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
Method Makes Transistors and Electronic Devices from Thread
Method Makes Transistors and Electronic Devices from Thread

A transistor has been made from linen thread, enabling the creation of electronic devices made entirely of thin threads that could be woven into fabric, worn on the skin, or...

Method Makes Transistors and Electronic Devices from Thread
Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Researchers Turn off Backscattering, Aim to Improve Optical Data Transmission
Researchers Turn off Backscattering, Aim to Improve Optical Data Transmission

Engineers at the University of Illinois have found a way to redirect misfit light waves to reduce energy loss during optical data transmission. In a study,...

Researchers Turn off Backscattering, Aim to Improve Optical Data Transmission
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Tiny Lensless Endoscope Captures 3D Images of Objects Smaller Than a Cell
Tiny Lensless Endoscope Captures 3D Images of Objects Smaller Than a Cell

Researchers have developed a new self-calibrating endoscope that produces 3D images of objects smaller than a single cell without a lens or any optical, electrical, or...

Tiny Lensless Endoscope Captures 3D Images of Objects Smaller Than a Cell
Briefs : Imaging
Shaping Light with a Smartlens
Shaping Light with a Smartlens

High quality camera performance on mobile devices has proven to be one of the features that most end-users aim for. The importance of optical image quality improvement and the trend to have thinner and thinner...

Shaping Light with a Smartlens
Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Recovering Color Images from Scattered Light
Recovering Color Images from Scattered Light
A new imaging method extracts a color image from a single exposure of light scattered through a mostly opaque material.
Recovering Color Images from Scattered Light
Briefs : Materials
Optical Neural Network Could Lead to Intelligent Cameras
Optical Neural Network Could Lead to Intelligent Cameras

UCLA engineers have made major improvements on their design of an optical neural network — a device inspired by how the human brain works — that can identify objects or process...

Optical Neural Network Could Lead to Intelligent Cameras
Briefs : AR/AI
Mathematical Technique Quickly Tunes Next-Generation Lenses
Mathematical Technique Quickly Tunes Next-Generation Lenses

Most of us know optical lenses as curved, transparent pieces of plastic or glass, designed to focus light for microscopes, spectacles, cameras, and more. For the most part, a...

Mathematical Technique Quickly Tunes Next-Generation Lenses
Briefs : Aerospace
Fluid-Filled Frequency-Tunable Mass Damper

Innovators at Marshall Space Flight Center developed the fluid-filled Frequency-Tunable Mass Damper (FTMD) technology that allows for significant distribution of loads while also providing a simple mechanism that allows for the capability to change its frequency of mitigation with negligible impact on...

Briefs : Aerospace
Schlieren System Captures Brilliant Shockwave Images
Schlieren System Captures Brilliant Shockwave Images

Supersonic flight over land is generally prohibited because sonic booms created by shockwaves disturb people on the ground and can damage property. Armstrong innovators are working to...

Schlieren System Captures Brilliant Shockwave Images
Briefs : Energy
Thin Nylon Films for Transparent Electronic Devices
Thin Nylon Films for Transparent Electronic Devices

Very thin nylon films were created that can be used in electronic memory components. The films are several hundreds of times thinner than a human hair and could be used in bendable...

Thin Nylon Films for Transparent Electronic Devices
Briefs : Software
UNIX Tools for Typesetting and Shell Programming

Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has developed software tools that extend the capabilities of the Groff typesetting system for UNIX. Groff, or GNU Troff, descends from the Troff formatter originally developed at AT&T Bell Labs. It operates on text files containing a mixture of unformatted text...

Briefs : Aerospace
Software Accelerates Engine Development for Hypersonic Flight
Software Accelerates Engine Development for Hypersonic Flight

A numerical modeling tool allows for a better understanding of rotating detonation engines (RDEs).

Software Accelerates Engine Development for Hypersonic Flight
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Lateral Kevlar Suspension Device (LKSD)

The Lateral Kevlar Suspension Device (LKSD) is made up of a support ring that has three spring-loaded tension assemblies equally spaced around the support ring. Connected to these tension assemblies is a band that supports a separate ring capable of holding a cylindrical shaped load.

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Chip Converts Wasted Heat to Usable Energy

Car engines, laptop computers, cellphones, and refrigerators all heat up with overuse. That heat can be captured and turned into energy using a method that produces electricity from heat. The technology uses a silicon chip, also known as a “device,” that converts more thermal radiation into...

Briefs : Data Acquisition
3D Printing of Magnetic Liquid Droplets
3D Printing of Magnetic Liquid Droplets

Systems such as magnetic data storage devices and MRI body scan machines rely on magnets made from solid materials. Now, using a modified 3D printer, scientists have made magnetic devices from...

