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 : Electronics & Computers
Spacesuit Data Display and Management System

A prototype embedded avionics system has been designed for the next generation of NASA extra-vehicular-activity (EVA) spacesuits. The system performs biomedical and other sensor monitoring, image capture, data display, and data transmission. An existing NASA Phase I and II award winning design for an...

 Briefs : Electronics & Computers
IEEE 1394 Hub With Fault Containment

This innovation is designed to prevent a single end system communication node from negatively influencing the whole system’s behavior so that the network system can still operate if an end node is faulty. Placing a hub (star) in the middle of the system prevents propagation of critical control information...

 Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Ku Telemetry Modulator for Suborbital

A modulator utilizing the Ku-band instead of the usual S-band has been developed to improve transmission rates for suborbital platforms. The unit operates in the 14.5–15.5-GHz band and supports data rates up to 200 Mbps.

 Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Radiometer on a Chip

Submillimeter-wave radiometers have traditionally been built by packaging each chip with a distinct function separately, and then combining the packaged chips to form subsystems. Instead of packaging one chip at a time, the radiometer on a chip (ROC) integrates whole wafers together to provide a robust, extremely powerful...

 Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Measuring Luminescence Lifetime With Help of a DSP

An instrument for measuring the lifetime of luminescence (fluorescence or phosphorescence) includes a digital signal processor (DSP) as the primary means of control, generation of excitation signals, and analysis of response signals. In contrast, prior luminescencelifetime- measuring instruments...

 Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Bonded Invar Clip Removal Using Foil Heaters

A new process uses local heating and temperature monitoring to soften the adhesive under Invar clips enough that they can be removed without damaging the composite underneath or other nearby bonds. Two 1×1 in. (≈2.5×2.5 cm), 10-W/in.2 (≈1.6-W/cm2), 80-ohm resistive foil Kapton foil...

 Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Gratings Fabricated on Flat Surfaces and Reproduced on Non-Flat Substrates

A method has been developed for fabricating gratings on flat substrates, and then reproducing the groove pattern on a curved (concave or convex) substrate and a corresponding grating device. First, surface relief diffraction grating grooves are formed on flat substrates....

 Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Fabricating Radial Groove Gratings Using Projection Photolithography

Projection photolithography has been used as a fabrication method for radial grove gratings. Use of photolithographic method for diffraction grating fabrication represents the most significant breakthrough in grating technology in the last 60 years, since the introduction of...

 Briefs : Physical Sciences
Method for Measuring the Volume-Scattering Function of Water

The volume scattering function (VSF) of seawater affects visibility, remote sensing properties, in-water light propagation, lidar performance, and the like. Currently, it’s possible to measure only small forward angles of VSF, or to use cumbersome, large, and non-auton - omous...

 Briefs : Physical Sciences
Method of Heating a Foam-Based Catalyst Bed

A method of heating a foam-based catalyst bed has been developed using silicon carbide as the catalyst support due to its readily accessible, high surface area that is oxidation-resistant and is electrically conductive. The foam support may be resistively heated by passing an electric current through...

 Briefs : Physical Sciences
Small Deflection Energy Analyzer for Energy and Angular Distributions

The development of the Small Deflection Energy Analyzer (SDEA) charged-particle spectrometer for energy and angle distributions responds to a longstanding need to measure the wind velocity vector in Earth’s thermosphere, and to obtain the ion-drift vector in the ionosphere....

 Briefs : Physical Sciences
Polymeric Bladder for Storing Liquid Oxygen

A proposed system for storing oxygen in liquid form and dispensing it in gaseous form is based on (1) initial subcooling of the liquid oxygen; (2) containing the liquid oxygen in a flexible vessel; (3) applying a gas spring to the flexible vessel to keep the oxygen compressed above the saturation...

 Briefs : Physical Sciences
Pyrotechnic Simulator/Stray-Voltage Detector

The concept for a dual test item has been developed for use in simulating live initiators/detonators during ground testing to verify the proper operation of the safing and firing circuitry for ground and flight systems ordnance as well as continuous monitoring for any stray voltages. Previous ordnance...

 Briefs : Physical Sciences
Inventions Utilizing Microfluidics and Colloidal Particles

Several related inventions pertain to families of devices that utilize microfluidics and/or colloidal particles to obtain useful physical effects. The families of devices can be summarized as follows:

 Briefs : Physical Sciences
RuO₂ Thermometer for Ultra-Low Temperatures

A small, high-resolution, low-power thermometer has been developed for use in ultra-low temperatures that uses multiple RuO₂ chip resistors. The use of commercially available thick-film RuO₂ chip resistors for measuring cryogenic temperatures is well known due to their low cost, long-term...

