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: Photonics/Optics
Improved Optical Fallout Monitor

Modifications have been made to upgrade the system described in "Optoelectronic Particle-Fallout Sensor" (KSC-11687), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 19, No. 4 (April 1995), page 17a. A description of the unmodified version of the system is necessary to place a description of the modifications in context:

In a proposed method for rapidly detecting hydrazine in air at concentrations at or above 10 parts per billion by volume (ppbv), tunable diode lasers (TDLs) and photodetectors would be...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
An Electro-Optical Frequency Shifter

A proposed electro-optical apparatus would shift the frequency of a laser beam by a controllable amount within the range of about ±10 GHz. It would be a wide-band alternative to an acousto-optical...

Plasma spraying has been shown to be an effective means of depositing thin films of various oxides for use as wavelength-selective emitters for thermophotovoltaic devices (see Figure...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Atmospheric Electron X-Ray Spectrometer

The Atmospheric Electron X-ray Spectrometer (AEXS) is being developed for performing rapid, nondestructive in situ analyses of the elemental composition of surfaces. The capability of the AEXS to...

A class of developmental asymmetric electrochemical capacitors is based on (1) nonpolarizing positive electrode made of nanotructured γ-MnO2, (2) aqueous electrolyte ,...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Adaptive Camouflage

Lightweight optoelectronic systems built around advanced image sensors and display panels have been proposed for making selected objects appear nearly transparent and thus effectively invisible. These systems are denoted...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Microstrip Patch Rectenna With High Output Voltage

A prototype dual-polarization microstrip patch rectenna dimensioned for an operating frequency of 8.51 GHz has been built to demonstrate a design concept for obtaining maximum output voltage from a rectenna of a given size. This rectenna contains nine square microstrip patch antenna elements in...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Moving Chair for Virtual Reality

An apparatus called a "personal motion platform" (PMP) is undergoing development for use in adding the sensations of motion to computer-controlled simulated environments of the type now popularly known as...

Briefs: Information Technology
Program for Viewing Remotely Generated Summary Data

The Beacon Visualization (BeaVis) computer program provides a ground-based computing environment for displaying, tracking, storing, and maneuvering through telemetric data streams that contain summaries of engineering data generated aboard a spacecraft. BeaVis can also serve as a...

Briefs: Information Technology
Numerical Speed of Sound

The numerical speed of sound is a variable that is used in the numerical solution of flows from low to high speeds. The numerical speed of sound is an effective speed of sound associated with Mach numbers used in...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Locally Connected Neural Networks for Pattern Recognition

Neural networks of a proposed type would be formed with computational units called "neuromorphs" attached in a locally connected array. These neural networks would achieve pattern recognition invariant under rotation and translation by exploiting a combination of network symmetry and...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Cross-Correlated Trellis-Coded Quadrature Modulation

Cross-correlated trellis-coded quadrature modulation (XTCQM) has been proposed as a generic scheme with specific embodiments that potentially offer superior alternatives to other highly power- and bandwidth-efficient phase-shift-keying (PSK) modulation schemes. Examples of such schemes include...

Briefs: Test & Measurement
Thrust Stand Measures Thrusts of

The development of miniature, cold- gas thrusters for on-orbit propulsion of such small devices as remotely piloted cameras and for inclusion in astronaut propulsion backpacks gave rise to a need to measure...

Briefs: Test & Measurement
Software for Designing Model Rockets for Base-Heating Tests

The Impulse Combustion Excel (ICE) computer program was developed to facilitate and accelerate the design and analysis of subscale rocket engines for use in base-heating tests. Such tests are performed on the ground to obtain data for estimating the heating effects of hot exhaust plumes...

Briefs: Software
Software for Analysis of Contamination of the ISS

The NASAN computer program can perform detailed analyses of molecular column density and molecular deposition on and around such complex space structures as the International Space Station (ISS). Contamination from both point sources (e.g., thrusters and vents) and diffuse sources (e.g.,...

A program of research and development is addressing the feasibility of using magnetoplasmadynamic (MPD) sources in the chemical vapor deposition (CVD) of synthetic diamond films. Because of...

Briefs: Materials
Oxygen Batteries Based on a Solid Polymer Electrolyte

Scientists have developed a derivative of the lithium-ion cell that could prove useful in spaceflight and commercial applications in which it is planned to use oxygen batteries based on solid polymer electrolytes. This derivative cell, which contains a solid polymer electrolyte and an oxygen...

Submillimeter-sized, transparent, solid, truncated spheres and ellipsoids for use as optical resonators in integrated microphotonic devices would be made by microfabrication...

A methodology of computer-aided planning has been developed to (1) accelerate the generation of plans for activities within complex systems of personnel and equipment; (2) increase...

Briefs: Information Technology
Electronic Time-Card System

A computer-based automated system has been developed to replace a cumbersome and error-prone paper-based system for recording employees' work times. The automated system minimizes the consumption of paper and eliminates the need for weekly pick-up and delivery of time sheets throughout the Kennedy Space Center. The...

An improved stretching device has been developed for use in research on the effects of unidirectional loading on human and animal cells. The device is capable of applying or removing a load (a...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Gap Welding Preforms

Small, temporary, disposable inserts, called "gap welding preforms," have been proposed for use in attaching electrically conductive ribbons to radio-frequency (RF) electronic circuits. As explained below, the use of gap...

Figure 1 schematically illustrates a laboratory apparatus that provides quantitative information on the density and on the rate of increase (or decrease) of density at which bacteria...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Software To Detect Malfunctions in Anesthesia Equipment

To reduce response times and save lives in operating rooms, community trauma centers, and remote combat care facilities, a team of scientists working on behalf of Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center (JSC) has developed an artificial-intelligence alarm-management software system that detects...

A compact, lightweight, device makes it possible to assess the effects of antibiotics on bacteria. The device safely contains the antibiotic/bacteria mixtures, and its operation...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Two-Dimensional Active-Pixel Spectral Lidar

Two-dimensional active-pixel-spectral lidar (TAPSL) is a proposed remote-sensing technique for obtaining spatially, spectrally, and temporally resolved information about terrain or other targets....

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Heterodyne Doppler Lidar Using Pseudonoise Code

A low-power, miniature Doppler lidar instrument is being developed for use in measuring opacity (from dust) and wind profiles in the Martian atmosphere. The instrument could also be used on Earth to measure turbulence in the atmospheric boundary layer, for assessments of urban and regional air...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Improved Temperature-Compensating Microwave Attenuators

Improved passive temperature-compensating attenuators have been developed for use in processing radio signals at frequencies up to about 18 GHz. In general, temperature-compensating circuits and devices are needed to minimize (preferably, to eliminate) undesired temperature dependences of...

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