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
Format for Interchange and Display of 3D Terrain Data

Visible Scalable Terrain (ViSTa) is a software format for production, interchange, and display of three-dimensional (3D) terrain data acquired by stereoscopic cameras of robotic vision systems. ViSTa is designed to support scalability of data, accuracy of displayed terrain images, and optimal...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Power Transmission for Motion Control

While technology has advanced and there are many new ways to accomplish useful motion within particular applications, electric motors and gearheads are still the preferred and most popular choices for...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Inspecting Friction Stir Welding Using Electromagnetic Probes

A report describes the use of advanced electromagnetic probes to measure the dimensions, the spatial distribution of electrical conductivity, and related other properties of friction stir welds (FSWs) between parts made of the same or different aluminum alloy(s). The probes are of the...

Briefs: Medical
Probe for Sampling of Interstitial Fluid From Bone

An apparatus characterized as both a membrane probe and a bone ultrafiltration probe has been developed to enable in vivo sampling of interstitial fluid in bone. The probe makes it possible to measure the concentration of calcium and other constituents of the fluid that may be relevant to bone...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Tests of Multibeam Scintillation Mitigation on Laser Uplinks

A report presents additional details about parts of the program of research and development that is the topic of the immediately preceding article. The report em- phasizes those aspects of the program that pertain to the use of multiple uplink laser beams in a ground-to-spacecraft...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Research and Development in Optical Communications

A report in the form of lecture slides summarizes the optical-communications program of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and describes the JPL Optical Communications Telescope Laboratory (OCTL) and its role in the program. The purpose of the program is to develop equipment and techniques...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Improved Timing Scheme for Spaceborne Precipitation Radar

An improved timing scheme has been conceived for operation of a scanning satellite-borne rain-measuring radar system.The scheme allows a real- time-generated solution,which is required for auto targeting. The current timing scheme used in radar satellites involves pre-computing a solution...

Strobe-enhanced traffic signals have been developed to aid in the preemption of road intersections for emergency vehicles. The strobe-enhanced traffic signals can be incorporated...

An improved method of locating small breaches in insulation on electrical wires combines aspects of the prior dielectric withstand voltage (DWV) and time-domain reflectometry (TDR)...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Four-Channel PC/104 MIL-STD-1553 Circuit Board

The mini bus interface card (miniBIC) is the first four-channel electronic circuit board that conforms to MIL-STD-1553 and to the electrical-foot- print portion of PC/104. [MIL-STD- 1553 is a...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Miniature Linear Actuator for Small Spacecraft

A report discusses the development of a kit of mechanisms intended for use aboard future spacecraft having masses between 10 and 100 kg. The report focuses mostly on two prototypes of one of the mechanisms: a miniature linear actuator based on a shape-memory-alloy (SMA) wire. In this actuator, as in...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Second-Generation Six-Limbed Experimental Robot

The figure shows the LEMUR II—the second generation of the Limbed Excursion Mechanical Utility Robot (LEMUR), which was described in "Six-Legged Experimental Robot " (NPO-20897), NASA Tech...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Development of Biomorphic Flyers

Biomorphic flyers have recently been demonstrated that utilize the approach described earlier in "Bio-Inspired Engineering of Exploration Systems" (NPO-21142), NASA Tech Briefs ,Vol.27, No.5 (May 2003), page...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Resin-Transfer-Molding of a Tool Face

A resin-transfer-molding (RTM) process has been devised for fabricating a matrix/graphite-cloth composite panel that serves as tool face for manufacturing other composite panels. Heretofore, RTM has generally been confined to resins with viscosities low enough that they can readily flow through interstices...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
A New Process for Fabricating Random Silicon Nanotips

An improved process for the fabrication of random arrays of silicon nanotips has been demonstrated to be feasible. Relative to other such processes, this process offers advantages of low...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Process for Making Single-Domain Magnetite Crystals

A process for making chemically pure, single-domain magnetite crystals substantially free of structural defects has been invented as a byproduct of research into the origin of globules in a...

Now more than ever, technological advancements drive the product design process.Increasingly powerful CAD programs allow more complex product designs, which in turn drive...

Artificial neural networks that would utilize the cascade error projection (CEP) algorithm have been proposed as means of autonomous, real-time, adaptive color segmentation of images...

Smiths Aerospace, a leading trans-Atlantic aerospace equipment manufacturer, has grown dramatically in recent years through a combination of strategic...

Briefs: Information Technology
Designing Application Software for DSP Chips

When it comes to building a digital signal processing (DSP) board, it is important not to neglect the requirements of the application code — the code that actually acquires and processes data to...

Briefs: Materials
Treated Carbon Nanofibers for Storing Energy in Aqueous KOH

A surface treatment has been found to enhance the performances of carbon nanofibers as electrode materials for electrochemical capacitors in which aqueous solutions of potassium hydroxide are used as the electrolytes. In the treatment, sulfonic acid groups are attached to edge plane...

Briefs: Materials
New Material for Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy

A chemical method of synthesis and application of coating materials that are especially suitable for surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS)has been developed.The purpose of this development is to facilitate the utilization of the inherently high sensitivity of SERS to detect chemicals of...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Advanced Infant Car Seat Would Increase Highway Safety

An advanced infant car seat has been proposed to increase highway safety by reducing the incidence of crying, fussy behavior, and other child-related distractions that divert an adult...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Method of Calibration for a Large Cathetometer System

A method of calibration has been devised for a pair of mutually orthogonal two-axis cathetometers that, when used together, yield measurements of three-dimensional positions of objects...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Spaceborne Infrared Atmospheric Sounder

A report describes the development of the spaceborne infrared atmospheric sounder (SIRAS)—a spectral imaging instrument, suitable for observing the atmosphere of the Earth from a spacecraft, that utilizes four spectrometers to cover the wavelength range of 12 to 15.4 µm with a spectral resolution that...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Using Redundancy To Reduce Errors in Magnetometer Readings

A method of reducing errors in noisy magnetic-field measurements involves exploitation of redundancy in the readings of multiple magnetometers in a cluster. By "redundancy" his meant that the readings are not entirely independent of each other because the relationships among...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Lightweight, Low-CTE Tubes Made From Biaxially Oriented LCPs

Tubes made from biaxially oriented liquid-crystal polymers (LCPs) have been developed for use as penetrations on cryogenic tanks. ("Penetrations" in this context denotes feed lines, vent lines, and sensor tubes, all of which contribute to the undesired conduction of heat into the...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Nanofluidic Size-Exclusion Chromatograph

Efforts are under way to develop a nanofluidic size-exclusion chromatograph (SEC), which would be a compact, robust, lightweight instrument for separating molecules of interest according to their...

An improved method of measuring chromatic dispersion in an optical fiber or other device affords a lower (relative to prior such methods) limit of measurable dispersion. This method is a...

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