3D Printing of Magnetic Liquid Droplets
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Tiny “Walking” Motor Moves in Discrete Mechanical Steps
Tiny “Walking” Motor Moves in Discrete Mechanical Steps

A set of five tiny fundamental parts can be assembled into a wide variety of functional devices including a tiny “walking” motor that can move back and forth across a surface or...

Tiny “Walking” Motor Moves in Discrete Mechanical Steps
Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
High-Speed 3D Printer for High-Performance Plastics
High-Speed 3D Printer for High-Performance Plastics

3D printers that build small parts layer by layer from melted plastic can take up to an hour to produce a pocket-sized piece. This process is far too slow for the mass-production of...

High-Speed 3D Printer for High-Performance Plastics
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Lightweight Exosuit Combines Robotics and Functional Apparel
Lightweight Exosuit Combines Robotics and Functional Apparel

Between walking and running, human gaits can cover a wide range of speeds; for example, at low speeds, the metabolic rate of walking is lower than that of running in a slow jog....

Lightweight Exosuit Combines Robotics and Functional Apparel
Briefs : Test & Measurement
System for Incorporating a Physiological Self-Regulation Challenge into Parcourse/Orienteering Type Games and Simulations

Although biofeedback is an effective treatment for various physiological problems and can be used to optimize physiological functioning in many ways, the benefits can only be attained through a number of training sessions,...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Software Applications for the Control and Management of the Amine Swingbed Experiment

The Swingbed software applications provide for the control, command, fault detection, fault recovery, and telemetry monitoring aspects of the Amine Swingbed experiment. These software components are the Swingbed Loader Computer Software Configuration Item...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Atomically Thin Heat Shield Protects Electronic Devices
Atomically Thin Heat Shield Protects Electronic Devices

Excess heat given off by smartphones, laptops, and other electronic devices contributes to malfunctions and, in extreme cases, can even cause lithium batteries to explode. To guard...

Atomically Thin Heat Shield Protects Electronic Devices
Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Immersion Precipitation 3D Printing for Porous Structures
Immersion Precipitation 3D Printing for Porous Structures

Materials with controlled porosity have found diverse applications in separation, catalysis, energy storage, sensors and actuators, tissue engineering, and drug delivery. Multiple...

Immersion Precipitation 3D Printing for Porous Structures
Briefs : Energy
Wireless Transceiver Quadruples Speed of 5G
Wireless Transceiver Quadruples Speed of 5G

A new wireless transceiver was developed that boosts radio frequencies into 100-gigahertz territory, which is quadruple the speed of the upcoming 5G, or fifth-generation, wireless communications...

Wireless Transceiver Quadruples Speed of 5G
Briefs : Materials
Invisible Tags Write, Read, and Erase Using Light
Invisible Tags Write, Read, and Erase Using Light

A method was developed that enables information to be contained in simple plastic foils with a thickness of less than 50 μm, which is thinner than a human hair. Organic luminescent molecules...

Invisible Tags Write, Read, and Erase Using Light
Briefs : Materials
Dynamic Microstructures Move by Light and Temperature
Dynamic Microstructures Move by Light and Temperature

3D printing via direct laser writing involves a computer-controlled focused laser beam that acts as a pen and creates the desired structure in the printer ink — a photoresist. In this...

Dynamic Microstructures Move by Light and Temperature
Briefs : Energy
Lightweight Sensing and Control System for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Monitoring

A new sensing and control system for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) allows for semi-autonomous flight. Pilots need not leave the ground to conduct routine monitoring and surveillance quickly and cost-effectively. Such systems are particularly useful during long flight...

Briefs : Transportation
Manufacturing Process for Aluminum Alloys
Manufacturing Process for Aluminum Alloys

An advanced manufacturing process was developed to produce nano-structured rods and tubes directly from high-performance aluminum alloy powder in a single step. Using a Solid Phase Processing...

Manufacturing Process for Aluminum Alloys
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Rose-Inspired Device Collects and Purifies Water
Rose-Inspired Device Collects and Purifies Water

A new device, inspired by a rose, inexpensively collects and purifies water. The device is a new approach to solar steaming for water production — a technique that uses energy from sunlight...

Rose-Inspired Device Collects and Purifies Water
Briefs : Aerospace
New Airplane Wing Assembled from Tiny Identical Pieces
New Airplane Wing Assembled from Tiny Identical Pieces

A radically new kind of airplane wing, assembled from hundreds of tiny identical pieces, can change shape to control the plane’s flight, and could provide a significant boost in...

New Airplane Wing Assembled from Tiny Identical Pieces
Briefs : Software
Technique Locates Robots and Humans in GPS-Challenged Environments

An algorithm enables localization of humans and robots in areas where GPS is unavailable. The Army needs to be able to localize agents operating in physically complex, unknown, and infrastructure-poor environments. This capability is critical to help find dismounted soldiers and...