Mechanical/​Mechatronics

Stay updated on advancements in mechanical components and mechatronics systems. New technologies in MEMs, fluid systems, and propulsion are driving breakthroughs in transportation, electrification, autonomous driving, and manufacturing.

White Papers : Robotics, Automation & Control
Understanding Aeration

Aeration may seem friendly in a cup of coffee or soda, but it's deadly for powertrain components. All forms of aeration (air bubbles, foam and dissolved air) are harmful, especially in the context of hydraulic and lubricating systems. Aeration is not a new phenomenon, but is a growing threat. Engine downsizing, higher...

Question of the Week : Energy
Will Carbon Fibers Find a New Place in Vehicles?

In a Tech Briefs article last week, Virginia Tech professor Greg Liu spoke about his team’s newly developed porous carbon fibers, and how the material may someday change how vehicles are built and powered.

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Graphene's Magic Is in the Defects

A team of researchers at the New York University Tandon School of Engineering and NYU Center for Neural Science has solved a longstanding puzzle of how to build ultra-sensitive, ultra-small, electrochemical...

Products : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
New Products: March 2019 Sensor Technology

Torque Measurement System

To address the demand for a more accurate, reliable, customizable, and easy-to-use force measurement device, Interface Force Measurement Systems (Scottsdale, AZ)...

Products : Photonics/Optics
New Products: March 2019 Photonics & Imaging Technology

Machine Vision Cameras

Vision Research (Wayne, NJ) has introduced the Phantom® S210 and S200, 2Gpx/sec (16 Gbps) machine vision cameras. The S210 reaches 1,730...

Application Briefs : Communications
Measuring Aging, Fat and Water Content in Meat Products Using Hyperspectral Imaging

The consumable component of muscle tissue in meat is approximately 75% water, 20% protein, 5% fat, carbohydrate, and minerals. The proportions vary depending...

Briefs : Transportation
Precision Low-Speed Motor Controller

Innovators at NASA Johnson Space Center have developed a method for controlling precise motion of a brushless DC (BLDC) motor using relatively inexpensive components. Precision motors are usually quite expensive and inefficient when operating at slow speeds. Current motors are only capable of operating at...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Flexible, Spinning Heat Shield for Spacecraft

Heat shields are essentially used as the brakes to stop spacecraft from burning up and crashing on entry and reentry into a planet's atmosphere. Current spacecraft heat shield methods include...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
High-Power Thermoelectric Generator

Objects in our daily lives, such as speakers, refrigerators, and even cars, are becoming “smarter” day by day as they connect to the Internet and exchange data, creating the Internet of Things (IoT)....

Products : Manufacturing & Prototyping
New on the Market: March 2019

Controller and Datalogger

Watlow, St. Louis, MO, introduced a batch processing feature for the F4T temperature and process controller and D4T datalogger. The new feature helps collect manufacturing part...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
MEMS Switch Extends Life of Cellphones

A new type of microelectromechanical system (MEMS) was developed that uses electrostatic levitation to provide a more robust system. All cellphones use MEMS switches for wireless communication, but traditionally there are just two electrodes. The switches open and close numerous times during just one hour,...

Articles : Electronics & Computers
The Heat Is On: A Guide to Specifying Insulation Materials

One of the first things an electrical engineer will learn is that the number-one enemy of designing and manufacturing any electrical/electronic product is heat. It's the one...

Briefs : Materials
System Selectively Sequesters Toxins from Water

Traditional methods, such as reverse osmosis, that remove contaminants from water are expensive and energy-intensive. Researchers have developed technology to remove contaminants from water,...

Briefs : Software
Sublimable Propellant Source for Iodine-Fed Ion Propulsion System

NASA Marshall has developed a system for generating iodine vapor from solid iodine for use as a propellant in a Hall or ion thruster propulsion system. Xenon has generally been the preferred propellant for these spacecraft ion propulsion systems but more recently, iodine-based...

Articles : Transportation
Create the Future Design Contest Alumni Achieve Market Success

The Create the Future Design Contest, launched in 2002 by the publishers of Tech Briefs magazine, helps stimulate and reward engineering innovation. The annual event has...

Briefs : Materials
Composite Advances Lignin as Renewable 3D Printing Material

Lignin is the material left over from the processing of biomass. It gives plants rigidity and also makes biomass resistant to being broken down into useful products. Researchers combined a melt-stable hardwood lignin with conventional plastic, a low-melting nylon, and carbon fiber to...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Nanoscale Pillars Act as Memory Foam

A customizable nanomaterial was developed that combines metallic strength with a foam-like ability to compress and spring back. The material can store and release mechanical energy on the nanoscale, and...

Articles : Electronics & Computers
Facility Focus: Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory

Since 1967, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) has been the United States’ premier particle physics laboratory, working on the world's most advanced particle accelerators...

Briefs : Medical
Computer-Controlled Exercise Equipment

While a wide variety of computer-controlled exercise machines for training and rehabilitation exist — some of which can be automatically adjusted to vary resistance or incline — such systems provide for preprogrammed changes in load or resistance. What is needed is a system that overcomes the...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
A Marriage of Light-Manipulation Technologies

Researchers have, for the first time, integrated two technologies widely used in applications such as optical communications, bio-imaging, and Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) systems. In the...

Briefs : Imaging
Researchers Combine Metalens With an Artificial Muscle

Inspired by the human eye, researchers at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have developed an adaptive metalens that is essentially a flat,...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
X-Ray Study of Low-Density Materials

It's hard to get an X-ray image of low-density material like tissue between bones because X-rays just pass right through like sunlight through a window. Sandia studies myriads of low-density materials,...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Optimal Computational Vision Pipeline (OCVP)

Optimal Computational Vision Pipeline (OCVP) software uses a novel algorithm that allows overlapping point clouds obtained from sensors with displaced position and orientation to be fused together in a common coordinate system with a rigorously linear solution for position and orientation parameters;...

Products : Software
Product of the Month: March 2019 Tech Briefs

Boothroyd Dewhurst, Wakefield, RI, announced Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DFMA®) 2019 software for analyzing parts and assemblies. DFMA utilizes a question-and-answer interface that...

Articles : Photonics/Optics
A New Route to High Sensitivity Pressure Sensors

Since their development in the 1950s, optical fibers have been used for power transmission, communication, imaging, and sensing. They are often used in situations where other sensing...

Application Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Driverless Forklifts

Although driverless forklifts have been around for about 30 years, it's only in the last 10 or so that they've been free to maneuver anywhere around their environment. In the early days, the machines followed a current...

Briefs : Lighting
Text Tech: Navy Vessels Use Shipboard Signal Lamps for Text Messaging

Sponsored by the Office of Naval Research's (ONR) TechSolutions program, the Flashing Light to Text Converter (FLTC) features a camera that can be mounted atop a signal...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
New Engine Optics to Fuel Future Research

An optical setup developed by researchers at Sandia's Combustion Research Facility and the Technical University of Denmark can now quantify the formation of soot — particulate matter consisting...

Briefs : Aerospace
Airborne Machine Learning Estimates for Local Winds and Kinematics

Future Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and air taxis will require advanced onboard autonomy to operate safely within complex and dynamic urban environments. Urban landscapes...

Briefs : Aerospace
Effects of Reynolds and Mach Numbers in Large Eddy Simulation of Supersonic Round Jets

Rockets/landers arrive on the Moon with supersonic speed and impact lunar regolith. There is no reliable software to computationally simulate in an effective way the supersonic plumes escaping from these rockets/devices. A Large Eddy Simulation (LES) model and...

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