Features

Extended-Wear Patches for Skin Hydration

Moisturizers and active ingredients must be held against human skin in a patch format. To enhance uptake, a new material needs to be designed for extended wear from 1-10 hours. Comfort and physical flexibility are two chief requirements. Ideally, the patch will also reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Proposed materials must cover large or small areas of skin, and conform to the shapes of those areas. Possible solution areas include natural and synthetic yarns or materials, wovens and nonwovens, and extruded or film materials. The materials may be held against the skin by a suitable adhesive.

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Monitoring Battery Health in Solar-Charged Systems

In solar-powered, battery-run systems, each unit’s battery stores electricity generated by the solar panel during the day and provides electricity to a load when required. The systems currently are networked, but no method is in place to determine or report battery health. A client seeks ways to pre-emptively warn the customer when a battery is about to reach the end of its useful life. Possible solution areas include algorithmic technologies based on time-varying voltage, current, and other metrics during charge/discharge cycles.

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Sterility Verification of a Flowing Liquid

A client seeks a device capable of detecting contamination in a liquid flow. The system needs to detect non-liquid particles, bacteria, yeasts, mold, and/or spores in a continuous liquid stream. Any proposed sensing methodology must not physically interact with the liquid flowing in the interior of the channel. In operation, the detection system should report any contamination; the nature of the contamination can be determined later. A proposed solution need not identify the specific contaminant. An optical or light-based system is desired, but a variety of technologies may be acceptable if they do not require the fluid flow to be sampled directly.

Posted in: Tech Needs, NASA Tech Needs

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Fabrics with an Inherent Thickness

A foam shape must be replaced with a knitted, woven, or nonwoven fabric that derives its thickness from the geometric structure of its components. The current application uses polyurethane foams that range from millimeters to 2 cm thick. The foams offer little or no ventilation in a situation where air circulation can be critical. New materials at the fiber level must be used to create a light fabric with a build-in structural thickness and loft. Possible solution areas include mathematical models of knitting matrices and nonwoven manufacturing techniques.

Posted in: Tech Needs, NASA Tech Needs

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Additives to Minimize Dirt Accumulation

Polymeric and non-polymeric additives must release dirt from stucco, decks, and other coated architectural surfaces. A client seeks hydrophobic surfaces that are hard rather than tacky, and offer low surface tension and high contact angle. Preferably, a homeowner could spray these enhanced coatings with water and quickly wash away accumulated dirt. The additives must be compatible with water-based systems such as acrylics and styrene-acrylics or alkyds, as well as with polyurethanes and epoxies. Technology options must also accept occasional re-coating, and resist standard soaps and household cleaners.

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Cost-Effective Cholesterol Tests

A client seeks a simple, small, and cost-effective diagnostic cholesterol test kit. The technology must be used directly by a consumer, possibly as an in-home test kit. Results should be visible immediately and show different levels, including normal, moderately elevated, or high cholesterol. Solutions could be minimally or non-invasive diagnostics that detect one or multiple states, and could include tests for blood, breath, saliva, sweat, urine, or tongue scraping. Ideally, tests must be validated against standard blood cholesterol tests, and detect a 10% change in total cholesterol.

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New Systemic Chemical Insecticides

A client seeks new synthetic (chemical-based) control agents for insects such as aphids and spider mites. The piercing and sucking insects damage plants by inserting their mouthpart into plant tissues and feeding on the juices. Heavily infested plants become yellow, wilted, deformed, or stunted, and may eventually die. There is a need to pursue insect control agents with new modes of action in order to keep insecticide resistance at manageable levels. The proposed insect control agents must be systemic, broad-spectrum insecticides that have low risk to humans and the environment.

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