SansEC: Electrical Sensors with No Electrical Connections


SansEC is a NASA-developed wireless sensor technology that is damage tolerant and requires no electrical connections. Unlike other sensors, a SansEC sensor can be designed for measurements unrelated to each other - like temperature and fluid level - and easily switch from one to another or do both simultaneously.

The sensor is able to make measurements from a distance such that a 100 milliwatt signal at 30 feet distance still generates an excellent sensor response with signal/noise greater than 30 db. The SansEC open-circuit sensor has no conventional electrical connections making it highly resilient to damage. It operates as a single component and weighs less than its closed-circuit counterparts but can be manufactured at a lower cost. It uses fewer materials, requires less time and labor, produces less waste, and has a wide range of commercial applications.

SansEC measures physical properties of materials and/or structures without any physical contact between the sensor and the object or between the sensor and the electronic transponder. NASA scientists originally developed SansEC as a method of having thermal insulation serve as a damage detection system for inflatable space structures. R&D Magazine selected SansEC as one of the 100 most innovative ideas in 2008.


Kenneth Dudley
Electromagnetics and Sensors Branch
NASA Langley Research Center

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