Freeze-Resistant Hydration System

Even when a water conformal fluid reservoir and drink straw are zipped into a down suit, water freezes under extreme conditions. This poses a health hazard, particularly to high-altitude climbers who mouth-breathe, as mouth-breathing causes substantial fluid loss (in exhaled breaths). NASA’s Johnson Space Center has developed an innovative freeze-resistant hydration system for licensing. The technology substantially improves on existing hydration systems because it prevents water from freezing in the tubing, container, and mouthpiece, even in the harshest conditions on Earth. This technology is designed to work to minus 40 °C and 15-mile-per-hour winds over a 12-hour summit day, and likely well beyond. Field testing of the technology was performed at Mt. Everest in May 2009. The device was originally conceived and designed by an astronaut-mountaineer who recognized the great risk of dehydration in high mountains and the lack of sufficient technology to meet this important need.

Contact: NASA’s Licensing Concierge
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Optical Metamaterial

Researchers at Aalto University have developed a new metamaterial that takes advantage of the non-reciprocal magnetoelectric (NME) effect. The NME effect implies a link between specific properties of the material (its magnetization and polarization) and the different field components of light or other electromagnetic waves. The team designed an optical NME metamaterial that can be created with existing technology, using conventional materials and nanofabrication techniques. The new material opens up applications that would otherwise need a strong external magnetic field to work — for example, creating truly one-way glass. Glass that’s currently sold as ‘one-way’ is just semi-transparent, letting light through in both directions. When the brightness is different between the two sides (for example, inside and outside a window), it acts like one-way glass. But an NME-based one-way glass wouldn’t need a difference in brightness because light could only go through it in one direction.

Contact: Shadi Safaei Jazi
+35 850-322-9573
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3D-Printed Solenoids

While multiple hurdles must be overcome to develop electronic devices that are entirely 3D printed, a team at MIT has taken an important step in this direction by demonstrating fully 3D-printed, three-dimensional solenoids. Solenoids, electromagnets formed by a coil of wire wrapped around a magnetic core, are a fundamental building block of many electronics, from dialysis machines and respirators to washing machines and dishwashers. The researchers modified a multimaterial 3D printer so it could print compact, magnetic-cored solenoids in one step. This eliminates defects that might be introduced during post-assembly processes. The printed solenoids could enable electronics that cost less and are easier to manufacture. In addition to making electronics cheaper on Earth, this printing hardware could be particularly useful in space exploration. For example, instead of shipping replacement electronic parts to space one could send a signal containing files for the 3D printer.

Contact: Abby Abazorius
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