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: Software
Spacecraft Antenna Clusters for High EIRP

Several documents in a collection discuss a proposal to use clusters of appropriately phased, relatively small microwave antennas to obtain high levels of effective isotropically radiated power (EIRP) for transmission of data from spacecraft to Earth during exploration of distant planets. The advantages...

Briefs: Software
Decision Support for Emergency Operations Centers

The Flood Disaster Mitigation Decision Support System (DSS) is a computerized information system that allows regional emergency-operations government officials to make decisions regarding the dispatch of resources in response to flooding. The DSS implements a real-time model of inundation...

The term “satellite-derived management zones” (SAMZ) denotes agricultural management zones that are subdivisions of large fields and that are derived from images of the fields acquired by instruments...

A new instrument was developed for chemical characterization of surfaces that combines the analytical power of Raman spectroscopy with the three-dimensional topographic information...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Vacuum Attachment for XRF Scanner

Vacuum apparatuses have been developed for increasing the range of elements that can be identified by use of x-ray fluorescent (XRF) scanners of the type mentioned in the two immediately preceding articles....

Systems for identifying objects by means of x-ray fluorescence (XRF) of encased labeling elements have been developed. The XRF spectra of objects so labeled...

A digital equivalent data system (DEDS) is a system for identifying objects by means of the x-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectra of labeling elements that are encased in or deposited on...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Improvements of ModalMax High-Fidelity Piezoelectric Audio Device

ModalMax audio speakers have been enhanced by innovative means of tailoring the vibration response of thin piezoelectric plates to produce a high-fidelity audio response. The ModalMax audio speakers are 1 mm in thickness.

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Long-Range Emergency Preemption of Traffic Lights

A forwarding system could prove beneficial as an addition to an electronic communication and control system that automatically modifies the switching of traffic lights to give priority to emergency vehicles. A system to which the forwarding system could be added could be any of a variety of...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
High-Efficiency Microwave Power Amplifier

A high-efficiency power amplifier that operates in the S band (frequencies of the order of a few gigahertz) utilizes transistors operating under class-D bias and excitation conditions. Class-D...

The monocoque chassis of a Formula 1 race car is a sandwich structure, made of high-performance carbon-epoxy composite face sheets and an aluminum or aramidic...

Briefs: Information Technology
Applying Standard Interfaces to a Process-Control Language

A method of applying open-operating-system standard interfaces to the NASA User Interface Language (UIL) has been devised.

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

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....

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