Tech Briefs

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 : Software
Flightspeed Integral Image Analysis Toolkit

The Flightspeed Integral Image Analysis Toolkit (FIIAT) is a C library that provides image analysis functions in a single, portable package. It provides basic low-level filtering, texture analysis, and subwindow descriptor for applications dealing with image interpretation and object recognition....

Briefs : Materials
Detecting Airborne Mercury by Use of Polymer/Carbon Films

Films made of certain polymer/carbon composites have been found to be potentially useful as sensing films for detecting airborne elemental mercury at concentrations on the order of tens of parts per billion or more. That is to say, when the polymer/carbon composite films are exposed to...

Briefs : Software
Work Coordination Engine

The Work Coordination Engine (WCE) is a Java application integrated into the Service Management Database(SMDB), which coordinates the dispatching and monitoring of a work order system. WCE de-queues work orders from SMDB and orchestrates the dispatching of work to a registered set of software worker applications...

Briefs : Software
Multi-Mission Automated Task Invocation Subsystem

Multi-Mission Automated Task Invocation Subsystem (MATIS) is software that establishes a distributed dataprocessing framework for automated generation of instrument data products from a spacecraft mission. Each mission may set up a set of MATIS servers for processing its data products. MATIS...

Briefs : Software
Autonomously Calibrating a Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer

A computer program autonomously manages the calibration of a quadrupole ion mass spectrometer intended for use in monitoring concentrations and changes in concentrations of organic chemicals in the cabin air of the International Space Station. The instrument parameters calibrated include...

Briefs : Software
Determining Spacecraft Reaction Wheel Friction Parameters

Software was developed to characterize the drag in each of the Cassini spacecraft’s Reaction Wheel Assemblies (RWAs) to determine the RWA friction parameters. This tool measures the drag torque of RWAs for not only the high spin rates (>250 RPM), but also the low spin rates...

Briefs : Materials
Composite Silica Aerogels Opacified With Titania

A further improvement has been made to reduce the high-temperature thermal conductivities of the aerogel-matrix composite materials described in “Improved Silica Aerogel Composite Materials” (NPO-44287), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 32, No. 9 (September 2008), page 50. Because the contribution of...

Briefs : Materials
Multiplexed Colorimetric Solid-Phase Extraction

Multiplexed colorimetric solid-phase extraction (MC-SPE) is an extension of colorimetric solid-phase extraction (CSPE) — an analytical platform that combines colorimetric reagents, solid phase extraction, and diffuse reflectance spectroscopy to quantify trace analytes in water. In C-SPE, analytes...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Rollerjaw Rock Crusher

The rollerjaw rock crusher melds the concepts of jaw crushing and roll crushing long employed in the mining and rock-crushing industries. Rollerjaw rock crushers have been proposed for inclusion in geological exploration missions on Mars, where they would be used to pulverize rock samples into powders in the tens of...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Pressure-Energized Seal Rings To Better Withstand Flows

Pressure-energized seal rings intended to withstand flows better than do conventional pressure-energized seal rings have been conceived. The concept applies, more specifically, to seal rings used on some valve stems, pistons, and the like. A conventional pressure-energized seal ring...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
NiF₂/NaF:CaF₂/Ca Solid-State High-Temperature Battery Cells

Experiments and theoretical study have demonstrated the promise of all-solid-state, high-temperature electrochemical battery cells based on NiF2 as the active cathode material, CaF2 doped with NaF as the electrolyte material, and Ca as the active anode...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Alternative Determination of Density of the Titan Atmosphere

An alternative has been developed to direct measurement for determining the density of the atmosphere of the Saturn moon Titan as a function of altitude. The basic idea is to deduce the density versus altitude from telemetric data indicative of the effects of aerodynamic torques on the...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Microwave Temperature Profiler Mounted in a Standard Airborne Research Canister

Many atmospheric research aircraft use a standard canister design to mount instruments, as this significantly facilitates their electrical and mechanical integration and thereby reduces cost. Based on more than 30 years of airborne science experience with the...

Briefs : Information Technology
Automated CFD for Generation of Airfoil Performance Tables

A method of automated computational fluid dynamics (CFD) has been invented for the generation of performance tables for an object subject to fluid flow. The method is applicable to the generation of tables that summarize the effects of two-dimensional flows about airfoils and that are in...

