The technologies NASA develops don’t just blast off into space. They also improve our lives here on Earth. Life-saving search-and-rescue tools, implantable medical devices, advances in commercial aircraft safety, increased accuracy in weather forecasting, and the miniature cameras in our cellphones are just some of the examples of NASA-developed technology used in products today.
This column presents technologies that have applications in commercial areas, possibly creating the products of tomorrow. If you are interested in licensing the technologies described here, use the contact information provided. To learn about more available technologies, visit the NASA Technology Transfer Portal at http://technology.nasa.gov .
In-Situ Health Monitoring of Piezoelectric Sensors
With this monitoring system developed by Stennis Space Center, degraded sensor performance can be quickly and economically identified. It evaluates installed piezoelectric sensors without requiring physical contact with, or removing them from, their mounted locations. Because it is not necessary to remove the device, data that reflects the device’s specific physical configuration is retained, and devices that are physically inaccessible can still be tested. The system can detect changes within the entire sensor and sensor housing.
Contact: Stennis Office of the Chief Technologist
Method for Ultraminiature Fiber Light Source
Miniature incandescent lamps have been invented to satisfy a need for compact, rapid-response, rugged, broadband, power-efficient, fiber-optic-coupled light sources for diverse purposes that could include calibrating spectrometers, interrogating optical sensors, spot illumination, and spot heating. Developed at Glenn Research Center, these lamps include a spiral filament mounted within a ceramic package that normally is used to house an integrated circuit chip. The package is closed with a window that normally is used in ultraviolet illumination to erase volatile electronic memories.
Contact: Glenn Technology Transfer Office
Magnetoresistive Flux Focusing Eddy Current Flaw Detection
NASA Langley has developed a new nondestructive evaluation probe to detect small fatigue cracks prior to the onset of widespread fatigue damage. The detection of deeply buried fatigue cracks in thick multilayer structures like airplane wings continues to be a challenge for the nondestructive evaluation community. This new technology leverages the low-frequency magnetic field sensitivity of giant magnetoresistive (GMR) sensors to identify subsurface cracks up to 1 cm deep.