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
Magnetostrictive Alternator

This innovation replaces the linear alternator presently used in Stirling engines with a continuous-gradient, impedance-matched, oscillating magnetostrictive transducer that eliminates all moving parts via compression, maintains high efficiency, costs less to manufacture, reduces mass, and eliminates the need for a...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
High-Precision Encoders for GEO Space Applications

High-precision encoders are used by earth observation instruments and in mechanisms for laser communication terminals (LCTs). A micro-radian resolution encoder for the LCT was designed for...

This product is an efficient concrete waterproofing solution. The crystalline, anti-corrosive material features a patented eka-molecular-sieve structure. The cement-based material...

Aqueous Superabsorbent Coating (ASC) technology is a liquid polymer solution that dries to form an absorbent film. It can absorb up to 40 g/g by weight of water, depending on...

Mechanisms are used widely in engineering applications due to their ability to translate force and movement. They are found in kinematic pairs, gears, cams, linkages,...

Briefs: Medical
Detection of Only Viable Bacterial Spores Using a Live/Dead Indicator in Mixed Populations

This method uses a photoaffinity label that recognizes DNA and can be used to distinguish populations of bacterial cells from bacterial spores without the use of heat shocking during conventional culture, and live from dead bacterial spores using...

Briefs: Medical
Intravenous Fluid Generation System

The ability to stabilize and treat patients on exploration missions will depend on access to needed consumables. Intravenous (IV) fluids have been identified as required consumables. A review of the Space Medicine Exploration Medical Condition List (SMEMCL) lists over 400 medical conditions that could present...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Slowing Light Via Beam Coupling in Dye-Doped Chiral Nematics

Apart from the fundamental interest of discovering the physical effects that are behind the light-matter interaction processes that make it possible, slowing and storing light currently attracts a lot of attention because the ability to control the propagation speed of optical pulses,...

Using thousands of nanometer-scale wires, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a sensor device that converts mechanical pressure – from a signature or...

Commercial uses for ultraviolet (UV) light are growing, and now a new kind of LED under development at The Ohio State University could lead to more portable and low-cost...

A sensor has been demonstrated that can measure distance over a total range of about 300 microns to an accuracy of about 0.1 nm (resolution of about 0.01 nm). This represents an...

Due to limited resources available for power and space for payloads, miniaturizing and integrating instrumentation is a high priority for addressing the challenges...

Briefs: Information Technology
Commercial Non-Dispersive Infrared Spectroscopy Sensors for Sub-Ambient Carbon Dioxide Detection

Carbon dioxide produced through respiration can accumulate rapidly within closed spaces. If not managed, a crew’s respiratory rate increases, head aches and hyperventilation occur, vision and hearing are affected, and cognitive abilities decrease....

While a variety of techniques exist to monitor trace gases, methods relying on absorption of laser light are the most commonly used in terrestrial applications....

Briefs: Software
Mission Data System Java Edition Version 7

The Mission Data System framework defines closed-loop control system abstractions from State Analysis including interfaces for state variables, goals, estimators, and controllers that can be adapted to implement a goal-oriented control system. The framework further provides an execution environment that...

Briefs: Software
Adaptive Distributed Environment for Procedure Training (ADEPT)

ADEPT (Adaptive Distributed Environment for Procedure Training) is designed to provide more effective, flexible, and portable training for NASA systems controllers. When creating a training scenario, an exercise author can specify a representative rationale structure using the...

Briefs: Software
LEGEND, a LEO-to-GEO Environment Debris Model

LEGEND (LEO-to-GEO Environment Debris model) is a three-dimensional orbital debris evolutionary model that is capable of simulating the historical and future debris populations in the near- Earth environment. The historical component in LEGEND adopts a deterministic approach to mimic the known...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Millimeter-Wave Localizers for Aircraft-to-Aircraft Approach Navigation

Aerial refueling technology for both manned and unmanned aircraft is critical for operations where extended aircraft flight time is required. Existing refueling assets are typically manned aircraft, which couple to a second aircraft through the use of a refueling boom....

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
SpaceCube Version 1.5

SpaceCube 1.5 is a high-performance and low-power system in a compact form factor. It is a hybrid processing system consisting of CPU (central processing unit), FPGA (field-programmable gate array), and DSP (digital signal processor) processing elements. The primary processing engine is the Virtex-5 FX100T FPGA, which has...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Impedance Discontinuity Reduction Between High-Speed Differential Connectors and PCB Interfaces

High-speed serial communication (i.e., Gigabit Ethernet) requires differential transmission and controlled impedances. Impedance control is essential throughout cabling, connector, and circuit board construction.

Quality knives are typically fabricated from high-strength steel alloys. Depending on the application, there are different requirements for...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
High-Pressure Lightweight Thrusters

Returning samples of Martian soil and rock to Earth is of great interest to scientists. There were numerous studies to evaluate Mars Sample Return (MSR) mission architectures, technology needs, development plans, and requirements. The largest propulsion risk element of the MSR mission is the Mars Ascent...

Recently, additive manufacturing (AM) techniques have been developed that may shift the paradigm of traditional metal production by allowing complex netshaped...

Briefs: Materials
Ambient Dried Aerogels

A method has been developed for creating aerogel using normal pressure and ambient temperatures. All spacecraft, satellites, and landers require the use of thermal insulation due to the extreme environments encountered in space and on extraterrestrial bodies. Ambient dried aerogels introduce the possibility of using...

Briefs: Materials
Passivation of Flexible YBCO Superconducting Current Lead With Amorphous SiO2 Layer

Adiabatic demagnetization refrigerators (ADR) are operated in space to cool detectors of cosmic radiation to a few 10s of mK. A key element of the ADR is a superconducting magnet operating at about 0.3 K that is continually energized and de-energized in...

This invention is a new approach to designing foil bearings to increase their load capacity and improve their reliability through passive thermal management....

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Propellant-Flow-Actuated Rocket Engine Igniter

A rocket engine igniter has been created that uses a pneumatically driven hammer that, by specialized geometry, is induced into an oscillatory state that can be used to either repeatedly impact a piezoelectric crystal with sufficient force to generate a spark capable of initiating combustion, or can...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Unibody Composite Pressurized Structure

An integrated, generic unibody composite pressurized structure (UCPS) combined with a positive expulsion device (PED), consisting of an elastomeric bladder for monopropellant hydrazine, has been quasi-standardized for spacecraft use. The combination functions as an all-composite, nonmetallic, propellant...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Lightweight Liquid Helium Dewar for High-Altitude Balloon Payloads

Astrophysical observations at millimeter wavelengths require large (2-to-5- meter diameter) telescopes carried to altitudes above 35 km by scientific research balloons. The scientific performance is greatly enhanced if the telescope is cooled to temperatures below 10 K with no...

Question of the Week
Would You Use a ‘SwingBot?’

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Webinars: Robotics, Automation & Control

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Upcoming Webinars: RF & Microwave Electronics

Advancement of Spectrum Analysis Techniques for Tracking,...

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