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
Increasing Accuracy in Computed Inviscid Boundary Conditions

A technique has been devised to increase the accuracy of computational simulations of flows of inviscid fluids by increasing the accuracy with which surface boundary conditions are represented. This technique is expected to be especially beneficial for computational aeroacoustics,...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Polyethylene Natural-Gas Valves Designed With Finite-Element Analysis

In response to a growing industry trend toward corrosion- and maintenance-free natural-gas valves, Kerotest designed POLYBALL™™ 1/2" to 12" standard- and full-port valves made of medium- and high-density polyethylene. The valves also had to meet or exceed ASME B16.40, ASTM...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Low-Temperature Plasma Functionalization of Carbon Nanotubes
Low-Temperature Plasma Functionalization of Carbon Nanotubes

A low-temperature plasma process has been devised for attaching specified molecular groups to carbon nanotubes in order to impart desired chemical and/or physical properties to the...

Low-Temperature Plasma Functionalization of Carbon Nanotubes
Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Lightweight, Flexible, Thin, Integrated Solar-Power Packs

Lightweight, flexible, thin, one-piece, solar-power packs are undergoing development. Each power pack of this type is a complete, modular, integrated power-supply system comprising three power subsystems that, in conventional practice, have been constructed as separate units and connected...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Fresnel Lenses for Wide- Aperture Optical Receivers
Fresnel Lenses for Wide- Aperture Optical Receivers

Wide-aperture receivers for free-space optical communication systems would utilize Fresnel lenses instead of conventional telescope lenses, according to a proposal. Fresnel lenses weigh and...

Fresnel Lenses for Wide- Aperture Optical Receivers
Briefs : Materials
Embedded Heaters for Joining or Separating Plastic Parts
Embedded Heaters for Joining or Separating Plastic Parts

A proposed thermal-bonding technique would make it possible to join or separate thermoplastic parts quickly and efficiently. The technique would eliminate the need for conventional...

Embedded Heaters for Joining or Separating Plastic Parts
Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Laser Sensor-Based System for Automated Inspection of Jet Engine Blades
Laser Sensor-Based System for Automated Inspection of Jet Engine Blades

A system has been developed to replace manual measurement of small jet engine blades during safety and performance inspections. The high-speed, automated system consists...

Laser Sensor-Based System for Automated Inspection of Jet Engine Blades
Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Ordered Nanostructures Made Using Chaperonin Polypeptides
Ordered Nanostructures Made Using Chaperonin Polypeptides

A recently invented method of fabricating periodic or otherwise ordered nanostructures involves the use of chaperonin polypeptides. The method is intended to serve as a potentially...

Ordered Nanostructures Made Using Chaperonin Polypeptides
Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Hand-Held Color Meters Based on Interference Filters
Hand-Held Color Meters Based on Interference Filters

Small, inexpensive, hand-held optoelectronic color-measuring devices based on metal-film/dielectric-film interference filters are undergoing development. These color meters could be...

Hand-Held Color Meters Based on Interference Filters
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Two-Stage Solenoid

A proposed design for a solenoid-based electromechanical actuator would provide greater starting force than does a comparable conventional design. As used here, "starting force" signifies the magnetic force exerted by the actuator at one end of its stroke when the gap in its magnetic circuit is the widest. A solenoid of...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Ambient-Light-Canceling Camera Using Subtraction of Frames

The ambient-light-canceling camera (ALCC) is a proposed near-infrared electronic camera that would utilize a combination of (1) synchronized illumination during alternate frame periods and (2) subtraction of readouts from consecutive frames to obtain images without a background component...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Dual-Frequency Airborne Scanning Rain Radar Antenna System
Dual-Frequency Airborne Scanning Rain Radar Antenna System

A compact, dual-frequency, dual-polarization, wide-angle-scanning antenna system has been developed as part of an airborne instrument for measuring rainfall. This system is an...

Dual-Frequency Airborne Scanning Rain Radar Antenna System
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Improved Ball-and-Socket Docking Mechanism
Improved Ball-and-Socket Docking Mechanism

A proposed docking mechanism would form a ball-and-socket joint in the docked condition. The mechanism could tolerate significant initial misalignment because it would include an alignment cone that...

Improved Ball-and-Socket Docking Mechanism
Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Chemical Thinning Process for Fabricating UV-Imaging CCDs
Chemical Thinning Process for Fabricating UV-Imaging CCDs

The thinning stage of the postfabrication process reported in the immediately preceding article is notable in its own right. Although the thinning process was described in the...