 Briefs : Physical Sciences
Ultra-Compact, High-Resolution LADAR System for 3D Imaging

An eye-safe LADAR system weighs under 500 grams and has range resolution of 1 mm at 10 m. This laser uses an adjustable, tiny microelectromechanical system (MEMS) mirror that was made in SiWave to sweep laser frequency. The size of the laser device is small (70×50×13 mm). The LADAR...

 Briefs : Physical Sciences
Dual-Channel Multi-Purpose Telescope

A dual-channel telescope allows for a wide-field telescope design with a good, narrow field channel of fewer surfaces for shorter-wavelength or planet-finding applications. The design starts with a Korsch three-mirror-anastigmat (TMA) telescope that meets the mission criteria for image quality over a wide...

 Briefs : Information Technology
Algorithm for Computing Particle/Surface Interactions

An algorithm has been devised for predicting the behaviors of sparsely spatially distributed particles impinging on a solid surface in a rarefied atmosphere. Under the stated conditions, prior particle-transport models in which (1) dense distributions of particles are treated as continuum...

 Briefs : Information Technology
Safety and Quality Training Simulator

A portable system of electromechanical and electronic hardware and documentation has been developed as an automated means of instructing technicians in matters of safety and quality. The system enables elimination of most of the administrative tasks associated with traditional training. Customized,...

 Briefs : Information Technology
Rover Slip Validation and Prediction Algorithm

A physical-based simulation has been developed for the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission that applies a slope-induced wheel-slippage to the rover location estimator. Using the digital elevation map from the stereo images, the computational method resolves the quasi-dynamic equations of motion...

 Briefs : Information Technology
Supply-Chain Optimization Template

The Supply-Chain Optimization Tem - plate (SCOT) is an instructional guide for identifying, evaluating, and optimizing (including re-engineering) aerospace-oriented supply chains. The SCOT was derived from the Supply Chain Council’s Supply-Chain Operations Reference (SCC SCOR) Model, which is more generic and...

 Briefs : Information Technology
Quickly Approximating the Distance Between Two Objects

A method of quickly approximating the distance between two objects (one smaller, regarded as a point; the other larger and complexly shaped) has been devised for use in computationally simulating motions of the objects for the purpose of planning the motions to prevent collisions. The method...

 Briefs : Physical Sciences
Cryogenic Pupil Alignment Test Architecture for Aberrated Pupil Images

A document describes cryogenic test architecture for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) integrated science instrument module (ISIM). The ISIM element primarily consists of a mechanical metering structure, three science instruments, and a fine guidance sensor. One of the...

 Briefs : Information Technology
Thermal Transport Model for Heat Sink Design

A document discusses the development of a finite element model for describing thermal transport through microcalorimeter arrays in order to assist in heat-sinking design. A fabricated multiabsorber transition edge sensor (PoST) was designed in order to reduce device wiring density by a factor of four.

 Briefs : Information Technology
Adaptive Morphological Feature-Based Object Classifier for a Color Imaging System

Utilizing a Compact Color Microscope Imaging System (CCMIS), a unique algorithm has been developed that combines human intelligence along with machine vision techniques to produce an autonomous microscope tool for biomedical, industrial, and space applications....

 Briefs : Physical Sciences
Objective Lens Optimized for Wavefront Delivery, Pupil Imaging, and Pupil Ghosting

An interferometer objective lens (or diverger) may be used to transform a collimated beam into a diverging or converging beam. A typical objective lens is optimized to deliver a diffraction-limited beam to an optic or optical system under test. Often, imaging...

 Briefs : Physical Sciences
CMOS Camera Array With Onboard Memory

A compact CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) camera system has been developed with high resolution (1.3 Megapixels), a USB (universal serial bus) 2.0 interface, and an onboard memory. A compact design of a 2×4 in. (≈5×10 cm) multilayer PCB (printed circuit board) was designed that contains...

 Briefs : Physical Sciences
Processing Images of Craters for Spacecraft Navigation

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

A crater-detection algorithm has been conceived to enable automation of what, heretofore, have been manual processes for utilizing images of craters on a celestial body as landmarks for navigating a spacecraft flying near or...

 Briefs : Information Technology
Progressive Classification Using Support Vector Machines

Progressive Classification Using Support Vector MachinesAn algorithm for progressive classification of data, analogous to progressive rendering of images, makes it possible to compromise between speed and accuracy. This algorithm uses support vector machines (SVMs) to classify data. An SVM...

 Briefs : Test & Measurement
Cryogenic Chamber for Servo-Hydraulic Materials Testing

A compact cryogenic test chamber can be cooled to approximately 5 to 6 Kelvin for materials testing. The system includes a temperature controller and multiple sensors to measure specimen temperature at different locations. The testing chamber provides a fast and easy method to perform...

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