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 : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Microrobots Activated by Laser Pulses for Treating Tumors
Microrobots Activated by Laser Pulses for Treating Tumors

Microrobots that can deliver drugs to specific spots inside the body while being monitored and controlled from outside the body have been developed that also can treat tumors in the...

Microrobots Activated by Laser Pulses for Treating Tumors
Briefs : Data Acquisition
Laser-Pointing System Transmits Data from Tiny Satellites
Laser-Pointing System Transmits Data from Tiny Satellites

Since 1998, almost 2,000 shoebox-sized satellites known as CubeSats have been launched into space. Due to their small frame and the fact that they can be made from off-the-shelf...

Laser-Pointing System Transmits Data from Tiny Satellites
Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
3D-Printed Soft Mesh Robots
3D-Printed Soft Mesh Robots

Researchers have created 3D-printed flexible mesh structures that can be controlled with applied magnetic fields while floating on water. The structures can grab small objects and carry water droplets, giving them...

3D-Printed Soft Mesh Robots
Briefs : RF & Microwave Electronics
Compact Antenna Enables Communication Where Radios Fail
Compact Antenna Enables Communication Where Radios Fail

A pocket-sized antenna was developed that could enable mobile communication in situations where conventional radios don’t work such as underwater, through the ground, and over very...

Compact Antenna Enables Communication Where Radios Fail
Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Robot “Eye” Provides 360° Field of View
Robot “Eye” Provides 360° Field of View

The production of precision products depends on robot control systems knowing the location of the adhesive bonding head or welding head to the nearest millimeter at all times. This means the robot...

Robot “Eye” Provides 360° Field of View
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Optical Distance Measurement at Record-High Speed
Optical Distance Measurement at Record-High Speed

Scientists of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and École Poly-technique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) have reported that they achieved the fastest distance measurement attained so...

Optical Distance Measurement at Record-High Speed
Briefs : Imaging
Calibration Method Improves Scientific Research Performed with Smartphone Cameras
Calibration Method Improves Scientific Research Performed with Smartphone Cameras

Although smartphones and other consumer cameras are increasingly used for scientific applications, it's difficult to compare and combine data from different...

Calibration Method Improves Scientific Research Performed with Smartphone Cameras
Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Spotting Objects Amid Clutter
Spotting Objects Amid Clutter

A new MIT-developed technique enables robots to quickly identify objects hidden in a three-dimensional cloud of data, reminiscent of how some people can make sense of a densely patterned “Magic Eye” image if...

Spotting Objects Amid Clutter
Briefs : Imaging
New Imaging Method Aids in Water Decontamination
New Imaging Method Aids in Water Decontamination

A breakthrough imaging technique developed by Cornell researchers shows promise in decontaminating water by yielding surprising and important information about catalyst particles that can't be...

New Imaging Method Aids in Water Decontamination
Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
New Sensor Could Shake Up Earthquake Response Efforts
New Sensor Could Shake Up Earthquake Response Efforts
Berkeley Lab technology could reduce time needed to declare buildings affected by earthquakes safe and sound.
New Sensor Could Shake Up Earthquake Response Efforts
Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Taking a City’s Pulse with Moveable Sensors
Taking a City’s Pulse with Moveable Sensors
Suppose you have 10 taxis in Manhattan. What portion of the borough’s streets do they cover in a typical day?
Taking a City’s Pulse with Moveable Sensors
Briefs : Materials
New Piston Design Features Soft, Flexible Materials
New Piston Design Features Soft, Flexible Materials

Conventional pistons are made of a rigid chamber and a piston inside that can slide along the chamber’s inner wall while at the same time maintaining a tight seal. As a result, the piston...

New Piston Design Features Soft, Flexible Materials
Briefs : Motion Control
Sensor-Packed Glove Learns Signatures of the Human Grasp
Sensor-Packed Glove Learns Signatures of the Human Grasp

Wearing a sensor-packed glove while handling a variety of objects, researchers compiled a dataset that enables an AI system to recognize objects through touch alone. The information...

Sensor-Packed Glove Learns Signatures of the Human Grasp
Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Hybrid Robot Flies, Creeps, and Leaps Off Buildings
Hybrid Robot Flies, Creeps, and Leaps Off Buildings

There is great potential in using both drones and ground-based robots for situations like disaster response, but generally these platforms either fly or creep along the ground. The flying...

Hybrid Robot Flies, Creeps, and Leaps Off Buildings
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Tiny Device Speeds up Memory While Saving Power
Tiny Device Speeds up Memory While Saving Power

Smart objects are required to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power. Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that...

Tiny Device Speeds up Memory While Saving Power
Briefs : Photonics/Optics
Double-Sided Si(Ge)/Sapphire/III-Nitride Hybrid Structures
Double-Sided Si(Ge)/Sapphire/III-Nitride Hybrid Structures

NASA Langley Research Center has developed a double-sided Si(Ge)/ Sapphire/III-Nitride hybrid structure. This technology uses both sides of a sapphire wafer to build device...

