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.
Goddard Space Flight Center has developed a formulation of a Lotus-leaf-like nano-textured dust mitigation coating with hydrophobic properties. Originally developed to address a large-scale problem of dust accumulation and contamination in dusty space environments, the coating can be used for other space applications and aeronautical applications, as well as Earth-based ground applications. The Lotus Coating is a lightweight, passive coating that also has super-hydrophobic properties, and can prevent a variety of particles, liquids, or ice from sticking to the coated surface. It can be used for dust, liquid, and ice mitigation; can coat virtually any surface; and is easy to formulate and apply.
Contact: Goddard Space Flight Center
Solar-Powered Refrigeration System
Johnson Space Center has patented a solar-powered refrigeration system that eliminates reliance on an electric grid, requires no batteries, and stores thermal energy for efficient use when sunlight is absent. The innovation uses a variable-speed, direct current (DC) vapor compression cooling system connected to a solar photovoltaic (PV) panel via novel electronic controls. This environmentally friendly system is ideal for use in commercial or household refrigerators, freezers, vaccine coolers, or solar ice-makers. It is particularly ideal for off-grid applications.
Contact: Johnson Space Center
Fluid Measurement Sensor
Langley Research Center has developed a wireless, thin-film fluid measurement sensor that uses a magnetic field response measurement acquisition system to provide power to the sensor and to acquire physical property measurements from it. In addition to measuring fluids within an enclosed container, it can be placed external to a non-conductive container to measure the level of any non-gaseous substance, including liquids, solids, and semi-solids such as powder or granular substances. Applications include fuel and other liquid measurements in vehicles, above- or below-ground fuel storage tanks, and cryogenic fluid tanks.