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 : Test & Measurement
Mobile Health Platform

A mobile health technology was developed to monitor and predict a user’s psychological status, and to deliver an automated intervention when needed. The technology uses smart-phones to monitor the user’s location and ask questions about psychological status throughout the day.

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Polymer-Based 2D-to-3D Transformable Surfaces

Technologies using stretchable materials are increasingly important. Yet, in general, it is not possible to control how they stretch with much more sophistication than inflating balloons. A method was developed that allows the calculated transformation of 2D stretchable surfaces into targeted 3D...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Freeform Channel Close-Out for High-Performance Heat Exchangers
Freeform Channel Close-Out for High-Performance Heat Exchangers

Large-scale liquid rocket engines with regeneratively cooled nozzles will enable reliable and reduced-cost access to space. The coolant that circulates through the internal...

Freeform Channel Close-Out for High-Performance Heat Exchangers
Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Large-Area Structural Damage Nondestructive Evaluation
Large-Area Structural Damage Nondestructive Evaluation

When testing composite structures, it is important to understand the response of the structure to the load. Of significance is the formation of damage and growth of that damage leading...

Large-Area Structural Damage Nondestructive Evaluation
Briefs : Test & Measurement
Compact Science Experiment Module
Compact Science Experiment Module

Crew time on the International Space Station (ISS) is extremely limited for any operations on science payloads. Autonomous science experiments in small, self-contained, cubical payloads are highly desirable...

Compact Science Experiment Module
Briefs : Test & Measurement
Laser Technique Detects Toxic Agents in the Atmosphere

A real-time instrument was developed that could scan the atmosphere for toxic agents in order to alert communities to a biological or chemical attack.

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Correlation Spectrometer
Correlation Spectrometer

Correlation spectroscopy is an attractive technique for sensing and analysis applications because it combines the attributes of mechanical and optical simplicity, high selectivity, and good sensitivity. In...

Correlation Spectrometer
Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Mobile Instrument Detects and Samples Aerosol Particles

Hazardous airborne particles pose a risk for health and safety in a variety of environments; thus, detection of these small particles is essential. Current particle magnification systems are bulky and require a lot of power for operation, making them unsuitable to easily detect and analyze...

Briefs : Aerospace
Method for Transferring a Spacecraft from Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit to Lunar Orbit

This novel innovation from Ames Research Center allows spacecraft to share rides with larger spacecraft that are headed to Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO). The secondary spacecraft is dropped off Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) at any time during the day...

Briefs : Materials
Freeform Fabrication Using Electrically Conductive Filaments

The use of multifunctional composites such as mechanically reinforced, electrically and thermally conductive parts is of interest in a range of application areas. Especially interesting and important is where tailorability of function is achieved by strategic placement of materials...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
A Fast, Non-Destructive Test for Two-Dimensional Materials
A Fast, Non-Destructive Test for Two-Dimensional Materials

Thinning a material down to a single-atom thickness can dramatically change that material’s physical properties. Graphene, the best known two-dimensional (2D) material, has...

A Fast, Non-Destructive Test for Two-Dimensional Materials
Briefs : Test & Measurement
Printing Ink Removes Oxygen in Sealed Packages

Oxygen adversely impacts food flavor and nutrition. NASA’s proposed five-year shelf life for astronaut food requires aggressive measures to minimize oxygen. Previously, NASA packaged foods in containers with a high oxygen and moisture barrier. These materials have limiting properties. They contain...

Briefs : Materials
Method for Reducing Broadband Noise
Method for Reducing Broadband Noise

Researchers at NASA’s Glenn and Langley Research Centers have developed a groundbreaking bio-mimicking acoustic liner for quieting noisy environments. Conventional approaches have not been able to absorb...

Method for Reducing Broadband Noise
Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Novel 3D Printing Method Embeds Sensing Capabilities Within Robotic Actuators
Novel 3D Printing Method Embeds Sensing Capabilities Within Robotic Actuators

Soft robots inspired by nature can crawl, swim, grasp delicate objects, and even assist a beating heart, but none of them has been able to sense and respond to the...

Novel 3D Printing Method Embeds Sensing Capabilities Within Robotic Actuators
Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Fabric Converts Kinetic Energy into Electric Power

A fabric was developed that converts kinetic energy into electric power. The greater the load applied to the textile and the wetter it becomes, the more electricity it generates. The woven fabric generates electricity when it is stretched or exposed to pressure. The fabric can currently generate...

Briefs : Aerospace
Flight Awareness Collaboration Tool (FACT)
Flight Awareness Collaboration Tool (FACT)

Winter weather such as snow, freezing precipitation, and ice can impact airport surface operations. These conditions may result in significant disruptions in arrival and departure rates. To address...

