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 https://technology.nasa.gov.
Truss Beam with Self-Aligning Adapters
A truss beam is assembled using rods, shear web panels, and self-aligning adapters (SAAs). The shape of the SAA provides relatively high joint strength and allows a simple manufacturing process. The SAA is designed so that the fitting yields before the adhesive fails. Joint strength is achieved through precise bond line control that is maintained by a tight-fitting bore in the root. The assembly process is streamlined in that the rod can be inserted until it bottoms out and the bore will hold the rod in proper alignment along the length of the glue line. This design can be used for structural members in spacecraft, aircraft, ground vehicles, sports equipment, and tall architectural structures.
Contact: Ames Technology Partnerships Division
Monitoring Method from Sensor to Base Station
This monitoring system includes a base station and at least one sensor unit mounted at some distance away that is in wireless, one-way communication with the base station. The sensor lies dormant until it receives a voltage trigger from a vibration-sensitive switch that consumes no stored power from the battery. When activated, the sensor takes a measurement, transmits the data to the base station, and then returns to its dormant state. The taken measurement is recorded and time stamped. The system can be used in applications that require long-term monitoring of events associated with different types of strain, cryogenic/ambient temperatures, limit switches, and magnetic fields such as automotive, cryogenics, and the petroleum and chemical industries.
Contact: Stennis Space Center Office of the Chief Technologist
Copolymer Gel Electrolyte
This polyimide-polyethylene oxide (PEO) rod-coil copolymer gel features a highly cross-linked three-dimensional structure. The gel can hold over four times its weight in liquid additives, accommodating both conventional carbonate solvents and room-temperature ionic liquids. The technology enables a safer, highly flexible, and environmentally friendly fabrication method for producing batteries with high mechanical strength and potentially increased cycle life. Applications include wafer-thin geometries such as batteries for “smart cards,” portable electronics such as cellphones and laptops, grid power storage, portable tools, and automobile batteries.
Contact: Glenn Technology Transfer Office