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
Data Compression and Pattern Recognition Software for Hypersensor Data

Historically, there have been various approaches to problems relating to the detection of small, weak, or hidden objects, substances, or patterns embedded in complex backgrounds. One approach has been to use low-dimensional sensor systems that attempt to detect a clean...

Briefs : Medical
Portable Device for Rapid Detection of the Zika Virus

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) listed more than 5,000 cases of the Zika virus in the U.S. from January 2015 to February 2017. The vast majority of those cases were travelers returning from affected areas. Florida has the highest number of cases of the Zika virus at 1,069...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Controlling Soft Robots Using Magnetic Fields
Controlling Soft Robots Using Magnetic Fields

A fundamental advance in controlling soft robots involves using magnetic fields to remotely manipulate microparticle chains embedded in soft robotic devices. Several devices have been developed...

Controlling Soft Robots Using Magnetic Fields
Briefs : Software
Adjoint Error Estimation for Embedded-Boundary Cartesian Meshes for use with Cart3D

This technology provides means of estimating numerical errors in user-specified output functionals, such as lift or drag, for fluid flow simulations. The new method computes an improved estimate of the output (relative to the baseline simulation), an estimate of...

Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Evolving and Controlling Behaviors in a Computation-Free Robot Swarm

Flocks of birds, schools of fish, and colonies of ants exhibit a remarkable robustness and resilience, despite the limited capabilities of each individual. Recently, research into bio-inspired swarm robotics has been gaining popularity due to the low-cost, robust, redundant,...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Component Leak Test Apparatus
Component Leak Test Apparatus

A component leak test apparatus investigates the performance of fittings at low temperature and/or high pressure. Its performance was quantified by measuring the ability to hold cold pressurized gaseous helium...

Component Leak Test Apparatus
Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Semiconductor Blocks Heat Transfer and Preserves Conductivity
Semiconductor Blocks Heat Transfer and Preserves Conductivity

A collective rattling effect in a type of crystalline semiconductor was discovered to block most heat transfer while preserving high electrical conductivity — a rare pairing...

Semiconductor Blocks Heat Transfer and Preserves Conductivity
Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
High-Resolution, 3D Cell-Printing of Living Tissues

Printing high-resolution living tissues is difficult, as the cells often move within printed structures, and can collapse on themselves. A method of 3D-printing laboratory-grown cells to form living structures was developed that produces tissues in self-contained cells that support the...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Stress-Induced Nanofabrication

Currently, the synthesis of nanomaterials relies on special inter-particle chemical and physical reactions, which restricts their development. However, stress-induced nanofabrication can effectively render arrays of nanomaterials uniform in length, diameter, and density.

Briefs : Materials
Inorganic-Organic Hybrid Polymers for High-Temperature Applications

A new class of polymeric materials was developed with resistance to heat, dielectric breakdown, and oxidation at high temperatures. For applications that demand high temperature resistance coupled with greater strength, these polymers can be easily transformed into ceramics with...

Briefs : Motion Control
Vacuum System Powers Modular Soft Robot
Vacuum System Powers Modular Soft Robot

Researchers at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) have created the first functional robot powered entirely by vacuum. It is made of soft building blocks that move by having air sucked...

Vacuum System Powers Modular Soft Robot
Briefs : Motion Control
Soft Robotic Gripper Manipulates Objects Without Training
Soft Robotic Gripper Manipulates Objects Without Training

An engineering team at the University of California San Diego has designed and built a gripper that can pick up and manipulate objects without needing to see them and without being...

Soft Robotic Gripper Manipulates Objects Without Training
Briefs : Motion Control
Multi-Legged Robot Reconfigures in Real Time
Multi-Legged Robot Reconfigures in Real Time

Scientists at Disney Research have developed a modular, reconfigurable legged robot named Snapbot that can move forward, interact with its environment, and perform other tasks based on a number of...

Multi-Legged Robot Reconfigures in Real Time
Briefs : Motion Control
Paper-Folding Techniques Expand Compacted Spacecraft
Paper-Folding Techniques Expand Compacted Spacecraft

Origami has once again inspired engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Besides aesthetic beauty, the Japanese tradition of paper-folding addresses a persistent problem...

Paper-Folding Techniques Expand Compacted Spacecraft
Briefs : Motion Control
Webb Telescope Actuators Move with Microscopic Accuracy
Webb Telescope Actuators Move with Microscopic Accuracy

The James Webb Space Telescope will be the most powerful space telescope ever built. With a 21-foot diameter, the telescope’s primary mirror is six times larger than the one used by...

Webb Telescope Actuators Move with Microscopic Accuracy
Briefs : Imaging
Device-Free Motion Tracing Using WiFi Signals
Device-Free Motion Tracing Using WiFi Signals

Fine-grained human motion tracing — the ability to trace the trajectory of a moving human hand or leg, or even the whole body — is a general capability that is useful in a wide variety of...

