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 : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
High-Sensitivity, Low-Noise MEMS Accelerometer
High-Sensitivity, Low-Noise MEMS Accelerometer

A high-sensitivity and low-noise MEMS accelerometer was developed using multi-layer metal structures composed of multiple metal layers. The accelerometer achieves 1 μG level resolution that has...

High-Sensitivity, Low-Noise MEMS Accelerometer
Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Miniature Stretchable Pump
Miniature Stretchable Pump

Soft robots have a distinct advantage over rigid robots: they can adapt to complex environments, handle fragile objects, and interact safely with humans. Made from silicone, rubber, or other stretchable polymers,...

Miniature Stretchable Pump
Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Automated System Generates Robotic Parts
Automated System Generates Robotic Parts

An automated system designs and 3D-prints complex robotic parts that are optimized according to an enormous number of specifications. The system fabricates actuators — devices that mechanically...

Automated System Generates Robotic Parts
Briefs : Materials
Magnetic Metamaterial Amplifies MRI
Magnetic Metamaterial Amplifies MRI

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses magnetic fields and radio waves to create images of organs and tissues in the human body, helping doctors diagnose potential problems or diseases. Doctors use MRI to...

Magnetic Metamaterial Amplifies MRI
Briefs : Test & Measurement
Simultaneous Imaging and Friction Measurement with an In-Situ Tribometer
Simultaneous Imaging and Friction Measurement with an In-Situ Tribometer

Different instruments are needed to study the interaction of contact surfaces at different length scales. Tribometers measure the coefficient of friction but they...

Simultaneous Imaging and Friction Measurement with an In-Situ Tribometer
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Measuring Stickiness of Microscale Surfaces
Measuring Stickiness of Microscale Surfaces

At the scale of bridges or buildings, the most important force that engineered structures need to deal with is gravity. But at the scale of microelectro-mechanical systems (MEMS) — devices like...

Measuring Stickiness of Microscale Surfaces
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Low-Cost Thermoelectric Material Works at Room Temperature

The widespread adoption of thermoelectric devices that can directly convert electricity into thermal energy for cooling and heating has been hindered, in part, by the lack of materials that are both inexpensive and highly efficient at room temperature. A new material was developed that...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Low-Cost, Human-Friendly Robot Designed with Artificial Intelligence
Low-Cost, Human-Friendly Robot Designed with Artificial Intelligence

Robotics has traditionally focused on industrial applications in which robots require strength and precision to carry out repetitive tasks. These robots flourish in highly...

Low-Cost, Human-Friendly Robot Designed with Artificial Intelligence
Briefs : Transportation
Origami-Inspired Material Softens Impact Forces
Origami-Inspired Material Softens Impact Forces

Landing is stressful on a rocket’s legs because they must handle the force from the impact with the landing pad. One way to combat this is to build legs out of materials that absorb some of...

Origami-Inspired Material Softens Impact Forces
Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Organic Carbon-Nitride Semiconductor
Organic Carbon-Nitride Semiconductor

Some organic materials cannot be utilized similarly to silicon semiconductors in optoelectronics. Whether in solar cells, light-emitting diodes, or in transistors, what is important is the bandgap, i.e....

Organic Carbon-Nitride Semiconductor
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Ultra-Clean Fabrication Platform for 2D Transistors
Ultra-Clean Fabrication Platform for 2D Transistors

Recently discovered two-dimensional (2D) materials with superlative properties have the potential to advance semiconductors but creating 2D devices with both good electrical contacts and...

Ultra-Clean Fabrication Platform for 2D Transistors
Briefs : RF & Microwave Electronics
Multi- and Wide-Band Single-Feed Patch Antenna

A novel patch antenna technology was developed that provides significant benefits to NASA satellite communication applications, offering a unique wide-band/multi-band operating capability. For other non-space applications, the antenna design also offers broadband capability with high gain for...

Briefs : Materials
Surface Treatment Could Improve Refrigeration Efficiency
Surface Treatment Could Improve Refrigeration Efficiency

Unlike water, liquid refrigerants and other fluids that have a low surface tension spread quickly into a sheet when they come into contact with a surface. For many industrial...

Surface Treatment Could Improve Refrigeration Efficiency
Briefs : Materials
Fiber-Based Artificial Muscles
Fiber-Based Artificial Muscles

While different approaches have been used to create artificial muscles — including hydraulic systems, servomotors, shape-memory metals, and polymers that respond to stimuli — they all have limitations such...

Fiber-Based Artificial Muscles
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Virtual MIL-STD-1553B Remote Terminals

For complex boards with multiple FPGAs, each FPGA can implement its own remote terminal (RT) core and present itself logically to the bus as a remote terminal while sharing the RT’s hardware. This simplifies the design since commands and telemetry do not have to be distributed and collected by user logic;...

