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.
Vertically Coupled Whispering Gallery Mode (WGM) Resonator Optical Waveguide
Typical optical delay lines are characterized by relatively large absorption and short delay times. The vertically coupled WGM resonator optical waveguide device, on the other hand, is capable of efficiently delaying, storing, and buffering optical pulses. This invention could also be used to route and switch optical pulses in fiber optic communications networks. The optical waveguide includes a cylindrical rod of optically transparent material with ring-shaped resonators spaced along the length of the rod. The properties of the waveguide can be engineered by changing the shape of the resonators and the distance between them.
Contact: Jet Propulsion Laboratory Innovative
Technology Assets Management
More reliable than existing technology, this double-latching solenoid valve has two coils that can be run in parallel or series. If there is a failure associated with one of the coils, the entire solenoid can be removed and replaced. The valve performs well in high-temperature applications, and has an improved leak rate, lower manufacturing costs, and weighs only 20 g. The valve can be used in several Earth-based applications such as gas sampling systems, gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer systems, oil wells, and jet engines.
Contact: Goddard Space Flight Center
Tech Transfer Office
Harsh Environment Protective Housings for Electrical and Fluid Connectors
A ruggedized housing for an electrical or fluid umbilical connector prevents intrusion of dust, sand, dirt, mud, and moisture during field use under harsh conditions. The connector housings are tough, ergonomic, simple to use, and require minimal effort to mate/demate. These connectors can withstand rough handling, such as being stepped on or rolled over by wheelbarrows or light vehicles. The housings accept most commercial electrical or fluid connectors, eliminating the need for specialized connectors in hostile environments.