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 : Electronics & Computers
Parallel Particle Filter Toolkit

Research on using inexpensive and personal-level parallel computing architectures to speed up the implementations of the class of particle filters has been conducted. This study leverages NVIDIA Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) and multi-core CPUs (central processing units) that are quickly becoming commonly...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Automated Generation of Adaptive Filter Using a Genetic Algorithm and Cyclic Rule Reduction

Modern datasets consisting of retrievals from space-based missions have target results, but often are accompanied by hundreds or thousands of other retrieved parameters or facts regarding a particular retrieval (e.g., pressure, temperature, spectral...

Briefs : Medical
Rehabilitation of Visual and Perceptual Dysfunction after Severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

The aim of this work is to conduct preliminary evaluations of new rehabilitation strategies and new functional assessment methods for homonymous hemianopia (HH) and spatial neglect (SN), two disabling visual and cognitive perception conditions that...

Briefs : Medical
Implantable Spring for Knee Osteoarthritis

Healthy joints and cartilage are exposed to mechanical loads during everyday motion and activity. While normal joint loading can help maintain joint tissues, high loading due to obesity, or abnormal loading due to anatomy or trauma can contribute to microfractures, bone thickening, and cartilage...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Integrity Sensing With Smart Polymers and Rubber Components on Vehicles

This research provides a capacitance-based method for monitoring the integrity of tires and other polymeric products during manufacturing and throughout the useful product life. Tires are complex composite structures composed of layers of formulated cross-linked rubber,...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Blade Tip Clearance Sensors for Engine Health Monitoring

Blade health monitoring continues to gain interest as a means of assessing the health of turbine airfoils in aerospace and ground-based gas turbine engines in fleet operation. Many types of blade sensors are used throughout the design validation process of new engines that would...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Multi-Source Autonomous Response for Targeting and Monitoring of Volcanic Activity

The study of volcanoes is important for both purely scientific and human survival reasons. From a scientific standpoint, volcanic gas and ash emissions contribute significantly to the terrestrial atmosphere. Ash depositions and lava flows can also greatly affect...

Briefs : Software
Software Suite to Support In-Flight Characterization of Remote Sensing Systems

A characterization software suite was developed to facilitate NASA’s in-flight characterization of commercial remote sensing systems. Characterization of aerial and satellite systems requires knowledge of ground characteristics, or ground truth. This information is...

Briefs : Medical
Visual Image Sensor Organ Replacement

This innovation is a system that augments human vision through a technique called “Sensing Super-position” using a Visual Instrument Sensory Organ Replacement (VISOR) device. The VISOR device translates visual and other sensors (i.e., thermal) into sounds to enable very difficult sensing tasks.

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Additive Manufacturing of Ti-6Al-4V Alloy Components for Spacecraft Applications

In the past two decades, there have been significant advancements in the field of additive manufacturing (AM) of titanium alloy (Ti-6Al-4V) and other metallic components for aerospace applications.

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Ultra-Wideband, Dual-Polarized, Beam- Steering P-Band Array Antenna

A dual-polarized, wide-bandwidth (200 MHz for one polarization, 100 MHz for the orthogonal polarization) antenna array at P-band was designed to be driven by NASA’s EcoSAR digital beam former. EcoSAR requires two wide P-band antenna arrays mounted on the wings of an aircraft,...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Centering a DDR Strobe in the Middle of a Data Packet

The Orion CEV Northstar ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) project required a DDR (double data rate) memory bus driver/receiver (DDR PHY block) to interface with external DDR memory. The DDR interface (JESD79C) is based on a source synchronous strobe (DQS\) that is sent along with...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Submerged AUV Charging Station

Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) are becoming increasingly important for military surveillance and mine detection. Most AUVs are battery powered and have limited lifetimes of a few days to a few weeks. This greatly limits the distance that AUVs can travel underwater. Using a series of submerged AUV charging...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Using a Commercial Ethernet PHY Device in a Radiation Environment

This work involved placing a commercial Ethernet PHY on its own power boundary, with limited current supply, and providing detection methods to determine when the device is not operating and when it needs either a reset or power-cycle. The device must be radiation- tested and free...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Habitat Demonstration Unit (HDU) Vertical Cylinder Habitat

NASA’s Constellation Architecture Team defined an outpost scenario optimized for intensive mobility that uses small, highly mobile pressurized rovers supported by portable habitat modules that can be carried between locations of interest on the lunar surface. A compact vertical...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Brushless Motors for In-Tank Fuel Pumps

Most automotive fuel systems use a Fuel Delivery Module (FDM) with components to filter and pump gasoline at a specified pressure and flow rate from the fuel tank to the engine. The FDM uses a reservoir assembly to maintain a fuel supply at the pump inlet and support components such as pressure regulators...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Origami-Inspired Folding of Thick, Rigid Panels

To achieve power of 250 kW or greater, a large compression ratio of stowed-to-deployed area is needed. Origami folding patterns were used to inspire the folding of a solar array to achieve synchronous deployment; however, origami models are generally created for near-zero-thickness material. Panel...