Briefs : Information Technology
A Data Matrix Method for Improving the Quantification of Element Percentages of SEM/EDX Analysis

A simple 2D M×N matrix involving sample preparation enables the microanalyst to peer below the noise floor of element percentages reported by the SEM/EDX (scanning electron microscopy/energy dispersive x-ray) analysis, thus yielding more meaningful...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Deployable Shroud for the International X-Ray Observatory

A document describes the design of a lightweight (between 100 to 200 kg), light-tight shroud of about 3.9 meters in diameter that could be stowed into a very small volume, and be deployed to 12 meters. The shroud will consist of two concentric multi-layer blankets (MLIs) that are...

Briefs : Information Technology
Improved Model of a Mercury Ring Damper

A short document discusses the general problem of mathematical modeling of the three-dimensional rotational dynamics of rigid bodies and of the use of Euler parameters to eliminate the singularities occasioned by the use of Euler angles in such modeling. The document goes on to characterize a Hamiltonian...

Briefs : Medical
Optoelectronic pH Meter: Further Details

A collection of documents provides further detailed information about an optoelectronic instrument that measures the pH of an aqueous cell-culture medium to within ±0.1 unit in the range from 6.5 to 7.5. The instrument at an earlier stage of development was reported in “Optoelectronic Instrument...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
X-38 Advanced Sublimator

A document discusses a heat rejection device for transferring heat from a space vehicle by venting water into space through the use of a novel, two-stage water distribution system. The system consists of two different, porous media that stop water-borne contaminants from clogging the system and causing operational...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Solar Simulator Represents the Mars Surface Solar Environment

A report discusses the development of a Mars surface, laboratory-based solar simulator to create solar cells that can function better on Mars. The Mars Optimized Solar cell Technology (MOST) required defining the surface incident spectrum, developing an appropriate laboratory solar...

Briefs : Medical
Magnetic Plungerless Injection System

The Magnetic Plungerless Injection System (MPIS) was invented to enhance the therapeutic value and market availability of parenterally delivered pharmaceuticals and vaccines. The MPIS is a mechanical arrangement of a proprietary single-dosage cartridge and a magnetic actuator, and is a combination of the...

Briefs : Medical
Exact Dose Dispensing Closure for Semi-Solids

A novel closure technology now makes it possible to consistently squeeze an exact dose of semi-solids from a tube by means of a 180-degree rotating closure. It has potential uses in pharmaceutical transdermal and oral applications, as well as glue dispensing, semi-solid food dispensing, and paint...

Briefs : Medical
Graphite Non-Wovens as Functional Layers in Diagnostic Test Kits

The separation of serum or plasma from whole blood is of overriding importance in clinical chemistry. In particular, many diagnostic detection reactions of blood components proceed without impairment only after the red blood corpuscles have been separated off. This particularly...

Briefs : Medical
Modular Electronic Air Sterilization Technology

Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) technologies are being used as infection control devices, primarily in healthcare facilities. No standard exists, but the dose of UV and the airflow are critical to ensuring all contaminated air is treated. The UVGI process is mainly influenced by the...

Briefs : Medical
Quantifying Therapeutic and Diagnostic Efficacy in 2D Microvascular Images

VESGEN is a newly automated, userinteractive program that maps and quantifies the effects of vascular therapeutics and regulators on microvascular form and function. VESGEN analyzes two-dimensional, black and white vascular images by measuring important vessel morphology...

Briefs : Medical
Microwave Sterilization and Depyrogenation System

A fully functional, microgravity-compatible microwave sterilization and depyrogenation system (MSDS) prototype was developed that is capable of producing medical-grade water (MGW) without expendable supplies, using NASA potable water that currently is available aboard the International Space...

Briefs : Medical
Reliability and Validity of a Prototype Fluid Intake Monitor

Maintaining adequate hydration is an important part of maintaining health, especially under extreme operational and environmental conditions where medical assistance might not be readily available. One approach to measuring the amount of fluid consumed is through the use of Fluid...

Briefs : Software
A Finite-Element Model for Evaluation of Middle Ear Mechanics

In conductive hearing loss cases, 59% involve defects of the incus. For efficient restoration of hearing, the defective incus is normally removed and the mechanical link between the eardrum and inner ear is reconstructed. In cases of incus defects, the reconstruction is normally of...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Solar Rejection Filter for Large Telescopes

To reject solar radiation photons at the front aperture for large telescopes, a mosaic of large transmission mode filters is placed in front of the telescope or at the aperture of the dome. Filtering options for effective rejection of sunlight include a smaller filter down-path near the focus of the...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Free-Space Optical Interconnect Employing VCSEL Diodes

Sensor signal processing is widely used on aircraft and spacecraft. The scheme employs multiple input/output nodes for data acquisition and CPU (central processing unit) nodes for data processing. To connect 110 nodes and CPU nodes, scalable interconnections such as backplanes are desired...

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