Chemical Thinning Process for Fabricating UV-Imaging CCDs
Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Sensory-Feedback Exoskeletal Arm Controller

An electromechanical exoskeletal arm apparatus has been designed for use in controlling a remote robotic manipulator arm. The apparatus, called a “force-feedback exoskeleton arm master” (F-EAM) is comfortable to wear and easy to don and doff. It provides control signals from the wearer’s arm to a...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
EHW Approach to Temperature Compensation of Electronics
Efforts are under way to apply the concept of evolvable hardware (EHW) to compensate for variations, with temperature, in the operational characteristics of electronic circuits. To maintain the required functionality of a given circuit at a temperature above or below the nominal operating...
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Polymorphic Electronic Circuits

Polymorphic electronics is a nascent technological discipline that involves, among other things, designing the same circuit to perform different analog and/or digital functions under different conditions. For example, a circuit can be designed to function as an OR gate or an AND gate, depending on the temperature...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Micro-Tubular Fuel Cells
Micro-tubular fuel cells that would operate at power levels on the order of hundreds of watts or less are under development as alternatives to batteries in numerous products — portable power tools, cellular telephones, laptop computers, portable television receivers, and small robotic vehicles, to name a few...
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Analysis of SSEM Sensor Data Using BEAM

A report describes analysis of space shuttle main engine (SSME) sensor data using Beacon-based Exception Analysis for Multimissions (BEAM) [NASA Tech Briefs articles, the two most relevant being "Beacon-Based Exception Analysis for Multimissions" (NPO-20827), Vol. 26, No.9 (September 2002), page 32 and...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Hairlike Percutaneous Photochemical Sensors

Instrumentation systems based on hairlike fiber-optic photochemical sensors have been proposed as minimally invasive means of detecting biochemicals associated with cancer and other diseases. The fiber-optic sensors could be mass-produced as inexpensive, disposable components. The sensory tip of a...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Video Guidance Sensors Using Remotely Activated Targets

Four updated video guidance sensor (VGS) systems have been proposed. As described in a previous NASA Tech Briefs article, a VGS system is an optoelectronic system that provides guidance for automated docking of two vehicles. The VGS provides relative position and attitude (6-DOF)...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Simulating Remote Sensing Systems

The Application Research Toolbox (ART) is a collection of computer programs that implement algorithms and mathematical models for simulating remote sensing systems. The ART is intended to be especially useful for performing design-tradeoff studies and statistical analyses to support the rational development of...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Waste-Heat-Driven Cooling Using Complex Compound Sorbents

Improved complex-compound sorption pumps are undergoing development for use as prime movers in heat-pump systems for cooling and dehumidification of habitats for humans on the Moon and for residential and commercial cooling on Earth. Among the advantages of sorption heat-pump systems are...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Pseudoslit Spectrometer

The pseudoslit spectrometer is a conceptual optoelectronic instrument that would offer some of the advantages, without the disadvantages, of prior linear- variable etalon (LVE) spectrometers and prior slit spectrometers. The pseudoslit spectrometer is so named because it would not include a slit, but the combined effects...

Briefs : Physical Sciences
Nonlinear FEA Analysis of Filament-Wound Composite Container Tanks

Filament-wound composites are replacing metals as the material of choice for tanks to hold liquids and gases. The composites have a high strength-to- weight ratio, making them ideal for use in aerospace and commercial ground transport. Also, the automated winding process is less...

Briefs : Information Technology
Finding Minimum-Power Broadcast Trees for Wireless Networks

Some algorithms have been devised for use in a method of constructing tree graphs that represent connections among the nodes of a wireless ommunication network. These algorithms provide for determining the viability of any given candidate connection tree and for generating an initial...

Briefs : Information Technology
Hexagonal Pixels and Indexing Scheme for Binary Images

A scheme for resampling binaryimage data from a rectangular grid to a regular hexagonal grid and an associated tree - structured pixel - indexing scheme keyed to the level of resolution have been devised. This scheme could be utilized in conjunction with appropriate image - data - processing...

Briefs : Software
Simulation of Hyperspectral Images

A software package generates simulated hyperspectral imagery for use in validating algorithms that generate estimates of Earth- surface spectral reflectance from hyperspectral images acquired by airborne and spaceborne instruments.

This software is based on a direct simulation Monte Carlo approach for...

Briefs : Software
PVM Wrapper

PVM Wrapper is a software library that makes it possible for code that utilizes the Parallel Virtual Machine (PVM) software library to run using the message-passing interface (MPI) software library, without needing to rewrite the entire code. PVM and MPI are the two most common software libraries used for applications that involve...

Briefs : Software
Algorithm for Controlling a Centrifugal Compressor

Algorithm for Controlling a Centrifugal Compressor An algorithm has been developed for controlling a centrifugal compressor that serves as the prime mover in a heatpump system. Experimental studies have shown that the operating conditions for maximum compressor efficiency are close to the...

Webcasts

On-Demand Webinars: Manufacturing & Prototyping

A Deep Dive into Metal 3D Printing

Upcoming Webinars: Test & Measurement

Solving Complex Measurement Problems with PXI

Upcoming Webinars: Photonics/Optics

NASA Discusses Advances in Photonics for Space and Commercial...

Upcoming Webinars: Robotics, Automation & Control

Using Portable Scenarios and Coverage Metrics to Ensure...

Upcoming Webinars: Robotics, Automation & Control

Impact of Autonomous and Electric Vehicles in New Product...

Upcoming Webinars: Sensors/Data Acquisition

Autonomous Vehicles Sensors: How to Ensure They Work Well and...