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.

Application Briefs: Transportation
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...

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...

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...

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: Propulsion
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...

Special Reports: Transportation
Connected Commercial Vehicles - March 2019

Trucks and other commercial vehicles are becoming smarter and more connected, moving rapidly on the road to autonomy. To help you keep pace with the latest developments, we present this compendium...

The technological ramp to fully autonomous vehicles presents significant challenges for companies developing autonomous vehicle programs. Advanced sensor technology, high-speed and...

Briefs: Communications
Interoperable Intelligent Controllers for Process Management and Control Networks

NASA Johnson Space Center developed reprogrammable and interchangeable electronic controllers that can attach to a system or subsystem wirelessly or through plug-and-play capability. Originally designed to work with rocket engines, this technology can control...

Briefs: Propulsion
Green Electric Monopropellant (GEM)-Fueled Pulsed Plasma Thruster

NASA required a rocket thruster able to produce a number of pulses at high specific impulse at a relatively low voltage (~300 to 400V). The key problem was that existing propellants for liquid-fueled pulsed plasma thrusters (LPPTs) required high voltages to ablate and accelerate...

Articles: Sensors/Data Acquisition
SAE WCX: Bringing You the Future of Mobility

WCX™ World Congress Experience 2019 — presented by SAE International — is for forward-thinking engineers, executives, OEMs, suppliers, decision-makers, disruptors, and the entire spectrum of...

Briefs: Aerospace
Real-Time, Fuel-Optimal, Powered Descent Guidance Using Interpolated Time-of-Flight and Propellant Mass

Soft landing using rockets requires a trajectory to be planned for the lander from rocket ignition — typically several kilometers in altitude and moving at up to 200 m/s — to the point near the surface with near-zero velocity. The exact...

Briefs: Software
Small-Body Dynamics Toolkit Version 5.0

The Small-Body Dynamics Toolkit (SBDT) v5.0 is a collection of primitive-body-specific trajectory design and analysis tools written in MATLAB®. The SBDT gives the user the capabilities to propagate, analyze, and visualize spacecraft trajectories and the dynamical environment near realistic asteroid,...

Briefs: Energy
Fuel Cell/Fuel Cell Hybrid System

Fuel cells can deliver clean, reliable, and uninterrupted power nearly 100 percent of the time. Fuel cells offer the advantage of efficiency by converting chemical energy directly to electricity. They have no moving parts, thereby eliminating failures associated with pumps, blowers, heat exchangers, and other...

With self-driving vehicles poised to take the road, how can today’s engineers prepare themselves to support an autonomous future?
Tesla uses batteries to store energy underneath the car seats. What if we could store energy everywhere on the vehicle?
Question of the Week: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Will ‘Developable Mechanisms’ Solve Complex Tasks?

Brigham Young University engineers have created "developable mechanisms" that they hope to use in components like surgical instruments, adjustable airplane wings, robotic arms, or vehicle cylinders. Watch the demo on Tech Briefs TV, to see how the flat shapes can be converted into 3D...

How do you regulate a system that, in effect, is learning as it goes?
Question of the Week: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Would You Use Wearables to Monitor Your UV Exposure?

Our February issue of Tech Briefs highlights a technology called My Skin Track UV. The 12 x 6 mm wearable sensor can be attached to clothing or accessories to detect sunburn and overexposure to ultraviolet light.

Even a shape-morphing plane is possible, says Harvard's Ehsan Hajiesmaili.
Products: Semiconductors & ICs
New on the Market: February 2019
Nozzles

The Lee Company, Westbrook, CT, offers single- and multi-orifice lube nozzles in a variety of configurations. The nozzles may include HI-BAR® safety screens for additional...

Existing optics mounts sandwich the optic axially between two metal components, which can lead to optical surface damage and misalignment when exposed to fluctuating temperatures. Thermal-compensating...

Liquid droplets are used in many applications, from printing ink on paper to creating microcapsules for drug delivery. Inkjet printing is the most common technique used...

RTM370 imide resin was developed to address the limitations of conventional imide resins, which are generated from commercially available symmetrical biphenyl...

Jet engines can have up to 25,000 individual parts, making regular maintenance a tedious task that can take more than a month per engine. Many components are located deep...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Foot Pedal Controller

A novel foot-pedal-operated system and device were developed to control translational and rotational movement of an object in three-dimensional (3D) space. The Foot Pedal Controller system enables operators to control...

Products: Sensors/Data Acquisition
New Products: February 2019 Motion Design
Motor Control Integrated Circuit

Microsemi Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of Microchip Technology (Aliso Viejo, CA), announced the LX7720 radiation-tolerant motor control integrated...

Different types of motion encountered in dynamic environments require designers to specify connectors for boards, wiring, and devices that can meet significant g-forces,...

Application Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Robots Bring Airplane Production Up to Speed

Robots are helping a European airplane manufacturer cut into an eight-year backlog of orders for one of its most popular aircraft.

Integrating lead screws with stepper motors is a simple and cost-effective method for getting precise linear motion. But achieving that precision requires...

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