Flight Awareness Collaboration Tool (FACT)
Briefs : Materials
Surface-Field-Enhanced Detection of Deep UV Photons in Silicon Carbide Avalanche Photodetectors

While silicon carbide (SiC) is an ideal material for building ultraviolet (UV) photodetectors, the absorbed photons get recombined in the first few nanometers at the surface due to a large absorption coefficient in the 200- to 250-nm wavelength band....

Briefs : Automotive
Environmentally Friendly, Rechargeable Proton Battery
Environmentally Friendly, Rechargeable Proton Battery

A working, rechargeable proton battery was developed that could store more energy than currently available lithium-ion batteries. Potential applications include household storage of...

Environmentally Friendly, Rechargeable Proton Battery
Briefs : Aerospace
Novel Turboelectric Aircraft Design
Novel Turboelectric Aircraft Design

NASA Langley Research Center has developed a novel aircraft design that can carry 150+ passengers over a range of 3,500 nautical miles. Key features include a turboelectric propulsion system, twin...

Novel Turboelectric Aircraft Design
Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Miniature Mass Spectrometer
Miniature Mass Spectrometer

For decades, mass spectrometers have offered a relatively fast and highly sensitive way to analyze and detect chemical compounds. But their bulky size has been a hindrance, limiting the in-field potential of the...

Miniature Mass Spectrometer
Briefs : Materials
Novel Radiation Shielding Material for Dramatically Extending the Orbit Life of CubeSats

NASA Langley Research Center has developed an innovative radiation shield made by layering metal materials in the Z-shielding method. It is a new, low-cost, and easy-to-implement method to protect CubeSat electronic circuits from ionizing radiation found in...

Briefs : Aerospace
Reliable Geo-Limitation System for Unmanned Aircraft
Reliable Geo-Limitation System for Unmanned Aircraft

NASA Langley Research Center has developed a breakthrough technology called Safeguard that can alleviate hazards with unmanned aircraft (UA) flying beyond their authorized perimeters and...

Reliable Geo-Limitation System for Unmanned Aircraft
Briefs : Test & Measurement
Piezomagnetic Material Changes Magnetic Properties When Stretched
Piezomagnetic Material Changes Magnetic Properties When Stretched

Piezoelectric materials, which generate an electric current when compressed or stretched, are familiar and widely used; for example, lighters that spark when a switch is...

Piezomagnetic Material Changes Magnetic Properties When Stretched
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Technique Measures Temperature of 2D Materials at the Atomic Level

Newly developed two-dimensional (2D) materials such as graphene — which consists of a single layer of carbon atoms — have the potential to replace traditional microprocessing chips based on silicon, which have reached the limit of how small they can get. But engineers have...

Briefs : Medical
Anti-UV Technology Using Synthetic Biology
Anti-UV Technology Using Synthetic Biology

This technology uses extracts produced from yeast transformed with a new anti-UV DNA construct to block ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

Anti-UV Technology Using Synthetic Biology
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Grid Friendly™ Charger Controller
Grid Friendly™ Charger Controller

Electric vehicles are growing in popularity, and while they represent a cleaner alternative to fossil-fueled vehicles, their increased use may stress the grid if this growing load is left unmanaged. A need...

Grid Friendly™ Charger Controller
Briefs : Test & Measurement
Analysis of Molecules in Liquids on a Chip
Analysis of Molecules in Liquids on a Chip

Much can be detected in blood or urine — viral illnesses, metabolic disorders, or autoimmune diseases can be diagnosed with laboratory tests, for instance. But such examinations often take a few...

Analysis of Molecules in Liquids on a Chip
Briefs : Materials
Plastic Material Works as a Heat Conductor

Plastics are excellent insulators, meaning they can efficiently trap heat — a quality that can be an advantage in something like a coffee cup sleeve. But this insulating property is less desirable in products such as plastic casings for laptops and mobile phones that overheat, in part, because the...

Briefs : Medical
Technique Enables 3D Printing of Microstructures
Technique Enables 3D Printing of Microstructures

Two-photon lithography (TPL), a high-resolution 3D printing technique, is capable of producing nanoscale features smaller than 1/100 the width of a human hair. The technique could enable X-ray...

Technique Enables 3D Printing of Microstructures
Briefs : Energy
Thermal Energy Storage and Monitoring
Thermal Energy Storage and Monitoring

Water heaters and other thermal energy storage devices increase the temperature of a medium above an ambient or normal temperature, and store the warmer medium. Water heaters, in particular, must store...

Thermal Energy Storage and Monitoring