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: Energy
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...

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...

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...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
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...

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....

Briefs: Software
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: Sensors/Data Acquisition
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...

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...

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

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
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...

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...

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...

News: Sensors/Data Acquisition
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: Manufacturing & Prototyping
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...

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...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
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...

Briefs: Defense
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...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
3D-Printed Liquid Lab-on-a-Chip

Researchers have 3D-printed an all-liquid device that, with the click of a button, can be repeatedly reconfigured on demand to serve a wide range of applications from making battery materials to screening drug...

For decades, microchip transistors have become smaller, faster, and cheaper; however, miniaturization has reached a natural limit, as completely new problems arise when a length scale of only a...

NASA’s Langley Research Center developed an inexpensive, long-endurance, vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). It is capable of flying for 24 hours, landing in a 50 × 50...

In the wake of recent developments that have reduced fan and jet noise contributions to overall jet-engine noise, aircraft designers are turning their attention toward reducing engine core...

Briefs: Aerospace
Neural Lander Uses AI to Land Drones Smoothly

Landing multi-rotor drones smoothly is difficult. Complex turbulence is created by the airflow from each rotor bouncing off the ground during a descent. This turbulence is not well understood nor is it easy to compensate for, particularly for autonomous drones. That is why takeoff and landing are...

Researchers at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center are pioneering shape-sensing technologies that seek to maximize structural integrity and efficiency. A new and...

Briefs: Motion Control
Smartphone App Programs Robots

A smartphone app was developed that allows a user to easily program any robot to perform a mundane activity such as picking up parts from one area and delivering them to another. The app, called VRa, uses...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
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...

Briefs: Internet of Things
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,...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
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...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
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...

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

Webcasts

On-Demand Webinars: Automotive

Vehicle Electrification

Upcoming Webinars: Sensors/Data Acquisition

The Evolution of SOSA

Upcoming Webinars: Software

Next-Gen Vehicle Architectures and the Role of HPCs

Tech Talks: Medical

Testing Home Healthcare Medical Devices

Upcoming Webinars: Software

Accelerating Pre-Silicon Software Development with Next-Gen...

Upcoming Webinars: Software

Balancing Vehicle Comfort and Performance with Simulation-Driven...

Videos