Features

Camera Systems Rapidly Scan Large Structures

Thermography designed to protect aircraft from effects of aging finds use in power stations, manufacturing plants, and ships. Aging aircraft are an increasing concern. Commercial and government vehicles are being flown past their originally intended service life in order to save money. The answer, however, isn’t merely to build more aircraft. NASA’s Aircraft Aging and Durability (AAD) Project is taking a proactive approach to extending the life of aircraft even before age is a concern. The project targets young aircraft, and develops technologies and materials to mitigate the effects of aging as early — and for as long — as possible.

Posted in: Articles, Spinoff

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NASA’s Technology Transfer “Super Tool”

Businesses and individuals interested in using NASA research to develop new technologies and products now have access to an online tool to make the process of licensing easier. The QuickLaunch tool provides access to a select portfolio of NASA technologies for licensing and commercial development.

Posted in: UpFront

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Inexpensive Nano-Camera Operates at the Speed of Light

A $500 “nano-camera” that can operate at the speed of light has been developed by researchers in the MIT Media Lab. The three-dimensional camera could be used in medical imaging and collision-avoidance detectors for cars, and to improve the accuracy of motion tracking and gesture-recognition devices used in interactive gaming.

Posted in: UpFront

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Editor’s Choice: January 2014

This month’s Editor’s Choice is a charging station for Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs), which are becoming increasingly important in military surveillance, mine detection, and other applications. Today, most AUVs are powered by batteries that limit travel distance. The Submerged AUV Charging Station would let an AUV travel, stop and charge, and travel again. Read the full article on page 36.

Posted in: UpFront

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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.

Posted in: Tech Needs

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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.

Posted in: Tech Needs

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Speed2Design: A Chance of a Lifetime

I recently had the chance to spend a day at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston with the ten winners of the Speed2Design contest sponsored by Littelfuse, a Chicago-based circuit protection company. The prize was a behind-the-scenes tour of the center, including technical conversations with the engineers working on robotics and rovers, astronaut training, and International Space Station (ISS) research. Having been to NASA facilities multiple times, I had a “been there, done that” attitude at first, but was quickly as amazed and awed as the winners by the technologies and facilities at NASA Johnson.

Posted in: Articles

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