Device-Free Motion Tracing Using WiFi Signals
Briefs : Materials
Rubber Material Enables Scratch-Proof Surfaces
Rubber Material Enables Scratch-Proof Surfaces

The slippery state caused by water or oil is called superlubricity — where there is basically no friction on a surface. In graphene, this superlubricity state comes from atomic orbitals that...

Rubber Material Enables Scratch-Proof Surfaces
Briefs : Communications
Zero-Power Radio Receiver

There are several different types of wireless radio frequency identification (RFID) tags that are truly zero-power radios. Currently, most unpowered wireless RFID tags only have a range of a few meters. There are longrange, low-powered tags that draw energy either from a battery or some other form of localized power. A...

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Ultrathin Semiconductor Materials “Rust” to Insulate Circuitry
Ultrathin Semiconductor Materials “Rust” to Insulate Circuitry

Silicon has several qualities that have led it to become the bedrock of electronics. One is that it features a very good “native” insulator — silicon dioxide, or...

Ultrathin Semiconductor Materials “Rust” to Insulate Circuitry
Briefs : Communications
System Integrates High-Speed Data and Wireless Power Transfer

Sources of wireless power — such as wireless cellphone charging pads — require near-physical contact with the pad, limiting the usefulness of a truly wireless power source. Recent work has extended wireless power to mid-range, which can supply power at inches to feet of...

Briefs : Imaging
Detector System for High-Resolution Imaging
Detector System for High-Resolution Imaging

A large-area detector without any dead space capable of handling a large dynamic range does not currently exist. Current large-area detectors have dead zones created by abutting several modules...

Detector System for High-Resolution Imaging
Briefs : Green Design & Manufacturing
KSC Weather Data Archive

The Spaceport Weather Data Archive provides a fully searchable database of weather data gathered at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) and the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Not only can the user easily retrieve data and download it, but the user can also view graphically the weather data on a map overlay. The data are...

Briefs : Green Design & Manufacturing
BOPPERS: Autonomous Underwater Environmental Monitoring System
BOPPERS: Autonomous Underwater Environmental Monitoring System

A device has been developed that is capable of relatively lengthy unattended operations and high sampling frequency of underwater environmental data anywhere in the world. The...

BOPPERS: Autonomous Underwater Environmental Monitoring System
Briefs : Imaging
Method for Tracking Moving Targets
Method for Tracking Moving Targets

Moving target indication (MTI) methodologies are essential tools to detect, locate, recognize, and track the moving targets of interest in a movie or video sequence. Different MTI methodologies can be...

Method for Tracking Moving Targets
Briefs : Communications
Tunable, High-Isolation RF/Microwave Circulator
Tunable, High-Isolation RF/Microwave Circulator

A new high-isolation RF circulator provides enhanced detection ranges (radar) and improved reception (communications) by reducing signal leakage and undesirable internal reflections between...

Tunable, High-Isolation RF/Microwave Circulator
Briefs : Imaging
Method Uses Drones and WiFi to Enable 3D Through-Wall Imaging
Method Uses Drones and WiFi to Enable 3D Through-Wall Imaging

WiFi signals are everywhere. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, or drones) are expected to become a larger part of everyday life. A new methodology was developed for high-resolution,...

Method Uses Drones and WiFi to Enable 3D Through-Wall Imaging
Briefs : Communications
Autonomous Positioning and Navigation Network
Autonomous Positioning and Navigation Network

Engineers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center have developed a machine-to-machine (M2M) network navigation protocol to enable spacecraft to perform autonomous navigation and positioning,...

Autonomous Positioning and Navigation Network
Briefs : Materials
Aluminum Alloy for High-Temperature Applications

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center originally developed a high-performance piston alloy to meet U.S. legislative restrictions on vehicular exhaust hydrocarbon emissions. NASA 398 aluminum alloy exhibits excellent tensile and fatigue strength at elevated temperatures. NASA 398 alloy also offers...

Briefs : Materials
Strong, Self-Healing Rubber
Strong, Self-Healing Rubber

Self-healing hydrogels rely on water to incorporate reversible bonds that can promote healing. Engineering self-healing properties in dry materials, such as rubber, has proven more challenging because rubber is...

Strong, Self-Healing Rubber
Briefs : Green Design & Manufacturing
Electromagnetic Mop (EMop) for Oil Spill Cleanup

The spillage of oil into the environment is an ongoing concern. Marine oil spills draw much attention because the oil harms marine animals and floral life. Current methods to aid in cleaning up the oil include containment booms, oil skimmers, and dispersants. Chemical dispersants are a tradeoff...

Webcasts

On-Demand Webinars: Robotics, Automation & Control

Collaborative Robot Applications in the Automotive Industry

Upcoming Webinars: Aerospace

Update on Civil Certification of Multicore Processing Systems in...

Upcoming Webinars: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Metal 3D Printing

On-Demand Webinars: Materials

Enhance Product Design and Dependability with Advanced Coating Technologies

On-Demand Webinars: Green Design & Manufacturing

Rapid, Selective Volatile Emissions Testing for Vehicles and Components

On-Demand Webinars: Medical

New Developments in Catheter Shaft Components – Part 2