Briefs : Medical
A Novel Protocol for Decoating and Permeabilizing Bacterial Spores for Epifluorescent Microscopy

Based on previously reported procedures for permeabilizing vegetative bacterial cells, and numerous trial-and-error attempts with bacterial endospores, a protocol was developed for effectively permeabilizing bacterial spores, which facilitated the...

Briefs : Medical
Method and Apparatus for Automated Isolation of Nucleic Acids from Small Cell Samples

RNA isolation is a ubiquitous need, driven by current emphasis on micro-arrays and miniaturization. With commercial systems requiring 100,000 to 1,000,000 cells for successful isolation, there is a growing need for a small-footprint, easy-to-use device that can...

Briefs : Medical
Enabling Microliquid Chromatography by Microbead Packing of Microchannels

The microbead packing is the critical element required in the success of onchip microfabrication of critical microfluidic components for in-situ analysis and detection of chiral amino acids. In order for microliquid chromatography to occur, there must be a stationary phase...

Briefs : Medical
On-Command Force and Torque Impeding Devices (OC-FTID) Using ERF

Various machines have been developed to address the need for countermeasures of bone and muscle deterioration when humans operate over extended time in space. Even though these machines are in use, each of them has many limitations that need to be addressed in an effort to prepare...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Deployable Fresnel Rings

Deployable Fresnel rings (DFRs) significantly enhance the realizable gain of an antenna. This innovation is intended to be used in combination with another antenna element, as the DFR itself acts as a focusing or microwave lens element for a primary antenna. This method is completely passive, and is also completely...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Array Design Considerations for the Solar Probe Plus

The NASA Solar Probe Plus (SPP) mission will fly into the Sun’s corona, reaching as close as 9.86 solar radii from the center of the Sun. Power generation for the spacecraft will be provided by two solar array wings, which are being designed and built by JHU-APL and Emcore. SPP will get...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Transition-Edge Hot-Electron Microbolometers for Millimeter and Submillimeter Astrophysics

The millimeter and the submillimeter wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum hold a wealth of information about the evolution of the universe. In particular, cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation and its polarization carry the oldest information...

Briefs : Software
Spacecraft Trajectory Analysis and Mission Planning Simulation (STAMPS) Software

STAMPS simulates either three- or six-degree-of-freedom cases for all spacecraft flight phases using translated HAL flight software or generic GN&C models. Single or multiple trajectories can be simulated for use in optimization and dispersion analysis. It...

Briefs : Software
Cross Support Transfer Service (CSTS) Framework Library

Within the Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS), there is an effort to standardize data transfer between ground stations and control centers. CCSDS plans to publish a collection of transfer services that will each address the transfer of a particular type of data (e.g.,...

Briefs : Software
Mars Science Laboratory Second-Chance Flight Software

Mars lander spacecraft, beginning with Mars Pathfinder (MPF), have been designed to tolerate flight computer resets during the entry, descent, and landing (EDL) phase despite having only a single flight computer. This capability was enabled by a predictable, nondynamic EDL architecture. The...

Briefs : Software
Arbitrary Shape Deformation in CFD Design


is a commercially available software tool, based on an Arbitrary Shape Design (ASD), which allows the user to perform shape optimization for computational fluid dynamics (CFD) design. The developed software tool provides important advances in the state-of-the-art of automatic CFD shape...
Briefs : Software
Range Safety Flight Elevation Limit Calculation Software

This program was developed to fill a need within the Wallops Flight Facility workflow for automation of the development of vertical plan limit lines used by flight safety officers during the conduct of expendable launch vehicle missions.

Briefs : Information Technology
GPU Lossless Hyperspectral Data Compression System

Hyperspectral imaging systems onboard aircraft or spacecraft can acquire large amounts of data, putting a strain on limited downlink and storage resources. Onboard data compression can mitigate this problem but may require a system capable of a high throughput. In order to achieve a high...

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