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 : Semiconductors & ICs
Shear Assisted Processing and Extrusion
Shear Assisted Processing and Extrusion

Shear Assisted Processing and Extrusion (ShAPE™) allows creation of wire, bar, and tubular extrusions that show significant improvement in material properties; for example, magnesium extrusions have...

Shear Assisted Processing and Extrusion
Briefs : Energy
Phase-Switching Liquids as Anti-Icing Materials
Phase-Switching Liquids as Anti-Icing Materials

Techniques to prevent frost and ice formation on surfaces rely heavily on heating or on liquid chemicals that need to be repeatedly reapplied because they easily wash away. Even advanced...

Phase-Switching Liquids as Anti-Icing Materials
Briefs : Medical
New Technique Tests for Viral Infections

Currently, most U.S. medical offices and hospitals use the ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) test to determine whether or not a person has a viral infection. It’s a common test but ELISA’s sensitivity is relatively low, so clinicians need a fairly high number of antibodies in a person’s...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Thin-Film System Converts Heat from Electronics into Energy
Thin-Film System Converts Heat from Electronics into Energy

Nearly 70 percent of the energy produced in the United States each year is wasted as heat. Much of that heat is less than 100 °C and emanates from things like computers, cars, or...

Thin-Film System Converts Heat from Electronics into Energy
Briefs : Aerospace
Advanced Over-the-Wing Nacelle Transport Configuration
Advanced Over-the-Wing Nacelle Transport Configuration

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a new aircraft design with the engine nacelle over the wing, improving engine ground clearance and freeing landing gear design. While...

Advanced Over-the-Wing Nacelle Transport Configuration
Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Wafer-Level Microchannel Fabrication Process for Lab-on-a-Chip Devices
Wafer-Level Microchannel Fabrication Process for Lab-on-a-Chip Devices

Microchannels fabricated into a silicon-Pyrex wafer with a diameter of 75 m and total channel length of 40, 60, 80, or 100 mm — characterized by specialized microbeads...

Wafer-Level Microchannel Fabrication Process for Lab-on-a-Chip Devices
Briefs : AR/AI
Face-Tracking Robot
Face-Tracking Robot

A robot is being developed that tracks facial movements to perform human tasks. The robot resembles large, squiggly arms holding tiny cameras. Sitting in a rolling office chair across from one of the arms, the robot's...

Face-Tracking Robot
Briefs : RF & Microwave Electronics
Breakthrough Could Enable Infrared Cameras for Electronics, Self-Driving Cars
Breakthrough Could Enable Infrared Cameras for Electronics, Self-Driving Cars

There's an entire world our eyes miss, hidden in the ranges of light wavelengths that human eyes can't see. But infrared cameras can pick up this light emitted as...

Breakthrough Could Enable Infrared Cameras for Electronics, Self-Driving Cars
Briefs : Test & Measurement
Integrated Silicon Photonic Switch Demonstrates Lowest Signal Loss Ever in High-Speed Data Transmission
Integrated Silicon Photonic Switch Demonstrates Lowest Signal Loss Ever in High-Speed Data Transmission

Experimental photonic switches developed at UC Berkeley have shown promise toward the goal of fully optical, high-capacity switching for...

Integrated Silicon Photonic Switch Demonstrates Lowest Signal Loss Ever in High-Speed Data Transmission
Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Bringing Human-Like Reasoning to Driverless Car Navigation
Bringing Human-Like Reasoning to Driverless Car Navigation

With the aim of bringing more human-like reasoning to autonomous vehicles, MIT researchers have created a system that uses only simple maps and visual data to enable driverless cars...

Bringing Human-Like Reasoning to Driverless Car Navigation
Briefs : Test & Measurement
Revolutionary Camera Allows Scientists to Predict Evolution of Ancient Stars
Revolutionary Camera Allows Scientists to Predict Evolution of Ancient Stars

Scientists at the University of Sheffield have been working with HiPERCAM, a high-speed, multicolor camera, which is capable of taking more than 1,000 images per...

Revolutionary Camera Allows Scientists to Predict Evolution of Ancient Stars
Motion Design : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Snake-Inspired Robot
Snake-Inspired Robot

Researchers have developed a new and improved snake-inspired soft robot that is faster and more precise than its predecessor.

Snake-Inspired Robot
Motion Design : Test & Measurement
Calculating the Estimated Fatigue Life of a Disc Spring
Calculating the Estimated Fatigue Life of a Disc Spring

In discussing fatigue life, it is important to distinguish between disc springs and conical spring washers, as they differ by design and intended usage. Conical spring washers are...

Calculating the Estimated Fatigue Life of a Disc Spring
Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Ultra-Low-Power Chips Enhance Performance of Small Robots
Ultra-Low-Power Chips Enhance Performance of Small Robots

An ultra-low-power hybrid chip inspired by the brain could help give palm-sized robots the ability to collaborate and learn from their experiences. Combined with new generations of...

Ultra-Low-Power Chips Enhance Performance of Small Robots
Motion Design : Software
Model Gives Robots a Better Feel for Object Manipulation
Model Gives Robots a Better Feel for Object Manipulation

A new learning system improves a robot’s ability to mold materials into target shapes and make predictions about interacting with solid objects and liquids. The system, known as a...

