercomputer centers that is expected to save four to five million gallons of water annually in New Mexico...

NASA has developed a game-changing deployable aeroshell concept for entry, descent, and landing (EDL) of large science and exploration-class payloads. The...

Briefs: Green Design & Manufacturing
Three-Band Cloud and Precipitation Radar

After many years of use of Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission (TRMM) and CloudSat data, focus groups within the cloud and precipitation science community produced requirements for the next generation of missions. The first draft of Aerosol-Cloud-Ecosystem mission requirements was formalized in 2009,...

Briefs: Aerospace
High Speed Idle Engine Control Mode

Innovators at NASA's Glenn Research Center have developed an engine control mode that improves an engine's responsiveness to throttle commands during emergency landing conditions. The high speed idle (HSI) control mode increases the speed of the engine's fan and core shafts, allowing faster response and...

The Orion Crew-Service Module (CM/SM) umbilical retention and release mechanism supports, protects, and disconnects all of the cross-module commodities...

This technology is a new type of design for the wing flap, aileron, or flaperon located directly behind the engine nozzle on jet aircraft. Using a concave-down curved shape...

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison created computer chips that can be configured to perform complex calculations and store massive amounts of information within the...

Briefs: Energy
Solid-State Lithium Sulfur Battery

Sulfur is a promising cathode for lithium batteries due to its high theoretical specific capacity (1673 mAh/g), low cost, and environmental friendliness. With a high specific energy density of 2500 Wh/kg, which is a five times greater energy density than a conventional Li-ion battery, Li-S batteries hold great...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Printed Circuit Board Design Software Helps Create New Energy Solutions

Founded in 2006, Eagle Harbor Technologies (EHT) delivers high-quality pulsed power solutions to organizations such as the Department of Energy (DoE), NASA, and the United States Navy. From its headquarters in Seattle, WA, EHT offers a full suite of pulsed power products to...

Princeton University researchers have built a device in which a single electron can pass its quantum information to a particle of light. The particle of light, or photon, then acts as a...

Briefs: Aerospace
Method and System for Air Traffic Rerouting for Airspace Constraint Resolution

NASA's National Airspace System Constraint Evaluation and Notification Tool (NASCENT) is a dynamic constraint avoidance system that automatically analyzes routes of aircraft flying, or to be flown, in or near constraint regions, and attempts to find more time- and...

Briefs: Software
Timeline Builder Assistant

Current human spaceflight requirements limit the number of hours a crewmember can be outside of the habitation unit to 8 hours in a 48-hour period, and 24 hours in a seven-day period. This time must be appropriately balanced to complete science, exploration, and maintenance tasks. Off-days can be used for site transit...

The laws of physics have set a 5-nanometer threshold on the size of transistor gates among conventional semiconductors, about one-quarter the size of high-end,...

Briefs: Energy
Standardized Heating Method to Trigger and Prevent Thermal Runaway Propagation in Lithium-Ion Batteries

Lithium-ion (Li-ion) cells are increasingly used in high-voltage and high-capacity modules. The Li-ion chemistry has the highest energy density of all rechargeable battery chemistries, but associated with that energy is the issue of...

Great strides are taken to miniaturize spaceflight instrumentation, particularly analytical systems such as liquid chromatographs, gas chromatographs, and mass...

Fluid-pumped radiators are used to reject heat from structures to space. A fluid travels inside the structure to collect heat, and then travels...

JPL's Microfluidic Electrospray Propulsion (MEP) thruster design is based on a microfabricated electrospray system with a capillary-force-driven feed system that uses...

NASA's Langley Research Center has created a novel process that significantly improves the effectiveness of high-lift devices on aircraft wings by utilizing a hybrid concept...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Rescue Robot Has Remote Control Function

A group of researchers at Osaka University, Kobe University, Tohoku University, The University of Tokyo, and Tokyo Institute of Technology developed construction robots for disaster relief that solve...

Roboticists at the University of California, Berkeley, have designed a small robot that can leap into the air and then spring off a wall, or perform multiple vertical jumps in a row, resulting in...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Interactive Robot Control System and Method of Use

Researchers at NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC), in collaboration with General Motors and Oceaneering, have designed a state-of-the-art, highly dexterous, humanoid robot: Robonaut 2 (R2)....

Actuators are a critical driver of all the mechanisms used in space, and improvements of their operation mechanism...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Chain Drive Dust Conveyer

The Mars 2020 coring drill will generate a significant amount of dust and debris (known as fines) due to the volume of milled material displaced by the corer’s annulus. These cuttings must be removed to...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Robot Powertrain Moves Toward Energy Autonomy

Inspecting the condition of dykes and other sea defense structures is typically a task for a team of robots. They consume a lot of energy to move across the dykes, perform tests, and communicate...

The Yale-CMU-Berkeley (YCB) Object and Model Set provides universal benchmarks for labs specializing in robotic manipulation and prosthetics. About two years ago, Aaron Dollar, an associate professor...

Briefs: Test & Measurement
Reliability Testing of High-Power Devices

Before a new high-power semiconductor device can be used for industrial applications, it must be thoroughly tested to determine if it will survive environmental stresses and continue to meet...

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