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: Robotics, Automation & Control
Swivel-Head Sampling Drill Bit

A swivel-head drill bit has been invented for use in acquiring a sample of a possibly hard material at a predetermined depth. This mechanism is a simpler and thus potentially cheaper alternative to deep-coring...

The figure illustrates an apparatus for inducing an electric current in an electrically conductive object or layer of material and measuring the magnetic field generated by the current...

An application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) has been developed as a prototype of neuroprocessors for real-time diagnosis and control of automotive engines. The application of...

Briefs: Materials
Progress in Texturing by Use of Monatomic Oxygen

A report presents findings from recent research on the use of monatomic oxygen to form microscopic textures on the surfaces of polymers and extends the concept to some forms of carbon. Earlier developments in this field were described in two articles in NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 20, No. 11 (November...

The figure illustrates a silicon micromachined accelerometer currently under development that is designed specifically for seismologic applications. The device is designed for a sensitivity of...

Briefs: Software
Program Computes Equilibrium Compositions of Mixtures

The Chemical Equilibrium with Applications (CEA) computer program is used to obtain chemical-equilibrium compositions of complex mixtures. This program can be applied to a wide variety of problems in chemistry and chemical engineering. Specifically, CEA is applicable to the following kinds of...

An important nondestructive evaluation (NDE) measurement technique is to record the vibration-mode spectrum of a material part or structure, excited by a random or...

Latching devices have been developed to provide electrical connections, secure mechanical and thermal connections, and optical alignment for mounting electronically controlled...

Window assemblies (see figure) have been developed to satisfy special requirements pertaining to ease of replacement, alignment, sealing, and resistance to vibration in a spaceborne...

A procedure for determining the location of an instrumentation platform on natural terrain is based on a concept of maximum-likelihood matching of two range maps: (1) a local range...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Development of Circuitry for Wristband Radio Transponders

A document proposes the development of several alternative types of electronic circuits for wristband transponders for the system described in "Person-Locator System Based on Wristband Radio Transponders" (NPO-19280) NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 19, No. 12 (December 1995), page 40. To...

Single crystals of benzil, benzil aniline, and salicylidene-aniline have been successfully grown using a modified...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Active-Pixel Sensors With "Winner-Take-All" Mode

Circuits to generate the intensity reading and the coordinates of the brightest pixel in each image would be added to imaging photodetector arrays of the active-pixel-sensor (APS) type,...

A program to demonstrate the feasibility of GaAs-based Kₐ-band power amplifiers has generated a number of technological advances. The goals of the program included (1) capability of...

The figure shows a complementary metal oxide/semiconductor (CMOS) integrated circuit that contains all of the electronic circuitry of a programmable active-pixel-sensor digital camera....

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Sorption Compressor for Collecting Atmospheric CO₂ on Mars

A report describes a small, lightweight sorption compressor that is now undergoing development for use in collecting CO2 from the atmosphere on Mars. This compressor would be part of a system that would use the CO2 to generate oxygen and a carbon-based fuel for a...

Circuits to generate analog or digital representations of the coordinates of the centers of mass of images would be added to imaging photodetector arrays of the active-pixel-sensor...

The Production Support Flight Control Computers (PSFCCs) are flight-control computers that are being developed by NASA in conjunction with the United States Navy. These computers...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Microfabricated Ice Sensors

Microfabricated, silicon-based capacitive actuator/sensor devices have been developed as prototypes of compact, low-power transducers that would be used to detect the presence (and perhaps eventually measure the...

A new process and equipment have been developed for reducing the emissions of hazardous nitrogen oxides (NOx), and eliminating a hazardous waste stream. In this process, a...

Vacuum plasma spraying (VPS) has been demonstrated to be an effective technique for the fabrication of refractory-metal components of solar-thermal engines. Heretofore, such...

A developmental electronic system that includes Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers is designed to track the relative position and velocity to two airplanes in real time. In...

A concept for optimizing the designs of two-wavelength GaAs-based quantum-well infrared photodetectors (QWIPs) could make it practical to use focal-plane arrays of QWIPs as image sensors...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Vacuum Three-Ball Tribometer for Testing Liquid Lubricants

A three-ball tribometer has been developed for use in evaluating the performances of oils and greases as lubricants in a vacuum at room temperature. This apparatus differs from the...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Methanol-Fuel-Cell Biplate Improved for Removal of Water

An improved design for a biplate in a methanol fuel cell provides increased efficiency in the removal of water, relative to older designs. For reasons explained below, this design both improves the performance of the fuel cell and increases the overall energy efficiency of the...

Briefs: Physical Sciences
Study of DLS Monitoring of the Growth of Protein Crystals

A report describes an experimental study of whether an advanced fiber-optic dynamic-light-scattering (DLS) probe affords a capability for noncontact detection of particles of various sizes associated with the stages of growth of protein crystals in automated hanging-drop protein-growth...

Modules of electronic circuitry that perform the amplitude- and phase-control and the status-monitoring functions for eight-element (2 ×4) subarrays of K-band phased-array antennas...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Penetrator Projectile Tolerates Some Misalignment

A two-body design has enabled an instrumented penetrator projectile to function with increased tolerance to initial misalignment among (a) the longitudinal axis of the penetrator, (b) the...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Mars Lander

A brief report presents drawings for the conceptual design of a spacecraft that would land on Mars or another remote planet. The spacecraft would have a tetrahedral shape, would include airbags to cushion impact, and would have a self-righting capability. The drawings show the general appearance of the spacecraft and show the...

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