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
Low-Cost Thermoelectric Material Works at Room Temperature

The widespread adoption of thermoelectric devices that can directly convert electricity into thermal energy for cooling and heating has been hindered, in part, by the lack of materials that are both inexpensive and highly efficient at room temperature. A new material was developed that...

Robotics has traditionally focused on industrial applications in which robots require strength and precision to carry out repetitive tasks. These robots flourish in highly...

Landing is stressful on a rocket’s legs because they must handle the force from the impact with the landing pad. One way to combat this is to build legs out of materials that absorb some of...

Some organic materials cannot be utilized similarly to silicon semiconductors in optoelectronics. Whether in solar cells, light-emitting diodes, or in transistors, what is important is the bandgap, i.e....

Recently discovered two-dimensional (2D) materials with superlative properties have the potential to advance semiconductors but creating 2D devices with both good electrical contacts and...

Briefs: Aerospace
Multi- and Wide-Band Single-Feed Patch Antenna

A novel patch antenna technology was developed that provides significant benefits to NASA satellite communication applications, offering a unique wide-band/multi-band operating capability. For other non-space applications, the antenna design also offers broadband capability with high gain for...

Unlike water, liquid refrigerants and other fluids that have a low surface tension spread quickly into a sheet when they come into contact with a surface. For many industrial...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Fiber-Based Artificial Muscles

While different approaches have been used to create artificial muscles — including hydraulic systems, servomotors, shape-memory metals, and polymers that respond to stimuli — they all have limitations such...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Virtual MIL-STD-1553B Remote Terminals

For complex boards with multiple FPGAs, each FPGA can implement its own remote terminal (RT) core and present itself logically to the bus as a remote terminal while sharing the RT’s hardware. This simplifies the design since commands and telemetry do not have to be distributed and collected by user logic;...

Briefs: RF & Microwave Electronics
Antenna Near-Field Probe Station Scanner

Antenna characterization techniques are often expensive and time-consuming. NASA’s Glenn Research Center developed a highly versatile and automated system to perform characterization of single or multiple small circuit antennas, printed on-wafer or on other substrates, by measuring the antenna’s...

Briefs: Data Acquisition
Self-Configurable Radio Receiver System and Method

A self-configurable radio receiver system was developed for relaying communication signals from multiple deep space assets. Most conventional radio receivers are hardwired to receive a specific type of signal and are incapable of receiving other types of signals without preconfiguration...

A soft and conformable health monitor can broadcast electrocardiogram (ECG), heart rate, respiratory rate, and motion activity data as much as 15 meters to a portable recording...

The Advanced Explosive Ordnance Disposal Robotic System (AEODRS) features a modular open systems architecture that enables the robot to be self-righting after a fall. The self-righting...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Soft, Multi-Functional Robots

In the future, soft, animal-inspired robots may be safely deployed in difficult-to-access environments in which rigid robots cannot currently be used such as inside the human body or in spaces that are too...

A portable, stable, standards-quality radiation thermometer was invented that can measure temperatures between -50 °C (-58 °F) to 150 °C (302 °F). The corresponding infrared...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Miniature Spring Performance Tester

In order to qualify miniature springs, manufacturers of these systems rely on commercially available testers that are designed for large-scale springs (>0.5" diameter). Commercially available spring...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Portable Electrochemical Sensing System

An electrochemical sensing system that significantly improves the ability to rapidly and accurately detect heavy metals in biological and environmental samples was developed. Using a simple blood...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Terahertz Data Links Without Direct Line of Sight

Today’s cellular networks and Wi-Fi systems rely on microwave radiation to carry data but the demand for more bandwidth is quickly becoming more than microwaves can handle. That has...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Mobile, Dual-Comb Device for Methane Leak Detection

Accurately detecting, locating, and quantifying leaks of methane — the main component of natural gas and a major fuel source worldwide — is critically important for both environmental...

A 3D-printed polymer-based foam structure was developed that responds to the force of a shock wave to act as a oneway switch, a long sought-after goal in shock research. The...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Graphene Field Effect Transistors for Radiation Detection (GFET-RS)

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center developed novel transistor technology based on a single graphene layer coupled to a radiation absorber substrate. Unlike conventional charge-sensing detectors, the GFET-RS utilizes the sensitive dependence of graphene conductance on local change...

Adding fluoride to water has been common practice in a number of countries including the U.S. In low concentrations (below 1.5 mg/L), fluoride can help prevent tooth decay and...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Material for Faster Computer Memory

Scientists are studying bismuth ferrite (BFO) material that has the potential to store information much more efficiently than is currently possible. BFO could also be used in sensors, transducers, and other electronics.

Microrobots that can deliver drugs to specific spots inside the body while being monitored and controlled from outside the body have been developed that also can treat tumors in the...

Since 1998, almost 2,000 shoebox-sized satellites known as CubeSats have been launched into space. Due to their small frame and the fact that they can be made from off-the-shelf...

Briefs: Materials
3D-Printed Soft Mesh Robots

Researchers have created 3D-printed flexible mesh structures that can be controlled with applied magnetic fields while floating on water. The structures can grab small objects and carry water droplets, giving them...

A pocket-sized antenna was developed that could enable mobile communication in situations where conventional radios don’t work such as underwater, through the ground, and over very...

The production of precision products depends on robot control systems knowing the location of the adhesive bonding head or welding head to the nearest millimeter at all times. This means the robot...

Scientists of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and École Poly-technique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) have reported that they achieved the fastest distance measurement attained so...

Webcasts

Upcoming Webinars: Materials

Protecting Power Electronics from EM and RF Interference

Upcoming Webinars: Electronics & Computers

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...

Videos