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.
Robotic Inspection System for Deep Sea Structures
Johnson Space Center designed a robotic inspection system for surveying deep sea structures such as oil platform storage cells/tanks and pipelines in order to determine the volume of material remaining inside, interrogate structure integrity, and display real-time video and sonar. The device is able to move through interconnected pipes, even making 90 degree turns with minimal power. This device could significantly reduce the cost of inspecting, and in the future, provide sampling of the structure contents. The technology is an all-in-one inspection device that includes cameras, sonar, and motion sensing instruments with hardware and software components.
Contact: Michelle P. Lewis
Smart Image Enhancement
Langley Research Center developed an automatic measurement and control method for smart image enhancement. Pilots, doctors, and photographers will benefit from this innovation that offers a new approach to image processing, resulting in improved medical imaging and nighttime photography. The technology consists of a set of comprehensive methods that perform well across a wide range of conditions encountered in arbitrary images, including variations in lighting, scene characteristics, and atmospheric (or underwater) turbidity variations. It was developed to provide new capabilities for exceeding pilot visual performance by clarifying turbid, low-light-level, and extremely hazy images automatically for pilot view on heads-up or heads-down display during critical flight maneuvers. (See HERE for additional details.)
Contact: Langley Technology Gateway
High Field Superconducting Magnets
This superconducting magnet is configured to prevent a voltage excursion across the superconducting wire during quench of the superconducting magnet. The thermally conductive potting material and the superconducting wire provide a path for dissipation of heat. The magnet is small and lightweight, and capable of achieving high magnetic field strengths at low currents. It can be cooled down rapidly without risk of damaging the wiring, can be ramped up and down in field at very high rates, generates a minimum amount of hysteresis heat, and has minimized heat load upon a cryogenic system from the leads because less current is required to generate a given magnetic field. (See HERE for additional details.)