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
Active State Model for Autonomous Systems

The concept of the active state model (ASM) is an architecture for the development of advanced integrated fault-detection- and-isolation (FDI) systems for robotic land vehicles, pilotless aircraft,...

Briefs: Information Technology
Modernizing Fortran 77 Legacy Codes

The investment in established codes is preserved as modern capabilities are added.

An incremental approach to modernization of scientific software written in the Fortran 77 computing language has been developed. This approach makes it possible to preserve the investment in legacy Fortran software while...

Briefs: Materials
Improved Thermal-Insulation Systems for Low Temperatures

Improved thermal-insulation materials and structures and the techniques for manufacturing them are undergoing development for use in low-temperature applications. Examples of low-temperature equipment for which these thermal insulation systems could provide improved energy efficiency...

A relatively simple silanization process has been developed for waterproofing or rewaterproofing aerogels, xerogels, and aerogel/tile composites, and other, similar low-density, highly microporous...

Briefs: Materials
Oxide Protective Coats for Ir/Re Rocket Combustion Chambers

An improved material system has been developed for rocket engine combustion chambers for burning oxygen/hydrogen mixtures or novel monopropellants, which are highly oxidizing at operating temperatures. The baseline for developing the improved material system is a prior iridium/rhenium...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Neutral-Axis Springs for Thin-Wall Integral Boom Hinges

A document proposes the use of neutral-axis springs to augment the unfolding torques of hinges that are integral parts of thin-wall composite-material booms used to deploy scientific instruments from spacecraft. A spring according to the proposal would most likely be made of metal and could...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Shields for Enhanced Protection Against High-Speed Debris

A report describes improvements over the conventional Whipple shield (two thin, spaced aluminum walls) for protecting spacecraft against high-speed impacts of orbiting debris. The debris in question arise mainly from breakup of older spacecraft. The improved shields include exterior...

A device that enables the automated cutting and transfer of plant shoots is undergoing development for use in the propagation of plants in a nursery or laboratory. At present, it is...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Extension of Liouville Formalism to Postinstability Dynamics

A mathematical formalism has been developed for predicting the postinstability motions of a dynamic system governed by a system of nonlinear equations and subject to initial conditions. Previously, there was no general method for prediction and mathematical modeling of postinstability...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Scaling of Two-Phase Flows to Partial-Earth Gravity

A report presents a method of scaling, to partial-Earth gravity, of parameters that describe pressure drops and other characteristics of two-phase (liquid/ vapor) flows. The development of the method was prompted by the need for a means of designing two-phase flow systems to operate on the Moon...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Swarms of Micron-Sized Sensors

A paper presents the concept of swarms of micron-sized and smaller carriers of sensing equipment, denoted generally as controllable granular matter, to be used in exploring remote planets and interplanetary space. The design and manufacture of controllable granular matter would exploit advances in...

A three-dimensional (3D) Venturi sensor is being developed as a compact, rugged means of measuring wind vectors having magnitudes of as much as 300 mph (134 m/s). This sensor also...

A device that generates an alarm when the partial pressure of oxygen decreases to less than a preset level has been developed to help prevent hypoxia in a pilot or other crewmember of a...

Briefs: Software
Software for Managing Parametric Studies

The Information Power Grid Virtual Laboratory (ILab) is a Practical Extraction and Reporting Language (PERL) graphical-user-interface computer program that generates shell scripts to facilitate parametric studies performed on the Grid. ("The Grid" denotes a worldwide network of supercomputers used for...

Briefs: Software
Software Aids Visualization of Computed Unsteady Flow

Unsteady Flow Analysis Toolkit (UFAT) is a computer program that synthesizes motions of time-dependent flows represented by very large sets of data generated in computational fluid dynamics simulations. Prior to the development of UFAT, it was necessary to rely on static, single-snapshot...

Briefs: Software
Software for Testing Electroactive Structural Components

A computer program generates a graphical user interface that, in combination with its other features, facilitates the acquisition and preprocessing of experimental data on the strain response, hysteresis, and power consumption of a multilayer composite-material structural component...

Briefs: Software
Advanced Software for Analysis of High-Speed Rolling-Element Bearings

COBRA-AHS is a package of advanced software for analysis of rigid or flexible shaft systems supported by rolling-element bearings operating at high speeds under complex mechanical and thermal loads. These loads can include centrifugal and thermal loads generated by motions of...

Briefs: Software
Web Program for Development of GUIs for Cluster Computers

WIGLAF (a Web Interface Generator and Legacy Application Façade) is a computer program that provides a Webbased, distributed, graphical-user-interface (GUI) framework that can be adapted to any of a broad range of application programs, written in any programming language, that are...

Briefs: Software
XML-Based Generator of C++ Code for Integration With GUIs

An open source computer program has been developed to satisfy a need for simplified organization of structured input data for scientific simulation programs. Typically, such input data are parsed in from a flat American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) text file into...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Six Classes of Diffraction-Based Optoelectronic Instruments

Six classes of diffraction-based optoelectronic instruments have been invented as means for wavelength-based processing of light. One family of anticipated applications lies in scientific instrumentation for studying chemical and physical reactions that affect and/or are affected...

PC-based machine vision systems are becoming more powerful as the individual components that comprise them increase in performance. This has allowed for more complex algorithms to be...

An improved version of an optoelectronic apparatus for measuring distances of the order of tens of feet with an error no larger than a small fraction of an inch (a few millimeters) has...

The ability to detect the temperature differences of objects is vitally important to firefighters, who must often open doors that lead to fires and identify the seat and...

A proposed safety system would effect an inhibitory action when- ever a power tool was aimed in a direction outside a prescribed range of allowable directions. The power tool could be a...

The first step of pattern matching always includes a learning process. A “gold” master is used to create a template. This template is used for identification purposes on all...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Connecting to Thermocouples With Fewer Lead Wires

A simple technique has been devised to reduce the number of lead wires needed to connect an array of thermocouples to the instruments (e.g., voltmeters) used to read their output voltages....

Devices that look and function much like conventional zippers on clothing have been proposed as connectors for flexible electronic circuits. Heretofore, flexible electronic circuits have...

Novel architectures based on parallel subconvolution frequency-domain filtering methods have been developed for modular processing rate reduction of discrete-time pulse-shaping filters....

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
High-Fidelity Piezoelectric Audio Device

ModalMax is a very innovative means of harnessing the vibration of a piezoelectric actuator to produce an energy efficient low-profile device with high-bandwidth high-fidelity audio response. The...

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