Double-Sided Si(Ge)/Sapphire/III-Nitride Hybrid Structures
Briefs : Imaging
Full-Color Holograms Can Be Viewed With Low Light
Full-Color Holograms Can Be Viewed With Low Light

Researchers have created inexpensive, full-color, 2D and 3D holograms that are more realistic and brighter, and can be viewed at wider angles than current holograms.

Full-Color Holograms Can Be Viewed With Low Light
Briefs : Imaging
Decoding Multiple Frames from a Single, Scattered Exposure
Decoding Multiple Frames from a Single, Scattered Exposure

When light gets scattered as it passes through a translucent material, the emerging pattern of “speckle” looks as random as static on a television screen with no signal. But it...

Decoding Multiple Frames from a Single, Scattered Exposure
Briefs : Energy
Technique Identifies Electricity-Producing Bacteria
Technique Identifies Electricity-Producing Bacteria

Certain species of bacteria that exist in oxygen-deprived environments must find a way to breathe that doesn't involve oxygen. These microbes — which can be found deep within mines, at...

Technique Identifies Electricity-Producing Bacteria
Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Visualizing Motion of Water Molecules for Liquid-Based Electronics

A high-resolution inelastic x-ray scattering technique was used to measure the strong bond involving a hydrogen atom sandwiched between two oxygen atoms. This hydrogen bond is a quantum-mechanical phenomenon responsible for various properties of water, including viscosity, that...

Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Cryogenic Hydraulically Actuated Isolation Valve

Researchers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center have developed a cryogenic isolation valve that utilizes the upstream line pressure of cryogenic fluids for actuation. Previously, the use of cryogenic fluids for actuation systems had been too difficult to control and resulted in unsafe operating...

Briefs : Aerospace
Nitinol-Actuated, Normally Open Valve Assembly (NOVA)

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center has developed the NOVA zero-leak, permanent isolation valve that helps prevent leaks in space propulsion systems with operating pressures less than or equal to 500 psia. The actuator is made from nitinol, a heat-activated, non-explosive, shape memory alloy and...

Briefs : Wearables
Organic Semiconductor Thin-Film Sensors Detect Disease Markers in Breath
Organic Semiconductor Thin-Film Sensors Detect Disease Markers in Breath

Organic semiconductors (OSCs) have emerged as a new class of electronic materials promising a wide range of applications including organic field-effect transistors...

Organic Semiconductor Thin-Film Sensors Detect Disease Markers in Breath
Briefs : Medical
Technique for 3D-Printing of Replacement Organs
Technique for 3D-Printing of Replacement Organs

Bioengineers have cleared a major hurdle on the path to 3D-printing replacement organs with a new technique for bioprinting tissues. It allows scientists to create entangled vascular networks...

Technique for 3D-Printing of Replacement Organs
Briefs : Energy
Combustion Gas Heat Exchanger
Combustion Gas Heat Exchanger

Two very challenging problems facing the U.S. and the world are energy security and global climate change, largely due to dependence on fossil fuels. Cost-effective technologies have been developed that are...

Combustion Gas Heat Exchanger
Briefs : Nanotechnology
Tuning Material Color and Thermal Properties Separately
Tuning Material Color and Thermal Properties Separately

The color of a material can often tell how it handles heat. With clothing, for example, the darker the pigment, the warmer you're likely to feel on a hot day. Likewise, the more...

Tuning Material Color and Thermal Properties Separately
Briefs : Nanotechnology
High-Temperature Dielectric Nanocomposite

A nanocomposite was developed that could be a superior high-temperature dielectric material for flexible electronics, energy storage, and electric devices. The nanocomposite combines one-dimensional polymer nanofibers and two-dimensional boron nitride nano-sheets. The nanofibers reinforce the...

Briefs : Defense
Endovascular Variable Aortic Control Catheter
Endovascular Variable Aortic Control Catheter

The Air Force has developed improved devices for hemostatic management of patients with life-threatening blood loss from an arterial wound or surgery. Current aortic occlusion devices...

Endovascular Variable Aortic Control Catheter
Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
System Provides “Electric Eyesight” for Autonomous Vehicles
System Provides “Electric Eyesight” for Autonomous Vehicles

Autonomous vehicles relying on light-based image sensors often struggle to see through blinding conditions such as fog. Sub-terahertz wavelengths, which are between microwave...

System Provides “Electric Eyesight” for Autonomous Vehicles
Briefs : Automotive
Technique Makes Objects Invisible to Image Detection Systems
Technique Makes Objects Invisible to Image Detection Systems

Adversarial techniques were developed that can make objects “invisible” to image detection systems that use deep-learning algorithms. These techniques can also trick systems...

Technique Makes Objects Invisible to Image Detection Systems