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: Imaging
Novel Hemispherical Dynamic Camera for EVAs

A novel optical design for imaging systems is able to achieve an ultra-wide field of view (UW-FOV) of up to 208°. The design uses an integrated optical design (IOD). The UW-FOV optics design reduces the wasted pixels by 49% when compared against the baseline fisheye lens. The IOD approach results in a...

An ultrasonic intake airflow meter for engine testbed applications was developed. An automotive intake airflow meter must fulfill a series of requirements differentiating it from typical...

Briefs: Medical
Updated Facts on 2015 HCFC-225 Usage Ban

In 1974, Sherwood Rowland and Mario Molina discovered that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were depleting the ozone layer, and in 1995, they received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for this work. In response, the United Nations Environment Programme called an international conference to discuss the issue....

Today, medical devices are made using a variety of plastic materials and manufacturing processes. Advances in plastic processing make it possible to obtain virtually any shape, form, or function. In...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Autonomous Robotic Manipulation (ARM)

Autonomous robotic manipulators have the potential to increase manufacturing efficiency, provide in-home care, and reduce the risk to humans in hazardous situations. The current challenge in autonomous...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Sliding Gait for ATHLETE Mobility

ATHLETE (All-Terrain Hex-Limbed Extra-Terrestrial Explorer) is a multipurpose mobility platform for planetary surfaces. It is a cross between a wheeled rover and a walking robot, and travels using powered wheels mounted on the end of each of six robotic limbs. Each limb is a fully articulated robotic manipulator...

During the past two decades, large, high-density, high-input/output (I/O) electronic interconnect SMT (surface mount technology) packages such as ceramic...

Spacecraft shielding is defined as the outer layer of a satellite or spacecraft that protects it against micrometeorite and orbital debris (MMOD), radiation damage, and...

Crystals form the basis for the penetrating icy blue glare of car headlights and now they could be fundamental to the future in solar energy...

By inserting platinum atoms into an organic semiconductor, University of Utah physicists were able to “tune” the plastic-like polymer to emit light of different colors – a step...

Moving images could be invaluable when it comes to diagnosing wrist problems say a group of researchers at University of California-Davis. The multi-disciplinary team of radiologists, medical...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Convex Hull-Based Plume and Anomaly Detection

A number of deep space missions have imaged plumes at Io, Enceladus, and other smaller bodies. These phenomena provide valuable information regarding these bodies. To date, this imagery has been captured fortuitously. The ability to utilize onboard processing to conduct campaigns capturing large...

Briefs: Software
Software for Non-Contact Measurement of an Individual’s Heart Rate Using a Common Camera

A software application detects the heart rate of an individual by using a real-time video stream from a common camera connected to their computer. This involves no contact between the user and the camera, or calibration between individual users. NASA’s...

Briefs: Test & Measurement
Rapid Infrared Pixel Grating Response Testbed

A test array has been developed to measure the response of pixel-integrated infrared gratings over a wavelength range from 3 to 13 μm for multiple grating geometries. This array allows for testing and for determining the performance of an infrared focal plane array camera before resources have been...

Briefs: Test & Measurement
JWST Integrated Simulation and Test (JIST) Core

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) Integrated Simulation and Test (JIST) environment is a software-only system simulator that provides an environment to exercise JWST flight software subsystems and interfaces. JIST is capable of executing the unmodified flight software binaries in an operational...

Briefs: Test & Measurement
JWST IV&V Simulation and Test (JIST) Solid State Recorder (SSR) Simulator

As described in “JWST Integrated Simulation and Test (JIST) Core” (GSC-16739-1) on page 25, the JIST system is a software-based simulator that uses the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) operational ground system, ground system command/telemetry databases, simulated...

Briefs: Test & Measurement
Temperature Measurement and Stabilization in a Birefringent Whispering Gallery Resonator

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) res- onators have been suggested for use as reference cavities for laser stabilization. Because of their unique properties (small size, high stability, narrow line width), such application appears to hold great promise. It is...

Briefs: Test & Measurement
Automation in Display Testing

Display devices play a vital role as the man-machine interface in most embedded domains. Display systems provide information regarding the health of safety-critical subsystems and the general status of the machine. Accuracy and precision of the information displayed is a key factor in proper machine operation....

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Development of a Precision Thermal Doubler for Deep Space

Thermal requirements and a need for a very flat mechanical interface led to the development of a copper doubler for the titanium vault on the Juno Spacecraft. The vault is designed to contain the science instruments on the spacecraft, protecting them from damage due to the extreme...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Improving Friction Stir Welds Using Laser Peening

Friction stir welding (FSW) has emerged as a promising solid-state process with encouraging results, particularly when used on high-strength aerospace aluminum alloys that are generally difficult to weld. Laser peening has been applied to the mechanical and fatigue properties of welded joints....

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Methodology of Evaluating Margins of Safety in Critical Brazed Joints

This methodology provides a guide consisting of design, testing, and structural analysis steps developed to assure positive strength margins of safety (MS) in critical brazed joints used for assembly of flight and non-flight structures.

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Current-Controlled Output Driver for Directly Coupled Loads

Driving loads such as electric motors, relay coils, and solenoids requires a relatively large initial pull-in or start-up current from a driver in order to initiate operation of the load. To maintain continuous operation, the hold or running operating current required for a load may be...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Interactive Inventory Monitoring

The invention is a radio frequency identity detector (RFID)-based system that assists a user in location of an item, in response to an electronic query for the status of the item. The item(s) being sought may be a book on a library shelf, an item from a store inventory, a legal or financial document, a medical...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Sensor for Spatial Detection of Single- Event Effects in Semiconductor-Based Electronics

Ionizing radiation has a detrimental effect on digital electronics that need to operate in extraterrestrial environments. As space missions become longer and more complex, there is a need for flight computers that can withstand harsh radiation environments...

Briefs: Materials
Li-Ion Electrolytes Containing Flame-Retardant Additives

In order to improve the safety and performance of lithium- ion cells, especially over a wide operating temperature range, a number of Li-ion electrolytes have been developed that contain flame-retardant additives in conjunction with fluorinated co-solvents to provide a safe,...

Briefs: Materials
Touch Temperature Coating for Electrical Equipment on Spacecraft

A coating has been developed that can be applied to spacecraft equipment to significantly increase the allowable touch temperature limit, while only marginally degrading the heat transfer to the environment.

Briefs: Software
CARVE Log

This software reduces the workload of the mission manager by distributing selected aircraft data to the various investigators onboard the aircraft so they do not have to continuously request the data updates. This system will then send the investigator’s comments and observations that were previously written in notebooks to a server...

Briefs: Software
Affordability Comparison Tool — ACT

ACT is able to provide insight into acquisition, operational, and life-cycle affordability early in program formulation prior to a commitment of architecture, or anytime during the program to change systems or subsystems. ACT analyzes different systems or architecture configurations for affordability that...

Briefs: Software
“Ascent — Commemorating Shuttle” for iPad

A feature-added, interactive version of the video release entitled “Ascent” was developed. The software version contains the full HD (high definition) movie along with extra scenes, still imagery, a movie trailer, and producer notes. The software has been packed as an iOS app, intended for use...

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