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: Information Technology
Power User Interface

Power User Interface 5.0 (PUI) is a system of middleware that is an alternative to the computer program described in the immediately preceding article. Written for PUI enables expedited ordering of data granules on the basis of specific granule-identifying information that the users already know or can assemble. PUI also...

Briefs: Medical
Architecture Adaptive Computing Environment

Architecture Adaptive Computing Environment (aCe) is a software system that includes a language, compiler, and run-time library for parallel computing. aCe was developed to enable programmers to write programs, more easily than was previously possible, for a variety of parallel computing architectures....

Briefs: Medical
Stationary Apparatus Would Apply Forces of Walking to Feet

A proposed apparatus would apply controlled cyclic forces to both feet for the purpose of preventing the loss of bone density in a human subject whose bones are not subjected daily to the mechanical loads of normal activity in normal Earth gravitation. The apparatus was conceived for use...

Briefs: Medical
Instrument Would Detect and Collect Biological Aerosols

A proposed compact, portable instrument would sample micron-sized airborne particles, would discriminate between biological ones (e.g., bacteria) and nonbiological ones (e.g., dust particles), and would collect the detected biological particles for further analysis. The instrument is...

An effort is under way to develop noninvasive neuro-electric interfaces through which human operators could control systems as diverse as simple mechanical devices, computers, aircraft,...

The NASA Ames hyperwall is a display system designed to facilitate the visualization of sets of multivariate and multidimensional data like those generated in complex engineering and...

A facility that includes a probe station and a scanning open-ended waveguide probe for measuring near electromagnetic fields (see figure) has been added to Glen Research Center's...

A control system strives to maintain the correct alignment of a laser beam in an interferometer dedicated to measuring the displacement or distance between two fiducial corner-cube...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
3D X-Ray Luggage-Screening System

A three-dimensional (3D) x-ray luggage- screening system has been proposed to reduce the fatigue experienced by human inspectors and increase their ability to detect weapons and other contraband. The system...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Photodetector Arrays for Multicolor Visible/Infrared Imaging

Monolithic focal-plane arrays of photodetectors capable of imaging the same scenes simultaneously in multiple wavelength bands in the visible and infrared spectral regions have been proposed. In prior visible/infrared imaging systems, it has been standard practice to use separate...

Briefs: Information Technology
Algorithm for Automated Detection of Edges of Clouds

An algorithm processes cloud-physics data gathered in situ by an aircraft, along with reflectivity data gathered by ground-based radar, to determine whether the aircraft is inside or outside a cloud at a given time. A cloud edge is deemed to be detected when the in/out state changes, subject...

Briefs: Information Technology
Exploiting Quantum Resonance to Solve Combinatorial Problems

Quantum resonance would be exploited in a proposed quantum-computing approach to the solution of combinatorial optimization problems. In quantum computing in general, one takes advantage of the fact that an algorithm cannot be decoupled from the physical effects available to implement...

Briefs: Information Technology
A Concept for Run-Time Support of the Chapel Language

A document presents a concept for run-time implementation of other concepts embodied in the Chapel programming language. (Now undergoing development, Chapel is intended to become a standard language for parallel computing that would surpass older such languages in both computational...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
System for Continuous Deaeration of Hydraulic Oil
A system for continuous, rapid deaeration of hydraulic oil has been built to replace a prior system that effected deaeration more slowly in a cyclic pressure/vacuum process. Such systems are...
Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Tool for Two Types of Friction Stir Welding

A tool that would be useable in both conventional and self-reacting friction stir welding (FSW) has been proposed. The tool would embody both a prior tooling concept for self-reacting FSW and an...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Spacecraft Escape Capsule

A report discusses the Gumdrop capsule — a conceptual spacecraft that would enable the crew to escape safely in the event of a major equipment failure at any time from launch through atmospheric re-entry. The scaleable Gumdrop capsule would comprise a command module (CM), a service module (SM), and a crew escape...

An improved method has been devised for using directed, hyperthermal beams of oxygen atoms and ions to impart desired textures to the tips of polymethylmethacrylate [PMMA] optical...
Briefs: Materials
SiC Composite Turbine Vanes

Turbine inlet guide vanes have been fabricated from composites of silicon carbide fibers in silicon carbide matrices. A unique design for a cloth made from SiC fibers makes it possible to realize the geometric...

Briefs: Materials
Thermoelectric Inhomogeneities in (Ag1-SbTe2)x(PbTe)1-x

A document presents a study of why materials of composition (Ag1–ySbTe2)0.05 (PbTe)0.95 [0=y=1] were previously reported to have values of the thermoelectric figure of merit [ZT (where Z = a2/??, a is the Seebeck coefficient, ? is electrical resistivity, ? is thermal conductivity, and T...

Membranes made of silanized alumina have been prepared and tested as prototypes of derivatized ceramic membranes that are both highly permeable to oxygen and hydrophobic. Improved...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Tool for Torquing Circular Electrical-Connector Collars

An improved tool has been devised for applying torque to lock and unlock knurled collars on circular electrical connectors. The tool was originally designed for, and used by, astronauts working in outer space on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). The tool is readily adaptable to terrestrial...

A device denoted as a bumper assembly for a spacecraft payload container comprises an interior structure surrounded by skin or some other protective enclosure (see figure)....

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
On Release of Microbe-Laden Particles From Mars Landers

A paper presents a study in which rates of release of small particles from Mars lander spacecraft into the Martian atmosphere were estimated from first principles. Because such particles can consist of, or be laden with, terrestrial microbes, the study was undertaken to understand their...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Phase Sensor for Aligning a Segmented Telescope Mirror

A phase sensor has been developed for use in aligning a segmented telescope mirror to within a fraction of a wavelength in piston. (As used here, "piston" signifies displacement of a mirror segment along the optical axis of the telescope.) Such precise alignment is necessary in order to...

A recently proposed boundary condition for atomistic computational modeling of semiconductor nanostructures (particularly, quantum dots) is an improved alternative to two prior...

Prototype transducers based on integrated optical ring resonators have been demonstrated to be useful for detecting the protein avidin in extremely dilute solutions. In an experiment, one of...

Briefs: Semiconductors & ICs
Semiconductor Bolometers Give Background-Limited Performance

Semiconductor bolometers that are capable of detecting electromagnetic radiation over most or all of the infrared spectrum and that give background-limited performance at operating temperatures from 20 to 300 K have been invented. The term "background-limited performance" as applied...

A multichannel dielectric-resonator oscillator (DRO), built as a prototype of a local oscillator for an X-band transmitter or receiver, is capable of being electrically tuned among and...

Briefs: Software
Control Software for Advanced Video Guidance Sensor

Embedded software has been developed specifically for controlling an Advanced Video Guidance Sensor (AVGS). [As described in several previous NASA Tech Briefs articles, a Video Guidance Sensor is an optoelectronic system that provides guidance for automated docking of two vehicles (space-craft...

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