Briefs : Imaging
Antenna Near-Field Probe Station Scanner

Antenna characterization techniques are often expensive and time-consuming. NASA’s Glenn Research Center developed a highly versatile and automated system to perform characterization of single or multiple small circuit antennas, printed on-wafer or on other substrates, by measuring the antenna’s...

Briefs : RF & Microwave Electronics
Self-Configurable Radio Receiver System and Method

A self-configurable radio receiver system was developed for relaying communication signals from multiple deep space assets. Most conventional radio receivers are hardwired to receive a specific type of signal and are incapable of receiving other types of signals without preconfiguration...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Soft, Wearable Health Monitor with Stretchable Electronics
Soft, Wearable Health Monitor with Stretchable Electronics

A soft and conformable health monitor can broadcast electrocardiogram (ECG), heart rate, respiratory rate, and motion activity data as much as 15 meters to a portable recording...

Soft, Wearable Health Monitor with Stretchable Electronics
Briefs : Motion Control
Software Enables Robots to Self-Right After Overturning
Software Enables Robots to Self-Right After Overturning

The Advanced Explosive Ordnance Disposal Robotic System (AEODRS) features a modular open systems architecture that enables the robot to be self-righting after a fall. The self-righting...

Software Enables Robots to Self-Right After Overturning
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Soft, Multi-Functional Robots
Soft, Multi-Functional Robots

In the future, soft, animal-inspired robots may be safely deployed in difficult-to-access environments in which rigid robots cannot currently be used such as inside the human body or in spaces that are too...

Soft, Multi-Functional Robots
Briefs : Test & Measurement
Precise Temperature Measurements with Invisible Light
Precise Temperature Measurements with Invisible Light

A portable, stable, standards-quality radiation thermometer was invented that can measure temperatures between -50 °C (-58 °F) to 150 °C (302 °F). The corresponding infrared...

Precise Temperature Measurements with Invisible Light
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Miniature Spring Performance Tester
Miniature Spring Performance Tester

In order to qualify miniature springs, manufacturers of these systems rely on commercially available testers that are designed for large-scale springs (>0.5" diameter). Commercially available spring...

Miniature Spring Performance Tester
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Portable Electrochemical Sensing System
Portable Electrochemical Sensing System

An electrochemical sensing system that significantly improves the ability to rapidly and accurately detect heavy metals in biological and environmental samples was developed. Using a simple blood...

Portable Electrochemical Sensing System
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Terahertz Data Links Without Direct Line of Sight
Terahertz Data Links Without Direct Line of Sight

Today’s cellular networks and Wi-Fi systems rely on microwave radiation to carry data but the demand for more bandwidth is quickly becoming more than microwaves can handle. That has...

Terahertz Data Links Without Direct Line of Sight
Briefs : Test & Measurement
Mobile, Dual-Comb Device for Methane Leak Detection
Mobile, Dual-Comb Device for Methane Leak Detection

Accurately detecting, locating, and quantifying leaks of methane — the main component of natural gas and a major fuel source worldwide — is critically important for both environmental...

Mobile, Dual-Comb Device for Methane Leak Detection
Briefs : Imaging
3D-Printed Polymer-Based Foam Structure Responds to Shock Waves
3D-Printed Polymer-Based Foam Structure Responds to Shock Waves

A 3D-printed polymer-based foam structure was developed that responds to the force of a shock wave to act as a oneway switch, a long sought-after goal in shock research. The...

3D-Printed Polymer-Based Foam Structure Responds to Shock Waves
Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Graphene Field Effect Transistors for Radiation Detection (GFET-RS)

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center developed novel transistor technology based on a single graphene layer coupled to a radiation absorber substrate. Unlike conventional charge-sensing detectors, the GFET-RS utilizes the sensitive dependence of graphene conductance on local change...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Device Simplifies Measurement of Fluoride Contamination in Water
Device Simplifies Measurement of Fluoride Contamination in Water

Adding fluoride to water has been common practice in a number of countries including the U.S. In low concentrations (below 1.5 mg/L), fluoride can help prevent tooth decay and...

Device Simplifies Measurement of Fluoride Contamination in Water
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Material for Faster Computer Memory

Scientists are studying bismuth ferrite (BFO) material that has the potential to store information much more efficiently than is currently possible. BFO could also be used in sensors, transducers, and other electronics.

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Microrobots Activated by Laser Pulses for Treating Tumors
Microrobots Activated by Laser Pulses for Treating Tumors

Microrobots that can deliver drugs to specific spots inside the body while being monitored and controlled from outside the body have been developed that also can treat tumors in the...

Microrobots Activated by Laser Pulses for Treating Tumors