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.

A method for adaptive (or, optionally, nonadaptive) filtering has been developed for estimating the states of complex process systems (e.g., chemical plants, factories, or manufacturing...

Multifunctional hinges have been developed for deploying and electrically connecting panels comprising planar arrays of thin-film solar photovoltaic cells. In the original intended...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Ultrasonic/Sonic Jackhammer

An ultrasonic/sonic jackhammer (USJ) is the latest in a series of related devices, the first of which were reported in “Ultrasonic/Sonic Drill/Corers With Integrated Sensors” (NPO-20856), NASA Tech Briefs,...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Vortobots

The term “vortobots” denotes proposed swimming robots that would have dimensions as small as micrometers or even nanometers and that would move in swarms through fluids by generating and exploiting vortices in a cooperative...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Two SMA-Actuated Miniature Mechanisms

The figures depict two miniature mechanisms actuated by strips made of shape-memory alloy (SMA). A typical SMA is a nickel-titanium alloy known by the trade name “Flexinol” or “Nitinol.” In...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Piezo-Operated Shutter Mechanism Moves 1.5 cm

The figure shows parts of a shutter mechanism designed to satisfy a number of requirements specific to its original intended application as a component of an atomic clock to be flown in outer...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Temperature-Controlled Clamping and Releasing Mechanism

A report describes the development of a mechanism that automatically clamps upon warming and releases upon cooling between temperature limits of ~180 K and ~293 K.

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Fastener Starter

The Fastener Starter is a creative solution to prevent the loss of small fasteners during their installation. This is the only currently available tool that can firmly grip and hold a single screw, bolt, nut, washer, spacer, or any combination of these parts. Other commercially available fastener starters are unable to...

Briefs: Semiconductors & ICs
HEMT Frequency Doubler With Output at 300 GHz

An active frequency doubler in the form of an InP-based monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) containing a high electron mobility transistor (HEMT) has been demonstrated in operation at...

Briefs: Semiconductors & ICs
Single-Chip FPGA Azimuth Pre-Filter for SAR

A field-programmable gate array (FPGA) on a single lightweight, low power integrated-circuit chip has been developed to implement an azimuth pre-filter (AzPF) for a synthetic-aperture radar (SAR)...

Ribbon waveguides made of alumina or of semiconductors (Si, InP, or GaAs) have been proposed as low-loss transmission lines for coupling electronic components and circuits that...

Briefs: Software
Electronic Router

Electronic Router (E-Router) is an application program for routing documents among the cognizant individuals in a government agency or other organization. E-Router supplants a prior system in which paper documents were routed physically in packages by use of paper slips, packages could be lost, routing times were unacceptably...

Briefs: Software
Centralized Planning for Multiple Exploratory Robots

A computer program automatically generates plans for a group of robotic vehicles (rovers) engaged in geological exploration of terrain. The program rapidly generates multiple command sequences that can be executed simultaneously by the rovers. Starting from a set of high-level goals, the...

Briefs: Software
Predicting Flows of Rarefied Gases

DSMC Analysis Code (DAC) is a flexible, highly automated, easy-to-use computer program for predicting flows of rarefied gases — especially flows of upper-atmospheric, propulsion, and vented gases impinging on spacecraft surfaces. DAC implements the direct simulation Monte Carlo (DSMC) method, which is widely...

Briefs: Software
Software Would Largely Automate Design of Kalman Filter

Embedded Navigation Filter Automatic Designer (ENFAD) is a computer program being developed to automate the most difficult tasks in designing embedded software to implement a Kalman filter in a navigation system. The most difficult tasks are selection of error states of the filter and...

Briefs: Software
Autonomous Navigation by a Mobile Robot

ROAMAN is a computer program for autonomous navigation of a mobile robot on a long (as much as hundreds of meters) traversal of terrain. Developed for use aboard a robotic vehicle (rover) exploring the surface of a remote planet, ROAMAN could also be adapted to similar use on terrestrial mobile robots....

A new Spectral Beam Combining (SBC) architecture is currently being developed to address the limitations diode laser bars in applications requiring high output power and excellent...

In optical systems in which laser illumination is delivered via multimode optical fibers, laser speckle can be rendered incoherent by a simple but highly effective technique. The need...

In a modification of the basic configuration of InAs quantum-dot semiconductor lasers on (001)lnP substrate, a thin layer (typically 1 to 2 monolayer thick) of GaAs is...

The figure depicts a replaceable microfluidic cartridge that is a component of a miniature biosensor that detects target deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) sequences. The biosensor utilizes...

Theoretical calculations indicate that it should be possible for one-dimensional (1D) photonic crystals (see figure) to exhibit giant dispersions known as the superprism effect. Previously,...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Depth-Penetrating Luminescence Thermography of Thermal-Barrier Coatings

A thermographic method has been developed for measuring temperatures at predetermined depths within dielectric material layers — especially thermal-barrier coatings. This method will help satisfy a need for noncontact measurement of through-the-thickness temperature...

A system that generates an intense, nearly collimated, nearly monochromatic, small-diameter x-ray beam has been developed for use in macromolecular crystallography. A conventional...

A proposed highly accurate clock or oscillator would be based on the concept of an opto-electronic oscillator (OEO) stabilized to an atomic transition. Opto-electronic oscillators, which have...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Fault-Tolerant Heat Exchanger

A compact, lightweight heat exchanger has been designed to be fault-tolerant in the sense that a single-point leak would not cause mixing of heat-transfer fluids. This particular heat exchanger is intended to be...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Automatic Focus Adjustment of a Microscope

AUTOFOCUS is a computer program for use in a control system that automatically adjusts the position of an instrument arm that carries a microscope equipped with an electronic camera.

The figure depicts a device for measuring the electrical conductivity of a flowing liquid. Unlike prior such devices, this one does not trap gas bubbles entrained in the...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Optimizing Parameters for Deep-Space Optical Communication

A paper discusses the optimization of the parameters of a high-rate, deep-space optical communication link that utilizes pulse-position modulation (PPM) and an error-correcting code (ECC).

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Advanced Three-Dimensional Display System

A desktop-scale, computer-controlled display system, initially developed for NASA and now known as the VolumeViewer®, generates three-dimensional (3D) images of 3D objects in a display volume. This system differs fundamentally from stereoscopic and holographic display systems: The images generated by...

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