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.

By capping liquids with graphene (an ultrathin sheet of pure carbon), researchers can easily image and analyze liquid interfaces and the surface of nanometer-scale objects...

Shear Assisted Processing and Extrusion (ShAPE™) allows creation of wire, bar, and tubular extrusions that show significant improvement in material properties; for example, magnesium extrusions have...

Techniques to prevent frost and ice formation on surfaces rely heavily on heating or on liquid chemicals that need to be repeatedly reapplied because they easily wash away. Even advanced...

Briefs: Medical
New Technique Tests for Viral Infections

Currently, most U.S. medical offices and hospitals use the ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) test to determine whether or not a person has a viral infection. It’s a common test but ELISA’s sensitivity is relatively low, so clinicians need a fairly high number of antibodies in a person’s...

Nearly 70 percent of the energy produced in the United States each year is wasted as heat. Much of that heat is less than 100 °C and emanates from things like computers, cars, or...

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a new aircraft design with the engine nacelle over the wing, improving engine ground clearance and freeing landing gear design. While...

Microchannels fabricated into a silicon-Pyrex wafer with a diameter of 75 m and total channel length of 40, 60, 80, or 100 mm — characterized by specialized microbeads...

Briefs: Imaging
Face-Tracking Robot

A robot is being developed that tracks facial movements to perform human tasks. The robot resembles large, squiggly arms holding tiny cameras. Sitting in a rolling office chair across from one of the arms, the robot's...

There's an entire world our eyes miss, hidden in the ranges of light wavelengths that human eyes can't see. But infrared cameras can pick up this light emitted as...

Experimental photonic switches developed at UC Berkeley have shown promise toward the goal of fully optical, high-capacity switching for...

With the aim of bringing more human-like reasoning to autonomous vehicles, MIT researchers have created a system that uses only simple maps and visual data to enable driverless cars...

Scientists at the University of Sheffield have been working with HiPERCAM, a high-speed, multicolor camera, which is capable of taking more than 1,000 images per...

Briefs: Materials
Snake-Inspired Robot

Researchers have developed a new and improved snake-inspired soft robot that is faster and more precise than its predecessor.

In discussing fatigue life, it is important to distinguish between disc springs and conical spring washers, as they differ by design and intended usage. Conical spring washers are...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Ultra-Low-Power Chips Enhance Performance of Small Robots

An ultra-low-power hybrid chip inspired by the brain could help give palm-sized robots the ability to collaborate and learn from their experiences. Combined with new generations of...

A new learning system improves a robot’s ability to mold materials into target shapes and make predictions about interacting with solid objects and liquids. The system, known as a...

Briefs: Aerospace
Gear Bearings

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center developed gear bearing technology that combines gear and bearing functions into a single unit that significantly improves gear drives for electrical, internal combustion, and turbine motors. The...

Briefs: Test & Measurement
Monitor Babies in the NICU Without Wires

An interdisciplinary Northwestern University team has developed a pair of soft, flexible wireless sensors that replace the tangle of wire-based sensors that currently monitor babies in hospitals’...

Researchers at the University of California, Irvine have developed a wearable, disposable respiration monitor that provides high-fidelity readings on a...

The difficulty in spotting minute amounts of disease circulating in the bloodstream has proven a stumbling block in the detection and treatment of cancers that advance stealthily with few...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Diagnose Lithium Batteries

Batteries with metallic lithium anodes offer enhanced efficiency compared to conventional lithium-ion batteries because of their higher capacity. However, safety concerns and a short lifespan stand in the way. To...

Stretchable electronics, which can be stretched, deformed and wrapped onto nonplanar curved surfaces, have attracted much attraction due to their...

Simon Fraser University and Swiss researchers are developing an eco-friendly, 3D printable solution for producing wireless Internet-of-Things (IoT) sensors that can be...

Graphene Flagship partner ICFO, based in Barcelona, Spain is developing graphene-based prototypes that aim to turn mobile phones into life saving devices. The first of these will allow...

Anew electromyography biofeedback device that is wearable and connects to novel smartphone games may offer people with incomplete paraplegia a more affordable, self-controllable therapy to enhance...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Using Laser Metal Printing to Cool Computer Chips

Traditionally, electronics are cooled using a heat sink that transfers the heat generated by the electronic system into the air or a liquid coolant. For the heat sink to work, it has to be attached to the CPU or the graphics processor via a thermal interface material such as thermal paste. It...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Cryogenic Cam Butterfly Valve

Typical butterfly valves cannot seal at both ambient and cryogenic temperatures. At cryogenic temperatures, valves grow and shrink, changing critical dimensions such as distance between the disc and seat....

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Vascular Injury Shunt

Extremity vascular injury results in bleeding and lack of blood flow beyond the site of vessel disruption (ischemia). Priorities when this occurs include hemorrhage control, management of life-threatening injuries, and...

Light is widely used for communications, carrying phone conversations and video signals through fiber optic cables around the world in pulses composed of many photons. Single...

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