Model Gives Robots a Better Feel for Object Manipulation
Motion Design : Motion Control
Gear Bearings
Gear Bearings

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center developed gear bearing technology that combines gear and bearing functions into a single unit that significantly improves gear drives for electrical, internal combustion, and turbine motors. The...

Gear Bearings
Briefs : Wearables
Monitor Babies in the NICU Without Wires
Monitor Babies in the NICU Without Wires

An interdisciplinary Northwestern University team has developed a pair of soft, flexible wireless sensors that replace the tangle of wire-based sensors that currently monitor babies in hospitals’...

Monitor Babies in the NICU Without Wires
Sensor Technology : Test & Measurement
UCI Biomedical Engineers Develop Wearable Respiration Monitor with Children’s Toy
UCI Biomedical Engineers Develop Wearable Respiration Monitor with Children’s Toy

Researchers at the University of California, Irvine have developed a wearable, disposable respiration monitor that provides high-fidelity readings on a...

UCI Biomedical Engineers Develop Wearable Respiration Monitor with Children’s Toy
Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Spotting Minute Amounts of Disease in the Bloodstream
Spotting Minute Amounts of Disease in the Bloodstream

The difficulty in spotting minute amounts of disease circulating in the bloodstream has proven a stumbling block in the detection and treatment of cancers that advance stealthily with few...

Spotting Minute Amounts of Disease in the Bloodstream
Briefs : Power
Diagnose Lithium Batteries
Diagnose Lithium Batteries

Batteries with metallic lithium anodes offer enhanced efficiency compared to conventional lithium-ion batteries because of their higher capacity. However, safety concerns and a short lifespan stand in the way. To...

Diagnose Lithium Batteries
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Stretchable Interlaced-Nanowire Film for Ultraviolet Photodetectors with High Response Speed
Stretchable Interlaced-Nanowire Film for Ultraviolet Photodetectors with High Response Speed

Stretchable electronics, which can be stretched, deformed and wrapped onto nonplanar curved surfaces, have attracted much attraction due to their...

Stretchable Interlaced-Nanowire Film for Ultraviolet Photodetectors with High Response Speed
Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
3D Printable Sensors Disposed of Without Contaminating the Environment
3D Printable Sensors Disposed of Without Contaminating the Environment

Simon Fraser University and Swiss researchers are developing an eco-friendly, 3D printable solution for producing wireless Internet-of-Things (IoT) sensors that can be...

3D Printable Sensors Disposed of Without Contaminating the Environment
Briefs : Wearables
Graphene-Based Technology for Wearable Health Monitoring
Graphene-Based Technology for Wearable Health Monitoring

Graphene Flagship partner ICFO, based in Barcelona, Spain is developing graphene-based prototypes that aim to turn mobile phones into life saving devices. The first of these will allow...

Graphene-Based Technology for Wearable Health Monitoring
Briefs : Communications
New Electromyography Biofeedback Device
New Electromyography Biofeedback Device

Anew electromyography biofeedback device that is wearable and connects to novel smartphone games may offer people with incomplete paraplegia a more affordable, self-controllable therapy to enhance...

New Electromyography Biofeedback Device
Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Using Laser Metal Printing to Cool Computer Chips

Traditionally, electronics are cooled using a heat sink that transfers the heat generated by the electronic system into the air or a liquid coolant. For the heat sink to work, it has to be attached to the CPU or the graphics processor via a thermal interface material such as thermal paste. It...

Briefs : Aerospace
Cryogenic Cam Butterfly Valve
Cryogenic Cam Butterfly Valve

Typical butterfly valves cannot seal at both ambient and cryogenic temperatures. At cryogenic temperatures, valves grow and shrink, changing critical dimensions such as distance between the disc and seat....

Cryogenic Cam Butterfly Valve
Briefs : Tubing & Extrusion
Vascular Injury Shunt

Extremity vascular injury results in bleeding and lack of blood flow beyond the site of vessel disruption (ischemia). Priorities when this occurs include hemorrhage control, management of life-threatening injuries, and restoration of flow to the extremity. While definitive vessel repair is optimal, life-threatening injuries...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Single-Photon Detector for Potential Encryption and Sensing
Single-Photon Detector for Potential Encryption and Sensing

Light is widely used for communications, carrying phone conversations and video signals through fiber optic cables around the world in pulses composed of many photons. Single...

Single-Photon Detector for Potential Encryption and Sensing
Briefs : Transportation
Graphene Coating Takes Oxygen Out of Lithium Battery Fires
Graphene Coating Takes Oxygen Out of Lithium Battery Fires

Lithium batteries allow electric vehicles to travel several hundred miles on one charge. Their capacity for energy storage is well known — so is their tendency to occasionally...

Graphene Coating Takes Oxygen Out of Lithium Battery Fires
Briefs : Software
Design Software Identifies a Product's Performance Tradeoffs

Designing any product — from complex car parts to wrenches — is a balancing act with conflicting performance tradeoffs. Making something lightweight, for instance, may compromise its durability.