NASA Tech Needs

Near-Field UHF RFID Systems

A company seeks a near-field ultra-high-frequency (UHF) RFID system solution that can communicate in near-field while keeping the field region localized so that far-field talks can be suppressed. A new near-field UHF RFID reader antenna is sought that has strong magnetic near-field, but small far-field gain and beam width. The antenna size should be as small as possible. A second option would be a UHF solution with assisting devices that could guarantee a localized read field. The tags in the interesting field could be read reliably without field nulls. The cross-reading for the tags outside the interesting field could be avoided.

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Technology for Drilling/Cutting/Separating Materials

A company seeks alternative methods for sawing, drilling, boring, cutting, or otherwise separating materials such as wood, metal, and composites. When compared to conventional sawing, drilling, boring, or other cutting methods, the new method should be faster and easier; provide a cleaner cut in terms of smooth wall or bore and in chips, dust, or contamination of the work area; offer a longer tool life; minimize noise level; require low physical force during operation; be safe for use in an open environment; and reduce dependence on traditional power tools used in the workplace.

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Developing a Commercial Nanoionics Switch for RF Applications

The Antenna and Optical Systems Branch at NASA’s Glenn Research Center is working on many innovations in nanotechnology for use in communications applications. One such emerging field of nanotechnology receiving significant attention for its promising results is nanoionics. Nanoionics-based technologies employ ion transport and chemical change at the nanoscale, using oxidation/reduction reactions of ionic metal species in order to build conductive bridge contacts. These mechanisms can serve as the basis for many nanoscale devices and can help overcome some of the challenges inherent in microelectro-mechanical systems (MEMS)-based and solid-state-based devices for radio frequency (RF) applications.

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One-Handed Ergonomic Approach to Pliers/Cutters

A company seeks a new generation of precise, ergonomic pliers that virtually eliminates the effort that causes hand fatigue. Ideally, it would require the exertion of zero force to cut through Romex, strapping, or staples. The tool must provide one-handed operation and conform to a variety of grips a worker may use. It is preferable that the device use mechanical advantage rather than power, although self-contained power assist is acceptable. A battery pack or compressed air connection will not work.

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Low-Friction Surface for Ready-to-Use Catheter

A company seeks a low-friction surface for ready-to-use intermittent catheters for both men and women, with the goal of achieving insertion and retraction without causing any trauma or perception of trauma. The low-friction surface must operate during insertion, while the catheter is in place, and during removal. Balance between kink-resistance and flexibility is important, and the ability to insert the catheter without touching it would be ideal. It must offer 3-5 years of shelf life at ambient temperatures, and use biocompatible materlals.

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Purge Monitoring Technology for Gaseous Helium (GHe) Conservation

John C. Stennis Space Center provides rocket engine propulsion testing for the NASA space programs. Since the development of the Space Shuttle, every Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME) has gone through acceptance testing before going to Kennedy Space Center for integration into the Space Shuttle. The SSME is a large cryogenic rocket engine that uses Liquid Oxygen (LO2) and Liquid Hydrogen (LH2) as propellants. Due to the extremely cold cryogenic conditions of this environment, an inert gas, helium, is used as a purge for the engine and propellant lines since it can be used without freezing in the cryogenic environment.

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Improving Thermoplastic Performance Using Additives and Reinforcers

A company seeks to improve the performance properties of polyolefins, polyethylenes, and thermoplastics. Additives, ingredients, fillers, modifiers, agents, and other methods are all of interest. Properties of interest include lighter weight, higer modulus, increased tensile strength, improved impact and heat resistance, decreased density, minimal shrinkage, improved surface finish and appearance, and improved scratch resistance, surface hardness, and stiffness.

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