Tech Briefs

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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
Rapid Active Sampling Package

A field-deployable, battery-powered Rapid Active Sampling Package (RASP), originally designed for sampling strong materials during lunar and planetary missions, shows strong utility for terrestrial geological use. The technology is proving to be simple and effective for sampling and processing materials of strength....

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Miniature Lightweight Ion Pump

This design offers a larger surface area for pumping of active gases and reduces the mass of the pump by eliminating the additional vacuum enclosure. There are three main components to this ion pump: the cathode and anode pumping elements assembly, the vacuum enclosure (made completely of titanium and used as the...

Briefs: Physical Sciences

A method of relatively safe, compact, efficient recharging of a high-pressure room-temperature gas supply has been proposed. In this method, the gas would be liquefied at the source...

Briefs: Physical Sciences

A Raman lidar system for measuring the vertical distribution of water vapor in the atmosphere is located at the Table Mountain Facility (TMF) in California. Raman lidar systems for...

Briefs: Physical Sciences

Global measurement of terrestrial snow cover is critical to two of the NASA Earth Science focus areas: (1) climate variability and change and (2) water and...

Briefs: Information Technology

A method has been developed of computing bounds on the performance of a code comprised of two linear binary codes generated by two encoders serially concatenated through an...

Briefs: Information Technology
Mission Reliability Estimation for Repairable Robot Teams

A mission reliability estimation method has been designed to translate mission requirements into choices of robot modules in order to configure a multi-robot team to have high reliability at minimal cost. In order to build cost- effective robot teams for long-term missions, one must be...

Briefs: Information Technology
Algorithm for Stabilizing a POD-Based Dynamical System

This algorithm provides a new way to improve the accuracy and asymptotic behavior of a low-dimensional system based on the proper orthogonal decomposition (POD). Given a data set representing the evolution of a system of partial differential equations (PDEs), such as the Navier-Stokes...

Briefs: Information Technology
Parameterizing Coefficients of a POD-Based Dynamical System

A method of parameterizing the coefficients of a dynamical system based of a proper orthogonal decomposition (POD) representing the flow dynamics of a viscous fluid has been introduced. (A brief description of POD is presented in the immediately preceding article.) The present...

Briefs: Information Technology
Confidence-Based Feature Acquisition

Confidence-based Feature Acquisition (CFA) is a novel, supervised learning method for acquiring missing feature values when there is missing data at both training (learning) and test (deployment) time. To train a machine learning classifier, data is encoded with a series of input features describing each...

Briefs: Information Technology

A recently developed algorithm for demodulation and decoding of a pulse-position-modulation (PPM) signal is suitable as a basis for designing a single hardware decoding apparatus to be capable of...

Briefs: Information Technology
Metal Vapor Arcing Risk Assessment Tool

The Tin Whisker Metal Vapor Arcing Risk Assessment Tool has been designed to evaluate the risk of metal vapor arcing and to help facilitate a decision toward a researched risk disposition. Users can evaluate a system without having to open up the hardware. This process allows for investigating components...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping

A two-fluid accumulator has been designed, built, and demonstrated to provide an acceptably close approximation to constant differential static pressure between two fluids over the full...

Briefs: Energy

A new thermoelectric power generator from Johnson Space Center consists of an oven box and a solar cooker/solar reflector unit. The solar reflector concentrates sunlight into heat and...

Briefs: Energy

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has proposed a scheme for generating electric power from rivers and from ocean currents, tides, and waves that not entail the high maintenance...

Briefs: Green Design & Manufacturing
Nitrous Oxide/Paraffin Hybrid Rocket Engines

Nitrous oxide/paraffin (N2OP) hybrid rocket engines have been invented as alternatives to other rocket engines — especially those that burn granular, rubbery solid fuels consisting largely of hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene (HTPB). Originally intended for use in launching spacecraft,...

Briefs: Imaging

The Electrical Capacitance Volume Tomography (ECVT) system has been designed to complement the tools created to sense the presence of water in nonconductive spacecraft...

Briefs: Imaging

A machine-vision system capable of detecting obstacles large enough to damage or trap a robotic vehicle is undergoing development. The system includes (1) a pattern generator that...

Briefs: Imaging
Wavefront Control and Image Restoration With Less Computing

PseudoDiversity is a method of recovering the wavefront in a sparse- or segmented-aperture optical system typified by an interferometer or a telescope equipped with an adaptive primary mirror consisting of controllably slightly moveable segments. (PseudoDiversity should not be confused...

Briefs: Imaging
Wide-Field-of-View, High-Resolution, Stereoscopic Imager

A device combines video feeds from multiple cameras to provide wide-field-of-view, high-resolution, stereoscopic video to the user. The prototype under development consists of two camera assemblies, one for each eye. One of these assemblies incorporates a mounting structure with multiple...

Briefs: Imaging
Algorithm for Lossless Compression of Calibrated Hyperspectral Imagery

A two-stage predictive method was developed for lossless compression of calibrated hyperspectral imagery. The first prediction stage uses a conventional linear predictor intended to exploit spatial and/or spectral dependencies in the data. The compressor tabulates counts of...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Polarization Imaging Apparatus

A polarization imaging apparatus has shown promise as a prototype of instruments for medical imaging with contrast greater than that achievable by use of non-polarized light. The underlying principles of design and operation are derived from observations that light interacts with tissue ultrastructures that affect...

Briefs: Lighting
SynDiTec Inc.,
San Jose, CA

This project developed new light emitting diode (LED) driver ICs associated with specific (uniquely operated)...

Briefs: Lighting
Cabot Corp.,
Boston, MA

The overarching goal of this project was to develop luminescent materials using aerosol processes for making improved...

Briefs: Lighting

Low-cost processing methods will be required if the small organic molecule materials currently under development for use in organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs) and other electronics are ever to realize wide...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
PPM Receiver Implemented in Software

A computer program has been written as a tool for developing optical pulse-position-modulation (PPM) receivers in which photodetector outputs are fed to analog-to-digital converters (ADCs) and all subsequent signal processing is performed digitally. The program can be used, for example, to simulate an...

Briefs: Materials
Electroceramic Actuators for Operation at Low Temperatures

Electrostrictive ceramic actuators that can function at low temperatures have been developed for controlling the shapes of mirrors in the Next Generation Space Telescope (NGST). On Earth, electrostrictive ceramic actuators may be useful for fine control of the positions of objects in...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Thermal Detection of Gas in a Tube Containing Flowing Liquid

A relatively simple thermal technique has been proposed to enable detection of bubbles of gas or bulk gas in a tube that is meant to contain a flowing liquid only. In a system in which gas cannot be tolerated, the technique could be used to trigger a shutoff valve downstream of a...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Profiling the Atmosphere by Use of an Elevated GPS Receiver

A method of determining the radio refractivity of the atmosphere as a function of altitude involves processing of data acquired by airborne or mountain-top Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers from particular GPS satellites as those satellites rise above or fall below the horizon....

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